Moonbikes touch down in Truckee
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The world’s first electric snowbike touched down near Truckee last weekend.
Offering a different way to zip around the Tahoe backcountry, Moonbikes, a company based in the French Alps, set up a pair of demo days last weekend at the Prosser Hill OHV Staging Area.
“It’s very close to a dirt bike,” said Sales Operation Manager Gaston Lachaize. “If we compare a snowmobile to an ATV, we could say the Moonbike is much more like a dirt bike and when you go in the deep powder it’s a bit like your snowboarding or skiing.”
The roughly 190-pound bike has a ski in the front and a snow track in the back, making it easy to rip through backcountry trails. The bikes can hold up to two batteries, each lasting 90 minutes, and can reach a top speed of nearly 30 mph. A clod resistant, heated battery box allows for usage at -13 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moonbikes was born in 2015 when France’s Nicolas Muron was visiting his home in the small village of Saint-Nicolas-de-Veroce in the French Alps. He noticed winter transportation options were limited in the area and set out on creating an electric snowbike.
Originally, Muron had envisioned the bikes being used for utilitarian purposes — ways to get to and from work or as a substitute for snowmobiles at ski resorts. Once Moonbikes hit the snow, however, it was clear there was a recreational aspect that couldn’t be denied.
“We were looking to have a light and electric vehicle to go on the snow,” said Lachaize. “Snowmobiles are heavy and noisy and not very convenient to move on, so we ended up with a fresh new product in Moonbike.”
Three years later the company was officially launched and in 2020 had gained the attention of Truckee business Stealth Tahoe. During that time, owners Aaron Vacek and Anthony Zingaro were looking for a winter product to integrate with their line of summer options like e-bikes.
Today, Stealth Tahoe is the area’s only retailer of Moonbikes. Customers can order a Moonbike, starting at $8,900, and have the team at Stealth Tahoe assemble it.
“It’s something you can get on easily and put away, and not have really any maintenance,” said Vacek. “You can go skin a tour, come back, and rip home. I don’t care if you skin or splitboard or whatever, those long meadow pushes, they’re just not fun.”
During Saturday’s demonstration at the Prosser Hill OHV Staging Area those that had little experience on the snow were quickly able to learn to ride the snowbikes. A tipped over bike is easily picked up and at a click of a button the bikes can be put in reverse to back out of any other potential mishaps.
“It’s fun to do some wheelies, some jumps, some singletrack, and to do like slaloming in the forest,” added Lachaize.
Accessories for the bikes include sleds and ski and snowboard racks for backcountry trips.
For more information, visit moonbikes.com and stealthtahoe.com
“We’re super happy to be in Lake Tahoe it’s a beautiful area,” said Lachaize. “Lake Tahoe is the perfect playground for the Moonbike.”
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