Monster Mini: El Burro Sand ‘N Sno Bike

Here’s a genre I wish would come back: mini-scooters with huge tires that are actually off-road capable. This 1971 El Burro Sand ‘N Sno Bike (what a great, great name) was built for road use and also designed for off-road excursions, provided you aired-down those huge tires. It’s not very fast, but it probably feels like you’re flying if you grab some air over a sand dune in one. Find it here on craigslist for $1,500.

The El Burro was the creation of Worth Industrial Processing Company of Lexington, Michigan (thanks to Bike-Urious for the background) and was advertised as being just as comfortable on-road as it was in the snow, sand, and off-road trails. The comfort factor is virtually nil given the simplicity of its construction, but hey – less stuff to break.

It originally came with a 5 b.h.p. motor but was later upgraded to an 8 b.h.p. unit. Good for 24 m.p.h. on road, the El Burro looks like it was designed for people with a cottage at the beach or a cabin in the woods. The manufacturer recommended airing the 12-inch tires down 1-2 PSI for maximum traction when you left the pavement. This one still needs a new coil and the fuel system cleaned.

The seller has done some pain-in-the-neck work as it involves the obsolete tires and wheels: “These bikes originally came with NON-maintainable wheels , meaning the tires are molded into the rim making it all one piece. Those wheels were discontinued in 1975. I contacted route6x6.com and ordered 3 bolt to 5 bolt wheel adapters along with brand new 5 bolt rims. I also installed brand new 20 x 11 x 8 inch Ocelot Tires.” For $1,500, this is a ton of cool that doesn’t take up much space.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Cool little bike, but not for sand or snow. Riding in sand sucks, and wheels on snow, no matter how big, just doesn’t work. Admiral Byrds “Snow-Cruiser” proved that. Snow builds up in front of the tire, creating a wedge, and stops the wheel, and down you go. Been there. Maybe with a ski up front, but traction will still be a problem. It’s why snowmobiles use tracks. For barreling down a dirt trail, be a gas.

    2
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      That’s why marketing people love their jobs. Never have to prove anything.

      6
  2. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    This is painfully desirable, I wonder if I could ride it home from Albany, at 20 mph…

    2
  3. Dick Johnson

    Coleman offers a camper version of this. Haven’t ridden one yet, but looks like it should work as advertised.

    2
  4. Classic Steel

    Woo hooo. Speed and power 👀😜

    I want to jump a little curb in this beast

    1
  5. angryjonny

    I’m surprised that this thing has hand brakes. I had a Rupp Mini Bike built on the same engine/tube frame/wheels/go principle, and the brake was a slab of 1/8″ steel with a spring attached to a foot pedal that you’d press down on in a hopeful attempt to stop.

    4
  6. Mark A Baker

    Tractor Supply sells several models that are similar to this one for between $400 and $500. They even have an electric model.

    1
  7. Doug

    I like the wide tires for putting around on packed dirt. The ground clearance wouldn’t lend itself to any real off-roading , but it would be fine for a farm. One downside to any scooter is small diameter tires can land you on your head where a motorcycle tire would roll over the dip, bump, or pothole with no drama. For this kind of money, a used 125-250cc motorcycle can be had in good rideable condition. Fall / early winter is often a good time to find used bikes at reasonable prices, since folks aren’t as likely to want to go riding for several months, and there are fewer buyers out there.

    1
    • LAB3

      Very true but if you’ve got younger kids or are in love with absolute simplicity a rig like this is hard to beat. As mentioned, you can get a similar one that’s brand new for less than half the price, not sure if there’s a collector market for these to justify the price. Then again the old Cushmans are fetching a pretty penny considering what you get.

  8. Dave Mika

    Holey Kow, it would rattle the fillings right out of your teeth, but what fun!

    1
  9. Ike Onick

    I’d like to see the left leg of the dude who realized it needed a chain guard. Ouch! Also wondering how long it took to get the pants untangled.

    1

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