Mine was created with minimal cost but you are right, it is labor intensive.
The innovation was to set-up full suspension without the use of the shifter.
The fun was building it.
I plan on building two more bikes.
One will include the shifter. Not so much for speed but for torque. I envision putting a ktrack:
Turn Your Mountain Bike into a Snowmobile - Ktrak Rear-Drive Kit and Ski Kit - Upgrade Wish List - Popular Mechanics