Electric motorcycles have come a long way since the first mass-market versions appeared on public roads. These days, many models feature impressive battery ranges and power figures that are slowly equaling—if not overtaking—gas-powered motorbikes. But there is one thing that juiced-up two-wheelers are lacking: proper engine sound. Until now, that is. Meet the Rumble, a bike that won’t pollute the air but still sounds like it does.
The Rumble started as an idea of three brothers, and became a reality on the back of an Indiegogo campaign that has now turned into what looks like a full-fledged company with offices in Sweden and the US. Technically an electric scooter, the Rumble is referred to by its maker as a café racer, with the head-turning contraption featuring a 2,000W hub-wound motor and a 72V battery pack. That setup is enough to propel the 105kg machine up to a top speed of 70km/h, and give it a range of 100km per charge. Charging is said to take two to three hours.
While this bike does boast some neat design ideas—such as a low-slung swingarm at the front that looks really eye-catching and at the same time also reduces the turning circle—the standout feature is a function hiding behind a button on the side. Apparently, research carried out by the company showed that electric scooter riders are often missing the engine sound which a petrol bike creates, so they simply added artificial sounds that can be activated with a touch of said blue-lit button. The simulated engine sound is tied to the power delivery, meaning it always matches the position of the accelerator. ‘Rev the engine’ and it will sound like a fossil-fuel burner is being put through its paces.
Opinions will probably be divided on the usefulness of this fake-engine-noise feature, but you can’t deny that it has the potential for all sorts of shenanigans. Add some proper Harley-Davidson roar to the mix and people will be left confused as to why they can hear a chopper but see a scooter. Or install other sound effects—like that of a spaceship—and feel like Han Solo while riding to work. The fun factor could be big with this feature, and with a price tag of $3,450 (P188,000) that is said to include free worldwide delivery, the Swedish-designed Rumble could be a breath of fresh air for our motoring scene.