Bikes > Motor

Would you buy an electric motorbike with engine noises?

Imagine the confused looks on bystanders as you ‘rev the throttle’

It looks nothing like the motorbikes you know. PHOTO FROM RUMBLE MOTORS

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.

You will definitely stand out when you arrive for your weekend ride with the boys. PHOTO FROM RUMBLE MOTORS

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.

Because regular motorcycles are boring. PHOTOS FROM RUMBLE MOTORS

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.

So handsome it looks good with anyone. PHOTOS FROM RUMBLE MOTORS

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.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.