Zen and the art of the backflip.
If you’ve ever seen a Red Bull action sports video, you know that they have a particular style. The super-slow-mo high-def footage, the slick titles and graphics, the seizure-inducing fast-cut editing all contribute to the polished visuals. Whether those images are set against a high-energy EDM track or an epic orchestral arrangement, Red Bull’s team of video producers know how to tailor a soundtrack to suit their needs. However, when Red Bull joins forces with Swiss Freestyle Motocross champion Mat Rebeaud to shine a spotlight on the utility and ability of electric motos, all convention goes out the window.
The RAW 100 video series gives talented filmmakers the opportunity to create under the Red Bull banner but they must adhere to three rules: 100-second runtime, no music, and no slow-motion footage. Without the gnarly guitar riffs at 300 frames per second, the viewer can concentrate on the fluidity of the ride with a sound collage of bird calls and running streams backing the action. Though the RAW 100 prominently features two-wheeled vehicles of road cycling and mountain biking, Rebeaud and team set out to add an electric motocross chapter to the series.
As the video opens, the first thing we see is Rebeaud suiting up for a ride in a meticulous workshop, but the off-screen moos and tolling of cowbells hint at another world just outside. When Rebeaud disconnects his Alta Redshift, flips the switch, rolls past a feeding trough of bellowing cows and onto gravel, our suspicions are confirmed. Set in what we assume is the Swiss countryside—given the rider’s nationality—we’re transported to a bucolic location that allows the viewer to appreciate the sounds of nature.
Accompanied by the soft whine of the Redshift engine and the low rumble of knobbies on a dirt path, the footage is calming while simultaneously exhilarating. We hear the crunch of rocks as the bike whips around a berm, we see the stunning landscape when Rebaud launches into the air and executes a Superman seat grab. The awe-inspiring visuals and low-intensity soundscape create a zen-like atmosphere that could trigger an ASMR reaction in most stoic of us.
Perhaps, the sound engineering of the video lends to that feeling the most, as the relative silence accompanying each backflip and heart attack underscores the drama of the trick. When Rebaud endos down a hill with a group of grazing cows looking on, it’s clear that the unobtrusive nature of electric bikes has its benefits.
While the electric moto could be the future of the sport, it’s bittersweet to see an Alta—a now-defunct brand—featured in this video. Electrification may be the direction that the industry is heading but it doesn’t come without its speed bumps. Hopefully, Red Bull continues to support the proliferation of electric motos by continuing to feature them in this stripped-down format. What else could highlight their advantages more?