What if an e-bike, but louder?
When I was a kid, the raddest toys you could have were those that made light and sound. At the very top of the list, the holy grail of light and sound toys, were Luke Skywalker's X-Wing fighter and powerful Autobot rocket base Omega Supreme. I, being the kid whose school uniforms were bought at Goodwill instead of at the mall, had neither. I had friends who had them though, and the pew-pew noises and flashing lights definitely added a little extra something to spaceship and giant robot playtime.
Why do I bring this up? Well, some guys from Sweden (who are clearly around my age and feel the same way about added lights and sounds) are releasing a new electric scooter with a huge onboard speaker that makes really-real motorcycle engine noises while it's moving. No, really. Friends, meet the Rumble.
The Rumble is a "cafe racer-styled" (their words, not mine) electric scooter made by Rumble Motors, an outfit with offices in Stockholm, Sweden, Sacramento, California, Miami, Florida, and Hong Kong. There's precious little info to go by on the company's website, it seems to be mostly a collection of stylish pictures and corporate buzzword salad. It all seems very evasive to me for some reason.
For example, it looks like you can order a scooter straight from the website, but there are no specs for it anywhere that I could find. That's a hell of an omission for a product that costs upwards of $3,500 American Dollars. I did track down some specs on Indiegogo where the company ran a successful campaign back in February of 2018. Apparently, the little bike is equipped with a 1,500-watt hub-wound motor powered by 60v batteries. Top speed is a claimed 43.4 miles per hour and it has a claimed range of around 50 miles. It has a unique front end setup that uses a low-slung swingarm to reduce turning radius and increase agility. That's about what I could find out about that.
The real story here is, of course, the body-mounted speaker that makes vroom-vroom engine noises just like a big boy motorcycle. With just a touch of a button, the bike provides a motorcycle noise soundtrack for itself. The noisemaker is tied to the throttle, and you can actually "rev" the engine noise and you get acceleration and deceleration noises as you drive. It's pretty wild.
The whole thing seems both adorable and very, very stupid. Like a chihuahua with a serious head wound. The company's stated goal with the vroom-vroom noise is to increase safety and let people know the scooter is coming but isn't that what horns are for? There's also the fact that there hasn't been a website update since the beginning of July, and no new Facebook posts since some time in August. It all seems very shady, but that just might be my paranoia talking.
If you or someone you know has a Rumble, let us know in the comments.