Red Bulletin: The Formula 1 E-Scooter Has Arrived

Red Bulletin: The Formula 1 E-Scooter Has Arrived

Obviously, Red Rull Racing knows a thing or two about engineering vehicles with pace. So when we heard they helped design a high-end electric scooter, we had to try it. 

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I was told that I’d be testing a $6,500 electric scooter designed by the engineers behind the Oracle Red Bull Racing team, but what I got is likely the coolest-looking e-scooter ever made. Constructed out of carbon fiber, the RBS #01 eScooter Carbon Edition is as racy as the category could possibly be. 

Press materials indicate it’s the result of 2,500 engineering hours. That seems like a lot. How many hours are needed to engineer a regular scooter? That remains a mystery. 

But let’s look on the bright side. For all those hours, you get a handsome carbon-fiber chassis wrapped around two oversized tires that are tastefully adorned with Oracle Red Bull Racing logos. Compared to a rental scooter, it’s genuinely exotic. The manufacturer says it has a 40-mile range, can generate 59 foot-pounds of torque and that the chassis can withstand three times the force of gravity. That’s a lot of gravity for a scooter.

There are no wires, brake lines or cables hanging off the chassis to disrupt airflow. As the insufficiently optimized human standing on the deck, disrupting airflow is your job. In that vein, I’ll note that while this is a very cool-looking scooter, you may or may not look cool riding it. That’s on you.

But looking cool isn’t the point. What matters is that it’s fun to ride.

Looking at it, I was expecting a bit of a learning curve. Would torque rip the thing out of my hands and send it—or me—careening into traffic? Would I go ass-over-teakettle the first time I hit the brakes? Thankfully, the answer to both questions is no. The RBS #01 is speedy, but not unapproachable or intimidating.

Instead of rocketing off the line, acceleration builds in a really satisfying way. Once I was up to speed, the big, wide tires let me lean deeper into corners than I’d expected. Powering out of corners on your way to a 20 mph top speed delivers satisfaction. And yes, 20 does feel fast on a scooter. That 4-piston hydraulic disc brake is effective enough that you need to be judicious in its application. You can lean into corners, or shift your weight to compensate for acceleration and deceleration, but too much force in any given direction makes it hard to stay aboard. (I am an expert on cars and not scooters but I can say with authority that finding yourself not aboard is one of the worst things that can happen to a person on a scooter.) There’s no suspension to speak of and superbusted pavement is a little jarring. I bet a slight reduction in tire pressure would solve that problem for the most part.

Will you feel like Max Verstappen blasting through the streets of Monaco? I didn’t feel that way—maybe more like a pit engineer noodling at pace through a parking lot. But let’s be honest, even if it’s designed with a bit of F1 DNA, a scooter isn’t meant to deliver all-out performance. It’s meant to be fun. From the styling to the range and the riding experience, the RBS #01 is just that. And it is pretty damned zippy. 

This story originally appeared in the Red Bulletin.