Electric scooters have taken over the streets of many urban cities, but the lightweight, underpowered scooters comprising the fleets of Bird & Lime leave a bit to be desired for longer range trips, larger riders, and more serious commuting needs.
Varla Scooter reached out to us with their offering in the space and it is in a class apart. Online, the dual-motor, 2,000 watt Varla Eagle One electric scooter looks like an absolute beast and, in our testing, it holds up to the claims. They sent us a review unit free of charge for us to review and I’m happy to say that I lived to tell the tale because hot damn, the Varla Scooter is fast!
The Varla Eagle One showed up with the handlebars folded down, requiring about 20 minutes of assembly time to get everything put together properly. The handlebars were a source of frustration as it seemed like every single brake lever and throttle required a different size allen wrench. But whatever. It only needs to be put together once. The great thing about the design of the Eagle One is that it can fold down with just a quick pull of two clamps at the base of the handlebar for quick, compact storage.
While bolting everything on, it quickly became clear that the right-mounted lever pull throttle and the right brake might be a bit awkward as they essentially sit on top of eachother. It’s also worth noting that the front and rear brakes are flipped from the traditional setup, with Varla opting to put the front brake on the right and the rear brake on the left. The logic behind the swap is simple, as they wanted to make the rear brake easier to access as a default, seeing as how the throttle is also mounted on the right.
In practice, it took a few rides to get used to the handlebar setup, but it was a breeze after that. If this was a daily driver, it would be little more than an afterthought by the end of the first week.
Hopping onto the Eagle One, I was nervous, as it boasts 2,000 watts of power with its dual 1,000 watt hub motors. For context, most scooters only have 250 or 350 watt motors and even electric bikes are typically only using 500 or 750 watt motors here in the United States. I’ve ridden just about everything under the sun with an electric motor and batteries in it, from electric unicycles to 3,000 watt electric skateboards, ebikes, and of course, cars.
Putting 2,000 watts of power into the hubs of a scooter like this was an impressive feat and even with my 200 pound frame onboard, the Varla Eagle One is an absolute beast to ride. To control the power, the scooter comes with a range of settings that let the rider customize the power output to suit their needs. Easy to access buttons on the left side of the handlebar make it easy to select between single motor mode (1,000 watts) and dual motor mode (2,000 watts) and from eco mode to turbo mode. These four options alone transform the scooter from a tame house cat to a raging beast.
The digital controller on the right hand side of the handlebars enables the rider to quickly select from modes 1, 2, or 3. That’s a lot of customization for just the right amount of power for every ride and every rider. To test the scooter, I took it out on one of our shorter test routes, blasting 5 miles downhill and another 5 miles back uphill. The Varla Eagle One never ceased to impress me, with the only limitation on speed being my willingness to pull harder on the accelerator lever.
The scooter itself is quite a bit higher off the ground than a typical scooter due to its larger than typical tires and the suspension. The Eagle One rides high and was like stepping onto a trampoline because the shocks immediately compress to adjust for the weight of the rider. Bouncing up and down on the scooter while stationary, the shocks comfortably held my weight and the voluminous 10″ x 3″ tires give a nice sense of confidence.
The official weight capacity of the Eagle One is 330 pounds, making it a great option for riders of any size and shape. It definitely has plenty of power and seems to be built with quality materials, weighing in at 77 pounds by itself. With its 946Wh battery, the Eagle One boasts 40 miles of range in eco mode, but truth be told, I achieved nearly the same range around town regardless of the mode I selected. As with any electric vehicle, the real world range achieved on the Eagle One depends on rider weight, terrain, temperature, and speed being travelled, so your mileage may vary.
When it comes time to slow down, I gradually eased into the brakes, starting with the rear. As you get used to the setup, it’s easier to know how much of each brake to use and with its dual hydraulic disc brakes, the Eagle One does a fair job of slowing. With the ability to travel up to 40mph, it’s important to put safety first in every way so I highly recommend wearing a helmet, wrist guards, elbow, and knee pads for riders of all ages and experience levels.
From the factory, the Eagle One ships to customers with a single charger, a seat, deck clamp, handlebar bag, and rechargeable USB headlight. The headlight is a bonus that provides extra visibility beyond the fully integrated front and rear LED lights. A pair of lights on the front and rear of the Eagle One are extremely bright and help to make the scooter more visible to drivers while lighting up the ground around the deck.
On the charging front, the Eagle One charges up to full capacity from zero in 8-9 hours, but you can supercharge this by adding a second charger to the mix. The second charger is optional, but slashes the charging time down to 4-5 hours for a full charge. It’s definitely not something everyone will need, but it’s a nice option for those who do need to put more miles on their scooter or just need to top up the battery in a shorter amount of time.
At $1,599, the Varla Eagle One isn’t cheap, but it comes with far more power, range, capacity, and accessories than just about any other electric vehicle at this price point. To date, 96% of customers have given the Eagle One a 5 star review and that’s something you just can’t fake. Head over to the Eagle One’s online home for all the juicy details or to order one for yourself.
All images credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica
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