As any avid competitive or recreation mountain biker would attest, some terrain conditions limit the use of their bike, even if they possess a highly developed skill or physical ability. During a recent visit to the International Sportsmen’s Expo, we experienced the answer to these seemingly untamable trail conditions: Rungu’s Electric Juggernaut.
This three-wheeled electric beast tames the toughest of trails and leaves you grinning from ear to ear.
Established in 2010, the Rungu brand comes by way of Standard Bearer Machines, LLC – A family business based in San Clemente, California. Peter Godlewski and his dad started Standard Bearer Machines, LLC to develop new consumer and industrial products.
One of their creations, the Rungu Trike, started out as an answer to a local problem of how best to transport surfboards to the beach and after the Juggernaut’s release in March 2016, it quickly became one of the most versatile electric bikes on the market.
“I surf and live near the world-famous Trestles surf break in southern California,” Godlewski told Digital Trends. “It’s a state park that’s only accessible by foot, bicycle, or skateboard. You can bicycle to the beach but you have to push your bike through soft sand for half a mile to get to the break. I tested fat tire bikes but found them too difficult to control and carry a surfboard. After a few prototypes, my dad and I came up with a three-wheel formula that can haul a board or other equipment well on road, sand, and snow.”
Sizing up the Rungu
Standing unsupported at the exhibitor’s booth, the 90-pound Juggernaut looks like the perfect blend of a motocross bike and a Jeep. The beefy 26-inch by 4.8-inch front tires are mounted on twin hi-carbon steel forks that are controlled by a proprietary linkage and stem design, sealed bearing headsets, and Ergon ergonomic hand grips for the rider’s comfort.
The frame is 6061-T6 Aluminum with fat tire offset geometry for clearance to mount up to 4.8-inch tires. Undercarriage mounting points secure an all-weather powder coat aluminum housing for the bike’s 12.5 Ah lithium-ion battery pack. The rear wheel is driven by Hi-Power Cycles’ 2017 Stryker 2kW three phase hub that sustains a top speed of 20 miles per hour for distances up to 15 miles. Standard says this distance has the ability to double to 30 miles if a rider peddles while throttling.
The forward drive of the Juggernaut is controlled by a hand-twist throttle similar to that of a motorcycle and a manual Shimano Deore 7 speed trigger shifting rear derailleur. The safety and comfort of the Juggernaut is delivered via disc brake systems on all three wheels and an upgraded seat post suspension system.
“Today, most of our customers view fat-tire two wheel electric bikes as the alternative to a Rungu Electric Juggernaut,” Godlewski added. “Until they try Rungu, they don’t appreciate how much more stability the front two wheels offer and how important stability is off-road.”
Taking the Juggernaut out for a test ride was nothing short of exhilarating. The improvised test track was a blend of hard pack and soft sand patches that were easily traversed by the dual front tires, allowing for stability in soft sand that’s not typically experienced by a traditional single front tire bike. The slightly awkward feeling when turning is quickly overcome, and the throttle was extremely responsive.
“We have models in the works like the 4kW version, that has twice the power of the current version.”
There is also a simplicity to the Juggernaut’s unique design that takes the economics of owning this trike in mind. Godlewski wanted to make sure that outside of the frame design and steering linkage, the bike’s basic components are common to other standard bikes and general maintenance can be done by any local bike mechanic.
Rungu trikes offer an alternative to all outdoor enthusiasts who need to transport themselves and equipment over distances of five to ten miles over a variety of terrain. UTVs and Quads are the most common solution but they’re bigger and noisier.
Given a choice between a Quad and a Rungu Electric Juggernaut, it’s expected that many would benefit from the lower cost of operation, along with the clean and quiet access the Juggernaut provides.
“We have models in the works like the 4kW version, that has twice the power of the current version, which we’ve developed for military and law enforcement,” Godlewski said. “We expect to launch the enhanced 2017 model with larger brake rotors, hydraulic disc brakes throughout, and the option to add front suspension as an upgrade.”
Even before Standard Bearer Machines unveils its upgraded models, the current version of this three-wheeled electric beast tames the toughest of trail conditions and leaves you grinning uncontrollably from ear to ear.