A lot has already been written about Varla’s first off-road scooter, the Eagle One. Video reviews abound: unboxings, set-ups, first rides, distance updates, on and off-road footage and challenges to test its capabilities. All the popular electric scooter websites and bloggers have offered their opinions on the scooter, often comparing the Eagle One with scooters of similar statistics, and, unsurprisingly, the Eagle One often comes out on top, because of the quality and performance of this scooter at a price point that is extremely competitive. So this post won’t be about unboxings or set-ups or first rides. Instead, I will try to capture something of what it is like to ride the Eagle One.
Firstly, then: this scooter flies. It accelerates like a missile. Yes, there are faster scooters with even more aggressive acceleration and extreme top speed, but those scooters will set you back a pretty penny more. The Eagle One offers insane acceleration, power, and a frightening 40mph top-speed, for a fiercely competitive price.
Actually, fierce is a good word to describe the Eagle One (as smoooooth is an apt word for Varla’s Pegasus). The first time you ride it, hold on tight! If you are unaccustomed to scooters of this caliber, you need to know what to expect. The scooter is very capable of throwing you off its back if you aren’t holding on and shifting your weight forward. As you become more accustomed to handling the power and improve the steadiness of your trigger finger, the Eagle One can accelerate smoothly and slowly; but pull the trigger a little quicker and farther, and the scooter just rips through the air. The first time I rode my Eagle One, I was both elated and, to be perfectly honest, intimidated; I could not help but laugh out of adrenaline and sheer delight at the fierce acceleration. People speak of different types of highs, like a runner’s high. After only a few minutes of riding the Eagle One, it took me about an hour to come down from my scooter high. I periodically found myself laughing out loud for the rest of the evening. It was just that much fun.
After many more miles on the scooter, I am happy to report that it remains just as fun! As my own skills and confidence have increased as a rider, I have been able to experience more of this scooter’s capabilities, both on and off-road, and…it is insane. In terms of the off-road experience, I have ridden this beast (note: my family has come to call the Eagle One “The Beast”) on single track forest trails and uneven towpaths along canals and grassy off-camber trails and gravel and compact dirt and loose sand and slippery clay – and this with the road tires that ship with the scooter. I haven’t yet been able to try the knobby off-road tires Varla also sells, but I am hopeful to change this soon. Honestly, the road tires have done great except on loose sand and muddy/clay-heavy soil. On these the scooter slips and slides and drifts and you have to be very careful accelerating. I imagine that the knobby tires would make all the difference in this respect. But otherwise the Eagle One has done extremely well.
I have been using the Eagle One to commute daily on mostly off-road trails, perhaps six miles in one direction. The ground is a mix of hard dirt, sand, gravel, and occasional wet clay. It is autumn now and the trails have been covered in beautiful yellow, red, orange, and brown leaves. The Eagle One has handled all of this beautifully (though one must always beware of the leaves). On the sandy and clay sections I slow down and even occasionally walk the scooter (again, I am using the stock road tires), but on all other trail conditions the Eagle One…soars (yes, a very obvious, but apt, description!). The dual suspension is great – really great in fact – at keeping me comfortable and making up for my mistakes (i.e. when I suddenly see a dip or hole or bump or tree root and can’t change course). I haven’t fallen yet; I ascribe some of this to the amazing suspension.
As I have become more and more familiar with the Eagle One and my commuting trails, I have found myself riding at faster speeds but always with a sense of control. It has been such a pleasure to experience this scooter at the different stages of my own developing skills. It seems like the harder I push it, the harder it wants to be pushed. I can’t emphasize enough what Varla’s Eagle One is capable of handling. Yesterday I went for a chilly ride, exploring a trail system near my apartment. After 30 minutes of riding, I came upon a challenge: a steep, long, loose dirt and rock, slightly off-camber hill. I made sure both motors were engaged and that turbo mode was on. The sun was in my eyes. The Orcs of Mordor crested the hill, brandishing their nasty weapons high in the air, taunting me. I exhaled. Here was the moment. I summoned what courage I could, I turned my face with purpose to the summit. I engaged the throttle, I let loose my war cry, I gave myself over to the animalistic instincts that mixed with divine conviction, and…I was at the top. It turned out the Orcs were only a manifestation of my trepidation, and my war cry an explosion of laughter as adrenaline flowed through my veins. My scooter, my trusty companion, had no trouble at all, and this with road tires on.
On the road, the Eagle One is still a beast, in the best way. Hills? This scooter will eat them while laughing at them. It just flies…wait for it…like an Eagle (One!). But really it does. It accelerates so hard, stops so hard, feels so stable. Speed bumps and potholes are easily absorbed by the plush suspension. I once found myself on a narrow road with a nice shoulder that suddenly wasn’t so nice…as in it just ended. No shoulder. Narrow road. Lots of cars. What to do? Engage mode 3, fully engage the trigger throttle, hold on tight, and I was no longer being passed by cars, cruising at around 35mph, until the shoulder reappeared after a mile or two, and I could ease back over into the shelter of the shoulder. I do not recommend this, as it is dangerous, and drivers may not know how to react; but it is good to know that the Eagle One can help you out of a dicey situation.
To conclude: this has been a taste, like mere drops of sweet wine wetting your tongue, of what it is like to ride the Eagle One. If you like what you tasted, and are looking for a scooter in this category, I heartily suggest the Eagle One. May you soar upon the wings of this Eagle (One)!