California’s park rangers are upgrading the way they patrol their jurisdictions after launching a partnership this month with Standard Bearer Machines, the manufacturers of the Rungu Electric Juggernaut LE electric bicycle.
Invented in 2010 to answer the Southern California problem of how best to transport surfboards to the beach, the Juggernaut quickly became one of the most versatile electric bikes on the market. The bike has fat, five-inch tires that help it move easily over sand and an extra front wheel for added stability.
“The outdoor community has concerns about noise and vehicle exhaust in many of the popular recreation areas across the country,” says Peter Godlewski, owner of Standard Bearer Machines. “Helicopter tours, all-terrain vehicles, and other off-road vehicles annoy people who want to enjoy the outdoors. By using Rungu within the California state parks, rangers are leading by example with a vehicle that produces no emissions and is virtually silent.”
In April, a city employee driving a truck in Newport Beach struck a woman reclining on the sand. According to a news report, the driver, who was in a city-owned GMC Canyon, didn’t see the woman lying three feet below him. Rungu could help avoid that problem in the future.
Despite being electric, the Juggernaut still rips. With a 5.4-horsepower torque-oriented battery and a total weight of only 98 pounds, it has the same power-to-weight ratio as a utility-oriented ATV. Designed for off-road use, it can carry a combined load of 375 pounds, climb gradients greater than 30 percent, and reach speeds of 35 miles per hour.
“The LE version was developed with input from law enforcement, and the first group to start using the LE professionally will be the state parks of California,” Godlewski says. “They look at Rungu for two purposes: beach patrol and law enforcement. The state parks team is enthusiastic about utilizing the LE because of the speed and stealth that it can achieve.”
Search-and-rescue teams and other wilderness volunteer organizations have also approached Godlewski about using Rungu products. Because the Juggernaut can get into the backcountry where ATVs can’t go, the LE has potential to be an ideal vehicle for the terrain they routinely operate in.
The Rungu Electric Juggernauts are not just for commercial use; the entire line is available to the public. There are currently two models on the market, the Juggernaut and Juggernaut LE—the latter a beefed-up version with a larger battery, a more powerful motor, and accessories like a rear rack—with an additional mid-drive version launching later this summer. There are also a number of try-before-you-buy rental shops in Southern California and Utah and plans for seven more to be added by the end of 2018 at some of the most scenic off-road locations in the country.