evelo-aries-electric-bike-review

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Summary:

  • Affordable full suspension electric bike with mid-grade Lithium polymer battery
  • Decent strength (36 Volts of power) and range (10 amp hour capacity)
  • Heavier design paired with rear shock makes bike floaty and unstable at high speeds or power-pedaling
  • Mid-drive motor puts pressure on chain and changes pedal cadence vs. hub motor or independent chain drive

Stats:

  • Price: $1,995 USD MSRP
  • Range: ~40 miles pedal assisted, ~20 miles electric only
  • Top Speed: barely reaches 20 mph electric only on highest gear, 3 levels of pedal assist 25%, 50% or 100%
  • Gearing: 8 speed Shimano Alvio or NuVinci hub ($400 upgrade, adds weight)
  • Weight: 65.5 pounds with battery
  • Battery: 36 volt 10 amp hour removable Lithium polymer, $550 replacement
  • Charge Time: ~3-5 hours
  • Ride Time: ~1 hour, longer if using pedal assist
  • Charge Cycles: ~750
  • Motor: brushless 250 Watt mid-drive, sealed water resistant
  • Other: front and rear suspension (lock out on front fork, RockShox RX28), rear rack for panniers or saddle bag, front and rear LED lights, available with NuVinci hub gear setup, disc brakes (cut off power to motor when activated), front fenders, LCD spedometer separate from power controller, wellgo pedals, twist throttle on left side vs. right

Video Review:

Written Review:

The EVELO Aries delivers range, style and flexibility at a reasonable price point. You might have to assemble it yourself and the ride style takes some getting used to with the mid-drive system but it looks cool and can take bumps. The Aries wasn’t built for speed, its motor is just 250 Watts which is low compared to ebikes of similar size and weight available in the USA. In Europe however, this is more standard. The up side here is that the 36 Volt battery paired with 10 amp hours of juice will help you up hills (albeit slowly) and take you pretty far, especially in pedal assist mode.

This bike takes advantage of a mid-drive system that actually pulls the chain and leverages whichever gear the rider is pedaling on (there are 8 gears total). In my experience, choosing a gear with comfortable pedaling cadence that will also take advantage of the motor’s default speed can be tough. Often times I was pedaling much slower than I would have liked to reach higher speeds with the motor. Keep in mind, you are pulling the same chain as the motor but you don’t have to pedal if you don’t want. You can use throttle mode and keep your feed still, the bottom bracket has a special freewheeling system that lets the motor pull the chain without requiring your input. In this case, your pedals will be freewheeling and you’ll hear a quiet clicking noise.

I’ve used this bike on many different types of terrain and while the design begs to be taken off road, I found it to be a bit bouncy. The front shock is pretty great offering preload, rebound and lock out settings. The rear shock however, is very basic and feels more like a big spring than a dampener. This bouncy feeling is exacerbated by the heavy battery pack hanging off the rear end of the bike. Any time you ride off a curb or go over a rock the whole tail end of the bike bobs up and down causing instability and loss of traction. Having the mid-drive motor mounted lower on the bike stabilizes the center of gravity a little bit but also exposes the motor to bumps by rocks, it’s a tough trade off.

This bike frame is not built for speed. Most of the weight is positioned towards the back and that destabilizes the front, making it easier to slide out. The feeling gets worse when riding fast or pedaling standing up; the entire body flexes with a sort of sway that can resonate and ultimately create speed-wobble. This can even happen at relatively low speeds and basically eliminates the ability to ride wit no-hands which is something I like to do occasionally to stretch out my arms and back. Whenever I tried to ride with no hands on the Evelo Aries I felt the front wheel begin to wobble and I had to grab the bars to course correct.

In terms of style, the Aries resembles an off road motorcross bike with its wide front fender and angled rear rack. It’s got cool looking lights, a decent computer for tracking speed and distance and a nice decal scheme. In many ways, I think this is the best part about the bike, it’s style. It just looks cool and despite the bounce, it is fun to take off road. Keep in mind however, this bike is made in China and sold over the internet so if you break it going off a jump, there might not be a local shop ready to help you with a quick fix. Also note, the front grip shift throttle is setup European style on the left whereas most of the time, US style ebikes have it on the right.

The brakes are both setup with kill switches that shut the motor off and this is handy because pedal assist on this bike is not torque sensing. Instead, whenever you turn the pedals forward about one and a half rotations the motor kicks in and then it takes about the same amount of time for the motor to shut off… unless you use the break for more precise shut-off control. This is typical of crank-sensing pedal assist but might surprise you if this is a first time electric bike because it can buck a little. I found myself gently activating the brakes during pedal assist in order to smooth out gear changing as well. This is something that would be less of an issue if you chose the NuVinci hub shifter but that’s expensive and adds more weight. I’ve also heard from bike shops that the NuVinci can break easily if over-shifted, which happens quite often.

In terms of speed, the reality of this bike is you will only hit 20 miles per hour using the highest gears on flat surfaces with a bit of pedal input. In order to optimize pedal input you actually have to match speeds with the motor as described above and for this reason I felt myself working to maximize the bike’s performance instead of feeling it compliment mine. The perfect combination for me is the third hardest gear where I pedal slow strong reps and the motor kicks in to push towards those higher speeds.

Overall, this bike looks much cooler than it feels to ride and despite being offered at a reasonable price point, the extra work in assembly, low quality rear shock and heavy-floaty feeling of riding leaves much to be desired. 65.5lbs is a decent weight for a dual suspension electric bike but by no means is it truly “light” and it’s not easy to mount to car racks or even regular bicycle racks because of the unique design with no top tube. Given the unique components and some lower end parts, the Aries may also be a challenge to get repaired at your local bike shop, though their customer support is decent and you can even chat with a support rep directly through their website. If you’re looking for a good off road ebike at a decent price I recommend the single-suspension Volton Elation.

Pros:

  • This bike looks really cool and absorbs bumps with dual suspension
  • Relatively inexpensive for a complete electric bicycle including mid-grade Lithium battery and controller
  • Mid-drive motor lowers center of gravity and allows for versatility during pedal assist and hill climbing
  • Quiet motor, built in fenders and high quality pedals by Wellgo that provide great foot support when pedaling
  • Built in LED lights and computer for speed and range

Cons:

  • No water bottle mounts, have to use the saddle rack with a bag or a camel back
  • 6 lbs heavier than Aurora (front suspension only model from EVELO)
  • Optional NuVinci hub gear system adds 5 lbs to the overall weight and costs a lot
  • Longer panniers could rub on the rear wheel without using a pannier frame
  • Rear suspension does not have a lock out and may absorb some pedaling energy “bobbing” as a result. On pavement this may equate to ~1 mph difference in speed compared with front suspension only models such as the Aurora
  • Taller mid-section of frame may create difficulty in mounting the bike for some users or those wearing dresses or other loose clothing
  • Unstable and wobbly at higher speeds 20+
  • The lights that come with the bike are pretty cheap, the on/off switch is handy and they shine bright but they could easily break and the front light bounces a lot because it’s mounted on the plastic fender.
  • The plastic battery container at the rear of the bike is not secured very well and bounces around quite a bit creating a lot of noise if not secured with extra zip-ties or other method.
  • Standard tires offer decent grip for off road travel but are not as thick as some other bikes and may be more susceptible to thorns and other puncture causing encounters.
  • The rear magnet and sensor are easy to bump out of sync and then you hear a click, click, click as the magnet touches the sensor arm.
  • If the bike is wheeled backwards there is a grinding noise and at times it even locks up which had me concerned that the motor could be getting damaged.
  • Battery pack and rear plastic container is noisy when riding over bumps

Rating:

Evelo Aries, Rated 3 out of 5
Updated by Court Rye

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