- One of the most beautiful purpose-built electric trail bikes I've tested, integrated battery pack (charge on or off the bike), quick release wheels front and rear with quick disconnect on hub motor
- 650B 27.5" wheel size is efficient and smooth but still nimble, mid-step frame design easy to stand over
- Suspension lockout and rear seat stay bosses make city riding and commuting possible if you add a rack
- Excellent two year warranty, great availability, no bottle cage mounts, only one frame size, no throttle only mode and no throttle override, pedal assist runs a bit long (less responsive cutout)
The EVO 27.5 is one of my favorite electric bike models from Easy Motion for 2015 because it’s versatile, beautiful and fairly affordable. It’s modest 350 watt hub motor can actually produce 548 watts of peak output for those steep sections of trail but isn’t as heavy as a larger offering and manages to blend in with the cassette and disc brake rotor given its smaller size. It still feels very zippy, operates without producing much noise and has been redesigned since the 2014 Neo 650B with an emphasis on serviceability and durability. While the Evo 27.5″ only comes in one frame size (a medium 18 frame) it’s easier to mount thanks to an angled top tube and “mid step” design. The red color is fun and as with other Easy Motion bikes, the fork and display panel match the color scheme and blend in nicely. This bike would make an excellent commuter for those who enjoy a bit of off-road but value the efficiency of a locking fork for improved performance on tarmac. The seat stay mounting points make it easy to add a rear rack and with it, you could carry a bag or panniers for extended rides or grocery getting. If you really want a smooth ride, you can upgrade to the Evo 27.5 Jumper for ~$1,300 more but this hardtail is still smooth and offers upgrades like locking grips, hydraulic disc brakes and a 30 speed drivetrain that are quite impressive for the price.
The motor driving the Evo 27.5 is beautifully integrated and has been painted black to blend in with the cabling, spokes, wheelset and other components. It basically disappears behind the 10 Speed Shimano Cassette and 160 mm disc brake rotor. As mentioned previously, it offers a fairly average 350 watts of power output but actually feels as though it were a 500 watt design. I attribute the zippy feel in part to the quality motor from Dapu, larger battery capacity and responsive torque sensor. Even compared to other 350 watt geared motors on similar bikes, this one just feels more powerful. As shown in the video review above, the motor is fairly quiet during operation but being geared does produce more of a whir than some gearless ones might. Still, it’s relatively light weight and for an active bike like this with so many gears, should deliver a real sense of speed and power more than doubling rider output up to ~20 mph. One interesting change for 2015 with this motor is that the cable connecting it with the controller is now positioned on the left side of the frame and closer in towards the hub. This has two benefits: it reduces clutter on the drivetrain side of the bike where the cassette and derailleur are mounted and it also keeps the power cable out of harms way if the bike tips over. Some of the older Easy Motion Neo motor cables could break or become loose based on their more exposed position so this is a welcome change that dealers will certainly appreciate. The rear derailleur on this bike is Shimano XT which is higher end than many of the other Evo models but the price is the same which is pretty amazing.
The battery pack on the Evo 27.5 is quite impressive as well because it builds on the older Neo designs and addresses one big complaint that customers had… Many people wanted to charge the pack on the bike but were forced to take it off every single time because there was no charging outlet built into the frame. This made dropping and scratching the battery more likely but that was somewhat overlooked because the design was beautiful and the bike still performed well. with the Evo series it still looks great and keeps weight low and center on the frame while matching the paint job for a perfectly integrated look but now you don’t have to take it off if you store the bike inside, you can simply “plug the bike in”. There’s a socket near the bottom bracket on the left side of the bike. Also worth calling out is the 30% increase in capacity (which means you can go further with each charge) and the integrated LED panel that shows how full the pack is even when it’s not connected to the bike. With all of these improvements, I’m very impressed that they kept the price the same for the Evo 27.5 as they had for the Neo 650B and that the weight of the pack didn’t increase much (due to advances in Lithium chemistry). So the pack offers 36 volts of power and 11.6 amp hours vs. the old 8.8 for a total of 417.6 watt hours of capacity. That means you’ll get more range. The battery uses quality Lithium Manganese Samsung cells and comes with a two year warranty for peace of mind.
Connecting the rider with the battery and motor is a beautiful, low profile backlit LCD display panel that I go over in detail with this video tutorial. It’s the same design they’ve been using on the Neo line since 2013 and it’s still intuitive, easy to reach and removable! To get things going, just charge the battery then hold the middle button for a few seconds. Once it’s on, you can press the up or down buttons to explore throttle mode or four levels of assist. You get more power with the higher assist levels but you also burn through the battery more quickly. The one complaint I have about the control system here is that you can’t use the throttle to override pedal assist and this would be nice for adding power when riding in the lowest level to simply overcome a short hill climb or pass another rider. As it stands, you either have to arrow up to a higher assist level or arrow down to throttle mode briefly and then back up to a low after making your move. In any case, the twist throttle is located on the right bar and works well but wouldn’t be my first choice for a trail ebike like this. I’d prefer a trigger throttle so the handle bar surface could be as consistent and solid feeling as possible. The LCD display lists your speed, battery capacity, time, max speed and distance traveled. Overall, the cockpit on the Evo 27.5 is clean and I like the trigger shifters on the left and right bar vs. twist shifters or oversized buttons but the handle bar feels a bit narrow. Usually for mountain and trail bikes I see longer bars which provide finer handling and leverage for larger, heavier wheels.
The Easy Motion EVO 27.5 is an amazing electric bike, in fact the entire line of Evo models is fantastic for 2015. This model would be my personal choice because it’s capable of handling so many environments but still has a good price. The knobby tires offer a bit of cushion and vibration dampening along with the XCR-LO Suspension for off-road use but the lockout and rear rack options offer utility on-road. For even more comfort on this bike, consider a seat post shock like a Thudbuster or Suntour NXC. The two areas I think this bike could improve are in drive mode options (allow the throttle to override pedal assist) and water carrying (add a bottle cage somewhere if possible). As it stands, if you actually take this thing out riding in the hills or mountains you’ll have to wear a Camelbak or use aftermarket brackets… and that adds additional weight and hassle while also being easier to bump out of position. Consider a saddle mounted bottle cage adapter like this or a double seat tube rack that would go right behind the saddle like this. A hub motor driven ebike like this isn’t going to climb as effectively as a high end mid-drive but will still perform well on moderate terrain in pedal assist mode. Some people could complain that the hub motor makes the bike rear heavy or adds unsprung weight but since this is a hardtail the second point isn’t relevant and the smaller size keeps weight down. Hub motors offer a different feel than middrives, they perform more like scooters in throttle mode. In closing, no ebike is perfect but Easy Motion has created something masterful with the EVO 27.5.
- With the EVO line of electric bikes from Easy Motion you can charge the battery pack while it is still mounted to the bike frame, no need to take it off every single time (very handy if you store your bike inside or near a power outlet)
- Offers both throttle mode and pedal assist with four levels to emphasize range or speed, zippy powerful feel from the efficient 350 watt geared motor (548 watt peak output)
- Purpose-built frame with beautifully integrated downtube mounted battery pack, this keeps weight low and center for improved balance and handling
- The display panel, battery pack, suspension fork and hub motor are all painted to match the bike and blend in to make it look more like a normal bicycle, the drive systems are relatively stealth and don’t stand out as much as other ebikes
- The LCD display is removable, easy to reach and activate from the left grip, backlit for use in low lighting conditions (just hold the down arrow for two seconds)
- Tektro Auriga E-Comp levers have motor cutoff switches built in and are easy to activate with just a finger or two, the large 180 mm front rotor and standard 160 mm rear rotor offer great stopping power for trail and mountain terrain
- Unique 27.5″ (650B) wheelset strikes a balance between the nimble handling of a 26″ and smooth rolling momentum of a 29er
- Mid-level fork soaks up the bumps off-road but can be locked out for city riding or commuting
- Seat stay bosses could be useful for adding a rear rack if you wanted to use this as a commuter bike
- With 30 gear combinations to choose from, this bike is easy to pedal at low speed when climbing or at higher speeds when traveling long distances, it easily reaches 20+ mph in pedal assist mode… I’ve taken it up to ~24 mph
- New tool-free quick release system on the rear wheel makes changing flats and doing service much easier, the motor power cable also has a quick disconnect built in
- The motor power cable location has been updated, now entering the hub on the left side of the bike vs. the right side where the derailleur and cassette are, this helps to reduce complexity, clutter and damage if the bike tips
- TMM4 torque sensor activates the motor smoothly and the control system reduces surge when pedaling but the motor does run a bit longer when you stop pedaling
- When using Eco mode (the lowest level of pedal assist) power is now gentler and smoother which provides better range, this was a request from many customers of the older Easy Motion Neo electric bikes
- The battery uses high end 18650 Lithium Manganese cells from Samsung that are light weight and long lasting, excellent energy density here (lower weight, more power)
- Quality grips from Velo with locking rings to keep them from twisting as you bear down on rough terrain
- No bottle cage mounting points on the downtube or seat tube which means you’ll need to add one to the seat post or saddle rails, wear a CamelBak or setup a rear rack
- Throttle cannot be used at all when riding in pedal assist mode, you have to arrow down to “No Assist” and then activate using the half grip twist
- For off-road use I would prefer a trigger throttle so that the right grip is not partially compromised by a twist throttle
- Tektro hydraulic disc brakes provide decent stopping power but aren’t as smooth as Avid and may rattle or squeak with use
- The controller on this bike lets the motor run a second or two long after you’ve stopped pedaling, this reduces “surge” (the jerky feeling of power going up and down with each pedal stroke) but makes the bike feel unresponsive at times, thankfully the motor inhibitors in the brake levers are instant
- Just one frame size, style and color to choose from here (medium 18, mid step, red) which may limit use for tall riders
- For a mountain style ebike the bars feel too narrow (short from one end to the other), they work fine for around town riding but aren’t as precise as I’d like given the large wheel size