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 with 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.
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
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
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Boris Mordkovich | Founder & CEO of EVELO11 years ago
Dear Court and ElectricBikeReview Readers. My name is Boris Mordkovich. I’m the co-founder and CEO of EVELO Electric Bicycle company.
I really appreciate the comments brought up in this review and just wanted to chime in with a few quick comments as well. Of course, if anyone has any further questions, concerns or other feedback, I’m available to address it personally – so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Panniers: Longer panniers can in fact be used with our rear racks by adding barriers. Many of our customers already do it – this is just one example of a photo that was sent to us: https://www.dropbox.com/s/02bh4vpe04dr1r4/rear%20rack.jpg
Rear Suspension: You are correct and there’s no lockout feature on the rear suspension. We feel that the suspension we use is adequate for the speeds our bikes were designed for. That being said there’s room for improvement and we appreciate the constructive criticism.
Top Speed: I do want to mention that these bikes are not intended for speeds above 20mph due to Federal regulations. They do go up to the limit, but if you wish to go above 20 mph, you’ll definitely need to pedal as well.
Weight: If the Aries feels heavy, our other models are a bit lighter. Aurora, for example, is just 54 pounds (with the battery) or 46 pounds (without the battery).
Pedal-Assist: You are absolutely correct in regards that it takes 1 full rotation of the pedals for the pedal-assist mode to kick in. We went with the speed-sensor setup instead of the torque-sensor, as we’ve found that customers had a lot of “false starts” when they were riding a bike with a torque sensor. In a sense that the bike would start moving as soon as they applied pressure to the pedals, even if they didn’t actually intend to start riding. So, while neither system is perfect, we felt that the speed sensor setup that we adapted was a safer one for our riders.
Feeling Wobbly: If the bike felt wobbly at a higher speed, is it possible that one of the wheels got a bit bent during shipping? In instances like this, we cover all costs involved with truing the wheel or replacing it, so that the customer does not incur any additional expenses.
Battery Box: We appreciate your comments about the sounds the battery box makes when going over bumps. We will be looking into additional ways of securing it to our rear rack besides the current locking mechanism.
Rear Sensor: The magnet sensor on the rear wheel should not be bumping out of sync if tightened properly. Furthermore, it is used as a speed limiter in order to meet some of the local regulations. It is not needed in most of the cities and states and taking it off will result in higher speed and more assistance from the motor.
Freewheel: There’s no reason to be concerned about the damage to the motor when going backwards as the motor has an internal freewheel.
Mountain Biking: While this bike can certainly be taken off-road – as I have personally done for 300+ miles during the 4,000 mile Trans-American Electric Bike Tour – it’s not designed to handle hardcore, technical mountain biking. Even with the best shocks and suspension, it’s just not a great idea to subject the electrical components to excessive “abuse” that would be incurred on difficult mountain biking trails. We designed this bike to perform well on the paved roads, as well as give the rider an opportunity to take it on trails – within reason.
Repairs: Even though we do sell quite a bit direct-to-consumer online, we are growing our dealers network very quickly. We should be up to about 25 dealers by the Spring, so there will be a number of shops who will be able to service the bikes for our customers.
Moreover, 85% of the components on the bike are standard bicycle components that can be serviced by any shop. The electrical elements – such as the motor, battery and controller – are designed to be easily removable and swappable. If a customer has any issues whatsoever, all they need to do is report it to us and we’ll send them a replacement part along with detailed instructions on how to remove and swap it. All major parts are covered for free under our 18 month warranty. And we’re continuously making improvements to make it easier for customers in areas with no EVELO dealer to be able to swap the parts quicker and easier.
I hope this was helpful!
And to recap – I’m always available by phone (877-991-7272) or email if anyone has any further questions or concerns.
EVELO Electric Bicycle Company
Robert Sledge10 years ago
I have this bike and I can highly recommend it. While I was doing my research for an EBike I came across this model via YouTube, and then further study via this web site and other resources including Evelo.com. I was trying to keep my price around $2000 and I was delighted when I found this bike. In my opinion the frame/motor/battery combo make this bike #1 at this price point. My riding is on prepared surfaces (asphalt and dirt) with some occasional semi-rough surface riding (established trails). In reading some of the concerns in the above article I have the following input that I have experienced myself. I do agree with all of the Pros and here are my thoughts on some of the cons:
– Weight: the full suspension is a great thing to have for any type of riding and well worth a few extra pounds. I myself wasn’t looking for hard-core Mountain bike capabilities, just more comfort.
– The NuVinci hub is a WONDERFUL addition to any bike, not just an EBike. Once again, the extra weight is well worth the benefits. I can absolutely say that if you ride any bike with one, you’ll want one on yours.
– Rear shock – The standard shock does a fine job and I never did feel any stability issues with it as described in the review. I weigh 175 lbs and had the preload set to the firmer settings. I can remove my hands from the handlebars and put them on my knees to “pedal assist” without losing balance. I also have taken the bike (downhill) to 25+ mph with complete control. With all of that said, I have recently replaced the standard shock with a RockShox Monarch RL because I wanted the additional features. This has been a nice upgrade that I can also recommend.
– Battery container noise – I am using a black bungee cord to ensure the battery box doesn’t rattle on rough trails. I hadn’t even noticed it during normal riding until I hit some of the bigger bumps on these “semi-prepared” trails and it’s a non-issue during regular road riding anyway. The bungee cord is a fine solution and it is also used to secure items on the rack as required.
– Standard tires – The Kendas really are nice, but like the shock I have a preference and replaced them with Michelin Pilot Sports. I slip the Kendas back on for planned off-road riding.
– Rear magnet and sensor – my bike doesn’t have such a device.
Bottom line: this bike is really something special at this price. I believe we all like to customize to some degree so if the standard components don’t suit your needs then consider upgraded components to get exactly what you want. This has worked very well for me and made my riding experience even better. Of course, the manufacturer’s warranty must be considered if you want to make more significant modifications.Reply
Gary Dolce9 years ago
I purchased an Evelo Aries last year, I feel this is a mid priced bike with very low quality value, I would recommend test riding a few bikes before wasting money on an evelo product.Reply