2013 EVELO Aurora Review


Technical Specs & Ratings





Class 2


Front Suspension



Mechanical Disc



360 Wh

360 Wh

55 lbs / 24.97 kgs

Video Reviews

Written Reviews

EVELO is an electric bike company out of Cambridge Massachusetts started by a pair of cyclist friends. In April of 2012 they set out on a cross-country ride using the Aurora model to prove the worthiness of their bikes and raise awareness for their brand. The ride was a success, the company is going strong and I’ve had several chances to interact with the founders but unfortunately I am not a fan of this bicycle design. What’s unique here is a mid-drive system that leverages the same chain and gears that the rider activates when pedaling. What sounds like a great way to create efficiency in the system turns out to create an uncomfortable, under powered ride.

The Evelo Aurora runs on a 250 watt motor mounted just below the downtube, right in front of the bottom bracket where the pedals connect into the bike frame. This layout keeps it out of the way for the rider but exposes it to curbs and other trail hazards. Through a complex set of freewheels, the motor is able to power the bike by turning the front chain ring even without the rider pedaling. The chain continues go around and you’re able to change gears to better leverage the torque or speed that the motor offers. Unfortunately, this is where one of the challenges lives. The motor doesn’t have a wide range of speeds and it isn’t all that powerful. Many ebikes now offer 500 watt motors in the US and even leveraging the gears on the rear cassette this motor just doesn’t feel that satisfying.

A typical experience with this and other mid-drive EVELO and iGO bikes (which are based on the same hardware) consists of a slow lumbering pedal cadence cruising at around 15 miles per hour or a fast pedal cadence at 10 miles per hour with a feeling that the motor isn’t even helping that much. If you switch out of pedal assist mode however, and switch into the higher gears, the motor is able to power the bike decently and on flats you’ll be able to just about hit 20mph. By contrast, ebikes with hub motors let you pedal at whatever pace you wish while still contributing. They seem to offer more variable speed and while they don’t leverage the pedaling gears in the same way, you as the rider do and it works much better.

One of the reasons I think this bike stands out is the great marketing (including the cross country ride) and styling the company has done. These bikes look great and come at a reasonable price. They offer Lithium based battery packs, lights, computers and shocks so you really get a comprehensive package. The Aurora comes with a high quality Rock Shox that includes lock out and lots of travel, probably more than you’ll need for city style riding. Even though I’ve spent a lot of time discussing the downsides of the mid-mounted motor design, this offers the benefit of distributing weight more evenly across the bike frame which makes handling the bike more comfortable and safe. I also like the pedelec style sensor they use vs. torque sensing because it means that you don’t have to push hard when pedaling to make the motor kick in. This is especially important here because the gears may be set to very hard in order to fully leverage the power of this motor.

Overall, this bike offers a unique design, good customer service and lots of features. Keep in mind that local bike shops, even electric bike shops, may not be used to the mid-frame motor layout but it does make changing flat tires on the rear wheel much easier than a hub motor setup would. It’s hard to recommend this bike because the truth is the front light bounces a lot when riding since it’s mounted to the plastic fender, the battery pack starts to rattle and is noisy going over bumps and the motor design just doesn’t feel optimal. Even with the upgraded NuVinci rear hub, which allows you to switch gears at standstill, this bike just doesn’t ride that well and will be heavier and more expensive as a result.


  • Good price, some nice features including the lock out shock absorber
  • Relatively inexpensive for a complete electric bicycle including mid-grade Lithium battery and controller
  • Mid-drive motor lowers the center of gravity and allows for versatility during pedal assist and hill climbing
  • Built in fenders, lights and high quality pedals by Wellgo that provide great foot support when pedaling
  • Offers upgrade to NuVinci continuously variable transmission
  • Easier to change rear tire and tube than hub motor bikes
  • High quality disc brakes offer good stopping power
  • Weight balanced across frame front to rear due to mid-drive system
  • Solid kickstand is easy to use and stays high out of the way when riding
  • Great customer support from EVELO


  • No water bottle mounts, have to use the saddle rack with a bag or a camel back
  • 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
  • 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.

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