2013 EVELO Aurora Review

Evelo Aurora Electric Bike Review 1
Evelo Aurora
Evelo Aurora Mid Drive Motor
Evelo Aurora Battery Box
Evelo Aurora Controller Lcd And Shifter
Evelo Aurora Light
Evelo Aurora Rear Hub Motor
Evelo Aurora Electric Bike Review 1
Evelo Aurora
Evelo Aurora Mid Drive Motor
Evelo Aurora Battery Box
Evelo Aurora Controller Lcd And Shifter
Evelo Aurora Light
Evelo Aurora Rear Hub Motor

Summary

  • Offers lots of features but isn't particularly strong or fast as an electric bike
  • Entry level components get the job done and keep the price lower, unique frame flexes
  • Mid-drive motor puts pressure on chain and requires rider to adapt pedaling style to optimize performance

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

EVELO

Model:

2013 Aurora

Price:

$1,995 USD

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

18 Month Comprehensive, Add 6 Months for $99

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2013

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

55 lbs (24.94 kg) (57 lbs with NuVinci CVT)

Frame Material:

Aluminum Alloy

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Black, White

Frame Fork Details:

RockShox RX28 Suspension with Lockout

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x8 Shimano Alivio or NuVinci CVT ($400 Upgrade)

Pedals:

Aluminum Alloy Platform

Stem:

Adjustable Angle

Handlebar:

Aluminum Alloy Riser

Brake Details:

Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotors, Tektro Levers with Motor Cutoff

Grips:

Rubber, Ergonomic

Tire Brand:

Kenda

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Single Side Kickstand, Rear Rack with Spring Latch, Front and Rear LED Lights, Front Fender, LCD Bicycle Computer (Separate from LED Console)

Other:

Removable Battery Pack, 12 Magnet Pedelec Sensor

Electronic Details

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

250 watts

Battery Brand:

Samsung

Battery Voltage:

36 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

360 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Polymer

Charge Time:

4.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Display Type:

LED Console

Readouts:

Battery Level, Assist Level (25%, 50% or 100%)

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Twist Throttle

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

Resources:

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Comments (5) YouTube Comments

Jon Krespan
6 years ago

FREEDOM… that’s what I have experienced since becoming a recent owner of an EVELO E-Bike! Several years ago, I was seriously injured on the job as a career firefighter, an event that would eventually force me out of a job that I loved and alter my life dramatically. Staying active for anyone dealing with chronic pain is key to both their physical, as well as mental health, but finding an activity that works with little to no stress can be challenging. A chance conversation with a friend one day about e-bikes peaked my interest and led me to the EVELO site, where I found an abundance of useful information, not only on the EVELO product line, but also on the e-bike industry in general. After reviewing their website and talking to Boris, the company CEO, I knew the EVELO Aurora was the bike for me.

After over 25 years away from riding, I was hesitant and unsure about getting back on a bike, especially because of my injuries, but after my first ride, those fears quickly dissipated and I realized that I had found exactly what I was looking for. The bike is AMAZING!!! On my very first ride, I logged over 30 miles on the C&O Canal and was unknowingly challenging my brother, an avid cyclist, in trying to keep up and keep pace. The beauty of that is that I was just pedaling… unaware of the increased grade in terrain and unaware that I was averaging a 15mph pace in 32 degree weather, for nearly a ten mile leg of our ride!

What has my new EVELO bike meant to me…FREEDOM! It has meant having the ability to be able to get in a low impact exercise without the physical stress of more rigorous activities and the ability to not only do more, but to do it more often. It has meant being able to get out and experience more around you because of your ability to go greater distances without compromising yourself physically. But in the end, I think the most astounding way my EVELO e-bike has changed my life is that I use to look for short course places to exercise because of fatigue and the fear of increased pain… now, I search out the longest routes I can find, all without that fear, knowing that my imagination of places to ride is about all that limits me now.

  Reply
Boris Mordkovich
6 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 comments to address some of the points that were raised.

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. To reach me directly, just call 877-991-7272 or email at boris@evelo.com!

=== Advantages of Mid-Drive Motors ===

While hub motors are certainly fine and get the job done, there are also number of merits to a mid-drive motor that I think are worth mentioning.

– Climbing: Mid-drive motors are capable of climbing steeper hills because they can take advantage of the gears. During our 4,000 mile Trans-American Electric Bike Tour in 2011, we’ve crossed the Appalachians, Sierras and numerous other mountain ranges on the Aries and Aurora. Each of the bikes had an 80-pound trailer in tow and they performed really well on the steepest of hills! If anyone is curious, that entire experience is recorded at http://www.transamericanelectricbiketour.com/.

When it comes to torque, the output of our motors in lower gears rivals that of an average 500W hub motor – while at the same time being more efficient, offering a longer range using the same battery.

In our opinion, the mid-drive motor also provides a more natural riding experience, driving the front chain ring just like the rider does when riding a traditional bicycle.

– Safety: From the perspective of safety, it’s important to consider how the position of the motor on the bike affects handling and balance of the bike. Its positioning in the lowest possible point of the bicycle frame maintains a low center of gravity and reduces the effect of the additional weight on the bike’s handling.

– Maintenance and Repairs: It also offers a number of advantages when it comes to routine maintenance. For example, the otherwise simple task of fixing a flat tire can be a complicated maneuver with a rear hub motor. Such a motor usually needs to be secured in the frame to prevent breakage, and a flat tire usually means removal of the wheel plus the motor to accomplish this.

A mid-drive motor, on the other hand, is pretty much independent from all of the other bicycle components. Fixing a flat tire is just as easy as on a regular bike. Removing or swapping the electrical components can usually be done in a matter of minutes with no special electrical knowledge.

=== NuVinci N360 Internal Hub ===

We’ve had a lot of great reviews and comments from clients using the NuVinci N360 internal hub.

For new riders, it greatly reduces the learning curve associated with traditional gears. You don’t need to learn what gear you need to be in when climbing a hill or going on a flat ground. It’s a much smoother process.

And experienced riders typically enjoy the fact that they can switch gears whether they are moving or stopped, the fact that it creates a really smooth ride, and that there is no maintenance required.

From the reliability perspective, we rarely hear of issues associated with it. But it is worth mentioning that it comes with a long-term warranty and a network of shops all over the country who are trained on handling it.

We have a page dedicated to covering NuVinci N360 in more detail, as well as a video that shows its capabilities here: http://www.evelo.com/evelo-difference/nuvinci-n360-drivetrain/

=== Battery Rattling ===

The battery rack has a locking mechanism that locks the battery box to the frame. We typically recommend when you ride, you lock the battery, since that’s what secures it against the rack and prevents rattling from occurring.

=== Customer Reviews ===

I wanted to share a few more reviews that we’ve received from customers and other reviewers over the years which may be helpful:

– Aurora Video Review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3H0lYiZMJY
– Customer discussing his commuting experience on the Aurora: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4AoOqRgZnw
– Climbing San Francisco hills on the Aurora: https://www.dropbox.com/s/g7kno8mbmuxh9zx/EVELO%20Aurora%20electric%20bicycle%20on%20San%20Francisco%20Hills.mp4

Most of the customers are able to climb anything from San Francisco hills to the Appalachians with the mid-drive motor that we offer – which would typically require a 500W-750W hub motor to do the same.

We stand behind our products and are committed to delivering a great experience to every one of our customers. We have more reviews from recent customers posted here: https://ratelobby.com/review/177/evelo-electric-bicycles

I hope that this has addressed some of the questions and concerns raised. And to recap – I’m always available by phone (877-991-7272) or email if anyone has any further comments.

With optimism,
Boris Mordkovich | Co-Founder & CEO
EVELO Electric Bicycle Company

  Reply
George J
5 years ago

I own an RMartin (tonaro) bike, same bike as the Evelo or iGO, my bike has over 3000 miles and still going strong. I have to disagree with the review, the bike has an incredible range providing the rider understands how to use gears. Shifting down provides incredible torque, shifting up increases speed. I live in mountainous Vermont, non-hub motor ebikes provide superior torque. The bike is an incredible value, even after 3000 miles the motor is super quiet and very responsive. I can only guess the reviewer drives a car with automatic transmission and doesn’t fully understand the concept of gears. After 3000 miles my RMartin Ebike is still going strong and I will definitely buy another.

  Reply
Court
5 years ago

Hi George! Thanks for the great testimonial on this electric bike style. I agree that mid-drive can offer excellent distance and climbing ability if used properly. I’m a huge fan of the IZIP E3 Peak and bikes that use the Bosch system because the motor is more fluid, fast and responsive (even has sensors that ease of when you change gears). I know Evelo, iGO and RMarton are working to improve their designs and I will continue to review them. While I try to be objective I realize some of this is opinion and I appreciate you sharing yours :)

  Reply
david
5 years ago

It’s spring and time to ride my bike again. I was frustrated last fall and thought I would give it another show. It is a great bike on flat terrain but going up hills, not a chance. I have had to change route, even when trying to get back home. I understand how to use gears but have no patience for walking an electric bike up a hill.

I admit, I wanted one of these and when I was didn’t get into the bike for blog program, to test it and write about it, I was disappointed but I believed everything I read and saw. I don’t know much about motor or how it should work, all i know is I like it but route my ride so I am never in need to go up a hill.

  Reply

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