EVELO Aurora Review

2018 Evelo Aurora Electric Bike Review
2018 Evelo Aurora
2018 Evelo Aurora Mid Drive Motor Wires Chain Cover
2018 Evelo Aurora 48 Volt 10 4 Amp Hour Ebike Battery
2018 Evelo Aurora Color Lcd Display Swept Back Handlebar
2018 Evelo Aurora Rubber Ergonomic Grips Trigger Throttle
2018 Evelo Aurora Sr Suntour Nex Spring Suspension Fork
2018 Evelo Aurora Integrated Rear Rack Velo Plush Saddle
2018 Evelo Aurora Nuvinci N380 Continuously Variable Transmission
2018 Evelo Aurora Bafang Bbs02 Ebike Motor
2018 Evelo Aurora Bafang Bbs02 Motor
2018 Evelo Aurora 2 Amp Electric Bike Battery Charger
2018 Evelo Aurora Electric Bike Review
2018 Evelo Aurora
2018 Evelo Aurora Mid Drive Motor Wires Chain Cover
2018 Evelo Aurora 48 Volt 10 4 Amp Hour Ebike Battery
2018 Evelo Aurora Color Lcd Display Swept Back Handlebar
2018 Evelo Aurora Rubber Ergonomic Grips Trigger Throttle
2018 Evelo Aurora Sr Suntour Nex Spring Suspension Fork
2018 Evelo Aurora Integrated Rear Rack Velo Plush Saddle
2018 Evelo Aurora Nuvinci N380 Continuously Variable Transmission
2018 Evelo Aurora Bafang Bbs02 Ebike Motor
2018 Evelo Aurora Bafang Bbs02 Motor
2018 Evelo Aurora 2 Amp Electric Bike Battery Charger

Summary

  • A powerful and durable mid-drive electric bike with approachable stable step-thru frame design in two sizes, thicker spokes allow for heavier 300lb max weight limit, optional hydraulic disc brake upgrade
  • Available in black or white, sold predominantly online with free shipping to the contiguous USA (territories and Canada cost a bit extra), Excellent two-year warranty with pro-rated battery replacement discount
  • The company has been in business since 2012, the Aurora is one of their most popular models, plastic fenders and chain cover keep you clean and dry, integrated LED lights and reflective tires keep you visible and improve safety
  • Sturdy double-leg kickstand makes it easy to load the rear rack, compatible with most child carriers, ergonomic grips, comfort saddle, and suspension fork deliver comfort, offers pedal assist and throttle operation, heavier than most competing products, cadence sensing assist isn't as smooth as torque or multi-sensing

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

EVELO

Model:

Aurora

Price:

$2,999 ($3,499 Fully Loaded)

Body Position:

Upright, Upright Relaxed

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Commuting

Electric Bike Class:

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

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive, 4 Year (20,000 mile) Frame, Battery (amortized replacement), Motor, Controller

Availability:

United States, Canada

Model Year:

2018

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

64.3 lbs (29.16 kg)

Battery Weight:

7.2 lbs (3.26 kg)

Motor Weight:

9.3 lbs (4.21 kg)

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

17.5 in (44.45 cm)19.5 in (49.53 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium: 17.5" Seat Tube, 23.5" Reach, 16.5" Stand Over Height, 30.5" Minimum Saddle Height, 26.5" Width, 73" Length, Large: 19.5" Seat Tube, 24.25" Reach, 17.5" Stand Over Height, 34" Minimum Saddle Height, 25.75" Width, 72.5" Length

Frame Types:

Step-Thru

Frame Colors:

Gloss White, Gloss Black

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour NEX, Spring Suspension, 63mm Travel, Preload Clickers, 100 mm Hub Spacing, 9 mm Skewer with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

135 mm Hub Spacing, 10 mm Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

1 Speed 1x∞ Premium: NuVinci N380 Mechanical Continuously Variable Transmission, Fully Loaded: NuVinci N380 Harmony HI8 (Fully Automatic Electronic Shifting System), 18 Tooth Rear Sprocket

Shifter Details:

Premium: C8 Half-Grip Twist, Fully Loaded: H8 Half-Grip Twist on Right Bar (Optional NuVinci Grip Twist on Right Bar)

Cranks:

Bafang AC08-2 Alloy Crank Arms, 170 mm Length, 46 Tooth Chainring

Pedals:

Wellgo LU-C33 Aluminum Alloy Platform with Rubber Tread

Headset:

NECO, Semi-Integrated, Sealed Cartridge Bearing, Threadless Pressed-In Cups, 1-1/8" Straight

Stem:

Promax, 90mm Length, 25° Rise, 15mm Headset Cap, Three 10 mm Spacer

Handlebar:

HL AL 124, Swept Back, Aluminum Alloy, 70mm Rise, 40° Back Sweep, 640mm Length

Brake Details:

Premium Model: Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc with 160mm Rotors, Tektro Four-Finger Levers with Motor Inhibitors and Rubber Edges, Fully Loaded Model: Tektro Auriga E-Comp Hydraulic Disc with 160mm Rotors, Tektro 3-Finger Levers with Motor Inhibitors and Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Velo, Rubber, Ergonomic

Saddle:

Velo Plush, Faux Leather, Black (Optional Upgrade Program)

Seat Post:

Promax, Aluminum Alloy, Two Bolt Forged Head

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

HCL, Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 45mm Outer Width, 36 Hole, Black

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, 13 Gauge, Silver with Adjustable Brass Nipples

Tire Brand:

CST Sensamo Control, 26" x 2.0"

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

40 to 60 PSI, 2.8 to 4.5 BAR, Reflective Sidewall Stripes, Puncture Protection Level 1, E-Bike Approved 25 km/h

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Mid-Mounted Double Leg Adjustable Kickstand, Integrated Aluminum Alloy Rear Rack (25kg / 55lb Max Weight), Integrated Spanninga Kendo+ LED Headlight, Integrated Spanninga Lineo LED Backlight (Bright Mode when Braking), Bikeman Plastic Fenders with Mud Flaps (60mm Width), Plastic Chain Cover, Optional Comfort Package: (Ergon GP2-L Ergonomic Locking Grips, Cane Creek Thudbuster LT Suspension Seat Post, Cloud Nine C9 Extra Large Saddle for $199), Optional Safety Package: (High Powered 450 Lumen Rechargeable Cygolite Streak Front and Rear Lights, Bar-End Mirricycle Mirror, Big Brass Bell, Sunlite Reflective Leg Bands for $99), Optional Commuter Package: (Teflon Lubricant, Pedros Tire Levers, Patch Kit, Topeak Mini-Pump, Hex Key Wrench Set, Adjustable Wrench for $99), Optional Security Package: (Evelo Branded Crops Heavy Duty Chain Lock, Pinhead Security Hardware System Axle Nuts and Seat Post Binder for $199)

Other:

Locking Removable Downtube Mounted Battery, 1.1 lb 2 Amp Battery Charger, 300lb Max Weight Rating, KMC 2D-2 Z Stainless Steel Rust Resistant Chain

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Bafang BBS02

Motor Type:

Mid-Mounted Geared Motor
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

500 watts (Fully Loaded: 750 Watts)

Motor Peak Output:

700 watts (Fully Loaded: 1,000 Watts)

Motor Torque:

90 Newton meters (Fully Loaded: 95 Newton Meters)

Battery Brand:

Samsung (A, B Rated Cells) (Optional Panasonic)

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah (Fully Loaded: 11.6 Amp Hours)

Battery Watt Hours:

499.2 wh (Fully Loaded: 556.8 Watt Hours)

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

6 hours (Up to 6 With Larger Pack)

Estimated Min Range:

25 miles (40 km)

Estimated Max Range:

45 miles (72 km)

Display Type:

Evelo Branded Bafang DPC-18, Fixed, Color, Backlit LCD

Readouts:

Clock, Battery Level (Percentage & Infographic), Current Speed (Infographic with Speed and Watts), Assist Level (0-5), Trip Meter, Odometer, Max Speed, Average Speed, Range Estimate, Calories, Ride Time

Display Accessories:

Independent Control Pad on Left, Buttons: +, -, Lights, i, Power, Walk Mode: Hold -, Settings Menu: Double Tap i, USB Charging Port Below Display and On Battery Pack (5 Volt, 500 Milliamp)

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle (12 Pole Sensor)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph) (Unlockable for ~25 MPH Top Speed)

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Written Review

EBR charges a service fee to manufacturers to produce ebike reviews and videos, this began in 2018. It’s the same flat fee for each bike, and it helps us to keep the site going while limiting ad clutter. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you with our opinions and data but respect your right to know that we receive compensation :)

EVELO has been selling the Aurora since 2012 and it’s one of their most popular models. The bike has undergone some major upgrades in recent years, switching to a Bafang BBS02 mid-drive that is powerful and fast compared to their older canister motor which you can see here and here in earlier reviews. Two benefits that set this ebike apart from their other step-thru models (the Galaxy ST and Galaxy 24) are a mid-frame battery that improves balance, and throttle from standstill vs. 6mph starting point. One drawback is the use of a cadence sensor vs. a fancier torque sensor. In many ways, I feel that the throttle from standstill overcomes the drawbacks of a less sophisticated pedal assist sensor. And, starting at ~$3k, this product delivers excellent utility because it ships with fenders, a chain cover, integrated lights, and decent reflective tires. EVELO does have a showroom, located in Seattle, Washington, where you can visit for test rides… but most customers will probably buy online and have it shipped direct. The bike comes mostly assembled and shipping is free in the contiguous USA, but there’s still some extra effort moving the big box, disposing of the shipping materials, and figuring things out yourself. This company is actually one of the longest operating ebike sellers in North America and their products have improved a lot in terms of performance and quality in recent years. The availability of two sizes and the step-thru frame design makes it easy to approach and comfortable to handle with a low stand-over position and minimum saddle height. The swept-back handlebar is easy to reach and comfortable to grasp with rubberized ergonomic grips. One of the neatest and most unique aspects of this model, compared to many other e-bikes, is the NuVinci N380 continuously variable transmission hub at the rear. You can shift gears (gear ratios) on this electric bike without pedaling or even moving, and there’s no derailleur or cassette to deal with. The NuVinci adds a bit of weight and isn’t as efficient to pedal with, but makes riding a lot easier. For those who are willing to spend an additional $1,000 to upgrade form the “Premium” trim level to “Fully Loaded”, the Aurora can be outfitted with an electronically shifted NuVinci Harmony that doesn’t require as much hand effort to shift. The Harmony has two settings, an orange readout where you select ratios just like the mechanical N380, but the grip shifter twists easier because it isn’t pulling any cables… and a blue readout where you set a comfortable pedal cadence and pressure then let the bike automatically shift for you. The Fully Loaded setup also comes with hydraulic disc brakes that require less hand effort to use, a more powerful motor configuration, and a higher capacity battery pack. It’s something I would strongly consider for an environment like Seattle, which has lots of hills.

Driving the bike is a Bafang BBS02 mid-motor that I have reviewed independently, as an add-on kit for non electric bicycles. It has become one of the most popular kits on the market based on power, price point, and reliability, but it can be tricky to install. In kit form, this motor bolts on to the bottom bracket and protrudes down and forward, which looks a bit ugly and lowers ground clearance. You also have to deal with a mess of wires and introduce high torque forces to a frame and drivetrain that probably weren’t meant for it. All of this is addressed by EVELO with their purpose built frame and drivetrain. The BBS02 motor controller isn’t as fancy as the Bafang Max Drive (used on other EVELO models), because it relies solely on pedal cadence sensor vs. a combination of pedal cadence and torque. The downsides are that you can mash gears more easily and the starts and stops aren’t as smooth and fluid. By using the NuVinci CVT systems, EVELO eliminates mashing gear-grinding potential and allows you to start smoothly by using a variable speed trigger throttle. EVELO has custom designed their frame to surround the motor unit, which looks beautiful and adds some protection and noise reduction. This motor is a great fit in both form and function for the Aurora, in my opinion, and delivers 500 watts to 700 watts stock with 90 newton meters of torque. The “Fully Loaded” upgrade moves to a power range of 750 watts to 1,000 watts output and up to 95 newton meters of torque. The frame is available in two color schemes, black or white, and the motor casing, fork, and rear rack are all color matched to look cohesive. The black option looks especially good, in my opinion, because the wire tubes, battery shell, chainring, fenders, and other hardware are black by default, so basically… everything is black on that model and the battery stands out less. However, the semi-metallic white can be a safer color choice because it is more reflective, increasing your visual footprint from the side at night. Motor and battery weight are positioned low and center on this frame, I didn’t experience much frame flex, and the EVELO team told me that the maximum weight rating is 300lbs vs. just 250lbs on most competing products. Weighing in at 64.3lbs total, this is not the lightest electric bike I’ve reviewed, but it’s nice to know that it’s sturdy, especially if you load the rear rack with supplies. It’s worth noting that the rear rack is welded directly to the bike frame and uses thicker tubing for strength. One the one hand, that’s great for durability (you won’t have a bolt-on rack rattling loose over time)… but the trade-off is limited compatibility with panniers and child seats without a special adapter. This is not the case for the EVELO Galaxy models! However, some of their load capacity is used up by a 7.4lb battery pack.

The Aurora battery weighs just 7.2lbs and clicks into the downtube from the left side. It’s removable, so you can shave some weight off before lifting and servicing the bike. The pack can be charged on or off the frame and the included charger is fairly basic and standard in terms of charge speed, but very lightweight and portable. The frame has a locking cylinder on the right, where you insert and twist a key to get the battery off. The pack seems pretty well protected from the bottom and sides but could definitely take some scuffs and scrapes from the top if you don’t lift your foot all the way up and over when mounting and dismounting. Offering 48 volts and 10.4 amp hours stock, it’s a powerful and capable battery pack… especially when paired with the mid-drive motor. The “Fully Loaded” upgrade moves to 11.6 amp hours for increased range (499.2 total watt hours vs. 556.8 total watt hours) and that’s great for people who intend to rely on the throttle more or tap into the two USB charging ports that EVELO has added to the base of the display and side of the battery. Keep in mind, the front and rear lights also run off of the battery, but don’t draw much power. I love having USB ports to tap into because they could be used to maintain a smartphone to be used for GPS. Perhaps you stop for a picnic or camping, the battery can be removed and set near your gear to run a light or portable USB stereo. Pretty cool… Inside the battery casing are 18650 sized lithium ion cells which EVELO has identified as A and B rated (in terms of quality), and likely coming from Samsung or LG. One thing that has always set EVELO apart from other online direct-order electric bike sellers is their excellent phone support and warranty. You can call and speak with one of their US-based customer service reps in the Seattle shop and get replacement parts shipped out very quickly. It was interesting to visit in person because I could see the large variety of parts still available for the older models. With a four year warranty on everything except the battery (which is pro-rated in price after the first two years), EVELO is definitely confident in their products. They tend to design a platform and stick with it for many years. This exact battery pack design is unique to the Aurora, but I suspect it may pop up again on other models in the coming year or two because it works so well. That can be handy because it allows you to purchase multiple bikes that all share the same battery source for extended individual rides, taking two batteries along.

Operating the bike is a cinch because all of the control buttons are positioned within reach of the left grip and the display is large and bright, making it easy to read. Once the battery pack has been charged and mounted to the frame, you can press the power button to get it started. The panel is branded as EVELO but comes from Bafang (just like the motor) and is called the DPC-18. It shows all of the standard readouts like battery capacity and speed, but does so in a more precise and fun way than a lot of competing products. I like that the battery infographic shows an actual percentage vs. just five or ten bars, which aren’t as precise. Taking up the center area is a circle gauge that shows current speed and watt output (denoting motor power). Towards the bottom are trip stats including trip meter, odometer, max speed, and average speed. I was a bit confused for a moment when conducting this review, because I noticed that when cycling through the trip stats, by pressing i on the button pad, there were a few readouts that didn’t always show up. Those include range estimate, calories, and ride time. What I discovered, after some experimentation, was that these readouts become inaccessible once you’ve used the up and down buttons to change assist level. They are only available initially, and I suspect that this is a software bug from Bafang. You basically have to turn the bike off, by holding the power button for a few seconds, and then turn it back on gain to gain access to these readouts… and this resets both calories and ride time. So, you basically have to stay in the default assist level 1 to be able to reach these menus, or navigate to them before changing assist (which ranges from 0-5). Considering that most ebikes don’t even offer these three readouts, I don’t want to complain too much… but I am disappointed that Bafang didn’t catch this at the factory (because it probably affects hundreds of other ebike models and kits that rely on the same display). Bafang is a leading electric bike motor manufacturer but they can be rigid to work with from what I’ve observed. The 6mph throttle start is something that really frustrates me with the Max Drive used on the Galaxy models… why do they have that annoying setting for that motor but not for the BBS02? Anyway, the display menu limitation bug is not just limited to the Aurora model, but all other EVELO ebikes with the color DPC-18 display as well. I like that the display can be swiveled to reduce glare and that button pad has a dedicated light button so it’s simpler to understand and use than some other products I’ve seen. It would be nice if the display was fully removable, so it could be kept out of the weather and away from scratches and bumps at bike racks. I’m not sure that the color screen was necessary vs. backlit grayscale, but it does look nice. I also appreciate how open the display settings are. You can double tap the i button to adjust things like units units (mph or km/h), display brightness, automatic power off time setting, levels of pedal assist (3, 5, or 9), different readout styles or views, trip reset, wheel size, speed limit, ambient light sensitivity (for automatic lights turning on), password, and clock. You can also check on the battery status (number of cycles and health) as well as any error codes and self diagnostics. The bike ships with a 20mph cutoff to comply with Class 2 laws in the US, but that can be lowered for people who might not be comfortable going so fast. On the flip side, the top speed can actually be raised to ~25mph for near Class 3 performance, to reduce commute times. Given the slightly larger tires, thicker spokes, reinforced frame, and excellent battery position on this model, I did feel comfortable coasting faster down some of the large hills we checked out near the shop in Seattle. I did not experience speed wobble or much frame flex.

In conclusion, I came away feeling very impressed with the 2018 EVELO Aurora and suspect that it won’t change much for the coming years. EVELO does a lot of work to get their products setup right and then they tend to stick with them, focusing on marketing and customer support activities. The product isn’t completely perfect; the wire leading to the rear light can get pulled out as the fender bounces around or if the rack is loaded up with objects poking down. The rack itself is sturdy (not sturdy enough to sit on) but doesn’t work with most of the clip-on panniers and child seats I asked about. Comfort is addressed to a limited extent by the basic spring suspension fork, but it doesn’t have lockout options. You can pre-load the shock by adjusting the plastic clickers under two plastic caps at the top of the crown… try to adjust them in unison for consistent performance. The headlight is positioned on the top of the suspension arch which travels up and down vs. being sprung, and the pedals are a bit narrow for my taste, but won’t cut your shins if you slip off because they have rubberized tread. Basic pedal upgrades are very affordable. I really appreciate that both brake levers have motor inhibitors that override the cadence sensor and trigger throttle, cutting power to the motor when pulled. This is the case for both the stock mechanical brakes and upgraded hydraulic brakes! The cockpit is fairly intuitive and clean, but the addition of motor inhibitors and trigger throttle does introduce some wire clutter up front. Most of the wires are internally routed through the frame to improve aesthetics and reduce the potential for snags, and I love that the chain is kept on track with a plastic guide and the outside of the motor casing… but the truth is, it probably wouldn’t fall off anyway because there’s only one chainring and one rear sprocket. This bike rides fairly quietly because the chain and fenders don’t bounce around. I took it over bumpy sections of road in Seattle and even rode it across grass and dirt to test this. The motor does create a whirring noise, especially at high speed and high power, but it was as quiet or quieter than average. Loading the bike should be fairly easy with the double leg kickstand at the middle, but this stand does hang down more than a side mounted design, and could take some curb strikes. I appreciate having walk mode built into the drive system (just hold the down arrow and the bike will slowly drive itself forward), and like how the display dims down when the lights are active. It was neat to ride with the shop lead on two of the Aurora models because I could see how it looked and notice things like brake light activation (the rear light turns on whenever the brakes are pulled). Note that the throttle on this particular EVELO model is not active in assist level zero… unlike some other products from them. You have to be in 1-5 and then it provides full power. Level zero can be used to run the lights and read your speed and other stats while pedaling like a normal bicycle. Yes, you can pedal this (and almost all electric bikes) without motor support, they just weigh more ;) Big thanks to EVELO for partnering with me on this post and inviting me out to their headquarters to see a few models back to back… which was especially useful when comparing the Aurora and Galaxy models. We saw some electric bikeshare products while cycling around Seattle and I was reminded of the benefits of slightly higher speeds (the Lime E tops out around 16mph), the benefits of a throttle (to help get started from standstill), and how nice it is to have a low stand over height and low battery and motor weight.

Pros:

  • EVELO has been in business selling electric bikes in the United States longer than most of the other brands I have reviewed for, since 2012, they offer one of the best warranties and proactive customer service that I would rank close to the top, their staff is on hand answering phones 7 days a week (during business hours) and they all speak English really well and know the bikes
  • The Aurora model is made in two frame sizes, the seat can be lowered pretty far down, and the swept-back handlebars are comfortable to reach, consider the Galaxy 24 or one of the folding models if you’re looking for something a bit smaller
  • The motor is very capable, offering up to 90 Newton meters of peak torque, it should be able to climb anything as long as you shift down to a lower gear, shifting can be done at standstill and you don’t have to worry about mashing gears since it uses a continuously variable transmission
  • I’ve reviewed the stand alone BBS02 drive unit and usually it sticks out and sort of hangs in front of or below the bottom bracket, reducing ground clearance and not looking super clean and integrated… I love how EVELO has surrounded the drive unit with paint-matched alloy for protection and aesthetics
  • I like that both brake levers have motor inhibitors that cut power instantly when pulled so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the power of the bike, this is especially nice given the cadence sensor vs. a torque or multi sensor setup
  • Stable double-leg kickstand makes the bike easy to load up, it’s especially usefu if you’re someone who commutes or would ride this to the store for groceries
  • Minor pro, the bike has bottle cage bosses on the seat tube! It’s nice to have this option, even though some accessories could get in the way when mounting the frame, consider a folding lock or schrader valve compatible mini pump
  • It’s cool that EVELO has some “guaranteed to fit” accessory options like the quicklock chain, trunk bag with zip-out panniers, and suspension seat post… I like the bag a lot because it’s reflective and has some EVELO branding on it
  • I was told that EVELO uses A and B rated high-quality battery cells, and I like that their battery pack can be charged on or off the bike because that means you can store it inside away from the cold or heat to help protect it and last longer, the battery position is low and centered for maximum stability
  • Very few electric bikes offer the Harmony electronic shifting drivetrain and I noticed that the grip shifter was so easy to turn with this option, it didn’t require the same hand strength to use and won’t get gunked up or stretched out over time, this could be a big win for someone with sensitive wrists or strength limitations
  • The fully loaded upgrade package is actually a very good value, in my opinion, because it includes the Harmony electronic shifter, hydraulic disc brakes, a motor power upgrade, and higher capacity battery pack, all for just $1,000
  • I really like that the throttle activates from zero, that is not the case for the Galaxy models because they use a different motor (the bike must be going ~6mph for the throttle to work on those bikes)
  • If you opt for the more affordable Premium trim level, it’s cool that you still get rubberized brake levers and an upgraded NuVinci drivetrain, it really seems like EVELO doesn’t use cheap components on any of their bikes
  • I love that the display panel has a full sized USB Type A port built into the base, so you can charge your smartphone while riding or add an additional light, speakers, or other electronic accessory and tap into the big battery… the battery itself also has a full sized USB Type A port, so you can take it off the bike and charge your phone during a picnic or camping trip :)
  • This display is large and in color, so it’s easy to read, the menus are intuitive and you can even go into the settings menu (by double tapping the i button) to adjust brightness, units, and even the top speed! The Aurora ships with a set speed of 20mph, but you can lower it or raise it up to 25mph for faster commuting
  • Many step-thru single tube wave style frames like the Aurora suffer from frame flex, but that wasn’t as much of an issue here because of the thicker tubing and gusset plate where the seat tube meets the main tube; I appreciate how most of the ebike weight like the motor and battery are kept low and center for stability and balance when mounting and riding
  • Minor thing here, the pedals they chose are pretty good for this type of ebike, I appreciate the sturdy platform and rubberized tread that won’t slip and scrape you as easily, for those with larger feet (and wet conditions), I would consider upgrading to a larger Wellgo BMX platform like these
  • The bike is rated up to 300lbs, which is more than average for electric bicycles; it felt very sturdy to me and I noticed that the rims and spokes had been upgraded for added strength and durability
  • You should stay relatively clean and dry when riding this ebike because it comes with durable plastic fenders and a clear plastic chain cover, this is especially relevant in Seattle (where the EVELO showroom store is) and for people who wear skirts or dresses that can hang down a bit
  • It appears that the tires both have some level of puncture protection, which is great because of the added weight of the bike, the non-quick release rear wheel, and the slightly more complex horizontal dropout
  • I’m a big safety nut, so it’s wonderful to see reflective tires and integrated LED lights that come stock with this model… the lights run off of the main battery pack and aren’t as vulnerable to theft at bike racks, I love that the rear light activates whenever either brake lever is pulled as a secondary feature of the motor inhibitors
  • The bike is very quiet, the fenders didn’t rattle much and the chain didn’t bounce around during my test rides (because there’s no extra slack in the chain, because it doesn’t use a derailleur)

Cons:

  • EVELO has done the right thing by adding motor inhibitors on both brake levers, but the extra wires up front can get a bit cluttered and messy looking, thankfully, once they curve back towards the frame they are mostly internally routed
  • This ebike is definitely on the heavy side, weighing about 64lbs, and some of that is due to the reinforced frame, fenders, rack, spring suspension fork, and continuously variable transmission hub which contains a special elastohydrodynamic traction fluid, but again, at least most of the motor and battery weight is low and centered vs. up on the rear rack like the older EVELO Aurora model
  • As cool as the NuVinci CVT hubs are, they don’t shift as quickly or pedal as efficiently as traditional cassette cogs and derailleurs, that’s part of what you trade for the durability and ability to shift at standstill
  • The kickstand hangs down a bit low, I didn’t have and issue with it dragging at all when I turned sharp, it just made me wonder if there would be times when it bangs on curbs or other obstacles
  • The throttle power is somewhat limited by whatever pedal assist level you choose if you’re already pedaling, if you simply use the throttle on its own, then you get full power… this threw me off a bit at first but is much better than if the throttle was always set to match the pedal assist level
  • As cool as the rear rack is, EVELO did not use standard gauge tubing, so it isn’t compatible with most clip-on panniers or child seats like the Yepp Nexxt Maxi, which requires slightly narrower tubing (up to 16mm vs. the Aurora’s 25mm) to clamp onto; I’m not aware of a child seat that is officially compatible with this rack but do welcome input in the comments below and have been told that perhaps this rack adapter from Yepp could make it work with their child seat :)
  • Very minor complaint here, the ergonomic grips look decent and feel good but are not locking, which means that they can twist out of position if you really grab on hard, you could upgrade to some Ergon twist grip models like these pretty easily and inexpensively
  • Maybe the saddle needed to be broken in, but it just didn’t feel great to me… I appreciate the ergonomic cutout in the center but feel that the two mounds are too raised and convex vs. a flatter (but still supple) saddle from Selle Royal like these
  • The suspension fork is pretty basic… I love that it’s color matched in black or white, but there’s no lockout adjust and the preload clickers can be tricky to access under the plastic caps (on each side of the crown) and they must be twisted the same number of clicks on each side to stay balanced
  • Minor consideration, the headlight is mounted to the arch of the suspension fork and is “unsprung” meaning it could bounce up and down compared to if it was mounted to the higher “sprung” portions fo the frame… at least it stays out of the way up high and you can add an additional light as part of their safety package upgrade and charge off of the built-in USB port on the display
  • The rear light on one of our demo bikes was not working because the power cable had been pulled out, it looks like the cable runs through the rear fender and could get bounced around and bumped when loading the rear rack, I asked about this and was told that it’s easier to repair than if the wire was run through the frame tubing at least
  • Considering how nice the LCD display unit is, I was a little bummed out that it is not easily removable (for protection from the sun, rain, and scratches at bike racks, but at least it’s protected at the center of the handlebar and by the bigger swept back design of the bars
  • I discovered a bug with the Bafang DPC-18 display panel, if you change the level of assist by arrowing up or down… the range, calories, and ride time readouts are not available, but if you first cycle through to range using the i button, you can then arrow up or down to see more details

Resources:

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Comments (20) YouTube Comments

Felix Halim
4 months ago

Hi Court, thanks for the review! You briefly covered the Fully Loaded Aurora upgrade which uses the NuVinci Harmony at 2:51 time in the video.

During the test ride, you were using the base level Premium Aurora model which is using the old NuVinci N380. You mentioned that it’s hard to shift gears? Did you shift gear when pedaling? I owned the previous Aurora 2014 model. I can confirm that if you stop pedaling/throttling (cutting the power to the motor) before start shifting, it will be very easy to twist (note that rear wheel should still be rotating).

Did you test ride the electronically shifting NuVinci Harmony as well? if yes, can you elaborate more on:

  • What’s the feeling of riding the Harmony? Is it better than the N380? You mentioned that Harmony easier to twist, but as I explained before the N380 is also easy to twist when not pedaling/throttling.
  • How the Harmony is supposed to be used? Is it supposed to be setup once and never need to shift during riding? What happened if you change the shifter when pedaling/throttling? will it lose power?
  • There are two settings (the normal “orange color” setting, and the how fast to pedal “blue color” setting). Is the “blue color” settings really useful to you? What setting is good for what condition?

Currently, there are very few reviews about the NuVinci Harmony bicycle transmission, can you do a separate, comprehensive review on it? (and perhaps make comparison with N380).

Thanks!

  Reply
Court
4 months ago

Hi Felix, that’s a great question and I appreciate your attention to detail here, linking to the specific time stamp in the video where I show both products. Yes, the Harmony requires less hand strength to shift because there are no cables being pulled… just an electronic signal being sent back to a little motorized shifting mechanism on the right side of the hub (that rectangular plastic box). You are correct that reducing pedal force and motor force (since this is a mid-drive) will result in much easier shifting. My experience has been that the Harmony shifter does also benefit from easing off as you shift, even though you may not notice because the shifter mechanism cannot communicate strain in shifting. Basically, if you try to shift the gearing ratio while climbing, it won’t happen instantly because the electronic shifting mechanism cannot overcome the forces of the chain… it delays a bit or just goes more slowly between full pedal strokes. The end result is the same as the mechanically shifted NuVinci, but you don’t have to strain your wrists and hands trying to force it manually, the motors take care of that.

  • The NuVinci Harmony is always much easier to twist because you aren’t pulling any cables. It’s very noticeable when the bike is being pedaled or your climbing… Again, this doesn’t mean that shifting will happen immediately, just that you can twist the shifter control without using much hand effort and the device will take care of the rest as fast as it can (which depends on how much strain is going through the system at any given moment)
  • There are two modes on the Harmony half-grip shifter mechanism. You can change between the two by pressing the little silver button. When the readout is orange, it behaves much like the standard mechanical NuVinci to change your pedal cadence (like shifting from low to high gears on a regular bike), and when the readout is blue, it behaves more like an automatic shifter where you choose a comfortable pedal cadence speed and the shifter automatically adjusts itself so you don’t have to pedal faster or slower. Here’s a short video about it.
  • The blue setting allows you to choose a comfortable pedal cadence and force, and maintain it automatically. The NuVinci Harmony will automatically detect pedal force and adjust itself so that you won’t have to pedal faster or harder if you’re on flats or a hill… the end result is that the bike will slow down when climbing a hill but you won’t have to think about shifting gears. That same video does a great job of demonstrating this.
  Reply
Jay Siegel
4 months ago

Would this child seat adapter be of any use for getting the the Yepp Nexxt Maxi to fit on the new Aurora?

  Reply
Court
4 months ago

Great find, Jay! I think perhaps it would… I had asked the EVELO shop guys specifically about child seats and did mention Yepp but maybe they didn’t know about this adapter. It looks like it would work perfectly because I believe the Aurora rack is rated to at least 55lbs and the clamps on the adapter could grab onto the sides of the rack. This is a wonderful find, wish I had known and commented on it in the video… but I’ll add it to the writeup :)

  Reply
BikeMike
4 months ago

I actually bought an Evelo Aurora today. A major reason was the NuVinci Harmony, which makes the bike’s drivetrain like a scooter CVT. I consider eBikes to be electric scooters. A CVT drivetrain is more appropriate in my opinion.

I pedal at an extremely consistent 95RPM. I might go up to 105 to 120 on a steep hill. For the most part, I just want to pedal and leave the decisions to the motor controller software. The BMS and motor controller have all the information needed to optimize battery consumption. I just want to pedal like normal. Let the computer make the calculations.

  Reply
Court
4 months ago

Sweet! I hope the bike works out well for you, Mike. The NuVinci Harmony is very cool and I love the power and brake upgrades that the Fully Loaded model comes with. Feel free to share any updates over the months and years that you own the bike, it’s fun to hear from an actual long-term owner :)

  Reply
Felix Halim
4 months ago

Hi Court, thanks for writing the full review! I’d like to point out a few things:

  • The review text says the upgrade from premium to fully loaded is $1,000 but in the Pro section, the number is just $500
  • Are you aware that EVELO is partnering with Velofix? This helps dealing with the “big box, disposing of the shipping materials, and figuring things out yourself” part, with $149 additional cost. I am actually ordering the fully loaded one with Velofix delivery, will see how it goes.
  Reply
Court
4 months ago

Thanks for the fix help there Felix! I will correct the $500. We didn’t talk much about Velofix during my visit, so thanks for bringing this up as well. I agree that it helps a LOT to have professional setup and could be well worth the additional $149. I build bikes frequently and have all of the tools, so for me it’s more about recycling the cardboard and stuff. It would be wonderful to hear back from you, how you like the Aurora once it arrives and you’ve had some time in the saddle ;)

  Reply
Felix Halim
4 months ago

Wait, isn’t the one that need correction is the $1,000 one? The website says the fully loaded is $500 more (not $1,000 more).

Howard
2 months ago

Court, first I wish to thank your for all your excellent reviews. This one was the deciding factor in my purchase of a fully loaded Aurora.

I got delivery on Oct 5, 2018 exactly as I requested. This is my 3rd E-Bike – I have a Matra i-Step in France and had a Genze e101 in the USA. The Matra is a Bosch Mid Drive, works great but like all EU bikes, lacks a throttle which I think is necessary. I bought the Genze rear hub drive at Costco but gave it back after 8 months because of its lack of performance and poor battery life compared to the Matra.

So far, I really like the Evelo Aurora albeit there a few things I will change.

It has a throttle but the throttle performance is not anywhere as good as the rear hub drive going up hills. (I live on top of a 1,000′ ft climb that I need to get up to get home). I find the throttle an absolute necessity for starting a heavy e-Bike from stop lights, quickly accelerating to get out of trouble and, of course, at the end of a long run to get home when tired.

It took a bit of getting used to the Harmony gears but surprisingly to me I have come to really like them. They are not as inefficient as I expected and the convenience of being able to change gears at a stoplight is amazing. I have even gotten used to the auto-cadence mode. Did a 10 mile run today in that mode and was impressed at how well that worked.

The cadence only control is NOT as good as the Torque + Cadence control of the Bosch systems. But the throttle somewhat makes up for the lack of instant torque of the Cadence only control but I would clearly have preferred the Torque + Cadence control.

I like the motor cut off hand brakes. A couple of weeks ago I was riding in Annecy France on a rented German made E-Bike that did not have motor cut offs… I ran into several Incredibly dangerous situations as the motor would always fight the brakes when trying to do an emergency stop. Aurora did it the safe way.

The bike is very stable and gives a great ride. I have tried cornering at high speeds and it really keeps a tight line. Haven’t done anything longer than 25 miles yet but so far the battery seems to hold the charge Ok.

Surprisingly so far I like the included seat but that could be a result of the body float seat post I installed and lack of really long distance trips yet.

I am not sure how they measure 90NM in torque but it does not feel that powerful. The bike climbs really well… I spent a day going up and down my 1,000′ mountain to learn the gearing and try the climbing. In spite of the climbs I did not get tired.

A few suggestions that would improve the Aurora

  1. Gates Belt Drive – because its cooler, less maintenance and more sturdy than a chain.
  2. Body Float Seat Post – I Already Installed one on it… makes it super smooth on California’s terrible roads. (EU roads are MUCH better).
  3. Promax Ahead System Adjustable Stem – I Already Installed one on it – really great to be able to change riding positions on the road – eases back pains.
  4. Rails for Topeak MTX Rack Mount – In process of installing – the current rack is not compatible with anything.
  5. Front and Rear lights should flash – I installed extra flashing lights on Front and Rear because drivers in SoCal do not see bikes.
  6. Throttle performance is disappointing compared to rear Hub Drive – not sure how to fix that.
  7. Would have preferred Air Shocks with Lockout – but springs plus body float are really smooth.
  8. While there is a battery data menu, the Software can’t access battery data – wish it would to satisfy my nerd self.
  9. The USB Port gives 4.5 Volts which is less than the 5V minimum to charge an iPhone which I use for Strava, Cyclometer and playing riding music – that was a big disappointment – you need to check USB port voltages in your reviews so manufactures will pay attention to this important feature.

Overall the Aurora is substantially faster than my Genze ever was and battery life seems much better. By raising the top speed cutoff to 28mph I am not limited to 25KPH cutoff of the Matra in the EU so power assist is almost always available

Today I have hit day 10 of my trial 10 day run so it looks like I have decided to keep the Aurora

  Reply
Court
2 months ago

Great comments Howard. Thanks for your tip about the USB port not being powerful enough for your iPhone… that’s a bummer! I have tested some ports on other ebikes but didn’t do it this time for this specific model. The accessories sound like they’re working out well and your tips about having motor cutoff are great. I’m curious what the drive system was that had an issue when you rented in Annecy France? I haven’t had much of a problem with de-activation on Bosch motors, was this some other brand? Anyway, glad you are liking the bike enough to keep it. Feel free to chime in anytime with questions or further comments :)

  Reply
Howard
2 months ago

COURT, The E-BIKE i rented in ANNECY FRANCE was a KALKHOFF with an IMPULSE motor system After almost killing myself with the first bike, i swapped it for a second bike Same problem MOTOR DID NOT SHUT OFF WHEN BRAKES APPLIED I do not know if they have this issue in the USA but the EU versions are too dangerous to ride unless they fix the motor cut off. For testing USB ports, i recommend getting one of these. Very useful to see if voltage and current are sufficient to keep devices charged – iphone needs 5V AND 1A to keep running

Joel
1 month ago

Court, thank you for your incredibly detailed reviews, both video and written. As a new owner of the 2018 Aurora Premium, you helped me considerably in my decision to purchase a bike from Evelo.

A few additional comments… You were correct that Evelo’s customer service is simply off the charts. They have been attentive to questions and minor issues, such as the brake line not being long enough to install the stem extender. I am a big guy at 6’3″ weighing 315 pounds. The Aurora has been a comfortable ride. I did not need the 750 watt version as I live in an area with virtually no hills, but a lot of broken streets unfortunately. Also, if want to go really fast, I just hop on my Indian motorcycle. :)

Keep up the good work. I think the world of ebikes is only going to grow and become quite popular with the general population.

  Reply
Court
1 month ago

Hi Joel! Thanks for the confirmation of great customer support, I’m so glad to hear that the bike is working out well for you. Thanks for the tip about the stem extender and cable length, hopefully that helps others who are in a similar spot or considering that type of accessory.

  Reply
Joel
1 month ago

Court, concerning the brake line length, Evelo had me go to my local bike shop who installed a longer brake line. Evelo reimbursed me for the cost of the installation with hours of me sending them a copy of the receipt.

I also have learned that after riding my bike (starting in late August), how important it is to take the bike back to the shop after a month or so. The spokes needed tightening, wheel trued, and other minor adjustments. After that was done, the bike was riding even better.

Howard
4 weeks ago

This is my one month, 324 mile report on a fully loaded EVELO Aurora that I discussed in earlier comments above. I absolutely love this bike!

Customization
I have pretty well completed customizing the bike to my particular usage. I added flashing lights on the back and front for greater visibility in traffic as well as a loud electronic horn for cars and a bell for pedestrians, a Promax adjustable stem, a Body Float seat post and with some engineering work the Topeak MTC rack mount. I also tested a few seats before I found one that worked for my butt.

Performance
This bike is very quick. On an equivalent flat course, I could average 12mph on the Genze, 14 mph on the Matra/Bosch and 16 mph on the Aurora in spite of the greater weight of my extra customization on the Aurora. I really like the fact that as an almost 75 year old, I can keep up with the 20 somethings on the flats and downhills as well as consistently beating every one of them on climbs. It is awesome on climbs. It is also very stable on corners and downhills so I can keep up with the 20 somethings on their carbon bikes. The throttle performance is still not as responsive as the Genze rear hub especially when starting but it works much better than the Genze at higher speeds – almost like in motor cycle mode. I am even more convinced that all E-Bike Absolutely MUST HAVE A THROTTLE

Range
We did a range test by riding the hilly coast from San Diego to Oceanside (52 miles round trip). The battery totally died at 42.5 miles. I was able to pedal it to 46 miles and then I had my carbon bike ride buddy go ahead to bring back my truck.

CVT Gears
I have become totally sold on the Nuvinci Continuously Variable gears. Unlike the Bosch which cuts out when it detects gear changes there is No noticeable hesitation with the Aurora. No shift change hesitation makes a huge difference on tough climbs. It’s really great to be able to instantly gear down at a stop light and not have to mash the gears. They also seem to be much smoother/faster as they break in after a couple of hundred miles. I am not as in love with the fully automatic “Blue Cadence Mode” which has its uses on flats, but the regular automatic shifting work great. In fact, I like them so much that I plan to upgrade my Matra to Nuvinci. Electronic CVT.

Evelo
Evelo sales and service are superb. They quickly and intelligently answered my most complex nerd engineering questions. When I exercised my buy your own seats guarantee they immediately transferred the cash to my account.

Shocks
The preloaded spring shocks work ok on our terrible California roads especially now with the Body Float and better suspension seat taking out some of the rough spots – albeit I would still prefer Air Shocks.

USB Power
I now understand the engineering reasons why the controller USB port is 4.6V vs. 5V as USB Spec and the 5V USB port on the side of the battery… it will trickle charge an iPhone but not keep it level when you use the phone for music and GPS like I do. I suppose I could run a wire direct to the battery port if it became a real issue but it works good enough for a 4 hr ride.

Displays
The displays for Battery diagnostics, Calories and Range have not been activated by Evelo. It’s not a fatal issue but one can wish for more data. With my aging eyesight, I wish all the display numbers were bigger but the speed readout is more than big enough.

Issues
I like the stand but I already managed to bend it out of shape getting the bike up the custom ramp I built to get it into my truck (I am not a kid so the bike is too heavy for me to lift directly into the truck) – Not an Evelo issue but rather my carelessness. I had my first flat when the spokes on the rear poked thru the liner to puncture the tube. It turns out to be a manufacturing defect as someone used a 28” liner on the 26” wheels so it folded over and lost protection.

Construction
I have ridden over lots of very rough roads at relatively high speeds. The bike seems to be very solid and shows no wear and tear. The only noise seems to be the fenders when I bottom the shocks in a deep pothole. The engine is very quiet. It seems much quieter than the Bosch on the Matra.

Overall impression
I highly recommend this bike if you want a step thru with a very quick motor, great climbing and ease of use with no gear maintenance issues. It is easily the best of my 3 E-bikes.

If you have any questions please feel free to post them as a reply to this comment.

  Reply
Court
4 weeks ago

Wonderful feedback Howard, thanks for organizing it so well! I especially appreciate your point about the USB voltage. I recently purchased a USB power meter to use on future reviews, so people can know what to expect. Interesting to hear about the tire liner being the wrong size. So glad that EVELO has been responsive and helpful to you with the saddle, and it’s neat to hear about the accessory upgrades you chose along with the direct comparisons to your other ebikes that run with hub motor and Bosch mid-drive.

  Reply

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