Aurora Hub - Experience of 70yr old 400lb rider

BigSmile

New Member
This posting is intended for any potential buyer of an ebike where weight capacity is a primary concern.

20 years ago I did a lot of bike riding but kids and work, and resulting gradual weight gain, caused me to hang up my Bianchi. Now that the kids have their own lives, my wife and I have been enjoying RV vacationing. Several months ago, I saw an older couple riding folding ebikes in a campground and it looked like such fun. I found Walmart having a sale on foldable bikes for under $500 (250w motor, weight limit 250lbs). I bought one for my wife and one for me. We've been out a dozen times on them - short trips, level ground - and I had so much fun! However, I don't feel comfortable with weight capacity being overloaded so much. Performance going up the slightest hill suffered too. But, I had a strong desire to start riding again. The foldable had a single gear - and that was too low for straight travel and way to high for going up a hill. It was a great proof-of-concept, and maybe good for RV travel, but beyond that - no.

At this point I began researching many other bike vendors. All of them had a 250lb weight limitation. I spoke with customer service at several and they specifically advised me not to purchase their bike due to the weight issue. I saw an EBR review on Youtube of Evelo's bikes. Their website listed "Recommended for riders up to 350 lbs. Larger riders can be accommodated - contact us for details." I called and spoke with a most knowledgeable individual that listened to my situation. He indicated he felt the Aurora Hub Drive would serve me well. He didn't expect any problems but I should monitor the wheel spokes. If I should have problems with the spokes, they have a special brand of spoke they could send me and I could have my local shop install them.

I talked with my local bike shop (I knew the owner as he has sold me 5 bikes over the years.) He is familiar with high end electric bikes ($7,000 and up) but he agreed to receive the Evelo Aurora bikes and assemble and test them for me.
The first bike had a problem after assembly (would not turn on). The second one was just fine. He contacted Evelo service and got several suggestions - moving parts between the two bikes to see which failed. In doing so, both bikes stopped working. At this point, Evelo called me and asked if I'd prefer they sent two new bikes to the shop or if I'd like the shop to fix the ones initially sent. I said send the parts. Evelo then, at zero cost to me, sent a complete double assembly of any possible parts that could be needed - this is about almost $2,000 in parts - wheel hubs & motors, controllers, wiring harnesses, throttle assemblies, etc. When the parts arrived at the bike shop, Evelo technicians worked hand in hand with the local bike shop by phone and both bikes were brought into working order rapidly. My local bike shop was quite complimentary of Evelo and their technicians. Evelo also compensated them for the bike shop time at their normal bike shop rate. The shop also observed that the Aurora Hub was a very solidly built bike. It has quality components that would be fine for my use. I drove to the bike shop and they loaded the e-bikes into our van and sent me on my way.

We got home just before dark, but I could not wait. Although I was just riding on the street in front of the house, I began to fall love with this bike! It was immediately obvious to me that the Aurora was a well-built bike. No squeaking and sagging when I rode (like the folding bikes did). A derailleur that gave me clean shifting between 7 gears and a wide range to support straight-away or hills. And a 750 watt motor (1,000 watt peak) that had sufficient power to get me up medium hills easily. Grinning like a kid, I went to bed eager for tomorrow to come.

That is when I made my first mistake. I had my seat set too low as I wanted it to be easy to get on and off the bike. I couldn't lift my foot high enough to step through and swinging my leg over a high seat was hard. So I took off with a seat that was way too low. But I was having so much fun, I failed to notice how long I was out and how much I had ridden. It was only an hour but when I got back home, my quadriceps were killing me - my knees felt like jelly and I found it hard to walk. But I was smiling. The rest of that day and all the next day, I was mostly unable to walk due to my knees being hyper compressed when riding. Several days later, after I'd recovered, I raised the seat and went riding again. This time it was MUCH better. Seat still needs to go higher, but I'm working on it.

I have a couple of observations from having the bikes for a month and ridden multiple times. First, I feel very safe on this bike. I don't worry about my weight causing it to collapse or break down on me. Brakes work fine and stop me quickly. The motor is amazing as I can be using it to go up a moderately steep hill and it has enough power to continue accelerating as I go up! However, I pay for that with decreased battery range. This Aurora has definitely put the fun back in my bike riding. I'm finding that, just after a few weeks, I am peddling much more that I thought I would. I have used all 5 levels of pedal assist and find that #1 is right for me as it gets me pedaling but not too hard. If I come to a hill, I downshift pedal gears. If that is not enough, a thumb on the throttle gets me going right up the hill.

Another observation is how critical the throttle is for my kind of riding. To get started, I'll mount the bike and pedal down with one foot. That doesn't really get me going fast enough to feel safe putting my other foot on the pedal. So I have started using the throttle to get started from a standstill. It gets me going, I stabilize, and then get both feet on the pedals. For me, this works just great. Also, there are times when my legs just get too tired to pedal. Even though Pedal Assist works wonders there are times I just don't want to have my feet spinning. For moments like that, throttle is a life saver. Getting a bike whose throttle works from a standing start was essential for me.

I feel that the Aurora bike pedals sit higher off the ground than did the pedals of my Bianchi. When the seat is at the proper height for my leg length, I cannot remain on the seat and have a foot on the ground - the angle of the bike is just too steep to get started. Rather, when stopping I have to slam on the breaks so I can easily slide off the seat, drop down between the seat and handlebars, and get a foot on the ground. It is not hard to do, but it is a skill I needed to learn.

The gear shift is a dream to use. Shifting is fast and accurate. Brakes are strong and easy to use. Pedals aren't fancy, but the definitely get the job done. I'm breaking in the seat and it takes time to build up stamina when you're putting a lot of weight on a small area. The front fork suspension is excellent. I can increase the preload so I don't sink way down when mounting (sink some) and there is still a lot of room to absorb bumps in the road. I have not tried the lock-out feature as I like the suspension. I have never ridden on such wide tires before (3") but for trail riding and a little gravel, they are excellent. I got the optional fender kit and I'm real glad that I did - I stay dry when riding through a puddle on the trail! The controls/display work well together. It is easy to change the Pedal Assist mode with my left index finger. The display is very easy to read and tells me just what I want to know (lots of information configuration options also). Battery is powerful and seems a perfect partner for the hub motor. Battery charges quickly for its size. The key is needed to remove the battery. However, there is no key that enables/disables the bike. I rather wish the battery lock also served as an ignition lock.

I have to confess, I'm having a wonderful time with this Evelo Aurora. I'm rekindling the biking love of my youth, the e-bike is a great equalizer so I can easily keep up with all the 30 year-old-Spandex-on-Roadbike riders, and I'm exercising more than I ever thought I would. If you are well over 250 pounds, this Aurora might be a real good find for you. I should also mention that my wife, well under 250 lbs for sure, is loving her Aurora also. She can go up hills faster than me and her battery seems to last longer, but that is expected. The important thing is that she has had no difficulty at all in handling a bike much heavier than any she is used to.

I hope these thoughts will be helpful to a few people. I can only encourage you to get yourself an e-bike no matter what your physical weight, go riding, start exercising, and really enjoy life!
 

FlatSix911

Active Member
Great review... here is another from EBR. Enjoy the ride... ;)


Summary

  • A value priced ebike with a focus on comfort with wider tires, hub-motor, gel saddle, approachable low stand over height, and front suspension
  • Along with the suspension and tires, there is even more comfort here like locking grips, swept back handlebars, and special stem design that has a lighter, more robust, and comfortable rise to it compared to most
  • Powerful motor and battery, Shimano Tourney 7 speed system with a grip shifting system, mechanical disc brakes for easy adjustability and maintenance
  • Rack does not use standard gage tubing, front light can bounce since it is mounted on the suspension fork, and charging the battery can take a bit of time due to the larger size
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