Electric Bike Review – EVELO Luna

The EVELO Luna electric bike.

You may have heard of EVELO Electric Bikes from the TransAmerican Electric Bike Tour (from New York City to San Francisco).  That is because the CEO, Boris Mordkovich, was one of the riders on the tour!

Boris and his riding partner, Anna Mostovetsky, completed their tour earlier this year and they definitely raised awareness about electric bikes across the U.S.

Boris and Anna rode EVELO’s Aries and Aurora on their 4,000 mile trek.  Here is an interview with Boris about their trip.

I recently had a chance to put some miles on their Luna electric bike.  The Luna is a commuter/casual recreational type of electric bike.

It has the step through frame that makes it easy to get on and off of and it comes with almost every accessory you can think of!

The Luna is not super high performance but it is a smooth, quiet and mellow ride.  This can be a perfect fit if you are looking for a trusty, predictable, and comfortable commuter to get you around town.

Make sure you check out the video, large pictures and specifications of the EVELO Luna.

What you can expect from this electric bike:

The EVELO Luna electric bike mid drive motor.

The Luna uses a mid drive motor that provides power to the cranks of the bike.  There is a throttle option (you have the choice of pedaling or not) and there is the pedal assist that provides power while you are pedaling.

You can vary the throttle power via the twist grip on the left side of the handlebar.  If you elect not to pedal in the throttle mode, the chainring will turn but the cranks will remain stationary via a freewheel in the crankset.

The pedal assist feature has 3 settings (low, medium and high) that can be adjusted on the display on the left side of the handlebar.  Changing these settings will vary the pedal assist the bike provides and can increase the bikes range by using a lower assist setting.

The EVELO Luna electric bike Shimano Nexus 3 speed hub shifter and bike computer. Note faux leather grips!

The 3 speed internal hub keeps things simple by providing just a few gears to choose from for climbing hills and cruising on the flats.  The twist grip on the right side of the handlebars shifts the gears and there is a gear indicator that will show you what gear you are in.

The ride test results:

Here is the real world information on how this bike performed on my typical riding circuit that includes hills, flats, traffic, wind (when available) etc.

The results below are based on a paved circuit that I use for testing other electric bikes.

Here is the range and elevation info using the highest pedal assist setting.

EVELO Luna Range Test

While testing these bikes I like to put them through the toughest conditions to see where their bottom line is in regards to range and speed.

Range:  As you can see from the GPS info that I recorded, the bike traveled 27 miles and did a total elevation gain/loss of around 2000 ft. Considering that I weight 190 lbs and I pedaled very lightly this is very good range for a 36 Volt 10 ah battery pack (360 Watt Hours)!

This big range is probably due to the fact that the Luna tops out at around 15 mph (less wind drag or “losses” compared to higher speeds) and the mid drive systems can be more efficient when climbing hills.

Watt hours are the total energy in a battery pack and it is based on the volts x amp hours of a pack.  This is a way to compare the size of the “gas tank” of electric bikes.

Please keep in mind that if you pedal more, weight less than me, ride slower and/or you use the bike in terrain that is not as hilly you will get more range.  These results are from tough testing.

Speed:  The EVELO Luna is no speed demon.  The Luna provides power up to 15-16 mph.  Most e-bikes in the U.S. top out at 20 mph, but this bike was intended to be a casual, comfortable commuter with a lower speed.  The other EVELO models, the Aries and Aurora, top out around 20 mph because they use higher gearing.

Weight:  This bike tips the scales at 65 lbs.

The weight distribution on this bike is pretty good because the motor is centered in the middle of the bike and low to the ground.  The battery pack is on the rear rack.

Pros

The left side of the EVELO Luna electric bike mid drive motor.

Mid Drive Motor:  Mid drive motors are pretty efficient and they can climb steep hills well because they can use the gears of the bike to keep the electric motor operating in an efficient RPM range.  The idea is similar to a car where the motor can shift through the gears of the car’s transmission to keep it in the best gear for the terrain that it is driving over.

Quiet motor: The Luna’s motor is pretty darn quiet.  Occasionally you can hear a little whir from the gear box but other than that it is almost a silent ride.  This is a nice feature that further lends itself to the mellow ride characteristic of the Luna.

Lots of accessories:  The Luna is decked out!  Front and rear LED lights that run off the lithium ion battery, fenders, cycle computer, rear rack, and kickstand.  It is nice to see that this bike is ready to hit the road.

Step thru frame:  The step through frames make it so easy to use this bike.  It actually took me a little while to get used to not throwing my leg over the saddle!  Just step onto the bike and away you go.

The EVELO Luna electric bike gets a lot of range from its 36V 10ah lithium ion battery!

Great Range:  This is the one feature that really stood out to me.  27 miles of range on a 36V 10ah lithium ion battery on a hilly route is very impressive!  This is most likely due to the fact that the bike topped out around 15 mph with electric assist (you can pedal harder if you want).  If this bike assisted up to 20 mph I bet the range would be less, but even then it probably wouldn’t be that much less.

I think the mid drive motor also helps with range, especially on the hilly terrain that I rode the bike on.

Good climber:  Because the mid drive motor can be shifted to a lower gear it makes this bike a good climber, especially when it comes to steeper hills.  It won’t fly up the hills because of the 250 watt motor, but it will get up them without getting bogged down.

Versatile tires:  The tires work well for both on road and some light duty off road.  They have a slick center patch with some knobby tread on the sides.  I rode the bike on some gravel roads and rocky trails and the bike handled well.

Cons

The EVELO Luna electric bike uses the Shimano Nexus 3 speed internally geared hub. Upgrading to NuVinci N360 continuously variable hub is an option.

Shifting under pressure:  One of the biggest issues with mid drive motors and some internal gear hubs (not the NuVinci) is that they don’t shift well under pressure.  When trying to shift to an easier gear on a climb it can be hard to get the hub to shift to that lower gear because of the pressure the motor puts on the chain.  Even if you stop pedaling there is a little delay until the motor stops assisting, so you can loose your momentum on a climb.

I did find that using the throttle on a climb worked better because the motor would turn off as soon as the throttle was released and I could shift to an easier gear and then hit the throttle again.  You can still be pedaling in this scenario too.

Please note that if you elect for the upgrade to the NuVinci N360 hub that you will not have any problems because the NuVinci shifts well under pressure.

Also, please note that I have experienced this on other electric bikes with a similar mid drive motor and an internally geared hub (excluding the NuVinci N360).

Brakes:  The front and rear brakes had differ amounts of power.  The front V-brake is more powerful than the rear roller brake.  This is something you can get used to but personally I like to have a balanced amount of power between the front and rear brakes.

Assist settings:  Even though there are 3 assist settings I found myself only using the high assist because it seemed to provide the right amount of power (remember this bike is mellow!).  If you ride in areas that have a lot of pedestrian traffic then these lower assist settings will probably be useful, but for general street and bike path riding they seem too low.

Conclusion

The EVELO Luna electric bike with mid drive motor.

If you are looking for a casual and comfortable electric bike the Luna should be one that you consider.  The step through frame, upright position, simple 3 speed hub, and well equipped accessory package make the Luna a great e-bike to get on and go!

If you can afford the upgrade to the NuVinci N360 hub I would recommend it because it would smooth out some of the shifting issues.  I have ridden the NuVinci N360 many times and it is a very smooth system!

Overall I really enjoyed riding the EVELO Luna.  It was an easy bike to ride and it felt very comfortable.

Please keep in mind that this is a relatively short term test.  This testing can’t really give you the long term review of durability and reliability.  My thoughts on the quality of this bike are from previous experiences with similar bikes.  If you own this bike and have some input on the long term durability, please share your comments with the Electric Bike Report community below.

Where to get the EVELO Luna?  Check with the EVELO website for a dealer near you.  You can also buy the Luna online if there is not a dealer near you.

Do you have any questions about the EVELO Luna?  Do you own the Luna?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thanks!

-Pete

P.S. Don’t forget to join the Electric Bike Report community for updates from the electric bike world, plus ebike riding and maintenance tips!


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5 Comments

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  1. Mike September 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Be forwarned these bikes are made in China. In the opinion of my local electric bike shop ” What a terrible design with cheap nock-off technology/components”.
    I personally owned an Aries for 130 dissapointing miles. Evelo would not listen to my concerns and was not going to let me return it even though it was defective in two ways, until a basically threatened to turn them in to the BBB,etc.. After about the third e-mail of their denials of there being any defects, I never felt that they were trustworthy again. Fortunetly my credit card company filed a charge back, which EVELO tried to fool me into dropping, and fought for two months. According to my credit card company; if you drop a charge back on the promise of reimbursment, and the company renegs, you have zero recourse through them.
    I am still waiting(3+ months)for EVELO to reimburse the $100 dollars that Boris promised, that I paid a local electric bike shop to diagnose the two defects. The minor defect was shoddy welding that resulted in crooked battery supports and the battery barely fit. The major defect was the chain wasn’t even long enough by 3 links. The result from the short chain/design was all of my weight had literally strectched the chain and you could see the motor being pulled sideways at the frame mounts.
    It’s too bad that these bikes do not have the quality one would expect for the price, and how EVELO tries very hard to not reveal that these bikes are just some of the many from China that companies put an american name to. It says right on the box “MADE IN CHINA”.I have chosen not to name the rothers, but there are two more that look exactly like the EVELO Aries (one painted silver and one maroon).
    I met Boris and Anna along their trek in Fort Collins,CO and they seemed to be really nice people.
    The NuVinci360 is an excellent choice that I was told is being improved for the added stress/torque of crank mounted electric bikes. FYI; those in the know highly recommend crank mounted motors by Panasonic and Bosch as they are time tested and the best. Plus crank mount motors take full advantage of your gearing, unlike hub motors.

  2. Boris Mordkovich October 10, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Dear Michael,

    This is Boris Mordkovich – Co-Founder and CEO of EVELO Electric Bicycle company.

    I sincerely apologize if you have not had a stellar experience with our company. We truly do strive to ensure that 100% of our customers are absolutely happy and satisfied with our product and our service. If anything goes wrong, we do stand behind our promises and will do everything we can to correct it.

    To the best of my knowledge, the situation has been fully resolved to your satisfaction. If this is not the case, please let me know and I will personally make sure to make it right. You can call our office at 877-991-7272 or my direct line at 347-225-1849 at any time.

    If anybody has any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at boris@evelo.com – I’m here to help. Also, I encourage you to see what has been the experience of other customers with our bikes at RateLobby: https://ratelobby.com/review/177/evelo-electric-bicycles

    Best Regards,
    Boris Mordkovich
    EVELO Electric Bicycles

    • Mike October 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

      Boris,
      I thought this would get your attention, and stop your ignoring my e-mail requesting the long overdue owed reimbursement.
      This has been a real learning lesson that resulted in my ownership of a quality e-bike from BH named E-Motion. And it was less than $500 of added cost than your Aries. I am so glad that I know that I have a time tested Panasonic motor/drive and bicycle made in Spain (from a respected manufacturer of racing bicycles since the 50’s), rather than your disappointing mystery motor and bicycle from China.
      So thanks for the long, frustrating, but eventually advantageous lesson!

      Mike
      PS They appear to have a better warranty too.

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