EVELO Aurora Electric Bike Review – One Smooth Ride

By Gary M. Kaye from In the Boombox.

I had a chance to try out the EVELO Aurora, an e-bike with some very sweet features. EVELO makes three models.  The Aurora is the middle of the line.

All their bikes feature a mid-drive motor, and all can operate either as a pedelec or fully throttle driven.  The mid-drive motor is compact, efficient, and mounted high enough off the ground so clearance is not an issue if you want to go off-roading.

Since the power source doesn’t reside in the hub, it opens up the possibility of doing more interesting things, like either putting in a sealed hub (a Shimano 8 gear is standard) , or in the case of the bike I tried, a NuVinci N360 CVP drive.

If you’ve never tried the NuVinci hub, it may forever change your notion of biking, since there are no gears to change.  Moving from lower to higher or vice versa is seamless, with no jarring, and no loss of momentum during a gear change.  The NuVinci hub does add $400 to the $1995 base price of the Aurora.

As with many e-bikes there are three different pedelec settings. The assist kicks in after about one full revolution of the crank.  It is zippy.  And on the highest setting you’ll find yourself up at about 20 mph on flat terrain before you realize it.

I found that for local trails, the lowest pedelec setting was more than adequate to move me along.  The Aurora also has a throttle which will kick in from a standing start, making it easy to get moving even if you’re stopped on an uphill grade.

My only complaint with the drive system is that there is only one on/off switch that powers both the throttle and pedelec modes.  That means you cannot use the throttle independently of the pedelec assist.  I would prefer to be able to disengage the pedelec and just use the throttle for an occasional boost.  But that’s just my preference.

The 250 Watt motor was sufficiently powerful to deal with the hills in Western Connecticut, and felt strong enough to get me up even steeper inclines.

This model comes with a front RockShox fork which can be locked out for flat pavement.

There is a lot of engineering that goes into the EVELO Aurora.  The bike is solidly built from aluminum alloy.    The Aurora has a step through design which is ideal for women, baby boomers, and seniors.

The battery, which is lighter than many I’ve seen, snaps firmly into the rear rack.  It comes with front and rear lights, and disc brakes.  EVELO claims you’ll get 20 miles if you run all electric on its standard 10 amp hour battery, and 40 miles with average assist.  An optional 17 Ah battery, which adds $600 to the price, will bring the range to 60 miles.  Yes, the batteries are still one of the most expensive parts of an e-bike.

My complaints with the Aurora are relatively few.  It does not have an attachment for a water bottle cage.  The rear rack, which was primarily designed for the battery, has a relatively small spring loaded rack so you can carry a small item, but does not allow for attaching standard panniers.  The company does suggest several other pannier and carry bag options including:

1) RX Trunk Bag EXP with expandable side panniers – this bag features a set of retractable panniers, includes a shoulder strap and Teflon coating for water and stain resistance.

2) Multifunctional Rear Seat Trunk Bag and Panniers – This is a simple and inexpensive option that does not take up a lot of space.

3) Electra Townie Rear Rack Bag – This is one of the bags that was used during the Trans-American Electric Bike Tour.

The bike is also a bit on the chunky side.  The NuVinci hub adds about 5 lbs, making the whole rig (without battery) about 51 lbs, which was a little tough to lift onto a bike rack.  The battery is 8 pounds. Evelo says it’s hoping to put future models on a diet.

This is a solidly built bike with features that make it a pleasure to ride.  And while it does have some minor shortcomings, overall the Evelo Aurora is a great way to get around, and up and down.

Where to get an EVELO Aurora?  Check with EVELO for a dealer or EVELO Ambassador near you.  If there isn’t a dealer near you, the Aurora is available online.

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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Stores I recommend: Amazon, REI, Jenson USA, Bike Trailer Shop, Bike Bag Shop, and Bike Kid Shop.

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11 Comments

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  1. Lawrence Hill July 16, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    I like it! Do you think they will ever add a more powerful motor for the US?

    Larry Hill

  2. James Scott July 16, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    250 watt motor?.. Why so small?

  3. EVELO July 18, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Good morning/time of the day everyone!

    It seems that there are some concerns about the size/wattage of the motor we chose for our bikes.

    250W is not a lot of power when it comes to traditional hub motors. In fact, simply placing your feet on the ground will most likely prevent the bike from moving even at full throttle.

    That being said, the EVELO Electric Bicycles do not use hub motors. Instead we use a mid drive system that transfers the power to the rear wheel through the bicycle chain and through the bicycle gears. This works in a way that is similar to how motorcycle and car transmissions operate. You can gear down and multiply the torque or gear up and increase your speed.

    This means that our small 250W motor can generate as much if not more torque as a 500W hub in low gears allowing the rider to conquer almost any hill, while using very little energy. This in turn allows us to maximize the range of our bikes while not having to compromise when it comes to the power output.

    • bobby July 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      Can this be used as an all weather transportation solution? i am car free since my tranny went out and cant afford to drive now so im looking more into 2 wheeled transport !! ecofan87

      • EVELO July 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

        Doug,

        The bikes are fairly waterproof. They are full of electrical components so I would not dip them in water but the can certainly handle being ridden in the rain.

  4. Doug July 20, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    These appear to be the same bikes that are sold in Canada as IGO electric, manufactured by Tonaro in China. I have had one for two years. The bike is generally ok, but hardly the killer trail machine they would like you to believe. The main problem I have had is with the front crank unit. I have broken two crankshafts now; they seem to last about a year, then fail on a steep grade, or when pedalling hard from a stop. Basically, the front drive isn’t up to the combined torque of a strong rider and the motor. Bad news off-road. Good blood-letting exercise both times.

    • EVELO July 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

      While you are correct and we share the same supplier with iGo, that is where the similarities end. Our biggest advantage is our after-sale support, extended warranty and our attention to detail when it comes to ensuring the top quality of our units.

      As for the drive system, it does continue to evolve. Individual parts get redesigned and improved on a continuous basis and the issues that may have been present in the past get resolved with each iteration.

      The unit you are using to is 2 years old it seems some of the parts you use should be changed/upgraded to the latest versions to get rid of the problems you are experiencing. The good news is that the newer parts are backwards compatible.

      Finally I want to mention that while the bikes will handle a bit of off-roading with no issues, I would not recommend using them for anything extreme. These and most other electric bicycles are meant to be used on the roads and light trails only.

  5. xavier July 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    I found a great do it yourself system which enables you to turn your normal mountain bike into a 50mph traffic beating bike, check it out here:

    http://x.vu/50mphelecbike

  6. Bill Hanlon September 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    I purchased an Aurora after i did extensive research on the net. i had to weigh in the factors of climbing hills as i live on a hill at the base of a mountain in Rancho Cucamonga CA. I also never saw an Aurora so i took one hell of a chance.
    While it is easy to nit-pic any product the real evaluation is the enjoyment of riding. I LOVE IT!
    I am 71 and had five major heart attacks. the bike does not ride them for me but just evens out the rids so for the most part it feels like level ground. i am no skinny guy either at 6′ i weigh in at 225 (im looking to go down to two hundred).
    the only thing better than the bike is the OUTSTANDING service from the company. I stand taller smile more and feel better for it. so can you.
    this morning i went 20 miles before breakfast and the terrible heat we have been having in SOCAL.
    i do not represent the company in any way! i’m just like you and got the best bang for the buck. questions call me 909-263-6322.

    Bill

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