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Evelo Galaxy 500 ebike Review – 2020
Nov 23, 2020
Summary Review: Evelo Galaxy 50
We were really excited when Evelo asked the team here at Electric Bike Report to review their Galaxy 500 electric bike. The Galaxy 500 is designed for those between 4’11 and 5’10 who want an electric bike that is easy to ride but is still very powerful.
After testing the Evelo with 5 different team members and putting well over 100 miles on the bike, we concluded that Evelo has pretty much hit those goals 100%. We found this small, upright city cruiser easy to get on and off, a ton of fun to ride, and very smooth due to it’s impressive automatic transmission system (the “Enviolo variable transmission”).
For us, the Enviolo transmission system is what makes the Galaxy 500 a stand-out electric bike. This is ideal for riders who haven’t been on a bike in a while or those who want to enjoy the experience of an ebike without having to worry about shifting gears. The internal gear system is managed using a twist control on the right handlebar. Riders can set the cadence where it is comfortable and the bike will automatically shift as you ride along. This takes the guess-work and hassle out of dealing with gears, dropped chains or other issues incidental to bikes.
The Galaxy 500 is a class 2 ebike with a trigger throttle and pedal assist to 20mph. It has a well-powered 500 watt mid-drive motor that is safely tucked at the base of the frame for enhanced balance. The bike is priced at $3999 which is on the higher-end, but we find the price to be very reasonable since you are getting a lot of innovative tech and upgraded components on the Evelo Galaxy 500. This is not your standard chinese-made electric bike.
This bike is great for a quick jaunt around town; it has a sturdy rear rack that will support 55 pounds so you can carry some cargo if needed. The gel seat is soft and wide and the grips are the perfect size for smaller hands. Swept back handlebars allow you to sit upright while riding.
As you can see, we are impressed with the Evelo Galaxy 500 and recommend it as the perfect bike for those who want to get out and enjoy some fresh air on a comfortable, easy to use, ebike.
Enviolo Automatic transmission system takes the guess-work out of shifting. The bike will shift for you as you ride.
The low-step frame is easy to get on and off.
24” wheels lift you up just enough for good visibility but you can easily step down at crosswalks or intersections.
We are impressed with the Evelo’s brakes! Good stopping power that isn’t jerky.
The small frame size makes this a cinch to ride around town. It is very navigable and easy to maneuver around corners or alleyways.
Upright frame and swept back handlebars allow riders to sit up rather than hunch over.
Faux leather seat is gel cushioned and very comfortable
LCD Display is bright and placed in the center of the handlebars
Great for around town riding
Easy to manage the power; this is a great bike for older or smaller riders
The Evelo Galaxy 500 only comes in a small frame size, so it is best suited for riders under 5’10”. Evelo also offers the Aurora Limited which has the same transmission system with a larger frame and 750watt motor for larger riders.
The transmission display window on the right handlebar can be hard to see in bright light.
Galaxy 500 Electrical Specs & Features
Motor: 500W mid-drive motor
Battery: 36v Battery, 13Ah = 468 total watt hours
Range: 26-40 miles (depending on rider weight, cargo, PAS and throttle use)
Charger: 42v 2amp battery charger
Lights: Integrated Spanninga front and rear lights
Display: Adjustable 3.25” LCD color display, non removable
Tires: CST Cyclops 24” by 2.4” with Schrader valves
Kickstand: Centered, adjustable length
Rear Rack: Aluminum with pannier mounts, included standard
Fenders: Plastic matching fenders, standard
Galaxy Weight & Dimensions
Bike: 46 pounds
Battery: 8 pounds
Frame: 16.5” step over height
Max weight: 350 pounds rider + cargo
We found the Galaxy 500 to be perfectly powered. This is a small bike, most likely designed for smaller riders looking for something that is easy to handle but still offers motor support. We had several different riders take this bike out for various distances through our local trail system and around town. Of our reviewers, those who are under 5’10” and 200 pounds found the Galaxy 500 to have plenty of speed and acceleration. Those over the recommended height and weight limit did feel the bike lagged a bit when they cranked up the speed or tackled hills. This bike isn’t designed to shoot you up and over the steepest hill nor will it rival a motorcycle as you zip through town. Instead, the Galaxy 500 has just the right amount of acceleration — it feels sporty but it’s not going to kick you off due to too much thrust in a turn. We really liked the power ratio on the Galaxy 500. For the small frame size and intended demographic, the power is sufficient and zippy but not intimidating or hard to handle.
Despite its conservative styling, the Evelo Galaxy feels sporty with 90Nm of torque and quick acceleration.
This is where the Evelo really shines. Riding this bike makes you feel like you are 8 years young again — cruising through the neighborhood on your trusty one speed with the wind whipping through your hair. You never had to worry about gears then and you don’t now! The Enviolo automatic transmission takes the guesswork out of shifting gears. One of the biggest complaints we hear about ebikes is the challenge of managing the gears in conjunction with the power from pedal assist and a throttle. The likelihood of dropping a chain or damaging your gears is much higher on an ebike because there’s more power moving through the drive system. It takes a bit of finesse and route awareness to be ready to shift gears at just the right time – fears that you don’t have to worry about with the Evelo Galaxy 500.
The Enviolo automatic transmission is our favorite feature on this bike! It is compact and makes riding the Galaxy 500 feel effortless.
On the Galaxy 500, there are two settings for transmission control. The Blue setting allows you to set your preferred cadence (how fast you like to pedal) and the Enviolo drive system will adjust up or down to make it so you can continue to pedal comfortably at that speed. This is exactly like an automatic transmission in a car — you don’t have to shift manually, the bike does it for you. The Orange setting allows riders to retain the ability to shift if you want to. Just set the dial on the right handlebar to Orange and you can increase or decrease the gearing manually while you ride. This makes the Galaxy 500 a good option for riders who don’t want to worry about gearing as well as those who enjoy this aspect of riding.
Handling (cornering, slow speeds, etc.)
There are a few things that make the Galaxy 500 easy to handle. The first is the frame size. This is a small frame, so for riders who frequently have difficulty managing a large bike, this is perfect. The second is the frame design; this is a step-through bike, so at any point you can step down if needed (like at a crosswalk or red light). The third is once again the streamlined feel of the battery power and automatic transmission. Both frame size and design make the Galaxy 500 feel very navigable when handling around town or on a tight bike trail. Since the frame is smaller, you take up less space making it easier to navigate tight corners or narrow bike paths. Also, since you can step down at any time without difficulty, riders do not have to worry about falling over if they slow down. The streamlined power and gearing system makes it so you don’t get thrown into a turn. On an ebike with pedal assist, you have to be careful not to pedal into a curve because the bike doesn’t know if you are going straight or turning, so it will give you power based on your pedal cadence. One quick press down on the pedal can throw you forward unexpectedly. This doesn’t happen on the Galaxy 500. You have enough power but not too much — so once again handling corners, turns or sidewalks, alleys or narrow streets is easier. The bike doesn’t lurch ahead underneath you.
The Galaxy 500 is quite comfortable. Our favorite feature is the gel saddle. It has a faux leather surface, so it looks nice, but it’s also durable and easy to clean. The gel padding provides just enough cushion while you’re riding. It also has a good shape. The saddle isn’t too narrow — which can be uncomfortable; nor is it too wide — which can increase your risk of getting saddle sores from “hot spots” on your leg that rub against the seat. You won’t need to add a gel cover or anything to the top of this saddle. There are also springs under the seat that absorb a bit of the impact from bumps and dips while riding.
This gel saddle is a good width and perfectly padded for comfortable rides.
The grips on the handlebars are a good size and shape. Again, since this bike is designed for smaller riders, the grips are slightly smaller and have just a bit of added texture. I personally found the grips to be particularly comfortable since the grips on most bikes are designed for larger hands (I’m 5’5 for comparison).
There is no suspension on the Galaxy 500. You don’t have a front shock or a suspension seat post, but you aren’t really going to need it. This isn’t the kind of bike that is designed for off-road or bumpy riding. The frame is sturdy and feels supportive as you glide along.
Slowing and Stopping
The Tektro Auriga hydraulic brakes on the Galaxy 500 are an impressive upgrade. Hydraulic brakes are always preferable to mechanical brakes and these provide good stopping power so the bike is instantly responsive when you need to slow down. We rode this through our bike trail system which flows nicely so you can generate some fun speed. Occasionally we intercepted a dog or a pedestrian and it was easy to slow down or stop when needed. It felt the same when riding through town. The Galaxy brakes quickly slow you down at intersections and are responsive when stopping at red lights.
The Evelo has a kickstand — it’s a little short, so the bike leans just a bit when resting on the kickstand, which is one of our very few complaints. But parking it is easy since the frame is small and the bike itself isn’t overly heavy.
During our range test, Pierce, our 175 pound reviewer, took the Galaxy 500 out along our local trail system. It was an out-and-back route rather than a loop and in the middle he climbed a steep hill known as “Hell Hole.” This added several hundred feet of elevation gain in just a few minutes. There was a total of 935 feet of elevation gain on the ride and Pierce pedaled the whole time on the highest assistance level (Level 5/5). He was able to go 29.2 miles, with an average speed of 17 miles per hour. Pierce said the Galaxy has good range and he anticipates
that on a full charge, using full assist, you can expect around 25-35 miles per charge. Even once out of juice, the LCD display stayed on despite the battery no longer assisting the ride.
Specs and Components
We were impressed with the battery power and range. The Galaxy 500 has a Lithium ion 36 volt, 13amp hour battery with an estimated 468 watt hours. The total estimated range on one charge is between 26 – 40 miles depending on your terrain and level of assist. (More hills = more drain on motor and battery power.) The battery is tucked under the rear rack so it is protected and off the downtube. There is a charge indicator on the top of the battery so even if the bike isn’t on, you can hit the button to see an approximate charge (5 lights = full charge). Sometimes when bike manufacturers position the battery under the rear rack it can make the tail end feel heavy, but the Galaxy 500 feels evenly weighted and we didn’t notice a problem with frame flex. This could be because of the high-grade aluminum frame and also because the bike itself is a rather small size which keeps the weight compact and localized.
You can see the battery tucked snugly under the rear rack. It is protected and out of the way.
The battery is removable so you can pull it out of the rear rack to charge. The battery weighs around 8 pounds. Evelo includes a standard 2amp charger that only weighs 1.3 pounds. It takes about 6 hours for a full charge.
The motor is also impressive on the Evelo Galaxy. The bike is actually named after the motor power, which is why it is known as the Galaxy 500: it has a 500watt motor. The previous version of this bike, the Galaxy 24, only had a 350watt motor, so you get significantly more power now. (The previous model was named after the 24” wheels, which is why it was the Galaxy 24). The motor offers 90Nm of torque which is actually a lot on a bike this size! The motor is housed in between the pedal cranks so it is low and centered and also protected.
Evelo has dubbed this motor the “Motion Drive” system. It is safely housed in between the pedal cranks so the weight is low and centered.
The motor is also impressively quiet. You don’t want to sound like a rattling train as you ride through town, so manufacturers are always looking for better and quieter better ways to provide motor power. There is a slight whirr as you ride along and just a bit more when you increase the pedal assist, but in general this is a very quiet bike to ride. Pedestrians and other people in town won’t even know you’re on an ebike.
This 3.25” display is very easy to see. It has several colors on the interface and you can select a bright or dark background. The display is mounted in the center of the handlebars. It is not removable, so it won’t be stolen off the bike if you run a quick errand. You can adjust the angle gently to limit glare if needed. This isn’t the most extensive display — but it provides basic metrics needed while riding. A 5-bar battery indicator provides feedback on battery power. The control panel for the display is on the left grip within easy thumb reach so you can look straight ahead, see both the road and the display, and manage assist with your left hand without lifting it off the grip.
The display is large and visible in bright or low light. You can also choose a light or dark background. The large + and – buttons on the left handlebar control the display.
The button pad for the display uses large + (plus) and – (minus) buttons to raise and lower assist. Holding down the Set button also allows for more customized settings. Walk mode is accessed by holding down the – (minus) button. Display readouts on the main screen include:
Battery display (5-bars)
Evelo has integrated both the front and rear lights with the battery, but the front light can be turned on or off on the display control as well. (For safety reasons, the tail light cannot be turned off). The tail light has an integrated brake mode so it gets brighter when braking. There is an optional Safety Package available from Evelo that includes additional lights, leg reflectors, and a bell. The headlight is well positioned directly in front of the handlebars and the tail light is tucked behind the battery underneath the rear rack for protection. If you hang panniers or attach cargo to the rear rack the light should remain visible (although always check to make sure your cargo isn’t blocking the light).
The front headlight is integrated and attached to the front of the bike. The headlight can be turned off if desired, but the tail light is always on for safety.
Pedal Assist: 5 Levels
There are five levels of assist on the Galaxy 500. Level one provides the least amount of power and level five is the highest. Since the Galaxy 500 has an advanced pedal and torque sensor system, it measures your cadence and wheel speed as well as the amount of pressure you exert on the pedals. This information is transmitted back to the drive system so the motor can provide just the right amount of power. This enables the automatic transmission and pedal assist system to work in conjunction with each other — which creates a very smooth ride.
We love having a throttle! There has been a bit of debate in the ebike industry about the safety, value, and need for a throttle on an ebike. But we find that having a throttle helps tremendously when you begin from a full stop. Simply add a bit of throttle power and you’re good to go! This is especially useful for those who may have joint sensitivity or limited muscle strength. Also, even though the Galaxy 500 is a smaller, lighter-than-average ebike, it still weighs 46 pounds without the battery, so getting it moving can take a bit of foot power. Thankfully, you don’t have to manually pedal the bike from a full stop, the throttle is there to kick in right when you need it.
The Galaxy 500 has a trigger throttle on the left grip. It’s responsive and easy to reach. The more throttle you use, the faster it will drain the battery, but throttle makes riding the bike both easier and more fun. The throttle also helps keep the bike sailing along so you don’t have to pedal if you don’t want to.
Galaxy 500 Components & Accessories
The Galaxy has Tektro Auriga hydraulic brakes with a 180mm rotor in the front and 160mm in the rear. The brakes have dual-piston calipers so braking is even and balanced. Brake inhibitors shut off motor power whenever you tap the brake levers so you don’t accidentally run the brakes against the motor. We liked that Evelo went with hydraulic brakes as opposed to mechanical. Because of this your braking is easy to modulate, and your caliper has more “grab” than it would on a mechanical brake set up.
Large rotors provide smooth stopping power on the Galaxy 500.
Fenders are often an optional upgrade on e-bikes, but Evelo includes 70mm plastic fenders on the Galaxy 500. The plastic material is lightweight but durable so it won’t rust or corrode. The elongated rear fender runs down underneath the rear rack to protect both the rider and any cargo from mud splatter.
The Galaxy 500 does not have front suspension, but because of the voluminous tires you won’t need it on this bike. The front fork is a 6061 aluminum alloy with quick release skewer so dropping out the wheel for a tube change is easy.
As we’ve mentioned, the Galaxy 500 is a small bike. This frame is designed for riders 4’11” to 5’10” but I had to raise the seat almost to the highest level, so this bike is probably best suited for petite riders. Justin and Pierce (both 5’11”) did fine on the ebike, but would probably prefer the Evelo Aurora Limited given their size. The step thru frame is easy to get on and off since the battery is not in your way. The bike is currently available only in silver with stylish brown faux-leather grips and saddle. The styling is chic and very simple with clean lines. There is a cluster of cables in front of the headtube that limit your option for a basket on the front. The headlight is placed just below the cabling. While this cluster design isn’t our favorite, it does make servicing the electronic components much easier. All cables are integrated into the underside of the downtube for a streamlined look to the overall frame.
As we described in the Gear Range section above — the Galaxy 500 has an Enviolo automatic shifting system with an electronically controlled Gates Carbon belt drive. This is similar to an automatic transmission on a car. All the gears are encased in a small shell on the outside of the rear wheel. There is no derailleur. The system is very tidy (looks nice), clean (you won’t get grease on your pants), and quiet.
The Gates carbon belt drive is much quieter than a chain and easier to maintain.
Also, the Galaxy 500 doesn’t have a standard bike chain. Instead, it uses a belt system. The belt turns the front cassette as you pedal just like a chain would, but it is quieter and less likely to fall off. There is a notch that runs down the center of the belt that keeps it in line and circulating evenly. The belt doesn’t require maintenance (it doesn’t need any grease or lube) and you can rinse it with water to remove mud or dirt (a no-no on standard chains).
The combination of the automatic gear system, the fully housed battery in between the pedals, and the carbon belt drive makes the Galaxy 500 very quiet! There’s no rattle like you find on other bikes from the gears and chain. And the motor is both protected and muffled inside the pedal cranks.
We really love the Enviolo system and belt drive on the Galaxy 500. This is what makes the bike unique and worth the investment. Most likely, the combined cost of the upgraded motor, the Tektro Auriga brakes, and the innovative drive system are what take the cost up a little higher than other ebikes — but in our opinion it is worth every penny. If you are looking for something that is quiet, easy to ride, and takes the hassle out of shifting, the Galaxy 500 is the way to go.
Grips and Saddle
The Galaxy 500 has a comfortable gel saddle that is wide and padded for comfort. It is moisture resistant and will tolerate outdoor conditions well. The grips are ergonomic and match the saddle with a light texture for comfort.
Here you can see the Enviolo transmission control window – it is set to the Orange or manual gearing mode. The grips are contoured and perfectly sized for smaller hands.
These are flat, Wellgo aluminum alloy pedals with non slip rubber cleats along the perimeter of the pedal to hold your shoe from slipping. You can wear any athletic shoe or even a sandal with these pedals. Reflectors on the back of the pedal help with visibility as well.
The kickstand is strong enough to support the bike but it’s a little short. We had to lengthen it to its longest setting and even then the bike still leaned a bit. It’s not the biggest complaint, but when we tried to stand the bike up on grass the kickstand was way too short and we had to find a rock. This kickstand is centered close to the pedals for balance, but it can collide with the pedal, so pedal lock is an issue. This is a very minor complaint, but we’d love to see a slightly longer kickstand here that is maybe further away from the pedal.
The 24” tires lower the wheelbase which makes this petite bike very easy to get on and off. The tires are 2.4” wide so you have a bit more width here which absorbs shock and adds comfort. Schrader valve tubes are easy to refill. The tires have a bit of tread so they’ll handle city streets or a bit of trail riding equally well. We don’t recommend this bike for serious off roading, but we took ours along our city trail, over some grass, and navigated a spot where the river had washed over the trail — the Galaxy 500 handled the terrain and a bit of debris and loose dirt just fine.
The tires offer just a touch of traction – perfect for surface streets and bike trails.
This is a small bike. It only comes in a 15” frame size and we found it to be compact and navigable but certainly not oversized. This is an excellent bike for petite riders who are new to ebikes (or maybe biking in general) since the gearing system is automatic and the frame itself is easy to handle. The bike handles well, is balanced, doesn’t suffer from frame flex, and is responsive when riding. Riders close to or over 5’10” may want to consider the Evelo Aurora Limited for more room and power but a comparable feel.
Spec Summary / Where to Buy
Evelo ships directly to the consumer so there is some assembly required, but the Galaxy 500 comes 95% assembled. All you have to do is attach the front tire, fender and handlebars. Evelo also offers a limited 4-year, 20,000 mile warranty which is impressive for an ebike.
We had a ball riding the Evelo Galaxy 500. This is on par with some of the high-end ebikes we see coming out of Europe with the Enviolo drive system and carbon belt drive. You get a lot of innovation and upgraded features here. In fact, a lot of these features we see on electric bikes in the $5K+ range, so we think the Evelo offers a lot of value at its current price. We’d love to see a slightly longer kickstand that’s just a bit further back behind the pedals to avoid pedal lock, but otherwise the Galaxy 500 is nearly the perfect bike! If you want to feel young and carefree again, the Galaxy 500 is a great way to get you there.