Evelo, an American manufacturer of electric bikes, has applied its recipe for the smoothest bike to a full size, full-feature comfort commuter e-bike — the Aurora Limited. This is literally the smoothest bike I’ve ridden, since the Evelo Galaxy, reviewed here.
Evelo has cracked the code to smooth, effortless pedaling. It’s added a host of creature comforts that make this bike only a couple steps away from being the most comfortable bike in the known universe.
OK, that might be a bit over the top…
As far as pedaling smoothness goes, the Aurora Limited (in my opinion) beats out Riese and Müller, makers of some of the highest-end and most expensive commuter e-bikes available in America.
Riese and Müller bikes hold price tags around $5,000 – $8,000, and for less than half that, you can waltz into the Aurora Limited. How did they do it?
- Motor: Evelo Motion Drive 750w Mid-Drive
- Battery: 48V 14Ah (672wh)
- Range: 20-40 miles (32-64km)
- Gearing: Enviolo Automatic Geared Hub
- Frame: Aluminum
- Brakes: 180mm Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
- Tires: 26 × 2.8 Innova
- Price: $3,999 (periodic sales occur)
- Extras: Gates carbon belt drive, front suspension, throttle, automatic headlights, brake lights, welded rear rack, step-through frame, wide fenders, Star Gazer stem
Pictured above is the Enviolo automatic transmission. This component is the largest single source of smoothness (and cost) for the total system. Just to be clear; Evelo, the bike company didn’t make this part — a component company called Enviolo makes the transmission. This system is designed to be maintenance-free, effortless in shifting, smooth in changes, and provide an extremely wide band of “gears.”
For a long time, bike companies pursued pairing this transmission with an intuitive electric motor, something that will magnify your output in a way that also feels effortless. Until Evelo, there’s been a problem. This transmission has been a bit of a puzzle for electric bike companies because it’s been hard to pair with an electric motor. If there is too much torque on the Enviolo, for a split second it will stall until you let off the tension, then it will shift again. An electric bike (especially in America) outputs a ton of torque compared to a human. When the Enviolo is forced to stall from too much tension, this hampers the smoothness of a ride.
Slather on the smoothness
Evelo cracked the code on this problem by shying away from off-the-shelf motors and off-the-shelf programming. The Aurora Limited fully utilizes the smooth and effortless enviolo automatic transmission, wiping away your cares of being in the right gear, stressing the system, or the embarrassment of being stuck, unable to get the bike moving again. Moreover, Evelo swings for the fences by combining a Gates Carbon Belt Drive replacing the chain, to offer even more smoothness and freedom from regular maintenance.
To cap off this achievement is Evelo’s Motion Drive motor — the real secret sauce. The chefs in the back of Evelo use this torque based 750w mid-drive motor, with specialized programming, to perfectly compliment the ride. By the way, it has a throttle.
Oh yeah, it’s a bike too
I’ve spent so much time talking about that smoothness, I’ve got to mention all the mechanical aspects that meet the same end: step-through frame, big fluffy tires, laid back riding position, comfort grips, swept handlebars, decently wide saddle, front suspension, comfort grips, and the infamous Evelo “StarGazer” stem. Alright, so we know the bike is comfortable. But if it’s so great at that, what is it not good at? Let me tell you!
It’s not fast. The bike itself is capped at 20mph, but by and large, I found myself at a comfortable 18mph on most days. I dig the sparkling pain, but the frame has been made to accommodate the belt and has made it look a bit “interesting.” Also, we’re looking at a heavy bike of around 70lbs made for the larger rider. If you’re on the small side, Evelo makes the Galaxy 500 with similar equipment but scaled down in size and power output. This might just be me, but I never bothered with the orange mode for the geared hub. This mode doesn’t shift for you, so I just tried it out to realize how much I prefer the blue automatic mode.
Overall, I think the Aurora Limited has set a new standard. I’m sure others will emulate this formula if they can. A large part of what makes electric bikes so great is the ease of allowing more people to bike who are intimidated by traditional bikes. With the automatic shifting and intuitive, strong pedal-assist, this brings the electric components more in line with the memories we have of biking as kids. Add to that a load of comfort points and a competitive price for the equipment, I think this bike is really good.
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