Seattle born Evelo takes to the streets in the best electric upright delta trike that I have ever ridden. After reviewing about a dozen electric trikes, the compass stands out as the picture perfect example of an electric trike, without having a strange segment it’s trying to catch. Truly, when you think of an electric trike, your first though is the Evelo Compass.
Electric trikes seem to bring something special out of a bike designer. Perhaps it’s the wealth of cargo options, or the option for shifting rider weight that’s so appealing. Looking for an electric trike can bring up a wild panoply of options that sometimes gets overwhelming.
But have no fear! The Evelo Compass is a solid built, easy to use, comfortable, “high-speed” electric trike that gives riders exactly what they’re looking for: balance. A brief note on terminology: The Evelo Compass is an electric, upright delta trike. It’s upright because the rider is sitting upright, instead of recumbent or reclined. Having 2 wheels in the back makes it a Delta trike, instead of 2 wheels in front for a tadpole trike. Strangely, Evelo makes an electric bicycle called the Delta, but that’s not relevant here. Moving on…
Evelo Compass Specs:
- Motor: 500w Mid-Drive
- Motor Engagement: Cadence Pedal Assist, Throttle
- Battery: 48v 10.5Ah (fully ready for 2nd add -on battery)
- Range: 40 Miles Max
- Top Speed: 20mph
- Gearing: 3 Speed Internal Hub
- Brakes: 180mm Mechanical Disc Brakes (2x)
- Extras: Rear Basket with Wood Deck, Full 3 Fenders, Front+Rear Automatic Lights, Brake Lights, Reflective Tires, 2-wheel Drive, Full Chain Guard, Parking Brake, Ergonomic Grips, Comfort Saddle, Dual Battery Ready
After reviewing about a dozen electric trikes by now, the first thing I noticed driving the Compass is the solid design. The frame is made of thick aluminum tubing, with smooth, uniform welds and supportive work around all the parts that matter. The rear batteries are protected by additional framing that also supports the rear basket and axle. Sure enough, when riding the Compass, it didn’t feel like a wacky amusement ride, but it felt like a bicycle.
Powering the Compass is a 500w mid-drive motor, with both a cadence-based pedal assist and throttle operation as standard equipment. The motor casing looks a lot like the Bafang BBS02, and if that’s the case, Evelo has chosen a great motor for ease of use, and durability. This classic performer of a motor has been customized by hot-rodders for years, but I doubt the average trike customer is going for that angle. Alongside the motor is a 3 speed internal hub, which is another perfect choice for this application.
Too Fast, Too Furious
Driving on a straightaway, the Compass can reach speeds of 20mph. I’ve been on many trikes that limit the speed to 15, 13, or even 11mph (yeah, they were all odd numbers for some reason). These speed limitations are actually welcomed, in my eyes, since many trikes are downright scary past 15. I could easily take turns on the Compass at 13mph, and going straight felt rock solid.
The Compass is easily made to be a daily driver, if that was your intent. With 3 full fenders, a stout wooden basket, brake lights and front and rear lights that automatically engage, this trike is no slouch on practicality. The 180mm disc brakes seemed a bit wimpy when I first took a look at the Compass, but they did pretty good. I forgot about the inherent resistance of a 3 wheeled machine, and I also skipped the idea that trikes are generally slower than bicycles.
Evelo Compass Market
Normally, people are looking for trikes of this style because three wheels offers better balance in low speed and easy access scenarios. There’s no shame in it. Literally all of us will someday be confronted with the choice of a trike or the couch. With a current MSRP of $4,299, the Compass is certainly not in the cheap category, and at the same time not in the high-speed rocket-ship division either. The Evelo Compass is right in the center of the bulls-eye for what an electric trike should be.
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