EVELO Aurora E-bike—With the NuVinci N360 and More.
When I received this EVELO Aurora I was so glad to see it had the optional NuVinci continuously variable transmission. As the mid-drive motor powers the rear wheel through the chain, I feel the NuVinci is the best way to optimize the available power and reduce noise and jerkiness when shifting under load. The icing on the cake would be to see the NuVinci Harmony auto-shifting on board, and I would think this is a possibility in the future.
Mid-drive motors are getting more popular on E-bikes all the time. There are many different types on the market and I really like this one speced on the Aurora. It is an Italian designed piece that is almost silent and seems to be most efficient. Mounted in the center of the bike and very low to the ground, it makes for an E-bike with a very balanced feel. Combined with the N360 NuVinci transmission, the power system is quite a gem.
Like so many of the better E-bikes nowadays, you will find some nice features. Smooth and strong disc brakes are bolted up on each end of the bike. I am enjoying disc brakes more all the time and these ones are part of what is helping that. Laced up with what appear to be very stout stainless steel spokes, the alloy rims add to the feel of solid riding you get on this EVELO. The mountain bike style tires are just non-aggressive enough to be used on the street or dirt.
Up front on the Aurora you find a Rock Shox suspension fork with pre-load and lock-out adjustments. It’s nice to see something so dependable mounted up and it really added to the comfortable ride I experienced over many weeks of riding. A moto-cross style front fender is the anchor for the front LED headlamp while the massive battery tray located the LED tail lamp in the rear. This factory lighting system, fed power from the motor battery, is bright and I made use of it on many night rides.
With a riding position about half way between up-right street bikes and bent-over mountain bikes, I was comfortable enough, but my wife thought a higher set of handlebars would be nicer. I do agree with her on this one. I like the upright feel, especially on E-bikes. It appears from EVELO’s website that their two other models cover the extremes even better. So whether you like to crouch over the bars, sit straight up or somewhere in the middle, they have a bike for you.
On the handlebars you will find that cool NuVinci shifter. With a little cyclist on a noodle-like flat or hill (that contours as you shift), it is easy to understand. A simple control panel has switches for the power on/off, lighting on/off and the level of pedelec assist. The panel also has lights that tell how your battery charge is holding up. Both brake handles has safety motor cut-off switches in them. It comes with a cycle computer that I think could be much better. I thought the ergo grips were just the right width and softness.
What you have here is an E-bike with a beefy and unique frame. It is basically a low-frame model with some flair. I think part of the (what I felt) extra weight of this bike comes from the frame. Some of it might come from that interesting and quiet motor package and I do know that the NuVinci N360 adds a little too. The EVELO site says 55 lbs, not counting the NuVinci. That’s not too bad, so maybe it’s just me when I say the Aurora seemed kind of heavy.
During your ride you will get a feel for the dual-control system. It has a three-level automatic pedelec with a half (grip) throttle that can be used anytime. There is no ‘off’ setting for the pedelec function, something I suggested to the folks at EVELO that every E-bike with a pedelec should have. The power feeds through the rear hub, so your speed and torque (from the motor) is affected by the way the NuVinci hub is set. Of course, your pedaling power is altered in the same way.
It might take some time to become accustomed to the way the motor’s power and the hub interact. Before long though, you will be understanding this E-bike’s drivetrain and getting maximum efficiency and pleasure from it all. The 250 watt brushless motor is kind of under-powered in today’s world of over-powered E-bikes, but the fact the motor drives through the ‘gears’ makes up for most of that. I am no big fan of the high power E-bikes, yet for some with steep hills in their area, they are needed.
I did a lot of riding and liked the challenge of working the hub to match my leg’s power input and that of the motor drive system. The ride and feel of the Aurora added to the fun. I powered up some decent sized hills and cruised some fairly level beach routes. The bike seemed to take it all in stride and never let me down. A pair of people from EVELO took two of their E-bikes on a ride from New York to San Francisco last year. I’m sure it was a long haul, and I can see why they made it to the end.
I did have a few issues that I worked through. One is the fact that with the NuVinci optional up-grade, the lack of a way to adjust the chain tension in the conventional manner requires a chain tensioner. That part of the bike gave me a few headaches, but still didn’t dampen my fun or cause any loss of riding time. A few other tid-bits caught my attention too. I was very pleased to find that the crew at EVELO were more than receptive to my criticisms and suggestions. I feel they want their E-bike to be the best and their response to my notes were taken with enthusiasm.
Looking and riding good, the EVELO Aurora was a fun E-bike to spend time with. It has some different things going on than most other bikes on the market. I am big on the NuVinci hub and am getting more into the mid-drive E-bikes every week. If the same-old, same-old doesn’t do it for you, then see what you can do to saddle up on one of this company’s E-bikes. You may not want to ride yours cross-country, but who am I to stop you?
Mid-drive? I like it. Turbo.
“The next three evenings, for it was well in to the summer, I rode a dozen miles out into the country, where fresh air smelt like cows**t and the land was colored different, was wide open and windier than in the streets. Marvelous. It was like a whole new life starting up, as if till then I’d been tied by a mile-long rope round the ankle to home.”—Alan Sillitoe, “The Bike”.
Check the EVELO website for more details.
I’ve done two reviews on the NuVinci N360 Hub. Have a look.
Here is a link to the video I posted on the EVELO Aurora. I may post one more too.