Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions we get asked most frequently. Click on the question to reveal the answer!What is an electric bicycle and how do I operate one?» Do I need a driver’s license, insurance or a registration to operate an electric bicycle?» Does pedaling recharge the battery?» What kind of a range can I expect from my EVELO bike?» What happens if I get a flat tire? What about when I need new brake pads or another bicycle part? Can EVELO electric bicycles be serviced by any bicycle shop?» I am concerned that the electric parts of my new EVELO Electric Bicycle will attract unwanted attention.» How heavy are these bikes? I'm worried they'll be too heavy for me to carry upstairs to my apartment.» Is 250W of power enough - especially when others are advertising 500W or more?» If I engage the electric-only mode using the throttle, will the pedals be spinning as well?» Are the electric components waterproof?» How large are the frames? Do you offer different sizes for different heights?» How durable are the bikes?» Are any tune-ups needed after the bike is put together?» Where was your patented motor designed?» Do you ship the bikes fully assembled?» How do you ship your bikes? How do you prevent shipping damage?» Do your batteries offer overcharge and undercharge protection? Is it safe to leave them on a charger overnight?» Are your bikes the right size for me? Where can I get more information about the bike's dimensions?»
An electric bicycle is essentially a regular bicycle equipped with an electric motor designed to make the ride more enjoyable. Most can operate in three modes:
1. Pedal Only – The bike is ridden just like a regular bicycle, powered by the rider.
2. Pedal Assist – The onboard computer activates the motor only when the pedals are turned/used in order to assist the rider. This mode makes it easier to pedal up hills and against the wind. The rider can control the level of assistance that is received from the motor. Using the bicycle in this mode requires no effort on the part of the rider. The onboard computer takes the guesswork out of it.
3. Electric Only (or Twist and Go) – The rider simply twists the throttle in order to engage the motor and start moving (similar to the operation of a moped). While a lot of electric bicycles offer this option, exclusive use of the feature will drastically reduce the range of the battery. Pedaling, even lightly, will help you get the most out of your bike.
All of EVELO Electric Bicycles are equipped with all of 3 options: Pedal Only, Pedal Assist and Electric Only.
The short answer is: no, you do not. According to federal laws, a bicycle with an electric motor capable of generating up to 750 watts of power and able to propel a rider to a speed of up to 20 mph, equipped with fully functioning pedals, is considered to be a bicycle or a consumer good rather than a motor vehicle. Therefore, it is NOT under the jurisdiction of the DOT. That means you can operate it without a license, and in most cases ride it anywhere regular bicycles are allowed.
While it is technically possible to recharge a bicycle battery by pedaling, we don’t consider it a good idea to do so, and EVELO bikes do not have this feature. There are a number of reasons why this recharging method is problematic.
First of all, it would require a much heavier direct drive motor, which would make the overall bike even heavier.
Secondly, it would also mean constant resistance from the motor, trying to act as a generator. This would mean that if you ran out of power or just wanted to ride around with no battery, you would be constantly fighting the motor drag.
Finally, it is virtually impossible to produce enough energy by pedaling to make a significant impact on your range. You would need to pedal hard, always fighting the motor, for hours on end to get a few extra miles.
Our motors are lighter and produce no drag, so even if you run out of battery power, you will have no problem getting to your destination. If you are worried about your range when commuting to work, an extra charger in your office will solve this issue.
EVELO bikes offer an estimated range of 40 miles per charge in Pedal Assist mode or 20 miles in Electric Only mode.
However, these are estimated ranges. Bikes are similar to cars in this respect, in that the mileage or range you get from a gallon of gas in your car depends on many factors. In the case of an electric bicycle, the range depends on things like the terrain, the weight of the rider, head wind, the degree of pedal assistance you require, whether you pedal a bit or not at all, and many other factors.
One of the biggest issues with many electric bicycles on the market today is that most are manufactured overseas using generic parts. This often means that if an important part wears out or breaks, it may be difficult or impossible to find a replacement for it locally. An electric bike in such a condition essentially becomes a throw-away product.
At EVELO, we made it a priority to make sure this would not happen with our bikes. In fact, 99% of the parts on our bicycles are completely standard, brand-name parts, which means that finding a replacement will not be an issue. To our clients, this means peace of mind now as well as years from now.
This is an important and valid concern we hear from many who have tried or have considered trying an electric bike. Therefore, when first designing our bicycles, one of our primary goals was to make our bikes as “stealthy” as possible. EVELO bikes don’t look much different from a typical bike. To achieve this design, we hid most of the wiring inside the frame, integrated the battery into the rear rack while keeping it completely functional and installed the motor into the bottom bracket. As a result, the only attention your new bicycle should get is compliments on how great it looks. In our experience, most people do not recognize that these are electric bicycles unless you tell them.
While the electrical components do add to the weight of the bicycle, we use some of the lightest components available on the market. The end result is that — depending on the model — our bikes start at around 55 lbs with the battery installed. While this is a bit more than regular bicycles, it is much lighter than inexpensive electric bikes that use steel frames and Sealed Lead Acid batteries.
The cost is a matter of perspective. Comparing high-end electric bicycles to the type of e-bikes sold in department store is really comparing apples to oranges. Department store bikes are meant to be toys, whereas EVELO electric bicycles are meant to be car replacements for short distance commuting and recreation.
According to the Sierra Club, “nearly half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile.” Consider the money you would save by replacing at least some of these car trips with using your new electric bicycle. It would mean no money spent on gas, no time and money spent on parking, no time spent sitting in traffic, and less money spent on car maintenance — not to mention the health benefits that come from being more active.
Finally, think about it this way. The price of a good electric bicycle equals approximately 20 tanks of gas for your car right now, and you know that each year gas prices are only going to go up.
Overall, the prices of EVELO electric bikes are comparable to other “serious” electric bikes on the market, and we happen to believe that our product is of exceptional quality!
The main difference is performance. Hub motors drive the wheel rather than taking advantage of the bicycle gears. As a comparison, think of having a car with only one gear. If the one-gear car were made for speed, it would struggle to climb up even the slightest hill without giving it more gas, which would cause terrible gas mileage. If it were made for torque, it would start great, but would not be able to achieve any significant speed, without once again wasting a lot of gas.
The EVELO Mid-Drive motor system takes care of this issue by allowing the motor to take advantage of the bicycle gears. The end result is a highly efficient bicycle that can climb any hill you throw at it, while letting you keep up with the fastest riders in your group, all using a mere 250 watts of power.
Looking at it from a safety perspective, a hub motor that is installed on the rear wheel makes the bike very rear-heavy and affects the balance. On the other hand, if the motor is installed on the front wheel, it may lack traction going up hills and might spin in wet weather. EVELO’s placement of the mid-drive motor results in a low center of gravity, providing balance and stability for the bike.
Furthermore, even basic maintenance tasks such as taking off the wheel to change a flat tire become an issue with a hub motor. A rear hub motor usually needs to be secured in the frame to prevent breakage, which makes a simple task like fixing a flat tire a very complicated endeavor.
EVELO has solved the safety issues by installing the motor in the lowest possible point on the bicycle frame, maintaining a low center of gravity, and avoiding maintenance issues by making the electrical system independent from the major bicycle components.
It is – if used with the proper motor.
Many electric bicycle companies use the “watts” as a way to promote their bikes as being more powerful. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all “watts” are created equal nor do they deliver the same level of performance.
For electric bikes with a traditional hub motor, it’s common to see ratings of 500 watts. The reason for these comparatively high ratings is that a hub motor produces very little torque and needs a lot of power to get you moving on flat ground, let along conquer hills. A 250 watt hub motor would not be able to get you far.
However, the 250W mid-drive motor that EVELO uses is capable of taking full advantage of the bicycle gears. Thus, the 250 watts of power that they use is multiplied in transition through the crank and, as a result, generates more torque and power than a traditional 500W hub motor. We often have customers tell us that the 250 watt mid-drive motor feels faster and more powerful than a 500 watt hub motor they tried elsewhere.
The best part is that a mid-drive motor is more efficient, so it conserves battery life and provides you with a longer range.
No, there is a freewheel mechanism built into the motor. So when you engage the electric-only mode by using the throttle, the chainwheel will turn, but the pedals will not. In other words, you can easily go on electric power only without having to pedal.
We placed most of the wires inside the frame and secured the entry points with rubber seals to waterproof everything as much as possible. That being said, we all know that electronics do not work well with water. We do not suggest riding in a downpour if you can avoid it, and certainly stay away from deep puddles, but a little rain will be unlikely to damage anything. Use common sense when deciding where to travel, just as you would with a regular bike or other means of transportation.
We do not offer different frame sizes on EVELO bikes, as their design makes our bikes pretty versatile. Depending on the model, the bikes can accommodate people from 5 ft to over 6 ft in height. The adjustable handlebar stems included on all of our bikes, coupled with adjustable seats, make for a comfortable ride no matter the rider’s height.
We have complete faith that you will be satisfied with the durability of EVELO bikes. To demonstrate our dedication to quality construction, we are sponsoring the Trans-American Electric Bike Tour in Spring 2012, where two individuals are traveling from New York to San Francisco, a distance of 4,000 miles, on two of our bikes.
Neither bike was modified in any way, except for extra battery packs and slicker tires to lower the rolling resistance. You can follow their progress at Trans-American Electric Bike Tour website.
While a tune-up is not required, we generally recommend it. A proper tune up at a professional bike shop will ensure that everything is properly adjusted, lubed, and ready to be enjoyed.
The motor was originally designed in Italy.
Since we ship throughout the United States and the rest of the world, it is simply not possible to ship the bikes fully assembled. Your bike will arrive about 95% assembled. The only assembly you will need to undertake is to put on the front wheel, install the handlebars, screw on the pedals, attach the fender and the front light, and you are good to go! The whole process should not take more than 15-30 minutes, and no special skills or tools are required.
We ship most of our bikes via FedEx Ground. Orders placed during business days before noon PST are usually shipped the same day. We use two heavy-duty boxes for packing each bike, which provides two layers of protection during shipping. We feel this extra packaging is an important part of protecting your purchase even if it costs us a bit extra in shipping costs due to increased weight and added packaging.
Both our batteries and bicycle controllers offer low and high voltage protection. Therefore, you are protected against accidental overcharging and undercharging, both of which can damage the battery. It is also perfectly safe to leave the battery on the charger overnight. We do not, however, recommend leaving it connected to an outlet for more than a day or so at a time.
In order to extend your battery life, we also highly recommend charging the battery every 3 months when not actively using it. Finally, while the lithium batteries do not need to be charged immediately after a ride, we recommend doing so in order to extend the battery life.
These simple tips will help you get the most out of your batteries.
You can find all of the sizing information on the individual bike page (see Our Bicycles section) under the Sizing tab (right side of the page).
If you are not sure which bicycle would fit you best, please contact us and we’ll be happy to do an individual consultation to figure out the best fit for your particular height, weight and riding style.