Automatic VS mechanical e-bike: Evelo Galaxy Lux/SL Review

You might have missed it, but automatic e-bikes are here, and they are amazing. Although the days of selecting your gears on bicycles may never leave us, we are now at the point where shifting is optional. Today we have two otherwise identical bikes with only one major difference: automatic vs. mechanical gears. How do they fare side by side?

Specs (Galaxy SL and Galaxy Lux)

  • Battery: 36v 13Ah / 48v 11.6Ah
  • Drive Interface: KMC Chain / Gates CDX Belt
  • Gearing: Enviolo Stepless CTV / Enviolo Automatiq
  • Motor: Dapu MD 500 500w 
  • Motor Engagement: Torque Pedal Assist, Throttle
  • Tires: 24? x 2.4?
  • Brakes: 180mm Dual Piston Hydraulic
  • Extras: full-color display, full fenders, comfort grips, integrated lights, brake lights, easy step-though frame, comfort saddle, rear battery rack, water bottle holder

Evelo’s 10th Rodeo

Evelo has been making electric bikes specialized for the North American market for 10 years and, during that time, has implemented a variety of drive and motor systems across their lineup. Many other electric bikes are rebranded bikes from the Chinese or European market, and that suits a great deal of needs too. But Evelo is one of few companies that has a history of crafting electric bikes for the needs of North American riders. 

After all this time, Evelo is also ahead of the pack with extra support services, such as a four-year warranty, optional assembly, open box sales, and fast shipping. It’s nice to see the bike company growing with the industry, as that’s unfortunately uncommon.

Evelo isn’t the first electric bike company to make use of an automatic transmission, but they are likely the first to do so with a 500w motor and full throttle availability. Many other higher-end bicycles are specced in Europe, where motor wattage and throttle laws are quite limiting. As much as I love a well-built, efficient e-bike from Germany, for a comfort commuter, I’d prefer more electric power.

Galaxy Bike Similarities

The Galaxy SL and Galaxy Lux both land squarely in the middle of comfort and commuting. Aside from the drive system, the two bikes are identical. The frame, pedals, saddle, rack, and cockpit all work together to give a comforting, inviting stance while riding. The wheels, tires, and brakes provide great control, air volume, and stopping power, respectively. All of the angles, lines, and parts were specially selected, and it really shows in the finished product. Although the list of differences is quite short, it makes a big impact on how the bikes behave (and cost).

Galaxy SL is “Cheaper” (still really nice)

The Galaxy SL is the cheaper model, but cheaper is a relative term. Truly, the Galaxy SL is a comfortable, smooth bike in its own right. So far, many of the specs we’ve listed are held on bikes with higher caliber, and the SL model continues that with the drive. Instead of a rear derailleur hanging off the back of the bike, the SL model features an internal hub with a continuous variation. This means that instead of clicking into a set number of gears, the rider can twist the grip to change the gearing within a wide range. All the gearing occurs inside the rear hub, and it’s quite amazing. The SL model is also carrying a smaller battery: 36v 13Ah. This battery has a fair amount of range but lacks the punch of a higher-voltage bike battery.

Although Evelo does occasional sales, the MSRP for the Galaxy SL is $3,199.

Galaxy Lux is Nicer

The Galaxy Lux uses a fully automatic transmission with a belt interface and a battery pack with more power at the ready. The 48v 11.6Ah battery has the guts to power up almost any hill, even under full throttle mode. The real cost difference is in the automatic drive. The user can connect the rear hub to a phone app (yep, even bike parts have apps now) and then select the desired cadence (or RPMs), and the bike will do the rest. Whether starting, stopping, rolling down a hill, or climbing up, the transmission changes on its own to fit the preset number of pedal rotations. It works, and it’s great. Also, the Lux model replaces the chain drive with a belt drive, which improves upon the smoothness, longevity, and durability.

Likewise, under periodic sales, the Galaxy Lux has an MSRP of $4,399.

Electrek’s Take

We’ve spent enough time talking about the bikes and how they work, but who are they made for? Not me, in particular, but for my mother, I would absolutely say yes. 

If you have a cycling background, then you’d be fine with the Galaxy SL. If you’re already in the habit of shifting, then you’d likely appreciate having total control of the mechanical hub. With that experience, your legs might be just fine putting some skin in the game, and the smaller battery power may be just fine for you.

I would recommend the Galaxy Lux for someone who is getting back into cycling after decades of a prolonged break from riding. For many returning riders, having automatic shifting may be a necessity, and that’s OK. The advancements in technology allow more people to bikes who otherwise wouldn’t. And this is exactly what we all hoped would happen. Finally, there is a bike that can be set for size and pedal preference, and it’s done. If you want to ride with 10-year-old legs again, never worried about gears or numbers, the Lux is the bike for you.

Get $100 off the order of an Evelo with this code: REF-4Q1DYKZ39397O5.

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