Test Driving The Evelo Aries, An Electric Bicycle For Commuters From A Bootstrapped Startup

When co-founder Boris Mordkovich and his team at Evelo were ready to launch their electric bicycle company in April 2012, they took an unusual approach: They rode electric bikes from New York to San Francisco, stopping frequently along the way to demo their bikes to prospective bicycle dealers and customers. Now, the bootstrapped startup, which sells three models of electric bikes, is on track to exceed $1 million in revenue in 2013.

Mordkovich says the company will be open to VC funding “in another year or so” to help accelerate its growth. With the worldwide electric bike market expected to grow from its current $8.4 billion in annual revenue to $10.8 billion a year by 2020, Evelo could be striking at just the right time.

I tried out the Aries, a sporty bike that feels a lot like a mountain bike, but with a motor that can hit 20 miles per hour and go 40 miles on a single charge. I rode the Aries around SOMA near our TechCrunch San Francisco office, and really enjoyed it. It feels a lot like riding a heavy mountain bike, with a nice assist for those tough San Francisco hills (or if you just want to zoom without getting all sweaty).

The bike isn’t on the same level as the Specialized Turbo, a beautiful electric bike from a major bike manufacturer, but the Turbo, at $5,900, is almost three times the price of the Aries ($1,995). At this lower price point, the Aries is a great option for an urban commuter. If I lived in San Francisco full time, I would definitely nab one of these. Check it out in the video above.