We have already reviewed the Afternoon 20"-wheeled folder from French company Eovolt. We now turn our attention to the largest model in the range, a 24"-wheeled compact model, the Eovolt Evening (there is also a 16"- wheeled model, the Morning, that we haven't yet reviewed).
Smooth design, novel battery
Like the other two models in the range, the Evening features a seatpost battery design with the battery cells housed in the seatpost itself. You can see a few similar designs on other folding e-bikes from other manufacturers, though none do a 24"-wheeled compact version.
Not only is the Evening a unique offering (as far as we are aware), it also has the trademark hand-polished welds on a lovely smooth frame that comes in a nice range of cool pastel colours. It also looks very practical, the sloping downtube of the step-through design giving really easy access whilst getting on and off, and the 25kg-rated pannier rack, metal mudguards, sturdy kickstand and powerful front and rear lights also add to the impression of a cool-looking and very well-made e-bike.
It's clear that Eovolt's other models, defined by their 16" and 20" wheels (the latter also having front suspension), are aimed at distinct markets. The former targets those who want a lightweight and compact folding e-bike (and don't mind a relatively small battery) and the latter those who want a more comfortable ride with a longer range but still want folding capability.
If that's the case, who is the larger, non-folding Evening (without suspension) aimed at? This became apparent whilst riding it, with the larger (and much larger volume) tyres giving even more comfort than the 20"-wheeled Afternoon.
The non-folding aspect has the obvious disadvantage that the bike won't fold down, but has the added advantage that the sloping downtube makes for a lower step-over height than is possible on the folding models (that require a horizontal frame design in order to fold).
All this, in combination with there being more room to fit bigger panniers at the back, make the Evening virtually a mini-town e-bike that can legitimately claim to be in the same territory as much larger step-through Dutch style e-bikes. OK, the smaller wheels won't have quite the same stability as the ubiquitous larger wheels on classic Dutch designs, but they certainly don't feel at all twitchy, and the high volume tyres are just wonderful for rolling over fairly large potholes and venturing off-road onto even rougher railpaths and the like than the Afternoon would feel comfortable on.
I haven't yet mentioned that, like many other compacts, the Afternoon has some space saving features that mean it can be stored inside a house or wherever space is a bit tight. The handlebar post folds to drop down alongside the front wheel and the pedals fold, making for a long thin package convenient for keeping in hallways and the like. The only downside to compact storage is if you have lift it up many flights of steps - at 23.54kg on my scales, it's not the lightest e-bike out there.
I was curious why Eovolt had made a 24" wheeled e-bike when you see so few of them around, but after riding one I'm totally sold on the concept of 24" in general and was impressed by the way Eovolt had put it into practice. The only reason I can think of why there aren't more 24" compacts is the fickleness of bike industry fashion...
I described the Afternoon as having a smooth and comfortable ride, and the larger 24" wheels on the Evening give an even plusher and more stable experience, even without the need for suspension. Those big volume CST 24 x 2.4" (61-507mm) tyres really do their job. The solid frame and handlepost hinge joints had virtually no flex whilst riding, and so the overall effect was one of comfort and stability but also of an e-bike you could ride in a sporty fashion if you wanted by standing out of the saddle and pulling on the bars.
Nutt hydraulic disc brakes proved smooth and powerful and the seven-speed Shimano Tourney derailleur gears did the job reliably, as you would expect.
Again, as on the Afternoon, the pedal crank movement sensing system was nice and responsive, kicking in soon after I started pedalling. The hill climbing ability of the geared rear hub motor was pretty good too, posting a time of just under three minutes up our extended hill climb, which is very respectable. It made it up our ultra-steep mini-climb too - quite a lot slower than mid-drive machines, but this is a hill that has defeated quite a number of underpowered and overgreared hub-motored machines over the years.
The 504Wh seatpost battery with Samsung cells is really a standout feature as not all smaller e-bikes have such big batteries. The seatpost can be locked in place or removed so you have no fear your valuable battery will get stolen. In tandem with the reasonably efficient cadence sensing system I estimated a range of 30-40 miles over hilly Pennine foothills would be a typical range for my 68kg frame, using just enough power to give me a moderate workout.
The only real negative I would list is that the connection lead in the bottom of the battery seatpost collects crud very easily as it's right in the line of fire of spray from the front wheel. In practical terms, it may not be a big issue as the connection is a good, positive one with the security of a click fitting, but if you regularly take the battery seatpost out you may find yourself cleaning the outside of the connection quite often to stop dirt getting dragged into the frame's seattube. Eovolt might want to look at some kind of weather protection in front of the connector on future bikes.
In short, the Evening is a very nice e-bike. Whilst it might look a bit pricey against a number of small-wheeled hub motored rivals found on Amazon et al, bear in mind Eovolt has several advantages over direct-to-consumer machines that might come several hundred pounds cheaper. Eovolt has a presence in well-respected retailers, such as JE James and Pure Electric, a UK distribution office and a well set out 2 year warranty, which again also distinguishes it from at least some of the lower-priced competition.
Cheaper models may feature mechanical disc brakes of some kind, not the very nicely performing Nutt hydraulics found on the Evening. The wheels are built by Eovolt themselves in the Lyon factory as part of a process that is seeing the firm progressively bring more and more elements of manufacturing under their own control. Further features that mark out the Eovolt from other budget machines are the super smooth welds already noted and internally routed brake and gear cables.
Indeed the Eovolt Evening is pretty much in a category of it's own. Other compacts tend to use smaller 20" wheels and also to be pricier mid-drives. Witness the Cube Compact, Orbea Katu-e and Riese and Muller Tinker ranges - though the Katu-e's £2,199 start price certainly looks tempting. Still, they all lack that lovely low step-over height of the Evening and the off-road ability and comfort of the those bigger wheels. All in all the Evening is a very practical and versatile e-bike that has plenty of good looks too.