Cruising Vancouver in ENVO’s Veemo: The 3-Wheel eBike ‘Car’ You Can Ride in Bike Lanes
When I was invited to an ENVO event, I knew I’d get a chance to check out their ebikes, even though the event was mostly to reveal their new electric ‘UPT’ vehicle. While the UPT was interesting, it’s on the edge of Bikerumor’s scope so I was glad we spent some time riding a few of ENVO’s ebikes too.
In addition to their line of familiar-looking ebikes, ENVO also had their semi-enclosed Veemo three-wheelers available for test rides. I got the chance to briefly ride the Veemo, plus ENVO’s D50 and STAX ebikes.
One note – Since these bikes were not the focus of the launch event, the Veemo, and D50 I rode were not fully built to current specs. Those differences are noted below.
The D50 is ENVO’s all-purpose ebike, built on an aluminum hardtail frame. With mounts for racks and bags the D50 can be an ideal commuter, can haul cargo, or can be ridden on MTB trails with a few component upgrades. ENVO also sells an ST50 model, which is basically a D50 with a step-through frame.
The D50 comes with an SR Suntour 80mm suspension fork (not the RockShox fork shown on my demo bike). The bike comes with 27.5” wheels, but the frame is capable of running 29s. You will have to swap the fork to a 29” model if you upsize your wheels.
The D50 is powered by a 750W rear hub motor and a 48V 15Ah battery. Its top speed is 28mph, and its range is up to 93 miles (using the lowest pedal assist level). If you wish to double the bike’s range, a second full-sized battery can be added. One option ENVO offers is a torque sensor; the D50 comes stock with a cadence sensor, but if you want more response from your pedaling inputs you can opt for a torque sensor instead.
The D50’s controller provides five pedal assist levels and a throttle. A 9-speed drivetrain offers ample gear range for commuting but would be a bit lacking for MTB (especially given the D50’s large front chainring). Tektro hydraulic disc brakes offer reliable, all-weather stopping power.
The ENVO D50 sells for $2099. Small and Large frame sizes are offered, which should fit riders from 4’11” to 6’6”.
Right away I noticed the D50’s 750W hub motor offers lots of power. We got several chances to ride up steep roads on our short test ride, and even in the 3rd assist level out of 5, the bike had no problem sailing up them. The D50 still climbed with ease when I relied on throttle power only.
I did notice quite a bit of overdrive on the D50. I found the rear hub motor still providing power for 1-2 seconds after I stopped cranking, which could be dangerous if you’re not expecting it. With the stock cadence sensor, getting the bike going from a higher gear took a fair bit of effort. The optional torque sensor might help with initial pickup since it can detect how hard you’re pushing the pedal. Once the power comes on, it comes on pretty strongly and you pick up speed fast.
I’ve had limited experience with ebikes that have throttles, but I’ll agree it’s a convenient feature. It definitely came in handy when we veered onto steep uphill streets and I was pedaling in the wrong gear. The D50’s throttle offered plenty of power and quick acceleration.
The D50’s hydraulic brakes offered more than enough power for quick stops, and they would be ample for less intense trail rides too. At 5’10” I am within the recommended height range for the D50, and I had no issues with how the bike fit me.
The Stax is ENVO’s stealthy ebike option (though the massive seat post is a bit of a giveaway). This 6061 T6 aluminum flat bar gravel bike has a rigid aluminum fork and offers a faster, sleeker ride versus the D50. The Stax is fast on pavement, but since they gave it 700x40C gravel tires it can handle light-duty off-road terrain too. Coming in at 42lbs, the Stax isn’t super light, but not too heavy either.
The Stax’s hub motor offers 500W of output, and the seatpost battery provides 36V and 12.8 Ah of juice. The range tops out at 625 miles, and the max speed is 20mph. ENVO’s controller offers 5 levels of pedal assist, and the bike I rode had a throttle as well. Since you’ve got power, ENVO gave the Stax an integrated headlight.
Other non-electric components include an 8-speed drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes. The Stax frame does have mounts for fenders and rear racks if you want to haul some cargo. ENVO offers the Stax in one unisex frame size, intended for riders from 5’5” to 6’5”. It sells for $1879.
Right away I thought if I chose an ENVO ebike for commuting purposes, I would go for the Stax. I like the stealthy look of the bike, the very reasonable weight (you could actually carry this ebike up stairways), and the fast roll of the 700x40c tires. Sitting right in the middle of the Stax’s recommended height range, I found the frame fit me pretty well.
Even with 500W the lighter Stax has plenty of power on tap. The bike handled steep uphills with no problems at the middle assist level 3. Like the D50 I found the assist power comes on quick and strong, and launches you forward a bit suddenly. The throttle alone has no problem rocketing this bike along the streets and up hills.
ENVO says the Stax has ‘race-inspired’ geometry, and I wouldn’t disagree. The bars felt quite low on this bike, and the reach leaned me forward into a pretty aggressive riding position. I found the Stax’s handlebars quite narrow but I am used to riding 800mm MTB bars. The bars had a generous backsweep, too. If you’re wondering, it wouldn’t be easy to swap to a drop bar on the Stax, since the controller/throttle is made for a flat handlebar.
The Veemo is a semi-enclosed three-wheel velomobile, with front and rear suspension and a partial roof to keep you mostly weather-protected. The ENVO team said the lean roof works well enough that you don’t have to wear waterproof clothing on a rainy ride. For those wet days, the Veemo has a windshield wiper. Inside the enclosure, the Veemo offers a 60-liter cargo area behind the rider.
The Veemo is currently being field-tested in Vancouver by a food delivery worker named Sam. Apparently, he’s loving it, mostly because sitting in the Veemo’s seat for 8 hours a day is a lot more comfortable than sitting on a traditional bike seat.
Max power from the Veemo’s hub motor is 750W and 80Nm of torque, the max speed is 20mph, and its range is up to 125 miles (with the dual battery option). Like ENVO’s ebikes, the Veemo offers 5 levels of pedal assist and a throttle. A 9-speed drivetrain provides gear range, and the Veemo stops via hydraulic disc brakes on all three wheels (with regenerative braking). Other handy commuter features include head and tail lights, side mirrors, and a parking brake.
As for dimensions the Veemo’s front wheel width is 35”, its length is 79”, and it stands 59” tall. The Veemo weighs 135lbs. Its adjustable seat should fit riders between 5” and 6’4”.
*Video c. ENVO Drive Systems
In Vancouver, the Veemo is fully legal to ride in bike lanes… interested buyers might want to verify local regulations. The Veemo retails for $6199. ENVO is currently accepting down payments with availability expected in April 2024.
This was my first ever ride in an enclosed three-wheeler, so I’ll warn you I have no basis of comparison! I was curious to see how it would handle and how stable it would be, but quickly found it easy to drive. The Veemo’s front suspension is firm enough that you don’t lean deep into corners, but it still smooths out bumps in the road. After chatting with ENVO’s employees, I was convinced the Veemo won’t tip over unless you do something drastic. Apparently, no one has rolled a Veemo yet!
I was happy to find the Veemo’s turning radius was tight enough to get around city intersections with no problems. I also found the hydraulic brakes offered enough power to stop the Veemo easily.
Pedaling Around Town
With a full backrest, the Veemo’s seat was very comfortable, and I had no issues with the ride stance. I could get enough power to the pedals but sat in a pretty upright and comfy body position. I only had one ergonomic issue: My heels hit the floor under the pedals a few times while we cruised around. A bit more space there might be ideal.
The Veemo I rode had an outgoing Bosch motor system on it, so I can’t comment on the Veemo’s drive system. ENVO has updated the drivetrain with their own electronics since this prototype was built.
The Veemo isn’t really that wide, but it definitely feels wider than a regular bike when you’re driving it. It’s wide enough that as we were cruising around Vancouver’s side streets, cars were more cautious of driving around us than if we were on bikes. On bike paths, the Veemo was narrow enough that other cyclists could easily pass by.
With just a short ride on each, this is all I can say about ENVO’s Veemo, Stax and D50. For complete details on each visit ENVO’s EBike BC retail website, or envodrive.com.