autoevolution
Car video reviews:
 

Ridden: Engwe's Fat Tire "MTB" Is a Speed Demon With Crazy Power and Attractive Price Tag

Over the past couple of years, autoevolution has been keeping tabs on an e-bike manufacturer by the name of Engwe. The reason being is that they offer powerful monstrosities at a price lower than the other guys. This was enough for us to get in touch with this crew and test their baseline machine, the EP-2 Pro. Here's what to expect for just $1,050 (€1,025 at current exchange rates).
Engwe EP-2 Pro 46 photos
Engwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 Pro Shifter and ThrottleEngwe EP-2 Pro ControllerEngwe EP-2 Pro LockoutEngwe EP-2 Pro KeyEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 Pro MotorEngwe EP-2 Pro Cargo RackEngwe EP-2 Pro Rear LightEngwe EP-2 Pro SeatEngwe EP-2 Pro Folding Release HandleEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 Pro Folding Release HandleEngwe EP-2 Pro HeadlightEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 Pro DisplayEngwe EP-2 Pro ControllerEngwe EP-2 Pro FoldingEngwe EP-2 Pro FoldingEngwe EP-2 Pro FoldingEngwe EP-2 Pro FoldedEngwe EP-2 Pro BatteryEngwe EP-2 Pro FoldedEngwe EP-2 Pro Folded StandEngwe EP-2 Pro BatteryEngwe EP-2 Pro Tires and FendersEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 ProEngwe EP-2 Pro DisplayEngwe EP-2 Pro Walk Assist
Over the past few years, a wave of two-wheeling EVs has been hitting the market, e-bikes. One crew responsible for some of the machines we see is Engwe, a team born in California which carries out its assembly in China, like most other budget-friendly manufacturers. So, to stand out from the crowd, Engwe decided to make a name for itself with capable machines that sell for a lower price than most other bikes of similar configuration.

For example, the EP-2 Pro, the bike I've been testing for a few weeks now, is selling for $1,050. But for this price, you're looking at an off-road capable e-bike powered by a 750-watt motor. Yes, 750 watts, with a peak output sitting at 960 watts, according to Engwe's website. What does this mean for you? Take the next few minutes to find out just that. I recommend starting with the image gallery.

The Machine

To make things a tad easier to understand, let me break everything down. What we're looking at is nothing more than an e-bike that uses an aluminum frame as the base for its magic. Considering the electronics packed into this bike, an aluminum frame helps keep weight down to a minimum. Nonetheless, you're looking at a 34-kilogram (75-pound) machine. Overall, there's no internal cable routing for this price, but a trick that the EP-2 can perform is that of folding.

If needed, at the push of a button and a pull of a lever, this EV folds in half. Another button and the steering column drops, and finally, the seat can be lowered too. In all, it takes about 15-20 seconds to fold everything. An issue may occur when you try to make it stand up on its own when folded. I'm not saying it can't, but the support integrated into the frame isn't centered, and the EP-2 sits a tad open while upright. For transporting the e-bike, no problems whatsoever, as it'll fit in most SUVs and some sedans.

Now for the good stuff. I mentioned that Engwe likes to stand out by offering more than enough power and speed to really get a kick out of their products. To do so, the EP-2 is equipped with that 750-watt motor, but it also cranks out up to 55 Nm (41 ft-lb) of torque. Powering everything is a 48-volt 130-amp-hour battery pack hidden in that rectangular frame. What does all this mean for you? The manufacturer's website mentions that the top speed sits at a tad under 25 mph (40 kph, dependent on your local laws and regulations) and an estimated range of up to 75 miles (120 kilometers) on a single charge.

As for the rest of the bike, it's equipped with features designed to help you access a majority of terrains and roads or paths. While a folding frame clearly defines the EP-2 as a city bike, the inclusion of a front fork tells you that it can do a tad more than just stick to the tarmac. Engwe considers this bugger a "folding mountain e-bike." While it's unclear how much travel this fork can achieve, 80 millimeters (3.14 inches) of exposed stanchion is what I measured. Those fat tires also help offer a soft ride and can attain good grip off-road and even on loose ground. That's the base for what you see. Throw on some fenders, lights, and a comfy seat, and that's the EP-2 Pro. But what's the ride like?

The Ride

Before you hop on and ride off into that Californian sunset, you'll need to get your hands dirty with some assembling. You'll need to install the steering column into the head tube – don't worry, it's meant to look funky, as it helps during folding –, add the handlebar, install the fenders, cargo rack, and seat, and then you'll be ready. All that took me about a tad over an hour, so make sure you have that time available.

It was then on to a pre-ride check-up, ensuring the brakes and shifter work properly, and I was, maybe, ready to go. It took me a few more minutes to figure out how to start this bugger, as the instructions say something about quarter and full turns of the key to engage or disengage the battery pack; I thought it was funny, but it's understandable why this measure has been applied. With this much power, whoever hops on and isn't ready is sure to be thrown off or will simply run into something.

With a helmet on, and tire pressure at proper levels, I was out the door, heading to the elevator. If there's one thing I can say about this bike, it's much larger than expected. With the handlebars and seat in riding position, you may have trouble squeezing into an elevator with the bike unfolded; fold it, as it's much easier to fit into tight spaces. At street level, I turned this puppy on and settled into the saddle. With a push of the pedal, I was off. From here, how should I put this? If there are two things you can take away from this short-term review, it's that this freaking demon is faster than a bat out of hell, and is also rather loud.

First of all, when you push the pedal down, it'll take a fraction of a second before the motor kicks in, and once it does, you'll definitely hear it. After all, it's 750 watts. Then, there are the wheels and the sound those massive off-roading knobs make when hitting asphalt. Nonetheless, all that noise is accompanied by more than enough speed to forget all about anything else that's going on. Yes, it's a fun and powerful ride, and you can access it by pedaling or simply using the throttle function; sit back and enjoy the ride. Oh, as a side note, my version catches 28 mph (45 kph) with throttle function; maybe you get lucky too.

As for testing this motor's abilities, I live in a rather hilly area, and that's always welcome whenever I test an e-bike. Without spending too much time on explanations, 750 watts are more than enough to help you overcome just about any urban hill and uneven terrain. At some point, one particular hill by my home comes across with an incline of nearly 35%; not a damn problem for this electrified two-wheeler.

Up next, I started to pay attention to the comfort level that the EP-2 boasts. While those 4-inch cross-section tires are loud, their balloon-like construction is perfect for city streets with cracks. They're also rather good at gripping the ground during offroad riding sessions and on leaf litter. Couple that with the travel found on the front, a big ol' seat good enough for my dad's glutes (ex-bodybuilder), and it feels rather nice to be cruising the streets like you're using an airbag suspension; that's basically what those balloons amount to.

So far, we know what to expect in terms of power and comfort, but what about range? Well, I mentioned that Engwe states a range of up to 75 miles on a single charge, and honestly, this thing gets hella close to that number, easily. The drivetrain is equipped with a 7-speed transmission, aside from the five electronically selected speed settings. This gives you enough range to find that sweet spot in terms of cadence and effort exerted, and it allows you to even ride the bike with no electric assistance whatsoever.

And so, yes, I can break 60 miles (96 kilometers) of range with this EV on just one charge, as you can stay in the lower speed settings and simply control the rest of the experience from the derailleur. All that depends on the strength in your legs, so go to the gym if you want more fuel efficiency in your life. With just the throttle taking over, around 25 miles (40 kilometers) was my range in the fifth gear, and going as fast as possible. I was still seeing three out of five bars on the display's charge meter with the 43 miles (70 kilometers) I had logged onto the odometer at the time of taking these photos.

This brings me to the one and only issue I have with the Engwe EP-2 Pro, its brakes. I believe that if your bicycle can hit 45 kph, you may need a tad more than just mechanical disc brakes rocking 160-millimeter (6.3-inch) rotors. I recently tested another urban bike, the City Vanture, and that bugger's equipped with 180-millimeter (7.1-inch) hydraulic brakes; I can hit a top speed of 24 mph (38 kph) on it. If Engwe were to throw on some larger brakes, it wouldn't hurt. I'd be happy to drop an extra hundred bucks on the final price too. Go ahead and do that yourself if you like to tinker with these machines.

Finally, let me talk about all the other little knick-knacks that stand out on this bike. First off, get used to wires and cable, there are lots of them, and frankly, it's fine, as you shouldn't be riding downhill tracks on this anyway, risking snagging on anything; it's fine through traffic. Secondly, the cockpit may feel cluttered, and components are mainly built using plastic, including the controller, the Shimano shifter, and the display.

Oh, let's not forget about this bugger's cargo-carrying abilities. That rear rack is suitable for up to 55 kg (121 lbs) of cargo. It's enough to classify it as a seat in Engwe's user manual, and I love it. Sharing the ride is doable with this one, and the motor has no issue taking care of the extra load, be it groceries, your child, or your significant other. The latter may be pushing it a bit.

Conclusion

In short, go for it. If you're looking for speed, the EP-2 definitely has it; just wear a helmet, even go as far as throwing on a full-face one if traffic is crazy in your area. If you're looking for comfort, it's got that too. Seeking to get into the e-bike game with as little cash as possible while hitting the fun and possibly the adrenaline factor - those brakes? The EP-2 is one trinket to consider for sure. All that's left to do now is keep riding this thing and see you the next time I come bearing news about how it all went, in a long-term review.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories