Engwe Engine X review: an imposing e-bike for budget buyers

 Engwe Engine X e-bike.
Credit: Future

Engwe Engine X: one-minute review

The Engwe Engine X is impossible to miss with its brutalist and imposing design. For just under $1,300 / over £1,000, you'll get a bike that is made of budget parts. Unbranded disc brakes and gear mechanisms give reasonable performance but lack the sort of responsiveness that mid-range bikes deliver. When paired with the suspension, the 20-by-4-inch wheels provide a high level of absorption when travelling over uneven surfaces. The balance of the frame is not quite right for regular off-roading, which is probably the biggest downside of the bike.

The Engwe Engine X's battery is not very easy to remove, which is far from ideal when it comes to charging. It's nicely tucked away inside the frame but is unfortunately only accessible via a difficult-to-unclip mechanism. The 13Ah battery provides an advertised range of 120km, which is only remotely possible at the lowest level of pedal assist. I achieved nearer to 50km when commuting through a range of countryside, main roads, and city streets. A charging time of five hours is reasonable given the size of the battery.

For its weight and size, it is impressive that Engwe has managed to make this a foldable bike. That being said, not only were the folding clips hard to use, but also the weight made them nearly impossible to move around. You certainly wouldn't want to transport this in and out of a train or a car boot on a regular basis. It is also disappointing that there is no clip to keep it in its folded position.

If you're in the market for a super-budget e-bike, then you certainly get a lot for your money with the Engine X. More refined folding bikes, like the Brompton or the Estarli e20.7 are available but have the downside of being more expensive.

Engwe Engine X: Price and availability

Engwe Engine X Frame
Engwe Engine X Frame
  • $1,299 / £1,049 for single battery 

  • $1,816 / £1,438 for 16Ah battery version 

  • Available from the manufacturer directly

The Engwe M20 is available in the US, and thanks to the 250W motor and 25kph speed limiter, it is also road-legal in the UK.

There are two battery options: one with the default 13Ah and the second with a 16Ah battery. The former costs $1,299 / £1,049, whereas the latter will set you back $1,816 / £1,438. There is no option for a second battery on this bike, although it could certainly be customised.

Both packages have an identical bike that includes the frame, mudguards, Shimano gears, disc brakes, front and rear lights, as well as a stand.

If you're in the market for accessories, then Engwe offers a range of different options, including a rack bag, bike pump, lock, and additional tail lights for an additional cost.

Engwe Engine X: Design

Engwe Engine X Blocky design
Engwe Engine X Blocky design
  • Primitive design 

  • Very heavy bike 

  • Budget-friendly parts

After unboxing, cutting what seemed like a thousand cable ties, and building the Engwe Engine X, I stood before something that I could only describe as imposing. The brutalist design emanates from the single tube that stretches from front to back and continues throughout the whole frame. The rectangular frame design is necessary because it houses the battery, but it does result in an overly chunky design.

The focus appears to be primarily on function rather than aesthetics, something that is evidenced throughout the bike's design. The front headset sits uncomfortably high, making it very difficult to control the bike, especially at slow speeds.

The gear shifting is relatively smooth and efficient, but make no mistake, these are basic parts. The Shimano 7-speed gear system is comprised of a Tourney rear mechanism and a simple Shimano Indexed Shifting thumb shifter, both of which are on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

The disc calipers, again, are unbranded and connected to Wuxing brake levers, which collectively leaves a fair amount to be desired. I found them to be a little soft and, at times, not as responsive as I would have liked. The seat is large and overly soft, meaning I suffered from a fair amount of numb bums on my test rides.

The wheels are, like the rest of the bike, oversized. Measuring in at 20 by 4 inches, the Chao Yang tyres do a great job of cushioning any uneven bike track or potholed road surface. Mud from the wheels is sufficiently guided away from the cyclist thanks to the thick metal mudguards that cover a large part of the circumference of the wheel.

The front and rear lights are also very basic, with the front one being particularly primitive and flimsy. You'll want to provide your own lights for extra visibility, especially at the front.

I've left it until now to mention because its hard to believe, but this is a folding bike. You'll have to put beautiful folding mechanisms like the Brompton bike out of your mind, though, because Engwe hasn't managed to nail this part of the bike at all. It feels more like an afterthought than something beautifully integrated into the core of the bike. The clips are difficult to unclip, and I was anxious about damaging them by being too forceful. There is also no lock or clip for when the bike is folded, which makes it very difficult to move around.

All of this weight and robust build quality does have the added benefit that it'll withstand anything you could throw at it. Even though most of the joints and parts appear to be overengineered, it does mean that very few of the bike's parts look like they would ever break.

  • Design Score: 4/5

Engwe Engine X: Performance

Engwe Engine X Gear mechanism
Engwe Engine X Gear mechanism
  • An abundance of torque 

  • Top speed of 25km per hour 

  • Good suspension

The Engine X has a fair amount of power behind it. The motor has 250W of continuous power and a maximum peak of 500W, all delivering 50Nm of torque, giving the bike a fair amount of oomph, even from standing still. There are five pedal assist modes, which could really be reduced down to three. In reality, levels one and two provide such a limited amount of assistance that it begs the question of whether they're of any use.

I had no problems getting up most inclines, with the highest level of pedal assistance helping to pull me up small to medium inclines. Steeper hills took a bit more thought, but if I was able to get in the right gear, then the assistance was able to provide enough muscle to get me through.

The speed is limited to 25kmph, which is easily reached when using the fifth pedal assist setting. It is rather annoying to feel the motor disengage at maximum speed, but this is a requirement to be road legal in the UK. I did find the motor to be a little temperamental, especially when stopping and starting. At times, it took far too long to kick in, leaving me wondering if there was a problem with the bike.

The suspension performed really well, managing to smooth out almost all of the surfaces that I took it on. That being said, because of the substantial weight of the bike, I was reticent to take it on any track that might make it difficult to stay on the bike. The height of the handlebars also makes it tricky to handle, especially over mixed and varied terrain.

The bike coped really well in all weather conditions, with the mudguards able to handle even the wettest of conditions. The seat is soft, which resulted in getting a numb bum on medium to long journeys. The lights are good to have, but they didn't have enough power to light up the road on countryside roads with no street lights.

The keys have to be in the bike for it to work with the port located underneath the frame where the battery is located. This is a little awkward, not only because it looks odd, but also because it's annoying to have the key jangling around while cycling. This also means you won't want to attach your bike key to your main set of keys.

  • Performance score: 3.5/5

Engwe Engine X: Battery life

Engwe Engine X battery is located in the frame
Engwe Engine X battery is located in the frame
  • 120km range for each battery 

  • Five hour charge per battery 

  • Batteries encased in bike frame

The Engwe Engine X advertises a range of 120km, which is impressive for this size and weight of bike. In reality, getting anywhere near this range is only possible using the lowest level of pedal assist. That would be okay, but unfortunately, this bike is not set up for being used with minimal help. With such little assistance, the bike becomes very tricky to ride, mainly due to the weight, the balance, and the resistance. I found that achieving nearer to 50km with normal riding was more believable.

The frame only allows for a single battery, although it can be upgraded to 16Ah from 13Ah if so desired. The battery is contained inside the frame, which is great in terms of aesthetics but not great for ease of removal. The battery can be removed by disengaging one of the clips but this is very fiddly and really put me off wanting to do it on a regular basis. When it comes to an e-bike I want to be able to easily remove the battery at the end of a journey and charge it in the house.

The battery can be charged while located inside the frame but that does really limit the charging options to wherever the bike is stored which in my case is in the garage. That is far from an ideal charging location as far as I’m concerned.

A full charge is achieved in 5 hours, which is great for this size of battery.

  • Battery life score: 3.5/5

Engwe Engine X: Scorecard

Should you buy it?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

How I tested the Engwe Engine X electric bike

I enjoyed using the Engwe Engine X e-bike on my daily commute. My journey takes me through the countryside, along 60mph roads, and through the intricacies of city streets. To complement the different views, I was also treated to the full range of winter weather in England.

As a result, I was able to give every single part of the bike a good run-out and stress test everything in real-world conditions. The bike did a sterling job of coping with whatever was thrown at it, largely due to the heavyweight nature of every single component.

Read more about how we test.

First reviewed: June 2024