E Bikes Reviewed

Engwe M20: The Monkey bike of 2023 that makes for a delightful ride around town

I recently had the pleasure of taking the Engwe M20 for a spin, with its distinctive design it’s a compelling blend of small 20-inch wheels, bulky 4-inch tyres, and a spacious bench seat attached to a one-size-fits-all frame.

While this configuration might not scream “practical city commuter,” it does promise a delightful ride around town.

The Engwe M20’s design pays homage to the classic Honda Z series from the 1960s, often referred to as the ‘monkey bike’. The bike is adorned with a brown leather-like bench seat that rests on a jade green aluminium frame. The finishing touches include chunky tyres, dual headlights, and a carbon-effect top box that mimics a fuel tank.

The bike’s suspension incorporates a 100mm-travel rear air shock, allowing the back end to move independently. The dual-crown suspension fork at the front offers a similar level of smoothness. Despite the hefty tyres, the suspension does improve the ride’s comfort.

However, the M20 does have its share of drawbacks. For instance, the wiring loom for the dual lamps is not fully covered, leaving some wires exposed. Although this can be fixed with electrical tape, it’s a detail that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Prowheel crankset also appears a bit low-grade, but it does come with a decent chainguard.

Motor Assistance and Range

The Engwe M20’s motor system, while impressive, could use some refinement. The bright mono-screen is simple to read, and power modes can be toggled using buttons at the base of the screen. The controller also houses an on/off light switch and a horn.

The motor’s performance, particularly in the highest power mode, is quite robust. However, the pedal assistance struggles to match the motor’s power input. This resulted in instances where the bike felt as though it was operating independently of my pedalling.

Despite its power, the M20’s hefty weight can cause it to struggle on steep inclines. On gradients over 10 per cent, I noticed the motor starting to labour.

Range and Battery

Engwe claims the M20 can achieve a range of up to 75km when using its 55Nm electric bike motor on the lowest of its five levels. However, I found I had to sacrifice the bike’s fun factor to achieve this range.

The maximum range I managed with a single battery was around 45km, with 326m of ascent. The bike does have the option to add an additional battery, doubling the capacity from 624Wh to 1,248Wh.

Charging times aren’t as speedy as the motor. It took approximately 5 hours and 35 minutes to charge from empty. The battery locks into place securely but can be removed for easier charging.

The Engwe M20 offers an extremely comfortable ride. The bike’s handling is balanced, and the large tyres, tall handlebar, and relaxed fork angle make for a smooth ride. It handles corners with ease, thanks to its grippy tyres.

My test rides included a variety of terrains, including towpaths, unsurfaced byways, and even a local BMX track. The M20 handled all these environments with a level of stability that made the rides enjoyable.

However, I found that the cable disc brakes required the full extent of the lever travel to bring the bike to a halt when at high speeds. Hydraulic disc brakes, known for their superior performance, would have enhanced the overall experience.

The Engwe M20, while not the most practical urban eBike, is undeniably fun to ride. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea due to its eccentric design and some quality compromises. However, if you value enjoyment over practicality, the M20 is an enticing option. It’s an eBike that’s sure to put a smile on your face.

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