E-bikes took the world over by storm; there’s no point in denying it. New e-bike manufacturing startups are popping out almost every day. It’s sometimes hard to keep up with all these new models coming out - each bringing us new innovative features.
Now, Engine-lab isn’t exactly a new e-bike startup. The company has been around since 2008 - and its claim to fame was the creation of the lightest aluminum dual-suspension MTB frame in the world.
Although that’s a pretty impressive feat, what’s even more interesting is their latest endeavor - the NGN E450 commuter electric bike.
This e-bike is chock-full of features that’ll make driving around town a highlight of your day, and it comes in step-through and half-step flavors.
At first sight, we were in love with the E450’s frame. It features a perfect blend of futuristic and traditional.
The overall shape of the frame is, as you might’ve guessed it, traditional. However, the lines on the down and middle tube have that futuristic flare you’d expect from an electric bike.
The centerpiece of the E450 must be the down tube. That’s because this is the thickest part of the entire frame - wide enough to house the battery, for that matter.
Although we love frame-integrated batteries, we’re not fans of how Engine-Lab implemented this idea:
Instead of placing the battery slot in the upper part of the downtube, they put it on the lower part. That makes taking the battery out a bit frustrating because the front wheel can get in the way. To get the battery out, you’ll have to angle the front wheel either left or right, so there’s more space.
Thankfully, you won’t have to take out the battery more than once a week since the E450 packs quite a lot of range. And if you have a garage with an electric plug, you won’t have to take it out ever - because there’s a charging port located right above the battery.
One thing you might’ve noticed is that this bike has no suspension. But since this is a commuter e-bike, it doesn’t need the suspension, anyway.
Still, that doesn’t mean the designers at Engine-Lab haven’t thought about rider comfort. Instead of fork suspensions, the E450 features seat post suspension:
The spring inside the seat post is fully adjustable and can give you up to 25 millimeters of travel. While this is nowhere enough travel for offroading, it’s more than enough to absorb the bumps in the pavement.
The handlebars are incredibly comfortable, and we especially love the grips. They’re made out of rubber and molded in such a way to adhere to your palm perfectly. And on top of all that, the handlebars are fully adjustable, which is always great to hear.
The E450 also comes with not one but two carrying racks. Both the front and the back rack are built from tubular aluminum and can carry up to 20 and 40 pounds of cargo, respectively. We’d prefer to see a bit higher carrying capacity, but that would turn the E-450 from a commuter to a cargo bike.
Another cool feature this bike comes with would be the drive belt.
Yes, you heard us right.
Instead of a traditional chain, this bike features a carbon-reinforced belt. That means you don’t have to worry about derailing or greasing up. It also means there are no gears - but with a top speed of 20 MPH, you don’t need gears, anyway.
While most commuter e-bikes these days come with a water bottle holder, the E450 goes one step further. Instead of a bottle holder, this commuter e-bike comes with a bike lock.
While we can’t attest to how secure the lock is, it’s nice not to have to spend additional money on security.
Engine-Lab NGN E450 is equipped with a 500W rear hub motor. Since this is a Class 2 e-bike, the top speed is just 20 MPH, so the motor is not the most powerful in the world. And it doesn’t have to be:
That much wattage is more than enough to reach the top speed in just a couple of cranks.
During our test, the bike rarely pulled more than 300 watts of power - and even when it did, it was when we were riding it over offered tracks. In a city setting, though, you’ll rarely reach the 250-watt point. That is excellent news because this means the battery will last longer, giving you more mileage.
Although it’s a bit underpowered, the motor provides 80 Nm of torque. That means the E450 is incredibly snappy when it comes to acceleration - being able to accelerate to full speed in under 10 seconds.
When it comes to driving modes, it’s your standard fare.
The E450 comes with five levels of pedal assist, and there’s also a thumb throttle. The e-bike is also relatively responsive, thanks to the state-of-the-art cadence sensors. You’ll never feel too much resistance while using the pedal assist.
The brain of the motor is located on the left-hand side of the handlebar.
The controller is straightforward, and we love how ergonomic it is. Instead of the buttons being spread around the controller, they’re concentrated on the left side. That way, you’ll be able to access all the controls with just your thumb.
The only thing we dislike about the controller is the safety-start feature. When on, this feature prevents you from using the thumb throttle while you’re at full stop. You can turn it off - but it’s buried in the settings menu.
The E450 comes with a Samsung lithium-ion battery rated at 672 Wh. While it isn’t the beefiest battery on the market when paired with a 500 W motor, you get more than enough juice to ride for around 60 miles.
The most remarkable thing about the battery is how fast it changes up.
Thanks to the super-fast charge included with the bike, it can fully recharge in less than 4 hours. That’s some of the shortest charging time we’ve seen on an e-bike!
Engine-Lab didn’t spare any expense on the brakes. The E450 features hydraulic disc brakes with both the front and back disc measuring 180 millimeters.
We’ve tested these brakes in both dry and wet conditions, and we’re happy to report they work perfectly. The breaks kick in even with the slightest squeeze of the leaver, no matter how dry or wet the conditions are.
The rims on the E450 are just as impressive as the frame. They’re 25 millimeters wide, feature double walls, and are built out of treated aluminum.
Unless you ride this bike over extremely rough terrain, the rims honestly feel like they will last for decades to come.
The E450 features Panasonic anti-puncture tires that measure 27.5 x 2.25 inches. The tires are wide and big enough to conquer any city road with no issues. And on top of that, they’re pretty decent at absorbing road bumps - ensuring a pretty smooth riding experience.
Post Test Summary: Engine-Lab NGN E450 Commuter Pros And Cons
For an e-bike that costs less than $2000, the Engine-Lab NGN E450 is a steal. The bike is built incredibly tough and comes chock-full of useful features such as the front and back cargo racks and the integrated bike lock.
Although the motor isn’t the most powerful in the world, it still packs more than enough torque to accelerate you to a full speed of 20 MPH in just a couple of seconds. Oh, and the recharge time is incredibly short.
When it comes to not-so-good stuff, we have the battery placement. It can be a bit frustrating to take it out, which is why we recommend you charge it while it’s plugged into the bike.
Another thing we don’t like about the E450 bike is the somewhat lower cargo capacity. This bike would be exponentially better if the back rack had just ten or so more pounds of cargo capacity.
Another thing that bothers us about this bike is how buried some settings are. However, you can easily fix this by getting to know your new e-bike better.
All in all, Engine-Lab NGN E450 is a very decent commuter bike.
Sure, it doesn’t have the most extensive range, nor does it come with the most powerful motor - but it does come with quite a few features that make it stick out from the crowd, such as the belt drive and double cargo racks.
This bike is an excellent choice if you’re a beginner e-biker or need a commuter that can reliably take you from point A to point B.
Our Rating - 87/100
Engine-Lab NGN E450 is an excellent, decently priced commuter e-bike that comes with quite a few useful features. Besides the front and back cargo racks, this bike also features a lock and utilizes a belt instead of a chain.