Giant Group, one of several leading bicycle manufacturers, has just revealed its first throttle-enabled electric bike. The new model is being released under the company’s Momentum sub-brand of more affordable bikes designed for street, utility, and commuter use. From the looks of things, the new Momentum Cito E+ seems like a great first shot at a throttle e-bike, and even comes with interesting options like a glovebox.
More major bicycle manufacturers – the kind you’d typically see in higher-end bike shops – are incorporating throttle-enabled electric bikes into their lineups.
Unlike assist-only electric bikes, which use a pedal assist system that only engages the electric motor when the rider is actively pedaling, throttle-enabled electric bikes can be powered even when the pedals are idle. A handlebar-mounted throttle actuates the motor power similarly to a moped.
Throttle-enabled electric bikes make up the vast majority of e-bike sales in North America, especially in the cargo and utility markets where heavy loads can be harder to get rolling under pedal power, even with motor assist.
The Momentum Cito E+ leans heavily into the utility bike segment of the bicycle spectrum, and its included throttle is likely to help the bike see an expanded market of riders that have grown accustomed to the safety net of a throttle.
It’s not just a hand throttle that helps the Momentum Cito E+ stand out. The bike also packs in surprisingly good performance.
The 750W rear hub motor maxes out the legal limit for motor power on an e-bike in the US, and the large 780Wh battery offers more range than most electric bikes on the road today. That exact range depends on the power level, speed of riding, and the choice of throttle or pedal assist.
Momentum says pedal assist on ECO mode can net up to 75 miles (120 km) of range, though throttle control on POWER mode can drop that range down to 25 miles (40 km). A mix of the two should land riders somewhere in the middle.
For faster riding, the Cito E+ can be user-unlocked from its default Class 2 e-bike speed limit of 20 mph (32 km/h) up to a more exhilarating 28 mph (45 km/h), the fastest speed allowed by Class 3 e-bikes in the US. The throttle is only enabled while riding between 3.5 and 20 mph though, meaning you can’t use it in the bike’s top end (not allowed under Class 3 regulations in the US), and it’s not available to get rolling from a start (though a handy torque sensor makes for responsive pedal assist when starting from a stop).
On the component side, Momentum is coming in hot with some great parts. You’ll find four-piston hydraulic disc brakes, microSHIFT Acolyte 8-speed transmission, e-bike specific chain, full light package with 1,900 lumen headlight and turn signals, and included fenders. There’s also a pile of accessories that turn this e-bike into a seriously heavy-duty utility bike.
As the company explained:
“With a total payload capacity of 408 pounds, the frame-integrated rear rack can carry over 130 pounds. With a wide variety of accessories, riders can outfit the Cito E+ to suit their needs and lifestyle. From daily errands to family and friends on board, it’s designed to be customized. Riders can choose to customize with an add-on top tube with storage, mirrors, front rack, tote bag, rear rack, pannier bags, cargo straps, passenger seat, passenger bar, footrests, wheel guards, bench seat, center kickstand, and offers compatibility with third-party baby seats and other accessories.”
That add-on top tube is especially interesting as it essentially adds a small glovebox to the bike, though at the cost of the step-through feature of the bike’s frame. If you ask Momentum, that’s a feature – not a bug. The company describes the accessory as “changing the low step-through frame to a sporty-looking diamond frame.”
It’s not the first electric bike glovebox we’ve seen (that honor goes to Serial 1), but it’s still quite innovative. There’s also a moped-style seat that is still height adjustable, meaning you can get a longer bench seat for comfort while still being able to adjust its height for proper leg extension when pedaling.
This launch marks the latest in a number of brands targeting the rapidly expanding utility e-bike market. Models like the RadRunner from Rad Power Bikes helped launch the category’s rise to popularity, and ever since we’ve seen dozens of brands introduce utility-style bikes that combine elements of smaller diameter wheels with compact frames and heavy cargo weight ratings.
It’s a category that serves many different types of riders as well as handles many different task-oriented purposes, making it a clear winner among customers who want one e-bike to serve many roles.
“The Cito E+’s impressive range and grip throttle gives riders the ability to go further than ever before—which is both energy saving and fun,” said Phoebe Liu, chief branding officer of Giant Group, which includes Giant, Liv, Momentum and CADEX brands. “Our design team purpose-built the bike to be a total utility solution that integrates motorcycle design and best-in-class technologies. Whether heading to work, getting groceries or exploring the outdoors, the Cito E+ offers a natural riding experience.”
Those looking to bring a Cito E+ home to their own garage will have to fork over US $3,200, with the bike already available starting today. While that price is a bit higher than most budget utility e-bikes, it’s within range of higher quality models from bike shop brands like those offered by Giant Group.
The price also includes bike shop service, as riders can head back to their local Giant dealer for access to service and support whenever they need it – something most direct-to-consumer internet brands can’t offer.
Author: Micah Toll