- An approachable step-thru folding fat tire electric bike available in four colors: red, white, blue, and black. High quality integrated lights, including brake light activation and turn signals. Reflective puncture-resistant tires.
- The 4" wide tires improve stability and ride comfort due to lower the attack angle and increased air volume. Hybrid saddle, ergonomic grips, adjustable suspension seat post, suspension fork with lockout, and telescoping height stem.
- Amazing range thanks to dual-battery setup with 1,440 watt hours of total combined capacity. Good weight distribution low and center. High resolution cadence sensing pedal assist supports 6 PAS levels, variable speed twist throttle.
- Only available in Canada at the time of this review. Weighs more than most folding ebikes I've tested at 83.7lbs due to metal fenders, rear rack, fat tires, suspension fork, and second battery pack. Downtube battery must be removed to charge.
This review was provided for free using a demo bike. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased with you, this video and writeup are not meant to be an endorsement of vBike products. I welcome your corrections, additions, and feedback in the comments below, and the vBike electric bike forums.
- The CITO name is meant to sound like the word city, because it is setup to work well in an urban environment with a rack, fenders, integrated lights, turn signals, and an electronic horn! The name also sounds like “sit” and the step-thru frame is easy to approach and sit on.
- The CITO 18 has the lowest minimum saddle height because it uses 2.125″ tires. This measurement increases by 2″ for the CITO 20 which uses 4″ tires and 2″ more for the CITO 20+ because of the second battery pack position on the seat tube. You can minimize the saddle height by swapping the suspension seat post for a rigid seat post on this bike.
- The dual battery setup is a big highlight here, and I love how the weight is positioned low and center on the frame. I was told that the bike can operate with just one battery if desired. The increased capacity allows for longer rides and more frequent use of level 6 pedal assist or throttle. It makes this a unique product… but you could always get the standard CITO 20 with just the one internal battery for $800 CAD less.
- I was told that the cells being used are high energy density 21700 from Samsung, which is pretty neat. This allows the packs to be smaller and lighter while still offering 48 volt 15 amp hours each!
- The CITO ebikes are very approachable because they have a low standover height. Notice the 20″ wheels and deep “wave” step-thru frame. Even with the second battery pack on the Plus model, the bike is easy to mount and stabilize before riding.
- Fat tires have become very popular in the electric bike world because they provide added comfort and stability. The increased air volume acts like a shock absorber, with a broad range of pressure ratings 5 to 30 PSI, and they lower the “attack angle” which helps to span cracks and smooth out bumps.
- vBike further optimizes comfort by including a suspension seat post, which offers preload adjust in the base, and a spring suspension fork. The suspension fork has preload on the left crown and lockout on the right. This means it can support riders of different weights and sizes, or completely eliminate “bob” for efficiency.
- It’s neat that the bike comes in four colors: red, white, blue, and black. This makes it easier for family members or friends to keep them separate or just match their unique styles. Even though the bike only comes in one frame size, the adjustable height stem provides some level of fit adjustability.
- I appreciate that the CITO 20 Plus comes with fenders, a rear rack, integrated lights, and reflective tires with puncture protection. It’s ready to go, and should perform well in a wide range of conditions. You don’t have to research and install any aftermarket accessories for the bike to be “complete” and look nice.
- The drivetrain is pretty decent here. You get seven speeds, but the freewheel range is 12 to 32 vs. 14 to 28 on the real entry level setups I often see. I love how the chainring has an alloy guide, because it will reduce chain drops during bumpy rides and when folded and transporting.
- I believe this electric bike would perform decently off-road because of the high powered motor and knobby tires. If you wanted to ride through soft marshy terrain or sand, it would help to lower the tire pressure close to 5PSI. I’ve done this before in Colorado and Mexico and it worked great on similar products!
- The electric assist is configured very well, in my opinion. You get a sealed 12 magnet cadence sensor that responds quickly to six levels of pedal assist. And, there’s also a twist throttle that provided instant power (and full power) to override any of those six assist levels and zero. This is how I like ebikes to be setup, and it would definitely help you get started from standstill or gain momentum and balance in off-road soft terrain.
- Bafang makes good motors, and this one is fat-bike specific with increased torque rating. Given the smaller wheel diameter (compared to a 26″) the motor gets a mechanical advantage, so it’s a decent climber.
- I was impressed by the 300lb max weight limit of the bike, sometimes folders are rated lower because of the folding joint at the middle. This one doesn’t have a large metal plate at the middle that could interfere with pedaling as some other ebikes do.
- I love that vBike chose to spend extra for metal folding pedals from Wellgo! They are large, stiffer than plastic, and I trust the brand to be more durable and reliable than others.
- The derailleur and motor cables are well protected by a steel derailleur guard. This helps during shipping, if the bike tips or is crashed, and also when it’s folded and being transported. Note the clear plastic slap guard sticker on the right chain stay to protect the paint. Good attention to detail :)
- I like the rear rack that they chose for the bike, because it uses standard gauge tubing that works with most panniers, and even has bungee loops! The weight rating isn’t the highest I’ve seen (42lb 19.5kg vs. 55lbs 25kg), but is good enough for basic cargo.
- It’s nice that both lights are upgraded for increased brightness and functionality. The headlight points where you steer, has an LED ring that looks cool during the day and is attention grabbing as well as a focused center beam for illuminating the path. It might even have a heat sink on top to reduce overheating! The rear light uses many LED’s vs. just one, goes bright when braking, and even has turn signals. It sticks out a bit from the rack, but isn’t so exposed because the rear wheel and fender stick out even farther.
- Nice internal cable routing. There’s a locking core that activates all of the electronics, much like a car or motorcycle ignition, and this is nice because it reduces tampering and theft.
- Decent one year warranty, the company has been around since 2018 and launched its first products in 2020. I appreciate the free shipping for Ontario and only $99 for other Canadian provinces.
- The bike is fairly heavy at 83.7lbs, because it comes with the dual battery setup. Even the single battery CITO 20 weighs a bit more than the average folder because it features fat tires, includes a rear rack and metal fenders, and also has a spring suspension fork. Consider removing battery packs to reduce weight for lifting. Perhaps they could use punched out rims in the future to further reduce weight.
- In order to keep the bike folded, you might want to purchase additional bungee straps, a velcro sinch strap, and use a towel between the frame. This product does not come with a magnetic clasp or rubber band system to keep it folded. Keep an eye on the wires and and make sure they don’t pinch or get too bent when unfolding and preparing to ride.
- The two batteries are designed to discharge simultaneously while mounted to the frame and riding, but they cannot be charged simultaneously with just one charger. For this reason, the bike comes with two identical chargers. Not only do you have to plug two packs in, but the downtube battery must be removed to charge. This requires the frame to be folded and the battery to be unlocked. It’s a multi-step process that can take more time and effort. I was told that this design improves battery protection, water resistance, and frame strength.
- Each of the two battery packs requires a different key, and there’s a third key used to activate the bike (located near the right grip). That’s a lot of keys to keep track of and keep separate… it would be nice if just one key could do everything. I would probably use a paint pen or stickers to help identify which key goes to which lock.
- This is a minor gripe, but there are no bottle cage bosses on the frame. You can purchase their optional trunk bag with bottle holster for a convenient place to store a water bottle.
- The steel fenders are sturdy, but weigh more than aluminum alloy or plastic. Also, they could rust if scratched, which is not an issue with the other materials. Consider using touch up paints if you notice yours are getting scratched due to folding and transporting the bike.
- vBike products are only available in Canada at the time of this review. It’s nice that the shipping is free for customers in Onterio, but it costs an additional $99 for those who reside in other provinces.
- Mechanical disc brakes tend to require more hand effort than hydraulic, especially for the rear brake, because there’s more friction in the cable housing. Over time, water and dust can get into the housing and cause even more friction.
- The large SIS thumb shifter isn’t my personal favorite because it requires more hand effort and some reaching to actuate, but it is very clear and intuitive for most riders to use. It can be a great choice for cold weather because the levers are so large, it works well with gloves.
- Since there are two button pads to operate pedal assist and the horn, turn signals, and lights… the left portion of the handlebar can feel a little busy and require some reaching. Still, it’s neat to have these extra features, which resemble a moped or motorcycle and could improve safety for urban riding and food delivery (which I’m told is a popular application for the bike).
- The display only shows five bars to communicate charge level, and it doesn’t have a range estimate. I prefer the more precise percentage readout that some other displays offer, but appreciate that this one shows voltage so you can be a little bit more precise as you learn how to read it.