Can a Momentum Pakyak E+ Cargo Bike Really Replace a Car?

Cross-shopping e-bikes with scooters and small-capacity motorcycles makes a lot of intuitive sense. But electric bicycles aren’t limited to competing with two-wheeled vehicles, EV or otherwise. Some manufacturers market their e-bikes as car alternatives, especially for city dwellers. That’s what Giant considers one of its latest electric cargo bikes, the Momentum Pakyak E+, to be. But can it live up to those claims?    

Momentum’s first cargo bike packs electric power

The right side view of a yellow-and-black 2022 Momentum Pakyak E+ under a canopy
2022 Momentum Pakyak E+ side view | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit
Spec2022 Momentum Pakyak E+
Frame materialAluminum
Fork materialAluminum
MotorYamaha SyncDrive Pro
Torque59 lb-ft
Top speed28 mph
Battery capacity500 Wh (standard)
1000 Wh (with optional Range Extender)
Claimed range35-60 miles (standard)
70-120 miles (with optional Range Extender)
Front derailleurN/A
Rear hubShimano Nexus Inter-5e five-speed
Weight79 lbs (without kickstand or front basket)
Starting price$5500

Although the Pakyak E+ is branded as a Momentum e-bike, Giant owns that brand. Hence why it was on display alongside Giant’s other bicycles, including women-specific brand Liv, at IMS Outdoors 2021. And while Momentum has other e-bike models, the 2022 Pakyak E+ is its first electric cargo bike, Outside says.

With a 28-mph top speed, the 2022 Momentum Pakyak E+ is a Class 3 electric cargo bike. And it’s a pedal-assist e-bike, so no hand throttle here. But it does have five levels of pedal-assistance, including a walk mode, ElectricBikeReview reports. The rider changes the pedal assistance through the handlebar-mounted display, which also shows the remaining charge, range, speed, and trip information. It also connects with a smartphone app that offers features like ride metrics, maintenance checks, and navigation, Outside notes.

As with other pedal-assist e-bikes, greater assistance and hill-climbing drains the Momentum Pakyak E+’s battery. But unlike the Giant Revolt E+ Pro, the cargo bike has a removable battery housed in its downtube. Momentum says the standard battery fully recharges in 4.1 hours and reaches 80% in roughly two hours, Cycling Magazine reports. The auxiliary battery is also removable, though it hooks into a special platform in the storage area.

The Momentum Pakyak E+ cargo bike is chock full of urban utility

The black rear rack and lockable storage container on a yellow 2022 Momentum Pakyak E+
2022 Momentum Pakyak E+ rear rack and storage container | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

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While the idea of storage on a bicycle might be unfamiliar to some, it’s par for the course for cargo bikes. Like the RadWagon 4, the Momentum Pakyak E+ isn’t just built for transportation. The reason why it weighs 79 lbs is that it’s designed for carrying, well, cargo, whether that’s multiple people, pets, storage containers, or something else.

And speaking of weight, although the Pakyak E+ is six pounds heavier than the RadWagon 4, it can haul more. The latter cargo e-bike tops out at 350 lbs, Roadshow notes, while the latter carries up to 361 lbs. Also, yes, this means that, like a truck, this bicycle has a GVWR.

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To help it hold all of that weight, the Momentum Pakyak E+ comes standard with an integrated front basket, rear luggage rack, and lockable storage box. And because 350+ lbs is a lot of weight to stop, it has hydraulic disc brakes. Plus, to make getting on and off easier, the cargo bike features a remote-droppable seat post with built-in suspension and a step-through frame design. It also offers a dual-arm kickstand and a USB charger built into the LCD display. And it has an integrated LED headlight and taillight for better urban visibility.

However, arguably even more impressive than the Momentum Pakyak E+’s carrying capacity is its versatility. If riders want to turn their Pakyaks into delivery bikes, they can add pannier bags, extra baskets, and cargo straps to the rear rack. Or, if they want to make the cargo bike into a people-carrier, Momentum offers passenger seat pads, seat bars, child seats, and footrests. And that’s not counting accessories like bottle cages and tote bags.

Is this e-bike a “car replacement vehicle” like Giant claims?

As noted earlier, a Giant representative at IMS Outdoors 2021 said the Momentum Pakyak E+ could work as a car alternative. They specifically called it a “car replacement vehicle.” And in many cities around the world, that’s indeed what cargo e-bikes are. UPS started using them as low-emissions delivery vehicles several years ago, The Drive notes. They also make solid family vehicles, Wired says.

But could you really replace your car with an electric cargo bike like the Pakyak E+? That depends on several things.

If you live in or around a city, it’s definitely possible. A close friend of mine and his partner lived for well over a year in Chicago without a car because both had bicycles and CTA passes. Plus, besides having fewer emissions than a car, e-bikes are a great way to exercise. And because the Momentum Pakyak E+ is a cargo bike, it’s more practical than a ‘regular’ bicycle. It’s also arguably more practical, where luggage space is concerned, than some similarly-priced motorcycles.

However, those with significantly longer commutes over hilly terrain might drain the Pakyak E+’s batteries. And once that happens, you’re left pedaling a very heavy bicycle. Also, $5500 is quite a lot of money for a bike. Though to be fair, used cars are considerably more expensive these days. However, even with its carrying capacity and storage, the Pakyak can’t hold as much as a car. So, if you regularly haul a lot of heavy, bulky objects, it’s not for you.

But if your lifestyle can fit on the Momentum Pakyak E+’s frame, the cargo e-bike makes a strong case against car ownership.

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