this is testing
KBO Breeze Commuter E-bike Review
Its name is only fitting. KBOs electric commuter bike gives you the feeling that your next short trip around town or cycle to work will be just that, a breeze.
At a price point just south of $1500 all-in for a good quality e-bike to arrive at your door, it’s also a breeze from a financial standpoint to make one of these an alternative to a car for commuting, light errands around town, or to get out and have some fun in the fresh breeze.
The Breeze is styled like a typical upright bike with the added bonus of a standard optioned 500W motor in the rear hub to supplement your pedaling power up to 28 mph. The top bar has a smooth downward arc from the stem tube to where it flattens out just in front of the seat post. The effect of the curved top tube is to lift the headset relative to the saddle and put the handlebar within easy 8″ reach of the rider while keeping the standing height of the top bar at an accessible 28.5″.
The rectangular battery block occupies the down tube. No key is needed to activate the bike — just a simple push of the button on the display activates the motor system — but the key does allow you to remove the battery for recharging and safety. The no-key-needed feature to get it operational is a plus and a minus. A plus, because you can leave the key at home or lose it while on a ride, say, and still have your e-bike functioning. A possible minus, because a thief can do the same if you’re not careful.
At a list price of $1,399 on KBO Bike’s website, plus “$198 gifts for free” with their offer, including nice extra touches like a water bottle cage, repair toolkit, rear rack, and aluminum full fenders, the Breeze is an excellent value. The brushless geared hub motor gives 500W sustained power on demand with a twist of the throttle up to 20 mph, and pedal-assist power at your service up to 28 mph.
The 48V, 16Ah Lithium-ion 768Wh battery is rated for 900 full charge cycles. With the provided 48V 3 Amp quick charger, you can recharge to full in about 5 hours. The 30-50 mile range, as estimated on the KBO website, will vary depending on the size of the rider and any extra load and how much pedaling you add versus the amount of throttle you use for power.
For wheel size, KBO chose the middle road, opting for 27.5″ wheels — bigger than the standard 26″ but not up to the mammoth 29″ that some use to go fast, efficiently. Similarly, on tire width, they set it up for 2.4″ Panasonic puncture-resistant tires, noticeably wider than many road and hybrid trail bikes but nowhere near as hefty as 4″ fatties that are featured on quite a few e-bikes. The front suspension aluminum alloy fork allows 80mm of travel, with preload adjustment and lockout features to adjust your level of shock dampening.
The 48V LED headlight may not be all you need for after-dark riding, as it doesn’t throw a concentrated beam of light very far ahead, but still, it’s good to have the light it provides for improved visibility to traffic. The integrated brake light is automatic — activating the brake lever lets people behind you know that you’re braking.
You know just what gear you’re in as the Shimano 7-speed transmission includes a gear indicator on the right handlebar near the shifter. The Tektro Aries 180mm disc rotors on mechanical disc brakes provide ample stopping power even from full speed.
The LCD backlight display gives the info you need to know, from the status of your battery charge to your pedal assist level. Also included on the display are useful data like speed and distance traveled.
Weighing in at a solid 62 pounds, the Breeze is in the mid-range of electric bike weights. The Breeze combines comfortable geometry and large wheels to make for smooth cycling even without the motor doing its job. Should you be in a situation without battery power or just wanting to ride under your own power, the Breeze is well suited to traditional bike riding.
Coming in at just under $1500 makes this a very well-priced entry-level option. The value-packed into the Breeze makes it a very attractive package. If you can see it as an alternative to a car, you’re looking at savings on insurance, gas, and parking. And if you were to think of it in terms of a car payment, financed over 60 months, you’d be all in on transportation for about $25 a month!
The Breeze may not have the smoothest and most seamless appearance of e-bikes on the market, with its visible welds where down tube and top tube meet head tube, for example, but the Breeze is made of reputable componentry and solid equipment and seems to be built to last.
With a removable battery that doesn’t need a key to go, you’ve got the option of not having the key with you all the time to go for a quick ride, while you have peace of mind of being able to take the battery off (you need the key for that, of course) while parked in public places. For a small added investment, you can have an extra battery in your pack, or stowed on the rack, to switch out if you need to double your range for a long day of epic riding covering up to 100 miles.
The front fork absorbs a lot of the bumps and shocks of city streets, while the slightly wider 2.5” balloon tires do their part to smooth out the ride, as well.
While it all checks out as good value, the truth is that KBO Bike has been around a fairly short time in a hotly competitive market. Whether this means that there may be potential problems with their bikes isn’t known for sure, but it does leave some room for questions.
Like a handful of newer companies in the e-bike business, KBO has gone with a fully online presence only, so there’s no network of dealerships nationwide to access for a test ride, professional advice, or repairs.
While KBO recommends the Breeze for riders from 5’4″ up to 6’4″, it’s possible that riders on the small end of that range may feel that the big tires and lack of a step-thru style frame might make the bike too big for them to handle comfortably. Without local stores to test it out, it’s hard to know for sure.
The KBO provides a good value at an affordable price. The components and assembly all seem to be well-made and of good quality from a fairly new player in the e-bike game. Part of the savings come from their business model of online presence versus the costs of being on the ground in cities across the country, so that’s a trade-off to consider.
this is testing