KBO Breeze electric bike review: A leisurely e-bike with real commuter potential

by 9SIX

We’ve watched many electric bicycle models in North America push further into the heavier, more aggressive categories of fat tire e-bikes and electric moped-style rides. But the KBO Breeze takes a different approach, bucking the trend toward bigger and bolder e-bikes. This comfortable and leisurely contender is light on riders’ backs and even lighter on their wallets.

I can’t claim that there’s anything revolutionary about the KBO Breeze. It’s not an e-bike that flips the script, but it’s also not intending to rewrite anything.

Instead, the KBO Breeze is all about fulfilling a basic need: a simple and effective e-bike for getting around the city and carrying your gear/shopping/kiddo with you.

The bike comes equipped with enough motor and battery capacity to provide good power and higher than average range, while also offering a number of included accessories that make the Breeze a more utility-oriented package.

And its design actually looks pretty good as far as e-bikes go, something that is far from a given in this industry. It’s even available in both a step-over frame and a step-through frame option, offering more access to a wider range of riders.

You can follow along on my test ride of the e-bike in my video review below. Then keep reading for the full tech specs and my complete written review.

KBO Breeze e-bike video review

KBO Breeze tech specs

  • Motor: 750W peak rear hub motor
  • Top speed: 22-ish mph (37-ish km/h)
  • Range: 35-55 miles (56-88 km) depending on throttle/pedal assist
  • Battery: 48V 16Ah (768 Wh) with LG cells
  • Max load: 300 lb (136 kg)
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum, step-through style
  • Tires: 27.5″ x 2.4″
  • Suspension: Front spring suspension fork
  • Brakes: Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 180 mm rotors
  • Extras: LCD display with speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, odometer, light status indicator, front and rear LED lights, half-twist throttle, included rear rack, included metal fenders

A commuter bike that won’t break the bank

As electric bicycles become more feature rich, their prices have crept upwards as well. Add that to a number of pricing pressures on the industry and we’ve seen an unfortunate increase in e-bike pricing over the last year.

But KBO’s price of $1,499 falls in the sweet spot of being affordable enough for most to consider, yet pricey enough that they didn’t cut corners with a bunch of cheap parts.

For example, the 48V 16Ah battery is larger than you’ll find from most of the leaders in the industry. That’s 768 Wh of capacity, or enough for around 35 miles (56 km) of range on throttle only (though the 22 mph (35 km/h) top speed helps that range figure by not letting you ride too fast on throttle operation).

If you can keep yourself in pedal assist and put in some honest effort while the motor assists you, a higher range of up to 55 miles (88 km) is possible.

But there’s more than just capacity to consider with an e-bike battery. Let’s all take a moment and appreciate how nice that integrated battery looks. Obviously that’s not all KBO’s handiwork, as batteries are generally OEM products. But KBO chose the right pack here with one that disappears nicely into the downtube and looks great.

The motor is plenty powerful for a daily commuter, offering 750 watts of peak power to reach that top speed of around 22-23 mph (35-37 km/h). With that much power, you’re actually getting some serious assist in the higher pedal assist levels. The saddle is pretty decent too, and I really enjoyed using the pedal assist even though I’ve never hidden my love of throttle e-bikes.

The cadence-based pedal assist has that telltale lag of around a second or so when you engage the pedals, but its something I can easily live with.

The Shimano 7-speed shifter is basic hardware but it works just fine. If I was paying more then I’d want to see slightly better parts that would last longer between tune-ups, but this is a $1,499 e-bike and you can’t really climb the Shimano hierarchy at this price. The same goes for the Tektro Aires disc brakes on 180 mm rotors. They aren’t fancy mechanical disc brakes, but they get the job done. And at least we were bestowed with 180 mm rotors instead of 160 mm base-level rotors.

And to be honest, we’re in a similar situation with the suspension fork. It’s just fine, but nothing fancy. I’ve seen cheaper and I’ve seen better – this one is solidly middle of the road, which makes it fine for basic commuter use.

The throttle is a half-twist model, which I’m seeing less frequently. I find half-twist throttles to be the most comfortable type of throttle, since you can twist the inner half of the grip and then use your entire hand to grip both halves and hold the throttle engaged– no wrist strain necessary on long rides. Thumb throttles can be tiring on longer riders, and full twist throttles require some level of wrist muscle engagement to maintain the twist. Half twist throttles are the goldilocks option and I love seeing them.

The fact that the bike goes slightly faster than 20 mph on throttle-only makes me wonder if that’s a legal issue that could prevent its classification as a Class 2 e-bike in the US. But since we’re talking about a lousy 2 mph, I’ll consider that close enough.

The step-through frame is also a nice offering. There’s a step-over frame option too, but I usually prefer step-throughs when possible. If you’re loading up the rear rack then it is much easier to step through the frame than swing a leg over high-mounted cargo. And the step-through still has a 300 lb (136 kg) load rating, so even heavier riders can still enjoy the bike without worry.

I know some people still have this outdated idea that step-through frames = girls’ bikes. But that’s ridiculous. Some of the most badass e-bike designs on the market today use step-through frames. It’s simply more comfortable. And if your manhood is tied to where your top tube is located, what does that say about you?

As someone who rides e-bikes as a way to actually get around and not just for recreation, the commuter-oriented features are definitely appreciated.

The included metal fenders and the sturdy rear rack are critical for commuters. You never know when you’re going to hit a puddle or get caught in a freak rain storm, and so fenders are key pieces of kit for commuters.

A rear rack not only gives more cargo space, but I like the way it can double as a backpack rest when I have a particularly full backpack.

The lights are another “nothing fancy but nothing too cheap either” part of the bike. They work fine for alerting others to your existence, but someone who commutes often in the dark might want to add a larger headlight to illuminate the way home from work.

Source: electrek

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