by Lars Hundley
KBO Breeze Commuter Ebike, $1,499
- High quality components! Shimano derailleur, Panaracer tires, Samsung / LG battery cells
- 500 watt (750 watt peak) hub motor that assists up to 25 mph, with 4 levels of assist at varying max speeds
- Frame designed with sloped and angled top tube for easier step-over
- Up to 55 miles range in best case scenario.
- Front and back fenders and a front shock keep you clean and comfortable riding around town.
- Very good quality for such a low priced ebike.
- Written assembly instructions could be better, but manufacturer YouTube videos help bridge the gap.
- Comes in one size that fits most, but my 5’2″ wife found it too big for her. (Recommended for 5’4″ to 6’4″, and they also make a step through frame model that works for shorter riders.)
How obtained: Manufacturer provided the ebike at their cost for review.
The folks at KBO contacted RBR about checking their Breeze commuter style ebike. When I looked over the features of the bike and saw that it came with Shimano parts, a big battery, a powerful hub motor and even well-thought-out details like good Panaracer tires with a reflective strip but was still under $1,500, I decided that it was riding and reviewing to see if it was really as much ebike as it seemed for the money.
After riding it around town for the last few weeks, I have been very impressed with the ebike.
The Breeze has mechanical disc brakes, which means that they use cables instead of hydraulics. The brakes stop great, and I found it to be an advantage since cable disc brakes are easier to work on yourself and simpler for the mechanic if you ever need to take the bike in for service.
The KBO Breeze ebike can be ridden with no motor assist at all, like a regular bike. So if you were to ever run out of batteries or you’re just riding around the block and don’t want to turn it on, it’s no problem to jump on and ride it. Keep in mind that ebikes are heavy though, so it’s probably not likely you’re going to ride it around that way. It feels lively and easy to ride when you’re using the assist, but it feels pretty heavy and dead when you ride it without any assist at all.
Adding just the first level of assist makes it feel more like riding a “regular bike” because the low level of assist balances out the additional weight of the bike.
Assembling the Breeze
The Breeze comes in a large bike box and is almost fully assembled. It’s really just a matter of attaching the handlebars to the stem, putting the wheels on the bike, and attaching the front fender and the front headlight to the frame. KBO includes a multi-tool with the bike, so you have everything you need.
The written instructions for assembling the bike were rather sparse. I have plenty of experience putting bikes together, so this was not a problem for me, but I could see how it might seem a little bit scary if you haven’t done it before.
The most “difficult” part for me was attaching the front fender in a way that it wouldn’t rub against the front wheel. I had to loosen and tighten the attachment points a couple of times and keep adjusting until I got it right. It took me around 30 to 45 minutes to get it unpacked out of the box and totally assembled.
The good news is that in spite of the sparse written instructions, there is a thorough YouTube video that walks you through the steps. Watching someone actually go through the steps makes it easier to understand for many people, and the video is a reasonable length of less than 5 minutes so you don’t have to spend too much time watching it.
Features of the Breeze
The Breeze ebike has a seven speed Shimano derailleur in the back, and one chainring in the front. My gravel bike is also single chainring in the front, and I really like the simplicity of not worrying about shifting a front derailleur. This is especially true for beginner cyclists who often aren’t sure how shifting two different derailleurs works.
Is seven gears enough? Absolutely. With a regular bike, you’d have to worry if you have a low enough gear to get up steeper hills, and a high enough gear for higher speeds. But with an ebike, you don’t really need the same kind of granny gears since you have assistance anyway.
You could easily just put the Breeze in the hardest gear and leave it there and it would work perfectly as a single speed bike. But it’s nice to have other choices so that you can vary your pedaling cadence, and someone who wants to ride it at just the first or second level of assist would probably make use of those easier gears so that they aren’t pedaling too slowly.
The “comfort saddle” style of the Breeze is designed with people in mind who aren’t necessarily serious cyclists, so it’s pretty big, with plenty of firm enough cushioning. You wouldn’t want to ride a century ride on it, but it’s just right for the kind of saddle for riding around the neighborhood, running errands, or a commute to work.
The control panel for the ebike attached to the handlebars are extremely straightforward and easy to use. You can quickly and easily turn the bike on and off, and immediately see which level of assist you have chosen, and how many bars of battery life you have left.
Breeze Ebike Battery and Motor
I think the biggest value of the Breeze ebike comes from their choice of battery and hub motor specs.
They use high quality battery cells that are from Samsung or LG, with a large capacity of 768 Wh. That larger capacity battery allows the bike to also have a powerful 500 watt hub motor with a 750 watt peak power level. What that means in regular English is that you can get a top assisted speed of up to 25 mph, and a total range of up to 55 miles.
Keep in mind that advertised range is sort of like the EPA gas mileage on window sticker of a car. If you’re using full assist and one of the higher levels, or you’re always using the throttle instead of pedaling with the bike, you shouldn’t expect the same range as if you have the bike set on the first level of assistance. Even so, it only takes about 5 hours to fully charge the battery when you run it down.
Well Designed Kickstand
One problem I’ve seen with some heavy ebikes is that it’s hard to keep them upright when you want to park them. KBO knocked it out of the park by using a very heavy-duty, well-engineered kickstand that is attached further back on the frame so that the bike balances better when the kickstand is down. The bike feels extremely stable when it sits there with the kickstand down, so you’ll feel confident when you park it that it isn’t going to fall over and smash against the ground.
Other Breeze Ebike Specs
The Breeze comes with 27.5 sized wheels and wide 2.4″ Panaracer tires. I was really impressed that they went with a high quality tire brand like this, because these are excellent tires that are going to last and will not end up flatting all the time. One especially cool feature to me is that the Panaracer tires also have a reflective strip so that the bike is really going to light up when headlights shine on it. This is a safety feature that’s in addition to the headlight and the rear read taillight / brake light.
The mechanical disc brakes have lots of stopping power, so even when I had the rear rack of the bike loaded up, I was able to come to a stop quickly and safely.
The unbranded front suspension fork has 80mm of travel and it kept my hands and shoulders comfortable riding over rougher pavement.
Taking into account the the ride quality, the ease of assembly, quality level of components, the power level of the electric hub motor and capacity of the battery, I give the KBO Breeze a thumbs up.
If you look at the other ebikes in the $1,500 price range, you’ll typically see things like no name tires, lower capacity batteries, less powerful electric motors with a lower maximum speed, etc. KBO did a very good job of putting together an ebike that really gives you a lot for your money in this price category.