Way back earlier this spring, I was on the hunt for the ideal electric cargo bike to bring my grandsons along on a ride. I thoroughly researched each option from Rad Power Bikes, Blix, Tern, and Eunorau, and ultimately chose the RadWagon. While the RadWagon is a good choice, it has its drawbacks.
The RadWagon is long, heavy, and using the center stand requires some strength due to the awkward size of the bike. If you have a passenger on it, it requires a lot of strength to set the bike on its stand. I found that out the hard way. Riding the RadWagon is a joy in most cases, but tighter turns can be treacherous, and when riding without a passenger, it just seems like overkill.
So that turned my attention to Tern, which makes smaller high-end mid-drive electric cargo bikes, but they are pricey, like $5000+ pricey, and there isn’t a dealer near where I live anyway.
I’ve owned the RadRunner, a smaller utilitarian cargo bike in the past, which the KBO Ranger reminds me of in many ways. My issue with the RadRunner was the seat height. It’s great for taller riders who can add a suspension seat post, but for short ducks like me, the ride could be harsh. I just couldn’t find a comfortable seat for longer rides. Still, I loved how enjoyable it was to just cruise at low speeds. I seriously considered selling the RadWagon and going back to the RadRunner, but I knew it didn’t quite fit the bill for me either.
With the KBO Ranger, I think I’ve finally found the sweet spot for an electric cargo bike. At first glance, it immediately reminded me of the Tern GSD and HSD. It sits low on 20″ wheels, and with a total length of just 69″ compared to the 78.7″ of the RadWagon, the Ranger will be easier to handle in tighter spaces. The Ranger is actually a little shorter than the RadRunner, but the beefy rear rack of the Ranger can accommodate a passenger with a good amount of personal space to boot.
Unless you’re going to be carrying two older children or a lot of cargo, the 69″ length of the Ranger is probably plenty. The length also makes it easier to fit on a car rack, or in an elevator.
The Ranger isn’t light at 77 lbs (the RadWagon is about 78 lbs), but considering it has a 400 lbs payload capacity, it’s understandable that the frame requires reinforcement. Part of that weight is the Ranger’s impressive battery. The 48 Volt 17.5 Ah battery, with Samsung/LG cells, is better than the competition. KBO estimates about 60 miles of range, though that will vary depending upon several factors including rider weight, terrain, cargo/passenger weight, what level of pedal assist is used most often, throttle usage, tire pressure etc. But, a 45-mile range should be easily attainable.
The 750 watt, 900 watt peak rear hub motor is nothing to sneeze at either. It’s very competitive with the RadWagon and other rear hub cargo bikes. Yeah, a mid-drive motor would be the most ideal for climbing the most serious hills, but the Ranger has good climbing ability.
Like other electric cargo bikes, there’s plenty of accessories to choose from, including a front rack, front basket, running boards, and a safety “fence” for rear passengers. The Ranger comes with a rear rack, center stand, and fenders.
Other features of the Ranger includes integrated front and rear lights, a large center display, twist throttle, 5-pedal assist levels, 3.0 Amp charger, Shimano 7-speed derailleur, Shimano thumb shifter, 180 mm mechanical disc brakes, and 20″ x 3″ CST puncture resistant tires. It is available in cool grey or the familiar KBO orange.
The Ranger begins shipping in November of 2021 with a preorder price of $1599. Even at its full $1799 price, it’s still priced competitively. The battery capacity alone usually commands a higher price.
The Ranger really looks like the cargo bike I’ve been looking for. It’s smaller like a Tern, but priced much more reasonably. I think KBO chose well with this model. It has its own unique look and styling which I appreciate. It should be a strong competitor against the RadWagon, the RadRunner, and other popular electric cargo bikes.
The overall geometry makes it practical as an everyday ebike that can still accommodate quite a bit of cargo, or a grandson or two. It has a low step-over height and a seat height that can adjust to the needs of both taller and shorter riders.
The only drawback I see in the Ranger is the weight, but its shorter length and low center of gravity makes it easier to handle that weight. Its shorter wheelbase also makes it easier to transport on a rack and make those tighter turns.
KBO is a newer ebike company, but they’ve made a good name for themselves, and have continued to expand their product offerings. I think they hit a home run with the Ranger, and will be welcoming in many more loyal customers. I can’t wait to take my first ride!
You can learn more about the KBO Ranger or preorder it here.