KBO Ranger Review

KBO Ranger
KBO Ranger

The KBO Ranger is an electric cargo bike in a more manageable size. With a wheelbase of 47 inches, it’s on par with most bikes, so riding it is much like any other fat tire ebike. This also means that it can fit on many racks for easier transporting. With 840 peak watts of power, the Ranger is powerful enough to handle nearly any hill. Its 48 Volt 17.5 Ah battery is significantly larger than its main competitors, and range is terrific on the Ranger. 50-60 miles is doable, depending upon how it is ridden and what weight is carried. The Ranger is a versatile and practical-sized electric cargo bike.

Pros

  • More Manageable Size for a Cargo Bike
  • Fairly Standard Wheelbase
  • Plenty of Power
  • Excellent Range
  • Option of 3, 5, or 9 Pedal Assist Levels
  • Top Speed Can Be Increased
  • Sideboards Included
  • Large Rear Rack
  • 400 LBS Capacity
  • Integrated Lights
  • Reasonable Price

Cons

  • Rear Rack Is Wider Than Standard Rack, So Third-Party Accessories May Not Fit
  • Really Only Suitable for One Passenger, Unlike Large Cargo Bikes
  • Heavy Loads on the Back Can Make the Front Squirrely

Quick Specs of the KBO Ranger

  • 750 Watt Geared Hub Motor
  • 48 v 17.5 Ah Battery (Samsung/LG Cells)
  • 3.0 Amp Charger
  • 20 x 3″ CST Tires
  • 60+ Miles Range
  • 400 Lbs Payload Capacity
  • Integrated LED Headlight, Rear Brake Light
  • 7-Speed Shimano Shifter
  • 180 mm Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • Twist Throttle
  • 0-5 Pedal Assist (Can change to 0-3 or 0-9)
  • Large LCD Center Display
  • Fenders
  • Comes with Large Rear Rack and Running Boards
  • Center Stand
  • 77 lbs
  • For Riders 4’11” – 6’3″
  • Price: $1699
  • Where to Buy:  Available at KBO Bike

 

KBO Ranger
KBO Ranger

First off, for an electric cargo bike, I find the Ranger to be a very practical size with very good carrying capacity. The range is also terrific. The advertised range is 60 miles which is probably doable if using the lowest pedal assist, but with more practical usage, 40-50 miles is very attainable, which is fantastic for a heavy cargo bike. Of course, if you’re carrying a passenger or heavy cargo, the range will be less but still quite good.

Compared to the RadWagon 4, the Ranger is easier to handle in the garage or just moving it from one spot to another. It doesn’t take up as much space, and lifting it onto its center stand is much easier for me, as a shorter person.  

Another advantage of its size, compared to a longer cargo bike, is that you can more easily fit it onto a car rack. With a wheelbase of 47″ and total length of 69″, it’s on par with most standard bicycles. You’ll probably want a ramp for your car rack due to the weight of the bike, 77lbs, but it’s still fairly practical to haul. Removing the battery reduces the weight of the Ranger to make it compatible with more car racks. A good one for the Ranger is the Destination E Bike Rack from Hollywood Racks. It can hold the Ranger’s weight, plus you’ll appreciate its ramp. It’s a good choice for most ebikes.

KBO does sell, what they call a Fence, for older children to hold onto when riding on the rear. The Ranger also includes running boards with the Ranger, which is great. The RadWagon, for example, does not. You have to pay extra.

KBO Ranger
KBO Ranger Front, I love the cool headlight!

Motor Performance

The KBO Ranger is a peppy electric cargo bike. It has some kick to it, though you tame it down some through the bike’s display settings. You can also choose how many pedal assist levels you want, 3, 5, or 9.

The ability to use throttle on demand is very practical, and I like the twist throttle on the Ranger. It’s easy to maintain the same speed while still being able to grip the handlebar.

Top speed exceeds 20 MPH using the throttle, so you’re able to keep up with city traffic, or at least have enough speed to get out of the way.

Brakes

The 180-mm mechanical brakes on the Ranger do the job. I don’t have any complaints, though I am a fan of hydraulic brakes, especially for heavier and faster ebikes. If I were regularly carrying a passenger, I would upgrade to hydraulic.

Stability

Overall, the stability of the Ranger is good. The 3″-wide tires and low center of gravity or both big reasons for this. If too much weight is added to the rear, the front can get squirrely. As a test, I placed a 70 lbs bag of sand on the rear, and the front end lifted off the ground. So, while the rear rack is rated for 120 lbs, it’s probably not practical to carry that much on it.

Two small children can fit on the back, but I’d be careful about placing too much weight. A rack and basket is available for the front, which might help balance the weight some, if you plan to carry much.

Riding Test with Cargo

kbo ranger riding test
KBO Ranger Riding Test With Cargo

For the riding test with cargo, I brought a 25-pound bag of grout on the friendly bike path. I also rode up and down some rural roads with winding hills. I definitely recommend riding with weight before carrying a passenger, because braking, steering, and cornering is different with weight on the back. The bike behaves differently. I felt a little wiggle in the front when laying on the brakes or going above 15 MPH or so. There wasn’t much frame flex, but I sensed some minor fishtailing when coming to a quick stop.

There was plenty of power for the hills. In fact, I would feel safer dialing back the power some. This test was done using the default power settings. Luckily, you can change the power settings of the Ranger through its display. Changing to 9 pedal assist levels, from the default 5, and changing the sensitivity can make the bike perform in a more mild manner.

There is also a third-party display available for the Ranger, which allows for even more personalization. I will be upgrading to this display, so I can specify how much power I want from each pedal assist level. That can make a huge difference in achieving a more comfortable cadence that suits you personally.

To be honest, in comparison to another compact electric cargo bike, the RadRunner, I think the RadRunner has better stability when carrying a heavier load. The RadWagon barely knew the 25 lbs bag of grout was on it during its test. The RadWagon is the best for a passenger of the three bikes, though you have to be mindful of its long wheelbase when turning.

Riding Comfort

The Ranger doesn’t have front suspension, but the 3″ wide tires do a lot to make for a fairly comfortable ride. Most cargo bikes don’t have front suspension in order to make the bike more stable when carrying a passenger or cargo that could shift. Even when carrying cargo, the bike still rode comfortably to me.

I haven’t felt the need to change the stock seat. The bike doesn’t ride harshly. Yeah, you feel it when you hit a pothole, but it does good overall, if you stick to pavement. It isn’t for off-roading.

If you are a shorter person like me, I’m 5’1″, the Ranger will likely fit you well. I would like to see an adjustable stem for the handlebars in the future for the Ranger, like the RadWagon has. The reach is a little long for me, but it’s easy to switch to a shorter stem.

The seat height and low step-over height is ideal. I don’t have any trouble getting on or off the bike or stabilizing it when at a dead stop. That’s very important when carrying a passenger. 

Reliability/Long-Term Ownership

Another thing that is always important to consider when buying an electric bike is customer service, warranty, and available parts for long-term ownership. KBO is a newer ebike company, having launched in just 2021, and customer service inquiries can have some delay due to the popularity of their bikes, and the growing pains of the company. KBO does provide a two-year warranty, which is twice the industry standard, however.

One advantage Rad Power Bikes has with their RadWagon is that they are a more established company. My experiences with KBO have been positive, but keep in mind that they are new.

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, I’m happy with my KBO Ranger, for how I use it. I love the low step-over height, the overall comfortable ride, its more standard wheelbase, and that I can handle the bike better than a larger cargo bike. Lifting it onto its center stand is much easier for me than the RadWagon, or even the RadRunner. I also really like the looks of the bike, and that it came with running boards. I didn’t have to pay extra. The front rack and basket are optional, but priced reasonably.

I think if I were to carry a passenger regularly, I would choose the RadWagon, but then I’d have a really hard time lifting the RadWagon on its center stand. The Ranger is also more ideal for women, and shorter riders, although it can accommodate taller riders. For carrying groceries, or just a camera bag, and some panniers for your outdoor adventures, the Ranger does a fine job. It’s plenty powerful and provides a lot of utility as a city commuter. It’s a fun bike.

You can check it out at KBO Bike.

 



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