KBO Ranger Review : The Perfect Passenger E-Bike
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First Thoughts On The KBO Ranger
The KBO Ranger comes to me with an impressive resume of specifications that I, for one, look forward to giving a test spin. At 77 pounds, it’s not necessarily light, but for all the features, it feels and looks more svelte than I had anticipated. Equally important, I’m looking for a proper passenger e-bike that also handles well. I hope the KBO Ranger has what it takes. Ultimately, this electric bike will be a family vehicle. I see my wife and both daughters able (and definitely willing) to use the KBO Ranger around the neighborhood.
Unpacking The KBO Ranger
Packages, especially large packages, provide much pleasure when delivered to my front porch. I received the box, and it was a tidy and efficient box. Unpacking and assembly of the KBO Ranger is a fairly straight forward process.
I’d say, all the packaging for protecting the bike is quite adequate to keep any transit dings at bay. I recycle as much of it as I can, but there are a few trashcan casualties. Do what you can to recycle! An e-bike will save tons of energy over its life, so we might as well enter that mindset from the start.
Firstly, I methodically go about setting out all the parts and pieces to familiarize myself with all the goodies that come out of the box. NBD (New Bike Day) is always exciting, so I try to prolong that feeling by taking my time. Most folks can certainly follow the provided (or on-line) instructions to get this KBO Ranger road worthy. Having said that, if you need help, I am sure your local bike shop can provide assistance on that front for a small fee. All in all, I think this bike can be assembled and ready to go in under an hour.
I do appreciate KBO’s effort and thoughtfulness to really make this assembly quite simple. Therefore, you can definitely do this yourself no matter your bike mechanic skills.
Secondly, I remove a few protection pieces from the disc rotors and a large bolt from in between the forks. Subsequently, I connect the racks, fenders, pedals, front wheel, and front light. And voila, a very shiny new e-bike is ready for action. The battery does have a decent charge level upon delivery to take her for a quick spin. Ultimately, I do charge it for the recommended 4-5 hours.
The KBO Ranger comes with the following:
- Quick Charger
- Full fenders
- Rear Rack
- Running Boards
- Assembly Tool
- Owner’s Manual
- LG Samsung Battery with 840 Wh
- Quick Charger
- Pedal Assist
- 20” CST Road Tires
- Payload Capacity: 400 lbs.
- Battery: 48V 17.5Ah Lithium-ion battery with LG cells
- Range: 35-60 miles
- Hub Motor: Sustained 750W brushless geared motor
- Recommended Rider Heights: 4’11” – 6’3″
- Charger: 3.0 Amp Quick charger
- Controller: 48V /22A
- Display: LCD backlight display
- Weight: 77 lbs.
- Pedal Assist: 0-5 levels
The battery is located in the frame, and is removable. It’s a 48v, 17.5 Ah Lithium-ion battery with Samsung/LG Cells. It can handle 900 complete charge cycles. Therefore, with an 840 Wh battery capacity, and depending on your mode level, a 60 mile range is possible. That said, the tendency to go into level 4 or 5 is hard to resist, so plan accordingly for a range in the 30-40 mile spectrum.
The KBO Ranger Motor
The KBO Ranger is powered by a sustained 750W Brushless Geared Hub Motor. This is a good bit of horsepower, so to speak, to allow for a two person carrying capability as well as climbing steeper hills. I take my daughter to swim team practice, and have no issues going up a few inclines and overpasses. Let me put this into perspective, on my road bike, I can push about 200 watts for an hour up a steep hill of 8-12%. That is a serious workout for me. In a pure all out sprint, I might be able to put out 600-800 plus watts, but that doesn’t last but a mere 30 seconds. Consequently, 750 Watts will certainly suffice for anyone looking to get to their destination.
KBO advertises about 5 hours for a complete charge. I haven’t put a stopwatch on it, but that sounds about right. We usually charge it overnight after 2-3 days of use. It’s a 48V 3 Amp “Quick” Charger.
First of all, to turn on the front headlight, you hold the “UP” button for 3 seconds. I find that it lights up the road and pathways adequately with a 48V LED headlight. Furthermore, I feel more visible, so I turn it on whenever I ride. The integrated rear LED light also takes its power from the battery pack. An additional burst of light occurs when you press the brakes. Again, visibility is so crucial on todays roads. Accordingly, I appreciate the attention to detail by KBO’s design team.
The KBO Ranger is equipped with a 7-speed derailleur. Most e-bikes have a 7 or 8 speed cassette, so that is par for the course. In flatter terrain which is most of my local and commuter rides, I do not get out of the hardest gear of 8. I sometimes wish there were a handful more, so I can apply some extra leg power for extra speed. Shifting is easy, so all good there.
Additionally, the front gear chain ring is properly protected, and keeps your pant leg from getting caught. The shifting on the right handlebar is easily reachable and available should the road or path tilt upwards.
The brakes on the KBO Ranger are appropriately sized with 180 mm disc rotors. When I reach 20 plus miles per hour, I want to have the confidence that stopping quickly and efficiently is an option. So far so good. At full speed, I am able to come to a complete stop within 15-20 feet.
Racks And Storage On The KBO Ranger
The rear rack is quite large and very suitable for a people carrier or a basket as a grocery getter. Constructed out of Aluminum with a load capacity of 120 pounds. I really appreciate the “bamboo” seat and running boards which is long and surprisingly comfortable. I had thought I’d need a padded seat, but for the moment we are good to go without.
In my case, I only have to carry my youngest as the teenager can ride by herself now. And as luck would have it, (photo further below), my oldest can now comfortably take our little one to and from swim practice and school. Resulting in a time saver for Dad.
In addition, the entire bike has “intelligent” mounting brackets throughout for options to connect racks and accessory attachments. This provides an added weight and storage option of up to 50 pounds. Regardless, I like the versatility and opportunities it provides to meet the needs of many potential rider needs. Here you see the front mounts, and how beefy those extra mount-on bolts look. Adding that front rack for additional storage is a no-brainer.
***Extra attention given*** This is the way an e-bike throttle should be designed. It’s ergonomically integrated into the right grip for easy access with quick acceleration. It’s not a lever or button, but an actual throttle. Plus, it’s on the correct / right side. The one thing that need attention is that the padded leather grip does slide loose after a while. It’s easily pushed back in, but I do want to find a permanent solution. I’m not sure if this is a one-off, and it simply needs some adhesion.
The left side of the handle bar has the power button to bring the KBO Ranger to life. Likewise, the up / down buttons are there to adjust the pedal assist. Tucked back in there is one of the better bells I have had the pleasure of using. And I also want to emphasize this feature, because it actually sounds like a bike bell. That bell jingle is still the perfect way to notify anyone that you are passing. Other e-bikes I have ridden have very annoying buzzers that I don’t even use due to that startling loud sound it makes to scare pedestrians.
This bike seat is a durable and comfortable saddle that decreases the impact of road bumps. You may adjust your posture by moving the saddle up and down as well as back and forth. I would play around with that for a perfect fit.
20″*3.0″ CST Tires
To prevent punctures, the tires are manufactured with high-quality materials that resist punctures caused by sharp objects. Wider than typical commuter tires, it provides a more stable and smooth ride on your commute. They have served me well, and no unexpected punctures thus far.
LCD Backlight Display
The display provides you with a range of information to help you keep track of your riding conditions. A charge indicator, a speedometer, an odometer, a trip odometer, a pedal assist level, and more. I want to point out that visibility was clear no matter the conditions. Surprisingly, even with a bright sun the display was visible.
Fenders on both the front and rear are complete with all of the necessary hardware. They’re incredibly resilient and keep you dry and clean from water and mud. Tighten them down solidly, because I have noticed after one bumpy ride that it rattled a little.
The center kick stand is built with rust-resistant, sturdy, and durable aluminum alloy. It’s fairly smooth to flip this bike to a parking position. And vice versa as you put your foot on, and the spring will flip the kick stand up without too much resistance.
The KBO Ranger Is A Local Transporter And Dad Time Saver
First of all, let’s talk about the size of the KBO Ranger. The easy adjustability of the seat makes for a quick change to have multiple users take her for a spin. My one daughter is not quite 5’-0″, and is able to ride the bike. This is not a regular occurrence, as I am still quite cautious of her using it due to the weight and her strength to be able to handle the Ranger. The advertised weight is 77 lbs., but having ridden 90 plus pound bikes, this one actually feels quite light. I am 6’-1”, and I am probably pushing the taller height range limit (depending on how far your leg range of motion goes). They advertise a height up to 6′-3″, and that might be fine as long as you understand how the leg range of motion pertains to your specific riding style.
I love the large seating plank area and foot rest. It has honestly provided me with some great kid transporter options. The first and obvious one is that I am able to take a kid somewhere in the neighborhood without having to pull the car out of the garage. I truly love that, and the benefits are extensive. I save a dollar or two on gas which is nice. Henceforth, the trip can be done quicker at times depending on the distance and purpose. Subsequently, the environmental impact is noticeable in numerous ways. For example, less fossil fuel is consumed, less pollution, less impact and space on the roads, etc. Lastly, the feel-good benefit is immeasurable as the wind in my hair and face makes me smile.
The added bonus of this KBO Ranger is that my oldest is able to take my youngest to their swim team practices in the morning. This frees up my valuable time. Plus, it does give them more responsibility and a sense of freedom. I do still worry, because handling a leg pedal powered bike at 10-12 miles is different than this 70 pound bike at nearly 20 mph. I can’t stress it enough to them to slow down, and anticipate any and all scenarios in this Text-While-You-Drive era.
It’s funny, this bike at 77 lbs. feels quite nimble. Nonetheless, the maneuverability at top speed is solid as I can lean into a corner with control and confidence.
Final Thoughts On The KBO Ranger
Good looks and function meet at the junction of a fantastic value. Furthermore, the efficiency and power of the motor and battery combo deliver a smooth ride. The KBO Ranger sports an aesthetically pleasing design, and performs above expectations. In conclusion, the overall value is there to either get someone on a bike to enjoy the wind in their hair, or replace a car trip or two. This bike is a keeper as it serves my entire family. If you are shopping around for a capable e-bike, I would add this KBO Ranger as a serious consideration.