KBO Ranger Review
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$1,699 List||$5,199 List||$1,999 List||$1,999 List|
$1,999 at Rad Power Bikes
|Pros||Reasonable price, powerful and fast, battery and range, many features, may fit on some bike racks||Super smooth power delivery, stability, high weight limit, massive cargo carrying potential, comfortable, large user height range, tons of accessory add-ons||Sleek design, fully-featured, 400 lb weight limit, excellent stability, dual-battery capability||Stable and damp ride quality, good distance range, quality display, tons of available accessories||Huge carrying capacity, packed with features, abundant accessories available, durable construction, powerful brakes|
|Cons||Slightly less stable than some other models, lower cargo capacity, limited accessories offered||Very expensive, no throttle, difficult to transport and store||Modest range on single battery||Recall issues, longer assembly, custom 22-inch tires are an uncommon size||Interesting handling characteristics, no suspension, requires caution on turns and uneven surfaces, heavy and large - difficult to transport and store, expensive|
|Bottom Line||Great range and power combine with a fair price point to make this model a smashing deal||High-end performance and user experience combine with the largest hauling capacity on two wheels that we have tested||A Class 2 cargo e-bike with well-rounded performance and unique dual battery capability||A sturdy, stable, and powerful Class 2 electric cargo bike with a great distance range||A family-oriented, three-wheeled, front box cargo carrier best suited to flat, smooth surfaces and cautious riding|
|Rating Categories||KBO Ranger||Yuba Spicy Curry||Blix Packa Genie||Rad Power RadWagon 4||Bunch The Original|
|Cargo Carrying (15%)|
|Specs||KBO Ranger||Yuba Spicy Curry||Blix Packa Genie||Rad Power RadWagon 4||Bunch The Original|
|Wheel size||20-inch||26-inch front, 20-inch rear||24-inch||22-inch||2 x 20-inch front, 24-inch rear|
|Battery Size (Wh)||840||500||614 (with dual battery capability for up to 1228 Wh)||672||652.8|
|E-Bike Class||Class 3||Class 1||Class 2||Class 2||Class 2|
|Motor Power (torque)||750W||250W||750W||750W||500W|
|Number of pedal assist settings||5||4||5||5||5|
|Top speed throttle||24 mph||n/a||20 mph||20 mph||20 mph|
|Top speed pedal-assist||up to 28 mph||20 mph||20 mph||20 mph||20 mph|
|Measured Distance Range||29.9 miles||44 miles||23.6 miles||26.4 miles||19.8 miles|
|Frame material||6061 Aluminum||6061 Aluminum||Aluminum||6061 Aluminum||Steel|
|Total Weight Limit||400 lbs (up to 120 lbs on rear rack)||440 lbs||400 lbs total capacity (up to 150 lbs on rear rack, and up to 50 lbs on front rack)||350 lbs total capacity (up to 120 lbs on rear rack)||350 lbs|
|Measured Weight||77 lbs||60.2 lbs||78 lbs 8 oz||76 lbs 3 oz||152 lbs|
|Wheelbase length||47-inches (1194mm)||56-inches (1420mm)||53.7-inches (1364mm)||53.76-inches (1365.7mm)||83-inches (2108mm) (total bike length)|
|Drivetrain||Shimano Altus 7-speed||Shimano Deore 10-speed||Shimano 7-speed||Shimano 7-speed||Shimano Tourney 7-speed|
|Brakes||Tektro Mechanical Disc||RideRever Attack-XU Hydraulic Disc||Tektro MD-M300 Mechanical Disc||Tektro Aries Mechanical Disc||Bengal Hydraulic Disc|
|Additional features||Fenders, front and rear lights, rear cargo rack, running boards, heavy-duty aluminum kickstand, puncture-resistant tires,||Front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, 2-footed kickstand, bell, deflopilator, mount points for add-on accessories||Fenders, front and rear lights, USB charging, kickstand, bell, puncture resistant tires, smart mounting points for accessories, dual battery capability, deflopilator||Fenders, front and rear lights, rear cargo rack, telescoping seatpost, adjustable handlebars, mounts for accessories, deflopilator||Front and rear fenders, front and rear lights, large cargo box with benches and 4 safety belts, rear cargo rack, puncture resistant tires|
|Warranty||2 year||2 year||1 year||1 year||1 year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The KBO Ranger is a Class 3 electric cargo bike with an 840-watt-hour battery and a 750-watt motor. A 6061 aluminum frame sits atop 20-inch wheels, and the total max load is 400 pounds (rear cargo limit is 120 pounds). The bike itself weighs 77 pounds and has a comparatively shorter wheelbase of 47 inches.
Overall, the Ranger offers solid ride quality, though not the best in class. It is smaller than other cargo e-bikes we tested, which makes it both slightly less stable and more easily maneuverable. The 20" wheels don't provide the stability of bikes with larger wheel sizes, most noticeable at top speeds and when handling turns. On the flip side, the shorter wheelbase of this model provides a smaller turning radius, making it more nimble than the longer bikes in this review. Even with this tradeoff, we happily cruised around town on the Ranger.
The components on the Ranger suffice without shining. The Tektro mechanical disc brakes bring you and your cargo to a stop well enough, and the Shimano Altus drivetrain did not give us any issues changing speeds underway. The over-bar shifters on the right of the handlebars have room for improvement, as this position isn't the most ergonomic. Plus, they don't strike us as robust. The plump three-inch width of the puncture-resistant tires dampens the ride pretty well. The high-volume tires have a smooth tread, ideal for smooth roads and designated bike lanes. It can ride on dirt and smooth gravel at slower speeds, too, though it won't gain purchase in rough terrain like tires with deeper tread.
The Ranger is comfortable pedaling around town. There is a fairly large claimed height range of 4'11" to 6'3". Our six-foot-tall lead tester almost achieved full leg extension with the seat height maxed out, though we acknowledge that he has especially long legs. The handlebars do not have an adjustable stem (one is available as an accessory), but rather rely on the placement of the spacer positioning to increase or decrease the handlebar height. This proved functionally inconsequential, as our riders were able to position the seat and handlebars into a casual, upright seated position easily enough. The faux leather grips feel great, and the generous padding of the saddle kept us comfy.
Features have a large impact on the convenience of a cargo bike, and the Ranger has a great set. The standard model comes equipped with large, plastic front and rear fenders to keep street sediment off your clothes. The front and rear bike lights are integrated into the bike and powered by the battery, and the rear light flickers when applying the brakes, a safety feature we appreciate. The large rear rack has a wooden topper, as do the included rear running boards, which support your cargo and look good doing so. Being a 77-pound bike, the beefy two-legged kickstand with rubber feet is super useful. It also has a bell and mount points on the head tube to attach an after-market rack or basket to the front of the bike. The only feature one might find lacking is a deflopilator, which keeps the front wheel straight while on its kickstand. A tiny issue that is a result of the battery compartment being located on the underside of the downtube. This lower-priced model did not skimp on these important details that make it enjoyable to ride on a regular basis.
The Ranger far exceeds its price point regarding its range. With a whopping 840-watt-hour battery, you can depend on this bike to take you further than most of the competition on a single charge.
On our standardized range test course that includes sections of undulating hills, we rode 29.9 miles with 1,500 feet of elevation gain using the throttle only before the battery wore out. Adding to the impression, we averaged 17.6 mph on the course. The higher top speed (24 mph) of this bike burns some extra battery power, but the huge battery has plenty to expend. Given that our range test only utilizes the throttle with no active pedaling, we confidently expect this bike to cruise much farther distances when the rider uses pedal assistance and expends some effort. Great range and low price do not often come together in electric bikes, but the Ranger defies this rule.
Like its prowess in range, the Ranger equally impresses with its power. The 750-watt motor is a beast that offers quick acceleration and a speedy top speed. It doesn't strike us as the most refined motor, but it certainly doesn't lack power.
We hit 24 mph, and sometimes a touch faster, with the throttle of this bike. The twist throttle reacts immediately but doesn't jump out of control. Instead, it ramps up smoothly and quickly, reaching its top speed in just 12 seconds from a dead stop. In our uphill test to assess power further, we cruised at 18 mph, slowing only to 17 mph in the steepest section. These results are excellent and we were thoroughly impressed.
The pedal assist function has five modes. It struck us as a little jumpy in its acceleration when shifting gears initially, but we quickly figured out its character, which led to smooth pedaling. The first mode cruises at around 12 mph, and each support level increases by about 3 mph upon that. While KBO claims the Ranger can hit 28 mph with pedal assist, we did not achieve much faster than 24 mph with maximum effort. Still, this bike is fast and powerful, no matter if throttling, pedaling, or mixing both.
Despite being smaller than several other electric cargo bikes we tested, the Ranger can carry significant cargo. KBO lists its maximum load at 400 pounds (including the rider), which is probably much more than most folks will attempt.
The wood-topped rear cargo rack measures 19.7" long by 7.9" wide. This is a bit shorter than the rear racks on other models we tested, but should still easily accommodate a fair amount of cargo. The rear rack weight limit itself is 120 pounds. The running boards also have wooden toppers, which provide foot support to a rider. The front mount appears very sturdy with four bolts on the head tube, so you can add another rack or basket to the front and still transport a lot without hitting the weight limit of this bike.
Before you purchase this bike or any electric cargo bike, take a look at the accessories KBO offers. Upgrading a cargo bike with accessories is usually necessary to max out its carrying capacity. In comparison to other bikes and manufacturers, KBO's selection of accessory upgrades is somewhat limited. If you are looking for a nice bike seat for a toddler, for example, KBO does not sell one at the time of publication, although they do have other options for carting around kids. It also comes with running boards, something you typically have to purchase with other bikes.
Unlike most other cargo models we tested, this bike is able to fit onto some tray bike racks for transport by car. This is made possible by its comparatively shorter wheelbase length of 47 inches and is awfully handy when moving this bike farther than you can pedal it. The caveat is that it still weighs 77 pounds, which may exceed the single bike weight limit of many racks and makes it challenging to load.
The interface of this KBO model is pretty standard for the price range. It works well enough and we have no real qualms, but if the controls and display are very important to you, you might not be all that impressed.
The bike controls are ergonomic and easy to manipulate with thumbs. No tricks here, just an intuitive design that gets the rider used to the bike quickly. There's a twist throttle on the right side of the handlebar, and a three-button controller on the left that controls the power, mode, and pedal-assist levels.
The display is functional, not inspirational. Located in the middle of the handlebars, it is large, and the data it displays is easy to read at a glance. The 10-segment "Energy bar" provides feedback on battery life in small increments, which is nice, and the current speed shows up in big numbers. It also reads the pedal assist mode and an odometer with a trip counter clocks your distance traveled.
The battery is housed in the downtube of the frame for a clean look. It locks into place with a key for security, and it can be easily removed for charging off the bike.
As far as electric cargo bikes go, the Ranger is above average in its ease of assembly. This only has to happen once, so it's not a deal-breaker for most people, but we appreciate that KBO made efforts to make the process a little smoother than other models.
Assembly instructions are included, and KBO has an instructional video to walk you through the process available online. The bike comes with a nice folding multi-tool to assist in assembly. You will also need a wrench for the pedals and the small nut behind the front fender. To start, prop the bike up on its sturdy kickstand, which helps remove all the packaging easily. Further, the steps include installing the handlebars, front wheel, front fender, headlight, pedals, and running boards. It took us 45 minutes in total.
Should You Buy the KBO Ranger?
If you want a reliable cargo e-bike that does not break the bank, the Ranger should be at the top of your list. It has the look and feel of a top-quality bike while costing less. Plus, its features, power, range, and top speed all perform at high levels. At some point, if you are not looking for something more particular or niche, it begs the question: Why spend more when this bike provides so much?
What Other E-Bikes Should You Consider?
The main area where the Ranger falls a bit behind is its ride quality. For folks who ride most days of the week, this might be a factor that makes it worth spending a little more to make the ride more enjoyable. If that describes you, check out the Blix Packa Genie. It has a longer rear rack, but more importantly, has a fantastic ride quality for daily rides and commutes. If you're looking for high-end ride quality and the most cargo capacity, the Yuba Spicy Curry is a great option though it is much more expensive. It foregoes a throttle in favor of a quality mid-drive motor with super smooth pedal assistance. It comes with higher-end components and Yuba offers the deepest selection of accessories for customization.
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