The KBO Hurricane Is A Belt-Driven Single-Speed With A Built In Tailwind — CleanTechnica Review

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The KBO Hurricane is a new entrant into the world of e-bikes and strikes out on its own path. With a belt drive and no internal gearing, it carves out a new segment for single-speed bikes married together with all the benefits of electrification.

As a single-speed bike, the KBO Hurricane is a purpose-built city street assassin. The single-speed belt drive on the bike all but eliminates the need for maintenance, ditching the greasy chain in favor of a fixed belt. The belt drive makes pedaling smooth as silk and quiet.

KBO Hurricane e-bike
KBO Hurricane e-bike, image by Kyle Field

It’s hard to explain how much nicer a belt drive is to ride with compared to a traditional chain drive setup, but it’s a lot like going from a gas car to a quiet electric vehicle. No more clicking and clattering from the chain and gears. Instead, the perfectly meshed belt and cog system seamlessly, silently transforms the input from the pedals into forward motion.

The KBO Hurricane builds upward from the clean aesthetic of the single-speed belt drive with a compact 250 watt continuous, 350 watt peak rear hub motor that blends right into the matte black look of the bike. Similarly, the 9.6Ah battery is tucked away into the downtube with only the small charging port cover hinting at its existence.

A small backlit black and white display puts control of the motor within easy reach. The display boasts two small multi-function buttons that allow for intuitive access to the headlight by tapping the power button once and the different pedal assist modes — from levels 0-3 — at just the touch of a button. Oversized numbers display the current speed for easy viewing while underway.

KBO Hurricane e-bike

The KBO is a slick roller, with the belt drive providing a direct connection to the bike. The downside is that, with only a single cog, it’s very limited on the mechanical side of the equation. Thankfully, the motor is ready to kick in to provide assistance when needed.

With 250 watts of continuous power output and 350 watts of peak power, don’t expect the Hurricane to push you up steep hills. Remember, this isn’t a mountain mauler, it’s a city commuter, optimized for the flatlands. In those scenarios, the Hurricane is a joy to ride, always ready to come in to support with a nice tailwind when the time is right.

The benefit of the lightweight, lower power motor and smaller battery is a bike that’s a featherweight in the world of electric bikes at just 36 pounds. It’s as easy to move around and carry as many non-electric bikes. The brakes are also optimized for low weight, with mechanical brake calipers and 160 mm rotors. They are well-suited for city riding, but leave a bit to be desired on steep declines and the occasional emergency stop.

Overall, the KBO Hurricane is a fantastic value at just $1,099 and provides a smooth entry into the world of belt-driven electric bikes. It’s lightweight and provides a very respectable amount of extra boost for riders with few to no elevation changes in their commutes. With a range of 18-53 miles, it is well-suited to support many commutes.

The Hurricane is not a high performance electric bike when it comes to power, range, or braking, but at $1,099, that’s not realistic. It is a solid value at that price point and provides a nice low barrier to entry to the world of electric bikes. This is doubly true in the road biking scene, where riders often pay several thousand dollars for a mid range kit.

Head over to KBO Bikes for all the details about the KBO Hurricane and to purchase one for yourself.

Specs

  • Motor: 250 watt continuous, 350 watt peak brushless geared hub motor
  • Battery: 36v, 9.6Ah, 345 Wh frame-integrated battery built with Panasonic cells
  • Weight: 36 lbs / 16 kgs
  • Range: 18-53 miles of assisted pedaling
  • Sensor: Cadence sensor
  • Assist Modes: 3 levels of pedal assist (no throttle)
  • Frame Material: 6061 aluminum
  • Brakes: front and rear mechanical disc brakes w/160mm calipers
  • Lighting: 36v LED headlight
  • Tires: 700c x 32 road tires
  • Seat: Selle Royal Nebula gel seat
  • Rider Height: 5’6″ to 6’6″
  • Payload Capacity: 275 lbs
  • Price: $1,099

All images credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica


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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

Kyle Field has 1649 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field