KBO K1 e-bike in Florida

KBO K1 Folding E-Bike — CleanTechnica Tested

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I was offered a chance to review a KBO e-bike at my Florida home. The K1 step-over was so much fun! It has a frame size and ride that is comfortable and a price point that would appeal to a wide variety of interested e-bike consumers. At our moment in time in which e-cycling has taken on the dual function of leisure and delivery, this KBO K1 e-bike offers versatility and several attractive design features.

Assembly

Bicycles of all shapes and sizes need to be assembled; that’s a given. You can do it yourself, or with a pal, or have a bike shop take care of it. I chose the middle option, with my handy husband accepting my polite request for assistance.

The box came with the K1 e-bike, pedals, power cable, transformer, 15 mm wrench, and owners manual. We started by propping the bike up on its kickstand and removing all packaging materials.

  • The handlebar assembly had 3 parts: unlock the stem clam and glide the handlebar into the slot; raise the handlebar to your preferred height; and, fasten the clamp to lock the handlebar in place.
  • The manual reminds the assembler to install each pedal on the correct side; otherwise, thread damage could occur. Stickers [(R) and (L)] help guide correct placement.
  • To adjust the seat, you need to slide the seatpost up or down to match your leg length and preferred riding position.
  • To fold your e-bike, you place your handle at the orange marking and squeeze toward yourself to unlock the pedal. Stand to the left size of the e-bike and slide the button toward the left to initiate the unlock sequence. At the same time, reach under the clamp with your right hand and apply outward pressure to release the clamp. Lift the circular button marked with orange upward and twist the stem’s clamp outward to open it.
  • The battery is housed in the downtube of the frame and locks into place. It is fairly simple to remove for charging off the bike.

It took us an hour or so to unpack and set up the K1 and to discard the packaging materials.

E-bike assembly for any brand is little more than a nuisance. Could I have assembled this e-bike myself? No, nope, absolutely not. But that would be the same with any e-bike.

Assembly is something that is done once, and then you never have to consider it again. An optimist would say that, when you’re in the middle of the assembly process, it’s an opportunity to get to know the features of the e-bike more intimately.

The KBO K1 E-bike Features

The K1 folding e-bike, with its sturdy tires and frame, is well-suited for commuting and urban exploration.

Here’s an overview of what the K1 model e-bike has to offer.

  • 500W motor, speed up to 20 mph
  • 499 Wh built-in lithium-ion battery, range up to 45 miles per charge
  • 48 lb without the battery
  • 6061 aluminum bike frame
  • 20″ x 3″ tires
  • Fold and unfold within 2 steps
  • Four special colors for each model
  • Speed sensor
  • 242 lb payload capacity
  • Dual disc brakes and responsive stopping power
KBO K1 folding e-bike
KBO K1 on paved path

Price Point

When I first decided to buy an e-bike about 2 years ago, I found a local bike shop that seemed a good fit. After I nosed around for a while, I explained to the sales person that I was looking for an introductory, entry level e-bike. They showed me one with a $2100 price tag and pointed out several of its functions that I did not understand — I was new to the e-bike game, as I continually reminded the sales person. Needless to say, I didn’t buy an e-bike there. I chose another brand at half the price elsewhere.

That first experience with an e-bike purchase makes me realize how really, really affordable the KBO K1 is. At $699 base, it is a good value, whether you need to get started with a gig business, want to become familiar with e-biking, or are looking for a compact e-bike to carry with you on vacation. With the cargo rack addition, the K1 allows for trouble-free hauling of a beach bag, some groceries, or a small-medium box. It would be appropriate for leisure or work — and either purpose means less arduous biking, especially in busy communities or on urban streets.

Described by KBO as the “best choice for your first e-bike,” I have to agree.

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Controls & Displays

The basic display screen is located on the left handlebar and is just big enough for adequate visibility. Its settings include battery indicator, power indicator, speed unit, speed indication, function list, pedal assist level indication, and mode switch (up or down).

You can access the settings interface simultaneously by holding the + key and the – buttons for 2 seconds, and again use those buttons to navigate select parameters. You can set the dormant time from 0 to 60 minutes.To record a single trip mileage, you press the – button to reset to zero. Interestingly, you can adjust the maximum speed setting within a range of 6 mph to 20 mph. Other settings include wheel diameter, unit of measure for speed, and voltage.

KBO
KBO K1 controls and display

The Feel of Pedaling Power

People in their prime of life like me generally use an e-bike for recreational purposes, while younger people use an e-bike to increase the distance traveled and to perform daily tasks. The K1 offers 3 riding modes: pedal assist, throttle only, and pedal only, so each generation can adjust according to their own riding preferences and requirements.

My first impression when I began pedaling was how light the bike felt. Some e-bikes seem like you’re pulling blocks of weight behind you. This K1 seemed agile and free-flowing as I rode it, and when adding in the pedal assist, the pedaling felt quite natural and carefree. The pedal assist did act a bit jumpy at first, but like anything new, it didn’t take me long to get used to it.

I was given 30 days from receipt of the K1 e-bike to write my review, so my excursions were typically done around the neighborhood, down the A1A scenic drive, or across town to run an errand. With an advertised 45 miles of range, it was absolutely appropriate for my riding needs. The 500-watt motor is more than ample for most rides, and it offers quick acceleration and excellent top speed.

The guys to whom I showed the K1 seemed confused why the throttle — which is activated by pushing down a small lever adjacent to the left grip — isn’t situated on the right grip. It seems their motorcycle riding made them expect a traditional right-hand grip throttle experience. As I thought about it, it’s more difficult to slow and signal at an intersection or turn if you’re holding onto a right grip throttle. This K1 left-side throttle lever makes negotiating a change in path or road a bit easier, I think.

KBO suggests that after becoming more comfortable with the riding characteristics of the K1 and more familiar with your varying range requirements, you can then make any needed adjustments to pedal assist settings as well as throttle frequency.

KBO K1 folding e-bike
KBO K1 bike, ready to pedal — or not

Quality of the Ride

When we were unpacking the KBO K1, I anticipated difficulty in riding it as a late middle aged female. It looked too big and bulky immediately out of the box, and I suspected — wrongly — that it wouldn’t be a good fit for me.

Well, initial impressions are frequently deceiving, and this KBO K1 e-bike was just the right size for me after all. As I moved it out of the garage, I found that it responded quite nimbly to tight corners. Partially, I think this realization came about due to the handlebar design: a straight horizontal line. That means you can hold the bike steady at the T with the front stem, allowing for greater stability when moving it in tight quarters. I later learned that the flat handlebar allows a correct angle as well as support of the wrists.

The ride itself is smooth with just the right amount of shock absorption. Ergonomic e-bike components and accessories like well-designed grips, handlebars, and stems build in comfort and ease of handling. The ability to adjust the K1 for individual posture, seat comfort, favored bike position riding style, saddle height, handlebar pretension, and arm-to-torso angle supports good ergonomics, too.

My gal friends who checked it out with me liked its size and ability to adjust to their size and riding style.

KBO K1 folding e-bike
KBO K1 bike gets thumbs up from 2 gals

Standard Features, Plus A Necessary Accessory

So often, in our internal combustion engine (ICE)-powered world, people associate moving vehicles with a rumbling motor. Dissonance occurs when the vehicle is electric and the sound is nil. The bell that comes standard with the KBO K1 is quite wonderful! Its tiny, tinny ring is just enough to notify pedestrians ahead of your arrival. Love it!

Integrated lights are a feature on the KBO K1 that I really appreciated — I remember hooking up wires to my previous bikes and keeping my fingers crossed that they’d work during those dusky times of day when riding is most treacherous.

The seat, which has a long, thin line, seems more suited to racing than carrying cargo or leisure-loving bicyclists. The accessory of an oversize comfortable bike saddle is a must-have, and it’s reasonable enough at $59.oo.

Some reviews indicated that the amount of accessories that KBO offers is too limited, but I didn’t find that to be the case at all.

KBO
Oversize comfortable K1 e-bike saddle option

Cargo Carrying

With a listed 242 lb payload capacity, the cargo carrying capacity is quite adequate. The average size of this K1 e-bike would fit most gig workers’ heights and provide enough weight capacity for self and an Uber Eats, Grubhub, or DoorDash delivery. (To be clear, the cargo carrier for a restaurant delivery person should be large enough to carry a 18″ x 18″ x 18″ food delivery bag, so a little added breadth foundation to the K1 carrier might be needed for some users.)

Having fenders is a bonus when carrying any cargo, as the spray from puddles or a passing rain shower won’t soak your pants. The dull and deep gray color of the fenders offers a nice complement to the e-bike’s paint palette selections.

KBO K1 folding e-bike
KBO K1 by the dune

Final Thoughts

The KBO K1 is a very pleasing e-bike to ride, and it’s a good value. I liked its compact design and variety of ride options. At 48 pounds, it tends toward the lighter end of the e-bike segment, which appealed to me when I wanted to use the pedal-only option. It is compact and folds, which means you can tuck it in the back of your RV or boat, or store it in your apartment or shared garage space snugly.

To learn more or to purchase one, head over to the KBO K1 official website. It retails at a starting price of $699.

Disclaimer: KBO provided the K1 to the author for the purposes of this review.


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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Substack: https://carolynfortuna.substack.com/.

Carolyn Fortuna has 1310 posts and counting. See all posts by Carolyn Fortuna