KBO Hurricane: A Simple and Effective Commuter Electric Bike

by freshlycharged

Who will love the KBO Hurricane E-Bike?

The KBO Hurricane e-bike is a solid choice for short to medium-distance commuters who want the e-bike experience without breaking the bank. Between the low-maintenance design and decent battery range, you can ride with confidence that this bike will get you where you need to go. My only caveat is that you’ll want to replace the seat that comes with the bike. Your butt will thank you. I’ve been using this e-bike as my daily commuter to work, putting on about 12 miles each day. From my experience, here is my review.

Top 5 things I loved about the KBO Hurricane Electric Bike

  1. Affordability
  2. Sleek Design
  3. Simple Operation
  4. Decent Range
  5. Low Maintenance

Affordability

The Hurricane is available on KBO’s website for $1,099. While the bike doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles, what you do get is a sleek looking bike with a belt-drive, 3 levels of pedal assist, range of 18-53 miles, built-in headlamp, and all of that in a relatively light package of 36 lbs.

Sleek Design

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think this was just a regular bike. A lot of my coworkers thought it was just a regular bike when I brought it to work. Between the battery being built into the down tube and the motor sitting in the rear wheel hub, the bike looks pretty normal. Not only does that give the Hurricane a sleek, professional look, it also helps to make it less of a target for would-be bike thieves.
KBO Hurrican review

Simple Operation

If you’ve never ridden an e-bike before, don’t worry, neither had I. Getting on the Hurricane was as simple as getting on a regular bike with the advantage of an LCD screen with two buttons. To power on the bike, just press and hold the left button. Tap the left button once the bike is powered on to turn the headlamp on or off. The button on the right cycles through the different pedal assist levels indicated by the number in the bottom right corner. The assist levels are straightforward as well. At 0, there’s no assist and it’s just like any other bike. At level 1, it starts providing a little extra energy with each stroke. It may not provide a ton of extra speed, but it also takes less effort from you. At level 2, the motor starts providing some real power to get you up to speed and keep you there. Level 3 gives you the help you need to power up hills and quickly pass other bikes. Aside from that, the LCD comes with a large central speedometer and a battery indicator in the top right corner. The whole package is short, sweet, and to the point.
KBO e bike

Decent Range

Long story short, I was able to get a solid 36 miles out of the battery before the power output started dropping and eventually gave out around mile 38. My testing was on the Cherry Creek Bike Path in Denver CO which has a few hills and dips but overall is relatively flat. I kept the bike on level 2 assist most of the time with the occasional bump up to level 3 to pass other bikes or power up slight inclines. Obviously keeping the bike in level 1 assist will extend the range while keeping it at level 3 will decrease it, but there really isn’t much reason to keep the bike at level 3 for extended periods which I’ll talk about later.

Low Maintenance

Ok, I’ll start with the disclaimer that I only tested this bike for a few days so there wasn’t a lot of time for anything to go wrong. Still, maintenance should be fairly low with this bike thanks to it’s single gear, belt driven system. While having a single gear has some drawbacks that I’ll cover later, it does mean you don’t have to worry about the periodic shifter or derailer tune-ups. Going with a belt drive also eliminates the need for messy lubricants as well as provides rugged durability that will last longer than traditional bike chains.
KBO Bike

Top 5 Drawbacks of the KBO Hurricane

  1. Bumpy Ride
  2. Single-speed drive train
  3. Low Top Speed
  4. Battery is non-removable
  5. Assist levels cycle in one direction

It’s a bumpy ride

This was by far the largest drawback of the Hurricane for me. Between the lack of suspension, firm road tires, and hard seat that comes with the bike, it can be a bit of a rough ride. I used the bike for my 11.5-mile commute to and from work on a rather well-maintained bike path. While getting to work the first day was a little bumpy, I felt fine when I got there. Once it came time to ride home, however, I realized how sore my bottom was as soon as my butt hit the seat. Going home I felt every bump and crack. For my second day of commuting, I decided to swap out the standard bike seat for the padded seat from my regular bike. That. Made. All. The. Difference. While the ride was still a little bumpy, it was much less jarring and manageable.

Single Speed Drivetrain

Ok, I know I said the single speed was great for its low maintenance, it does come with a loss of versatility. Getting started from a dead stop took a little longer than I would have liked because it takes one to two strokes for the motor assist to kick in. Also, if you run out of battery during your ride, hills become a pain without the extra assist or the ability to downshift. The single gear also limits your top speed (which leads to the next point).
KBO ebike

Low Top Speed

Each time I rode the bike, my speed topped out around 22 to 23 mph on flat stretches. Because the Hurricane only has one gear, you can’t shift up to a higher gear ratio for higher speeds. Around 22 mph in gear 2, the pedals are spinning pretty fast effectively limiting the amount of power you can add. At assist level 3, you can’t keep up with the pedals so there’s not much point in spending a lot of time there unless you need to make sure you get where you’re going as fast as possible.

Non-removable battery

The Hurricane’s battery is built into the down tube of the bike. While this helps with the overall aesthetic of the bike, KBO did not provide a way to remove the battery. That means I wasn’t able to bring the battery into the office with me on the second day when I realized I wouldn’t have enough charge to get me home. However, thanks to the decent range of the bike, a charge each night should get you just about anywhere you need to go.

Assist levels only cycle in one direction

This is a pretty minor complaint, but you only have one button for cycling through assist levels which means you can only go one way 0>1>2>3>0. That means that if you’ve been chugging along at level two and but decide to bump up to level 3 to get up a hill or pass someone, you then have to cycle through level 0 with no assist to get back to level 2.

Who is the KBO Hurricane perfect for?

The KBO Hurricane is not for the hardcore bicyclist. This e-bike is perfect for someone who is looking for a simple, alternative way to commute under 15 miles each way without breaking the bank. Thanks to its low-maintenance design and decent battery range, this bike will confidently get you from point A to B, and thanks to its sleek design, you’ll look good doing it. So in the end, yes, I can recommend the KBO Hurricane … so long as you buy a better seat. For current pricing and availability on the Hurricane, check out the KBO website. Special thanks to Richard Kennedy for helping to test and review this bike.

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We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

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