KBO Breeze initial review

CharleyD

New Member
Region
USA
I received the Breeze a couple of weeks ago and have generally enjoyed my experiences so far. I mostly use the bike to commute to work 10 miles one-way on a combination of bike trails and public roadways here in Boulder, CO. I've put a little over 200 miles on the bike in that time and here are my experiences.
The bike was very easy to assemble and fits me well- I'm about 5'8" and it works well for me. The components are pretty good, running gear and brakes are similar to KBO's competitors- Shimano and 180mm Tektro respectively. The inclusion of aluminum fenders and a good rear rack were part of what helped me to decide to go with the KBO, in addition to the higher capacity of the battery (16 Ah) as compared to competitors. It's been reliable and capable from my experiences. So far so good.
However, the motor controller (made by JYTcon) definitely needs work to be on par with KBO's competitors and the general state of the art in terms of most mid-range ebikes on the road today. The basic functionality is very limited for the Breeze's controller, I am only able to change the units of display (KM or MPH) and reset the trip meter, nothing else. The reason this is an important note is because the overrun time (the time the motor provides assist after pedaling is stopped) is 1 second for the Breeze, which I feel is too long. Of course applying the brakes immediately stops the assist but there is a potential safety concern that with such a long overrun could surprise some less savvy riders and potentially result in a bad situation- like unexpectedly still providing assist while cornering or on loose surfaces. Having the ability to simply change the overrun setting seems like an important function for the motor control system. This is not available for the Breeze today.
Being able to adjust the assist levels for the various settings (1-5) would be valuable as well, as I think there are some unnatural jumps in assist levels by default- going from 2 to 3 for example.
This is an important consideration when buying an ebike- the main components that differentiate an ebike from a regular bike are the motor, the motor controller and the battery. The controller is the key component to controlling the system, so some focus here by KBO would take a an ok bike to the next level. Simply using a Lishui or Kunteng controller (like Ride1up and Rad Power) would be easy and eliminate the issues I describe above.
I have contacted KBO technical support as well as directly contacting the motor controller manufacturer (JYTcon, made by Yuecheng in Wuxi, China) and both have stated directly that any further capability of this controller is not possible and no improvements are planned. So unless the controller is changed (by yourself), what you get is what you will have. KBO support was ok, but the replies to my emails were from a different person each time and were very terse in nature.
My father in law has a Ride1up 500, and my dad has a RadPower ebike, so I have some direct comparison available to me for competitors to KBO in this space. I would rank KBO 3rd of 3 in this comparison, only due to the motor controller.
All that being said, I think this will be a good platform for a strong commuter ebike, even though I may end up replacing the controller myself.
 

HoustonGlen

Member

CharleyD,​

May I ask your opinion in regards to the KBO Breeze and Ride1up 500 since you have hands on knowledge. Which one would you prefer out of the 2? I have narrowed it down to either the KBO Breeze or Ride1up 500 step thru. KBO is 16ah compared to Ride1up 500 13ah battery. KBO also offers extra features that Ride1up 500 does not. Just curious why you ranked KBO 3rd out of the 3.
Thanks

 

CharleyD

New Member
Region
USA
HoustonGlen,
I've made a few changes and ridden ~700 miles since this initial review. Overall, I'm still pretty happy with the purchase, with some caveats.
-The controller tuneability still remains a sticking point for me. It is much less functional than at least two of the most adjacent competitors, R1U 500 and Radpower Radcity. I simply cannot access many of the parameters on the KBO that both R1U and Radcity have easily accessible by default, and the KBO has no available "Advanced" menu set in the controller. For example, I can't change overrun time (the time power is applied after loss of signal from the PAS system), tuning individual power levels for the different assist levels, wheel size, top speed in the KBO- I can for both the R1U and the Radcity either through the default menu or through an advanced menu. This is the primary reason I'd rank KBO 3rd.
-I changed the chainring from 46t to 52t for a much improved match between pedaling cadence and PAS assist. I was almost always in 7th gear and spinning while on city streets, now I actually use the lower gears. This should have come this way from the factory.
-After sufficient complaining to the factory about the controller issue I explain above, they sent me a video showing me how to unlock the top speed limitation, allowing me to go from 22 mph to 28 mph. This is also something that should have been changeable from the factory. They let me know that this would void the warranty, but after I found out that if I had a warranty claim, that I would need to completely re-package the bike in the original box just like it left the warehouse, I was less concerned with even trying to ask for a warranty replacement on anything. I can fix or replace most anything that will likely fail myself for less cost than packaging and shipping a bike.
-The radcity uses a direct drive motor, while the KBO and the R1U use a geared hub motor. This means that while the Radcity has about 1/2 the torque of the other two, the torque delivery is much smoother and quieter. Nothing that most don't already know, but it is noticeable when going from one bike to the other.
-I doubt that the 3 extra amp hours will affect me until the battery starts to lose capacity due to age. My commute to work is 20 miles round trip, I use less than 1 bar of battery capacity for the entire ride. I don't see a real life scenario where the difference in battery capacity would make me regret one over the other.
-The included rack and better lighting setup (tail/brake light included) on the KBO is the best of the three for sure.

KBO is definitely the best looking of the three though!
IMG_9616.jpg
 

HoustonGlen

Member
Wow! I just cant thank you enough for the detailed response. Your suggestions and modifications are greatly appreciated and really has answered a lot of my wonders and concerns. I am quite familiar with acoustic bikes and ebikes and do all maintenance and repairs myself. The video to unlock the top speed limitation method is that on KBO website and shared regularly or is that a direct request from consumer to mfg? Your bike and location is awesome and I'm super jealous.
Thank you again for your response.
 

CharleyD

New Member
Region
USA
Sure thing. The speed unlocking video is something that they sent me personally, to my knowledge it is not on their website. It was a specific sequence of button presses to unlock the functionality of being able to change wheel size as well as top speed. I'm convinced that there is still some latent functionality inside of the controller that if I only knew the secret handshake could access.
Quote:
Attached is a video of changing the speed limit.
Warranty will not be supported after the speed limit is changed.

Thank you for your time!