KBO Compact Review: Electric Meets Portable

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Welcome to our comprehensive review of the KBO Compact foldable electric bike.

As someone who has had a few chances to ride this bike, I can attest to its blend of performance and convenience. However, to provide you with a more rounded perspective, I sought the insights of Rick from RunPlayBack, a respected voice in the e-vehicle community.

His extensive experience and technical knowledge offer valuable insights into this bike’s capabilities, features, and real-world performance.

Join us as we delve into the KBO Compact’s specifications, strengths, and potential limitations, guided by both my personal experiences and Rick’s expert analysis.

Electric Wheelers is reader-supported. Although we independently research and test products, we may receive a commission on purchases made from our chosen links. Read more…

Table of Contents

KBO Compact Review

red KBO Compact on the left and Gray KBO Compact with cargo baskets on the right
Photo: Electric Wheelers

Motor: 750W | Top Speed: 20 mph | Max Payload: 350 lbs | Battery: 749Wh | Max Range: 55 miles

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KBO Compact Performance

750W Hub Motor

KBO’s Compact has a powerful 750W geared hub motor that produces 80Nm of torque. When you push the throttle, the motor delivers sufficient power, allowing riders to reach cruising speeds in a few seconds.

The bike’s motor makes it easy for riders to tackle most inclines effortlessly.

thumb throttle of kbo electric bike
Thumb throttle on the right handlebar. Photo: KBO

Rick from RunPlayBack liked the motor’s smooth performance. He particularly highlighted the bike’s agility and responsiveness, especially in urban settings.

The bike features a right-hand thumb throttle and three levels of pedal assist, allowing riders to tailor their experience according to their preferences and the terrain.

Rick’s first ride impressions underscore the bike’s capability to comfortably reach its advertised top speed of around 20 miles per hour.

He observed a slight delay in throttle response, but once engaged, the bike maintained a steady and enjoyable pace.

15.6Ah Removable Battery

KBO’s Compact comes with a 48V 15.6Ah lithium-ion battery, which means it has 748.8 Wh of energy capacity.

KBO claims it provides up to a 55-mile range with pedal assist and a 40-mile range on throttle only. However, the rider’s weight, terrain, and cargo may affect the e-bike’s range.

In my opinion, the 40-mile range on throttle-only is very realistic. As we found out in our previous review, we managed to ride almost 35 miles with KBO Flip on throttle only. And the battery of the Flip has about 25% less energy capacity than the Compact.

The charging takes about 7 hours and KBO has promised that the battery will last at least 900 charge cycles. So if you charge the battery every other day, it will serve you for at least 5 years with no problems.

7-Speed Shimano Tourney Gearing

The Compact has a 7-speed Shimano Tourney derailleur. You should know that it’s the cheapest system in Shimano’s selection. But still, it gets the work done if you don’t press hard on the pedals while switching gears.

Shimano Tourney drivetrain on KBO Compact
Photo: KBO

Regardless, it provides value for money, and many e-bike manufacturers trust it. The bike’s gearing system allows riders to have a good riding experience, like changing gears to adapt to various terrain on demand.

Rick also found that although this gearing system is basic, it is reliable.

Mechanical Disc Brakes

KBO’s Compact has front and rear 180mm mechanical disc brakes that provide riders with sufficient stopping power in dry and wet conditions.

mechanical disc brakes on KBO Compact e-bike
Photo: KBO

The e-bike’s brakes aren’t as good as hydraulic variants, and riders should take some time to study how they work to use them more effectively. For instance, riders should leave space between themselves and other road users to allow ample stopping time.

Rick agrees with us and his assessment suggests that, while there might be more sophisticated options available, the mechanical disc brakes on the KBO Compact effectively balance cost and functionality.

KBO Compact Features

red Compact on the left and gray Compact on the right
KBO Compact has 2 different color options. Photo: Electric Wheelers

Frame and Geometry

The Compact e-bike arrives 90% assembled, and KBO provides customers with all the tools to assemble it. They also provide buyers with a comprehensive assembly video to help with the assembly.

Assembling the e-bike is easy and can take less than 20 minutes.

The dimensions of the e-bike are 67.7″ by 23″ by 46.4″ when unfolded and 37″x16.5″x31.8″ when folded.

KBO made the frame of the Compact with a 6061 aluminum, a 165mm forged alloy crank, and alloy pedals with reflectors.

The e-bike weighs 68.3 pounds and has a 350-pound carrying capacity. Additionally, it has an enhanced comfort saddle with an extra wide design perfect for riding in rough terrain and extended adventures.

Adjustable Handlebar

adjustable handlebar of KBO Compact ebike
Photo: KBO

The Compact has an adjustable upright handlebar that riders can adjust inwards or outwards to fit their preferences.

For instance, riders can adjust it to an upright position for better visibility or slant backward for added comfort when leisurely riding.

On the handlebar, you can find:

  • two brake levers
  • a thumb throttle
  • gear switching buttons
  • a bell
  • and a display.
LCD display of KBO e-bike
Photo: KBO

The multifunctional LCD display shows you vital information like speed, PAS level, and battery capacity.

Rick said that the display is straightforward and user-friendly. It offers clear visibility of all crucial information.

Foldable Step-Thru Frame

Most folding e-bikes have a high-step frame. However, the KBO Compact has a foldable step-through frame for riders with various mobility issues.

Compared to KBO Flip (another folding e-bike), the Compact is much easier for riders to get on and off.

KBO designed this e-bike for people of average height, i.e., 5’2” to 6’3”. Smaller people, including children, may find the bike uncomfortable.

quick release clamp of the folding frame
Photo: KBO

The foldable, step-thru frame makes the Compact quite versatile. The bike unfolds easily and quickly, making it easy to fit in cars for transportation.

The KBO’s Compact has two quick-release clamps that riders can release when folding the e-bike. Riders can remove the clamp to unfold the bike and line it up with the wheels before riding.

The foldable design uses less storage space, and riders can easily store it in apartments. KBO designed its Compact to provide performance, utility, and comfort whenever and wherever the rider goes.

Rick from RunPlayBack also highlights its practicality and efficiency. Despite the bike’s substantial weight, he finds the folding process to be straightforward and manageable, underlining the bike’s suitability for urban commuters or those with limited storage space.

Wheels and Tires

20x4-inch fat tires
Photo: KBO

The Compact is equipped with 20 by 4-inch all-terrain fat tires, offering a versatile riding experience. These tires strike a balance between durability and comfort, making the bike suitable for a variety of surfaces, from city streets to light off-road trails.

The slightly knobby tread design provides stability and grip, ensuring a safe and smooth ride regardless of the terrain.

The choice of fat tires also contributes to the bike’s overall aesthetic, giving it a robust and adventurous look.

Lockable Front Suspension

The bike has a front suspension for increased shock absorption and comfort. The suspension contributes to a smoother ride by absorbing shocks and bumps encountered on uneven surfaces, making it more comfortable for urban travels and light off-road explorations.

The bike’s suspension provides enough comfort, especially when combined with the bike’s big tires.

front suspensions of KBO Compact folding bike
Photo: KBO

While it may not be the most advanced suspension available on the market, it serves its purpose well, especially considering the bike’s price point. However, taking the bike for extreme off-road adventures is not advisable. 

Practical Utility Bike

The Compact comes with a rear rack to increase its practicality even more. If you need more cargo capacity, you can purchase many other cargo options like extra front and rear baskets and pannier bags.

rear rack of KBO Compact bike
Photo: KBO

Additionally, it has fenders at a base price to protect riders from mud and water splashes. Also, the customers get a 16-in-1 repair toolkit to fix the e-bike in case it breaks down.

An LED headlight adds the practicality even more. It will illuminate your way in the dark and a rear light will increase your visibility and warn other road users of your presence at night.

KBO Compact vs KBO Flip

Some of you may wonder why KBO made another folding electric bike if they already had one. It’s exactly what I was thinking. But after looking at the Compact more closely, it was clear that these bikes have some clear differences.

Red KBO Compact on the left and black KBO Flip on the right
Compact vs Flip: Which one do you like more? Photo: Electric Wheelers

More Comfortable Frame Style

The most significant difference is the frame style.

The Compact has a low step-through frame, while the Flip has a low step-over frame. The first one is much easier to get on and off, which makes the bike more suitable for people with joint problems or mobility issues.

Improved Performance

The new KBO Compact has slightly better performance. Both bikes have 15.6Ah batteries. But the battery of the Compact has 48 Volts, while the Flip has 36 Volts. It means the Compact has 33% more energy capacity (748.8Wh vs 561.6Wh).

Also, the Compact has a more powerful motor and more torque (750W/80Nm vs 500W/60Nm).

Related: Full Review of KBO Flip

Other Details

KBO Compact has much better payload capacity. It can withstand a payload of up to 350 lbs, while the Flip can hold only 275 lbs of payload.

On the other hand, the Flip weighs less than the Compact (57 lbs vs 68.3 lbs). So the KBO Flip is easier to handle and transport.

Another difference is the tire size. Both bikes have 20-inch wheels. But the Compact has slightly wider tires.

KBO Compact Review Conclusions

KBO Compact is perfect for individuals searching for a foldable cargo bike that they can easily store or transport in their vehicle. The e-bike is perfect for people living in urban settings in relatively flat terrain. 

It has a quite powerful motor and reasonable range. It’s a good utility e-bike for running errands. KBO offers free shipping and a two-year warranty, which definitely indicates that the company trusts its quality.

Read also: Overview of All KBO eBikes

KBO Compact Specs

General

Bike NameKBO Compact
E-Bike ClassClass 2
AvailabilityUnited States
Warranty2 Years

Electronics

Motor TypeRear-Hub Drive
Motor Power750W
Top Speed20 mph
Battery48V 15.6Ah (748.8 Wh)
Charge Time7 hours
RangeUp to 55 km
DisplayLCD

Bike Details

Dimensions67.7″ x 46.4″ x 23″
Folded Dimensions37″ x 31.8″ x 16.5″
Frame MaterialAluminum Alloy
Frame SizeOne Size
Frame TypeLow-Step, Folding
Frame ColorsRed, Grey
ForkSuspension fork, mechanical lock
Gearing1×7-Speed Shimano Tourney
BrakesMechanical Disc
Wheel Size20″
Tires20″ x 4″ Chaoyang Tires
Additional FeaturesFront Light, Kickstand, Reflectors
Weight68.3 lbs
Weight Capacity350 lbs

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