Newbie from Northern California! I need first-time buying advice! - KBO Breeze and the Aventon Level

HarryLaurence

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Hello e-bikers! I was an avid cycler for many years who has lost his way. I'm looking to jump in to the world of e-bikes. In the last week I've done a s**t-ton of research and comparison, just enough to be dangerous, and think I have it down to two bikes: the KBO Breeze and the Aventon Level.

I want a commuter type, something that will be fun recreationally and take me to work if need be. I figured this style would work well because for me because I'm a 90% pavement, 10% hard pack dude. I also like the geometry of these bikes, a little up out of the cockpit but down far enough to have some connection with the road.

What I'm not sure bout is which of these is the wiser choice. Or maybe there is another choice in the $1500 to $1800 range that I haven't yet seen. It looks like the Aventon has a better frame, better shocks and brakes, and purports to be Class 3 which means the potential of 28mph. Right?

And it seems like Aventon is a better known, well-respected company. The huge bummer with this bike is no integrated lights. The KBO is $300 cheaper, a Class 2 I think, has 16Ah instead of the usual 13, and has integrated lights. Other than being Class 2, the main downsides to this bike are the shocks. My friend has one and he says they're not that great. And one dude online said that the display doesn't give him the battery-related info he needs. I guess this could be changed out, right? But then the warranty would be void.

If any of you have either of these bikes and want to share your knowledge I'd be so happy to get schooled. Of course, my first e-bike doesn't have to be one of these two but these are the fruits of my search thus far.

I also considered the RadCity 5 Plus--mainly because the company is so well-known--but it looks a bit too upright for me and the cable management is a unruly. And it's 2 grand. Thank you in advance for any help you're willing to proffer!
 

CuckooForCargoBikes

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Check out the Ride1Up 700 series, it's a true 750w rear hub motor (not "peak" like the KBO and the Aventon), has integrated lights, and similar style to the Aventon. Friend of mine has one and raves about it, I've taken it for a spin and was impressed, a lot of bikes in that price range just feel cheap and thrown together, this one felt solid with some thought behind the design and layout. Good luck in your search!
 

HarryLaurence

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CuckooForCargoBikes, thank you so much. Funny, in the time I was waiting for a reply, I stumbled across Ride1Up and started reading. I'm impressed. This bike is now my new top contender. Thanks again!
 

Tonerider

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Why not roll your own? It's easy, fun, and you can get a custom bike for less $$.
 

HarryLaurence

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Why not roll your own? It's easy, fun, and you can get a custom bike for less $$.
You mean electric power to a standard bike? I have a friend who did that but I think he just did it for Burning Man. That's a very cool idea, thanks! I think I want a dedicate d electric machine this time around but thanks so much for your suggestion.
 

CuckooForCargoBikes

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Very cool, I'm resisting (so far) the urge to snag one of the Cafe Cruisers, I have a house full of bikes of all kinds already (used to work at my LBS and went carless about 20 years ago so I've been indulging my bike jones unabated for a long time), but the retro styling on the Cafe Cruiser is so sweet. Plus I like the beefy 26x3" tires, burly without going full fatty; I have a Surly Pug that might get electrified just for grins if I ever want to go that route. Congrats on your new bike, please post pics and review once you've had a chance to put the rubber on the road.
 

HarryLaurence

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Very cool, I'm resisting (so far) the urge to snag one of the Cafe Cruisers, I have a house full of bikes of all kinds already (used to work at my LBS and went carless about 20 years ago so I've been indulging my bike jones unabated for a long time), but the retro styling on the Cafe Cruiser is so sweet. Plus I like the beefy 26x3" tires, burly without going full fatty; I have a Surly Pug that might get electrified just for grins if I ever want to go that route. Congrats on your new bike, please post pics and review once you've had a chance to put the rubber on the road.
Will do! Great that you're carless! Wish I was but my work won't allow it. I have owned many bikes over the years, some I really miss. My current acoustic is a Surly Ogre and I really dig it.
 

Alisamabisa

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What do you think of the bike? I have the same top contenders as you (and similar goals). Thanks!
 

HarryLaurence

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What do you think of the bike? I have the same top contenders as you (and similar goals). Thanks!
Alisamabisa,

I love it! I use it for recreation and light commuting. It's very flat where I live so my 700XR hasn't been tested on any real hills yet. The power and ride are great and it seems to be very well built for an entry-level class three. I increased the PAS settings to get more speed and am very happy with that. And, as you might notice from the attached pic, I swapped out the handlebars for something wider to give me better handling and more real estate. The only other things I've done is add feed and trunk bags, and a suspension seat post

My only disappointment is that there is no good place on the frame to store water. I would guess, however, that this issue is common to many e-bikes. The only two bolts that support a water bottle cage don't work. The frame would only support a standard, small bottle and you'd need a side-entry cage to get it in and out. All this is academic though because it's far too dangerous a location to draw from with a heavy e-bike that's moving 29 mph. I don't like riding with hydration packs so I added the feed bag so I could have accessible h2o. Problem solved. I attached my bike pump to the lower bolts. This is by no means a deal breaker, just a minor annoyance.

I think one of the most important concerns when buying a "mail order bike" is how supportive the company is. One of the reasons I chose Ride1Up is because I could call and chat with actual people. The team at Ride1Up have not always gotten back to me promptly (they are smaller with only about nine customer service employees) but overall they have been great. I had a perceived issue where I thought one of the brake cables was bad and needed replacement (turned out I was wrong) and they were awesome. So far I'd give them an A-.

My list was down to three: The KBO Breeze, Aventon Level and Ride1Up 700. I passed on the KBO because I read a lot of online chatter about dissatisfaction with the display and settings. It did, however, have the most powerful battery of the three. I thought the Level was the best looking out of the three, with the best frame build, but did not offer any integrated light system. The 700 ticked all my boxes and has the most powerful hub motor with an actual (not peak) 750 watts.

Friendly advice: make sure you check everything out within the first 30 days and document it all with email and pics. Create a "paper" trail. From the early research I did, it seems like many of these e-bike sellers have VERY LIMITED warranties.

I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!
 

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