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Old 11-07-07, 10:51 AM   #1
folderfan550
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Kent Ultralite folder

Last year I bought a Kent Ultralite Magnesium folder but have not done much with it. I recall a few posts about it and was wondering what, if any, upgrades or modifications anyone has done to make the bike a bit more ridable. My biggest complaint is that the gearing is too low. I would consider turning it into a single speed, if possible, but don't want to throw too much money into it.
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Old 11-07-07, 02:01 PM   #2
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Last year I bought a Kent Ultralite Magnesium folder but have not done much with it. I recall a few posts about it and was wondering what, if any, upgrades or modifications anyone has done to make the bike a bit more ridable. My biggest complaint is that the gearing is too low. I would consider turning it into a single speed, if possible, but don't want to throw too much money into it.
I can't remember who this Kent belongs to, but I saved the photo b/c I was so impressed with the mods:

IMG_1317edit.jpg

The photo came from somewhere in the folding bike forum but I can't remember where.

Also, check out ridethisbike.com. They stock three variations of the Kent: a singlespeed, 6 speed derailleur model and a 3 speed hub-geared version. You might not be in the market for a second Kent but at least this site will give you some mod ideas.
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Old 11-07-07, 02:19 PM   #3
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For reasons that escaped me, there was a bit of a fad for buying Kent folders on this forum about a year ago. I think it may have been that given how cheap it was selling for, it couldn't possibly represent poor value for money. Also maybe some people were slightly deranged for a short period of time. Check this thread. The conclusion seemed to be that this was a bike that was only - at best - moderately usable. You might get a better return on your money by selling and picking up something rather better second hand. Alternatively, you could I guess try to upgrade everything, whilst bearing in mind that this will do nothing to sort out the eccentrically placed bottom bracket...
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Old 11-07-07, 03:28 PM   #4
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I used to own one which got stolen, and I'm buying the same model to replace it. It's an ok value for your money, especially if you're like me and can't afford anything more expensive. It's useful for my purposes--the low gearing is fine because I'll be using it mostly on hilly terrain near my uni and near school zones near my house (lots of kids crossing, so not safe to go fast, really). The only thing I'd change on this bike are the pedals, seat, tires, and maybe the crank and chainring if I suddenly decide I want more speed. Of course, I'll be doing those mods as the parts wear out, as I can't afford to right now.

If you can afford to, do get a better bike. Otherwise, the Kent isn't a bad bike, and you'll probably have fun upgrading parts for not much money.
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Old 11-07-07, 03:37 PM   #5
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The only thing I'd change on this bike are the pedals, seat, tires, and maybe the crank and chainring...
That's some list - I guess the frame and the stem must be feeling pretty special!

I haven't really ever checked out the cheap folder market, beyond noting the huge number of "ridden only once" cheap folders that seem to flood Gumtree, suggesting that even at the price, these bikes are best avoided.

Any suggestions for what the best possible folder purchase might be for $100-$150 / 50-75? In the UK, you can pick up a very nicely preserved Raleigh 20 for that money, which must be a better buy, surely?
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Old 11-07-07, 03:59 PM   #6
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That's some list - I guess the frame and the stem must be feeling pretty special!

I haven't really ever checked out the cheap folder market, beyond noting the huge number of "ridden only once" cheap folders that seem to flood Gumtree, suggesting that even at the price, these bikes are best avoided.

Any suggestions for what the best possible folder purchase might be for $100-$150 / 50-75? In the UK, you can pick up a very nicely preserved Raleigh 20 for that money, which must be a better buy, surely?
Haha, yes. The frame is good and sturdy, and the stem is weird what with the handlebars being welded on, but also good. For the $100-150 price, there aren't many good ones that I know of other than the Kent Ultralite. Used Dahons and R20s are probably better as long as they're well-preserved. My only annoyance is that in the US, you don't find many used ones, and even if you did, finding replacement parts is a pain.
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Old 11-07-07, 11:52 PM   #7
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IMO, it's got really bad geometry which could have been simply fixed by the manufacturer if they had mounted the bottom bracket in front of instead of behind the seat tube.
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Old 11-08-07, 02:14 AM   #8
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Friends don't let friends ride Kent.
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Old 11-08-07, 09:30 PM   #9
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IMO, it's got really bad geometry which could have been simply fixed by the manufacturer if they had mounted the bottom bracket in front of instead of behind the seat tube.
Yeah, true. But for me, moving the seat all the way back fixed that problem, so no biggie. I like this bike, but then again, I like any bike that gets me from point A to point B without breaking on the way.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:18 AM   #10
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Yeah, true. But for me, moving the seat all the way back fixed that problem, so no biggie. I like this bike, but then again, I like any bike that gets me from point A to point B without breaking on the way.
Hmm....how much do you weight and how tall are you?

Also, can anyone comment on the fold of the Kent?
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Old 11-09-07, 11:22 AM   #11
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That's some list - I guess the frame and the stem must be feeling pretty special!

I haven't really ever checked out the cheap folder market, beyond noting the huge number of "ridden only once" cheap folders that seem to flood Gumtree, suggesting that even at the price, these bikes are best avoided.

Any suggestions for what the best possible folder purchase might be for $100-$150 / 50-75? In the UK, you can pick up a very nicely preserved Raleigh 20 for that money, which must be a better buy, surely?
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Haha, yes. The frame is good and sturdy, and the stem is weird what with the handlebars being welded on, but also good. For the $100-150 price, there aren't many good ones that I know of other than the Kent Ultralite. Used Dahons and R20s are probably better as long as they're well-preserved. My only annoyance is that in the US, you don't find many used ones, and even if you did, finding replacement parts is a pain.
For fifty US dollars more, I have bought the Dahon Boardwalk S1. No, it does not have more than 1 gear, or very fancy. It is a basic well made solid all around bike. I had it now for 4 years next month with no major problem. I think if you buy a bike-especially a folding one-I would go for the best you can afford rather than focusing too much on saving money. I vote for reliablity, dependable transport, and a brand that will be around for a while rather than just being cheap.
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Old 11-09-07, 11:53 AM   #12
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A couple of people have offered some alternatives, like the R20 or Dahon Boardwalk, but these are all 20 inch wheeled bikes. I guess the problem is that there really isn't a decent sub-$300 alternative to the Kent. For this reason, I think the Kent isn't a bad bet...provided someone is trying to remain in the $200-300 price range.

And stick with 16 inch wheels

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Old 11-09-07, 02:27 PM   #13
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Interesting to find that there is a bit of a Kent fan club. Any Apollo or Bike-in-a-Bag fans out there?
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Old 11-09-07, 03:04 PM   #14
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Interesting to find that there is a bit of a Kent fan club. Any Apollo or Bike-in-a-Bag fans out there?
I didn't see that Apollo made any folding bikes (at least according to their website) and the Bike-In-A-Bag was 180 UK pounds...that's $375. At that price point, why not go with the Dahon Curve?
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Old 11-09-07, 04:49 PM   #15
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apollo folding bike. Looks like one of the nasty Chinese ebay folders. Only one gear. Overpriced at 89
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Old 11-09-07, 08:36 PM   #16
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Hmm....how much do you weight and how tall are you?

Also, can anyone comment on the fold of the Kent?
I'm 5'4", 110lbs, so yeah, no problems. I think anyone over 5'8" or 5'9" would have problems with this bike.

The fold is ok, nothing spectacular. It will NOT stay folded unless you carry it and set it down a certain way. However, if I sit on the rack when I set it down (like, if there were no seats on the subway), it stays folded. Dunno why.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:41 PM   #17
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A couple of people have offered some alternatives, like the R20 or Dahon Boardwalk, but these are all 20 inch wheeled bikes. I guess the problem is that there really isn't a decent sub-$300 alternative to the Kent. For this reason, I think the Kent isn't a bad bet...provided someone is trying to remain in the $200-300 price range.

And stick with 16 inch wheels
The cheapest 16in folder is the Dahon Curve I think, and even that breaks my bank. Impoverished student, y'know? 20in and one speed folders don't cut it for me because I ride on the busiest and most crowded buses on earth and bike around on very hilly places. So yeah, there really isn't any cheaper alternative. I wish there was.
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Old 11-09-07, 08:45 PM   #18
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I think if you buy a bike-especially a folding one-I would go for the best you can afford rather than focusing too much on saving money. I vote for reliablity, dependable transport, and a brand that will be around for a while rather than just being cheap.
Problem is, the Kent is the best I can afford. I will eventually save up for a Curve D3, but my "poor student who needs to go to China next spring" budget simply does not allow for a better bike.
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Old 11-10-07, 06:06 PM   #19
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apollo folding bike. Looks like one of the nasty Chinese ebay folders. Only one gear. Overpriced at 89
Here we go - the classic Gumtree ad...here
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Old 11-10-07, 07:18 PM   #20
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Problem is, the Kent is the best I can afford. I will eventually save up for a Curve D3, but my "poor student who needs to go to China next spring" budget simply does not allow for a better bike.
Why are you going to China? I want to go there.
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Old 11-10-07, 08:08 PM   #21
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I bought the Kent thinking it might work as a lightweight, secondary folder that could be tossed in a car or packed for travel. I occasionally travel to places where a bike for short hops would be handy. If it didn't survive the trip or got stolen, it wouldn't be a great loss. I put higher pressure tires on it, which made a great difference in rideability.
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Old 11-10-07, 10:41 PM   #22
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Why are you going to China? I want to go there.
Tour w/ choir...basically it was a "be there or we the choir directors and asst directors will pester you to death about not going" thing, so I have to spend around $2400 for it. I do wanna go, but I just wish I had the money for both the bike and this tour.

*shameless money grubbing commencing*

If you guys have any extra money, you can donate to the choir program and help us lower the costs of the tour, which might enable me to buy a better folder!! Click here to donate. It's tax deductible!!

*shameless money grubbing ends*
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Old 11-10-07, 11:24 PM   #23
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Maybe you can buy a really really good folder there!
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Old 11-11-07, 08:52 AM   #24
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20in and one speed folders don't cut it for me because I ride on the busiest and most crowded buses on earth
You take this large Kent folder on the bus! Do you put it in a bag? How many times a week do you do this? Has the driver kicked you off because the package was too big? Do you get complaints from other passengers?
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Old 11-11-07, 10:33 AM   #25
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You take this large Kent folder on the bus! Do you put it in a bag? How many times a week do you do this? Has the driver kicked you off because the package was too big? Do you get complaints from other passengers?
Well, I only took it on the bus four times ever. First 3x, I put it on the rack, and everything was ok. The last time though, the bus drove away before I could get to the front to retrieve my bike. Baibai folder. Now I'm gonna put it in a bag and keep it with me at all times. Passengers don't complain that much about large packages. I mean, people take their folding carts on the bus, and people roll their eyes or sigh, and that's it. With the bag, at least I can put the bike in the cargo area at the front and keep it from rolling on other people's toes.
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