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Thread: Kents, again

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    Kents, again

    I have read many of the back threads on Kent folding bikes, but since that time there are new models. Has anyone tried those?

    I read the Kent FAQ at Ride This Bike, and was struck by their claims that the bikes are lighter than others, use standard parts, and use a more shock-resistant alloy:
    http://ridethisbike.com/labels/bike-FAQ.html

    Clearly these claims can't be totally accurate since if their techniques are so good, there's nothing stopping the more expensive companies from copying them and it seems like few do. Still, I am intrigued.

    For a budget consumer, the choices seem to be a 32 pound KHS Mocha 6 spd 20" ($245 shipped from Black Dog's clearance sale), a 32 lb Schwinn 20" ($170 shipped), 24 lb Kent Superlite Nexus 3 speed 16" ($230 shipped), and lucky CL or ebay finds. The KHS seems to be the favorite of this board, but it weighs as much as a standard hybrid. Even if they are off about the weight of the Kent, it still probably weighs less than 32 lbs.

    Does anyone know anything about the new Kents? Could they be a good choice for a budget-conscious consumer who also wants a lighter bike, but doesn't care particularly for folding elegance?

    My particular reason for seeking a budget choice is because I recently moved to Baltimore and work a few blocks from pockets of desperate poverty. I don't want to stick out as I would with a Carryme, which would otherwise be my choice, and just don't feel right owning anything particularly expensive right now. I just want a bike where I will take up less room on the subway and escalator than I currently do with my hybrid. And a lighter bike would also be nice.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bike617 View Post
    I have read many of the back threads on Kent folding bikes, but since that time there are new models. Has anyone tried those?

    I read the Kent FAQ at Ride This Bike, and was struck by their claims that the bikes are lighter than others, use standard parts, and use a more shock-resistant alloy:
    http://ridethisbike.com/labels/bike-FAQ.html

    Clearly these claims can't be totally accurate since if their techniques are so good, there's nothing stopping the more expensive companies from copying them and it seems like few do. Still, I am intrigued.

    For a budget consumer, the choices seem to be a 32 pound KHS Mocha 6 spd 20" ($245 shipped from Black Dog's clearance sale), a 32 lb Schwinn 20" ($170 shipped), 24 lb Kent Superlite Nexus 3 speed 16" ($230 shipped), and lucky CL or ebay finds. The KHS seems to be the favorite of this board, but it weighs as much as a standard hybrid. Even if they are off about the weight of the Kent, it still probably weighs less than 32 lbs.

    Does anyone know anything about the new Kents? Could they be a good choice for a budget-conscious consumer who also wants a lighter bike, but doesn't care particularly for folding elegance?

    My particular reason for seeking a budget choice is because I recently moved to Baltimore and work a few blocks from pockets of desperate poverty. I don't want to stick out as I would with a Carryme, which would otherwise be my choice, and just don't feel right owning anything particularly expensive right now. I just want a bike where I will take up less room on the subway and escalator than I currently do with my hybrid. And a lighter bike would also be nice.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
    Stretch your budget and get a Downtube, it seems to be like a much better choice.

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    The Kent folder has a couple of problems.

    One is the frame design, with the BB attached behind the seat tube; this makes for rather bad ergodynamics. I can't imagine why they did this. It can't be fixed.

    Another is that it's hard to get both the seat high enough and the handlebar low enough; the designer of this bike, like many folding bikes, thinks people are short and want insanely high handlebars. The taller rider will be bothered by the low seat; the shorter rider will be bothered by the high handlebar. Somewhere between the two there may be a rider for whom the bike can be fixed but, depending whether you have the right parts in the bin, it may be expensive.

    Finally there's the gearing. The six-speed derailleur is the worst; all six of them are too low. The Nexus-3 is great improvement. I have a six-speed that I have modified to a three speed (sturmey archer) and can attest that improving the gearing in this way more or less fixes the problem.

    Bottom line, I think, is the Nexus 3 speed hub fixes the worst of the bike's problems but, obviously, doesn't address the others.

    I should add, I really like the Kent's unusually short (152 mm) crank arms; most bikes come with 170 mm arms, which I find too long.

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    New realease from Kent. Aluminum frame this time.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10304012

    Should ride better than the old one due to the position of the bottom bracket.

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    ridethisbike has a new post on the new kent.
    looks much better. I think he hopes to get a 3spd internal gearhub version
    and keeping it under $300.
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    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joako View Post
    New realease from Kent. Aluminum frame this time.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10304012

    Should ride better than the old one due to the position of the bottom bracket.
    Ah, uh, thanks, I hadn't seen that one. You may be right, it may ride better than the old one. It's still got a derailleur, which is bad idea with this size wheel. And those fenders are useless.

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    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    One is the frame design, with the BB attached behind the seat tube; this makes for rather bad ergodynamics. I can't imagine why they did this. It can't be fixed.
    Oh, that is weird. I had to look up again what a BB was, but now that I look at it, that must be uncomfortable to pedal. Oddly enough, I am short and really do like absurdly high handlebars, though.

    And I just noticed the Schwinn may be much heavier than I'd thought --- a few sites say 39 and 40 lbs! I have a Schwinn hybrid that I'm very happy with --- aluminum, bottom of the line ($280 in 2006), bought for a summer in LA and I kept it because I was really happy with it, pretty light (30 lbs or so) --- but it looks like the Schwinn folder wouldn't be as nice.

    I will look again at the Downtube and Carryme, and maybe go down to the bike123 people this weekend and try out some bikes.

    Thanks!

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    I have a 6 spd Schwinn folder and it weighs at 32lbs with pump and bottle. High gear is good on hills, but lowest gear is a little slow. Still great for getting exercise and ease of transport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mervic View Post
    I have a 6 spd Schwinn folder and it weighs at 32lbs with pump and bottle. High gear is good on hills, but lowest gear is a little slow. Still great for getting exercise and ease of transport.
    Oh, that's great to hear, then. The websites have pretty divergent weight estimates. Glad to hear the weight from someone who has one. I have been happy with my Schwinn hybrid --- even though they're not supposed to be that great anymore, I think mine compares well with my Jamis citizen --- go glad to hear that their folders are also good. Maybe I will go with that. It's $75 less than the KHS Mocha, and a little less flashy. Unless I got something really light like a Carryme, I would want to lock it outside anyhow.

    So, it looks like the somewhat reasonable sub-250 folders are, with all prices including shipping:
    - Schwinn Hinge 1 speed, 20", 170 at Amazon
    - Schwinn Loop 7 speed, 20" 180 at Strollers.com and BJs.com (out of stock at Amazon)
    - Boardwalk 1 speed, 180 at Performance Bike but out of stock til 11/08
    - KHS Mocha 6 speed 245 at Black Dog Bicycles
    - Kent 6 speed, $174 at Walmart.

    The Gekko, the only cheap one that rolls while folded and which looks like it could pass as medical equipment so I could roll it through a hospital, is apparently under some kind of intellectual property lawsuit, so they've been off the market for a year.
    Last edited by bike617; 09-17-08 at 09:44 AM.

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    Choosing a good budget bike

    Quote Originally Posted by bike617 View Post
    So, it looks like the somewhat reasonable sub-250 folders are, with all prices including shipping:
    - Schwinn Hinge 1 speed, 20", 170 at Amazon
    - Schwinn Loop 7 speed, 20" 180 at Strollers.com and BJs.com (out of stock at Amazon)
    - Boardwalk 1 speed, 180 at Performance Bike but out of stock til 11/08
    - KHS Mocha 6 speed 245 at Black Dog Bicycles
    - Kent 6 speed, $174 at Walmart.
    I visited the bike123 people, and discovered that I need a 16" bike because the 20" are just so bulky, and I'm just 5'2". They were very accommodating in letting me try a range of bikes, but I was surprised they had so much attitude against people on budgets, so talking with them was not super helpful. With no budget constraint, I would likely get a Mobiky. I also liked the Carryme, but did not feel fully secure on it. I really liked riding a 16" used Dahon 3 speed ($200), the kind all over ebay, except I was afraid for my fingers in all the little parts, so would probably never actually fold it.

    My new requirement to have a 16" or under bike really cuts down my possibilities. The only one from the original list to survive is the Kent, and I suspect I might not like riding it as much as the used Dahon. I also prefer to have no derailleur. But with the used Dahon, I am afraid for my fingers getting caught because folding is so awkward, so I have a new list:

    - Curve D3, $400 performance bike with 15% off coupon + tax = 420
    - Dt mini 440
    - Carryme 2007 version, $400 alternative vehicles
    - Ride this bike's 12" 1 speed, $180
    - Used Dahon 3 speed at bike123, $200 + tax = 210

    If I did want a 20", I would have gotten a Dahon Vitesse which is $350 from some airplane store. The 20" Downtubes are a nice ride, but the top tube was too long for me, while Dahon mariner (the only one they had) was a good fit.

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    I have a bike!

    Okay, I completely wasted 3 days looking for folding bikes online. It became an obsession, and I needed to move on with my life, so wanted to get something. The options were, from least expensive to most expensive, full price including tax and shipping:

    - ~$200: Various used Dahons on ebay and at bike stores.
    - $320, Dahon 16" "Dream" 6 speed with derailleur on ebay, including back rack and fenders
    - $425 2007 Carryme from alternative vehicles, including free bag
    - $445 Curve D3 from Performance Bike
    - $472 Downtube Mini

    Folding the older Dahons feels like putting my fingers too close to a closing car door, they're rather heavy, and most importantly it's incredibly time-consuming to try to buy something popular like this through ebay. I was shocked how many auctions for these used ones went above $200. If I can get one for $50, I might do that and give it to my parents as a gift since they wouldn't want to fold it anyhow. My mother had a folding bike stolen in the 60's and still mentions it from time to time.

    The ebay Dahon from China is a bit of a risk, but it does seem to be a real bike. I figure it is like my Korea-edition paperback college math textbook --- made slightly cheaper for the Asian market. I would prefer an internal hub to a derailleur, but if that's the only problem with it, that's minor and I could probably learn how to install one eventually if I wanted to have an educational project. I like that it has a rack already there, and it was $125 less than the next 16" option. It also comes in pastel colors, so is less flashy than the red one. (I love the red, don't get me wrong, but Baltimore is the wrong city for anything flashy.)

    Ironically, before I discovered this option, I decided to order the Curve from Performance Bike, but their website was so slow and dysfunctional that I decided to try again in the morning.

    I love the Carryme and would consider paying $100 more to have an almost 10 lb decrease in weight and several inches shorter wheelbase, but I didn't even find it especially easy to roll it while folded --- there just wasn't a comfortable position to roll it from --- I was hoping I could hold the handlebars like the handle of a rolling suitcase, but that doesn't work. I think I will eventually get one just because it's so appealing to take a bike as airplane carry on, but will wait for improvements to the folded rolling first.

    Thanks everyone for all your help!

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    bike617, I feel like I am your folding bike shopping twin! I have been researching all the same bikes as you and have visited mt airy bikes also. I too, am ready to make a decision and move on with my life. This has been a weeklong research project. There is another folder I am looking at called the Sun Cayne Rambler. 3 speed nexus with coaster brakes, folds to 12" x 24" x 26". The weight is unknown. All American Bike Center in Damascus has one on order for me, with no commitment to purchase if I don't like it! Price is 420. I am hoping it is light weight and rides well! If you are interested in riding it I will let you know when it is.

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    Downtube Mini and be done with it!

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    mjw
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    Random thoughts:

    I bought my dahon from bike123- Yes they're not cheap but, for me, it was worth it for the free tuneups and because I don't own a car. Larry, the owner, is a really nice guy and I was corresponding with him via email.

    Regarding ebay, if you pay buy using paypal you are protected up to $2000 and if you pay through paypal via your credit card (rather than checking account), you are doubly protected because you can dispute the charge with your credit card company. I guess the bigger risk is that you won't like it.

    The builtin rack on my 20" dahon has a big problem with my heel striking anything I put on the rack, so I've found the rack mostly useless. With your smaller feet, you may not have that problem though. A removable rack can be found cheaply as an afermarket item.

    Are there used downtube minis? Occasionally you will see some good craigslist deals.

    I'm sure there are other threads where they talk about making bikes look more "beat"- try searching?

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