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:
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!