Actually, I've been curious if a tandem would be a good fit for my youngest son (8 years old) and myself for awhile, and maybe even the Mrs (not going to hold my breath on that one). I've been a casual bike rider for 15-odd years now currently with a couple road bikes in the stable. Trouble is when my youngest son wants to go for a bike ride it's a difficult match pace-wise. I wasn't willing to spend much on the tandem experiment and am handy with tools, so the Kent Dual Drive fit the bill!
Some basic notes about the assembly:
The front wheel needs a 13mm cone wrench (and 17mm traditional), and the rear wheel needs a 15mm cone wrench (and 17mm traditional). The freewheel requires the Falcon freewheel tool to remove (Shimano won't fit). Both wheel bearings were adjusted too tightly, and upon inspection the ball bearings had only a very small quantity of grease (one tiny glob covering maybe 1-2 ball bearings). I filled each side of each wheel bearing with Park Tool PolyLube 1000 Grease, and properly adjusted/tensioned them.
The wheels were pretty close to true, only requiring minor tightening of a couple spokes on one wheel. The brakes needed basic setup, ditto derailleurs.
I haven't been into the crankset bearings yet, they feel pretty okay though so I'll probably look into them next weekend.
So far my son and I have put about 8-9 miles on the bike on our maiden voyage, laughing and having fun the whole time. The seats are terrible, but otherwise this is a very decent "kit bike" as someone else put in a review. It's going to need probably another $75-100 worth of parts/upgrades (tires will probably be the earliest, the stock ones must be 20% plastic, and maybe seats/pedals) assuming we keep putting miles on, but I'd recommend the bike with the caveat that you must know basic to mid level bike tuning and knowing what you're getting into.
If we manage to wear this one out in the next year or two, it will have been the perfect stepping stone up to something more substantial and long-lasting.
Bet that within less than a year you and son will be riding another and better tandem!
The Kents and similar dept. store tandems are notorious for bad assembly of cheap parts; you were lucky to find any grease on the bearings at all.
Having said that it is cheaper than renting a tandem at 50 bucks a day or weekend.
Keep your eyes open for a used tandem that will fit a growing child like Bike Friday tandem, a small framed KHS, Burley or similar.
You can also pick up a used kiddie crank set that allows a growing child to fit properly + an adjustable stoker stem.
You are going about it the right way!
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Wow..this is great timing. I am in the same boat with my daughter. My wife, myself and 12 year old son all have nice road bikes. My 7 year old daughter is very tall and stocky for her age, so too big for a trail a bike and too young to deal with gears. I just purchased the same dual drive bike from amazon and it will be here Wed. I would normally never get a cheaper bike, but it was more of something to get to try out and see if it would work and as a trial for the wife and I to see if we wanted to get a tandem. I will post my impressions as well.