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  1. #1
    Senior Member hr2510's Avatar
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    Kent Cruiser Tandem Review

    I ordered the Kent Tandem and it took about 5 days to arrive. I expected this to be a "BICYCLE KIT" and it met my expectations 100%. I removed every component from the frame one by one and inspected/lubed/re-assembled back on the frame and adjusted. The ONLY thing that had even a trace of grease on it was one of the bolts for the stoker handlebar clamp(Seriously). Every bearing was dry. The rear wheel was missing 5 balls on the gear side.I mic'ed the balls on all the bearings and all were within .0001 in. or less difference.

    Both tires had maybe 10 pounds of air in them. I let what little air out and pulled the tires to inspect the wheels and spokes. The spoke strip on the rear wheel was pushed over and not covering the spokes in two spots so there was a sure flat if I would have just put air in it without checking. The front tire was OK. The front wheel was within .080 in. of true both horizontal and vertical. The rear wheel was out approx .600 in. horizontal and .080 in. vertical. It wouldn't even roll without the tire hitting the frame. I trued both wheels to +/- .020 in.("close enough" for a bicycle) along with setting a little backlash on the spokes in the process.

    As with everything else on the bike, The brakes and both derailers weren't even close to being adjusted correctly. The return springs on the rear brakes were in different holes. When adjusting the derailers I noticed the rear derailer was bent. I called the toll free # for Kent customer service and told the lady the problem. With no questions asked, she took my name and address and said she would get another derailer in the mail that day and I didn't need to send the bad one back.

    A close look at the frame and no cracks,bends or dents were found. The welds are not as pretty as they could be but they didn't look bad at all and showed signs of good penetration at the weld edges. While waiting for the new deraileur I peeled off about 10 pounds of stickers and installed some aftermarket fenders,a Topeak rear cargo rack, two bells (The stoker has to have fun too),rear view mirrors and naturally some streamers on the handlebars.

    The replacement rear derailer arrived in three days. I'm VERY happy with their customer service. After assembling the tandem "KIT" and adjusting the seats and handlebars we took it out for a "Maiden Voyage" of 31 miles. The bike rode really well. The frame was MUCH STIFFER than our Columbia tandem. Shifts were smooth, quick, precise and quiet. No "Auto shift" from frame flex on take off or climbs. The brakes worked nicely and took very little finger pressure to stop on the small hills we encountered. I think the supplied Velo seat will have to be replaced for me but my Wife seemed to like her seat OK so far. We managed to hit our fair share of bumps and pot holes along with going down some rough gravel roads so I was wondering how things were holding up.

    After we got home I looked everything over and all was as it should be. I didn't use the dial indicator again but "eyeballed" the wheels judging with the brake pads and spinning the wheels and they seemed to hold true.

    We really like the bike. It does just what it was designed for (cruising around the neighborhoods) and does it well. It's just what we hoped for and expected and we think it's well worth the $248.00 shipped. We had a BLAST riding "twogether" through the neighborhoods of three small towns Sunday. If someone is looking for a cruiser tandem and can assemble the "KIT" themselves then I would recommend the Kent. If you are not comfortable doing the work then I suggest talking with a LBS, Give them the list I posted here in this review of the things I HAD TO DO to assemble the bike for an example and get a estimate. It might cost more than it's worth if you have to go that route.
    • Mike
    • 1989 Specialized Hardrock
    • 2007 Kent Tandem

  2. #2
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    It looks awesome! I love the fenders - where did you get those?

    I've been thinking about getting one of these tandems. I'm really good mechanically and I've worked on bikes before. I'm wondering about the "fit" of the bike for my wife and I... could you measure the top tube length and the seat tube length for the stoker and captain? With that I could determine if the bike would work for us... unfortunately none of the retail stores around here carry tandems.

    Thanks,
    David
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Senior Member hr2510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moodster View Post
    I love the fenders - where did you get those?

    I'm wondering about the "fit" of the bike for my wife and I... could you measure the top tube length and the seat tube length for the stoker and captain? With that I could determine if the bike would work for us... unfortunately none of the retail stores around here carry tandems.

    Thanks,
    David
    I got all the "add-ons" from Bike parts USA http://www.bikepartsusa.com/product_...&p=01%2D105626 I've made a couple of orders with them and had good service. The fenders are universal and I had to notch the rear fender for chain clearance and fit. I didn't notice the bad fit until after I took the pictures. It's better now. The stand-over heights are 29 inches front and 20 inches rear. The front top tube is 21" the rear is 25-1/2". Front seat tube is 18" and the rear is 16" both measured from crank center to the top of the tube. If you haven't ridden a tandem you might check the LBS for a rental or check Craiglist for a cheap one to try out. We picked up our first one for free off CL. It's just a old clunker but it let us see if we liked being "Twogether" or not. We ordered this one from Wally World sight unseen but are pleased with it. Just keep in mind it's from a Chinese sweat shop and is on the bottom of the quality scale. With good maintenance though it should provide many years of fun.
    • Mike
    • 1989 Specialized Hardrock
    • 2007 Kent Tandem

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    Thanks Mike, that is a huge help!

    Sincerely,
    David

  5. #5
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    Hey Mike,

    You're review would be perfect if you were to use paragraphs.

  6. #6
    Senior Member hr2510's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e78990 View Post
    Hey Mike,

    You're review would be perfect if you were to use paragraphs.
    Sorry. I never learned about that stuff. I quit school and started working when I was 11 to help the family. At least spell check works.
    • Mike
    • 1989 Specialized Hardrock
    • 2007 Kent Tandem

  7. #7
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    thanks for the detailed review.
    It really appears to be an ok bike for what it was designed for. I like the way you have set it up.

    I have sort of wanted something for a cruiser tandem... where I don't live in town... it would not get used much... so therefore hard to justify buying one... but at that price maybe.

    At least for the shops in this area... I think with what a shop would charge to set up the bike properly... it would still be an ok deal.

    glenn

  8. #8
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e78990 View Post
    Hey Mike,

    You're review would be perfect if you were to use paragraphs.
    Fixed.

  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Mike:
    A nice review!
    Believe the story of 'no grease'! You're not the first one to discover some of these co$t saving practices!
    Nice that you took it apart first and then re-assembled it correctly.
    Have fun!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  10. #10
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    The Kent was our first tandem and it worked well for me and my kids.
    I acquired an extra set of the stoker crankarms and cut them down, drilled & tapped them to 148mm length to help get shorter kids on it. Kids are taller now and I no longer need the shortened stoker crankarms, so if any one needs them let me know.

  11. #11
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    I purchased one of these from Wal Mart last year for my fiancee and I. We were, at the time, relatively new to cycling, having just purchased a Trek 7500 (hers) and Specialized Sirrus Comp (mine). We both thought the tandem looked "fun", but we were unwilling to spend $2500 to "play" with the idea of a tandem.

    The Kent DualDrive cost something like $240 from Wal Mart. It's been perfect for us. We just use it to be-bop around down, go down some paved bike trails, etc. We're not a pounding mileage team...just out looking to enjoy the air, have some conversation, and appreciate our surroundings.

    As pleased as I am with the Kent (for $240), I would have been infinitely more disappointed in a "real" tandem for $2500. Not because the hardware would have been lacking, but because our usage wouldn't justify a $2500 expense. But for $240, it's a bargain. For the light duty, "fun only" recreational riding we do...I'm very satisfied.

    I went into the purchase realizing it is a $240 Kent from Wal Mart. I didn't expect it to perform like my $1000 Specialized. I've been pleasantly surprised, though, at it's capability and reliability. When compared to the "real" bikes, it's a bit rough around the edges. But we generally forget all that when we're out riding together, and enjoying each other's company.

  12. #12
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    Here's one of the previous threads on the Kent. This thread helped convince me that I could buy the bike, and not worry about it killing me.

    Tandem Bicycle on Ebay called "Caddie Up"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmonnig View Post
    SNIP
    As pleased as I am with the Kent (for $240), I would have been infinitely more disappointed in a "real" tandem for $2500. Not because the hardware would have been lacking, but because our usage wouldn't justify a $2500 expense. But for $240, it's a bargain. For the light duty, "fun only" recreational riding we do...I'm very satisfied.
    SNIP
    That's right. Right tool for the right job. If you expect a bit rough, but are riding to be together and don't plan cross country jaunts, $250 makes more sense than $2500. Just as 2000+ miles a year, preparing to ride from L.A. to New York next summer, $2500 may even be low.

    If you are riding for fun, ride for fun. If you are riding for speed/distance, ride for speed/distance. Just get the bike that allows you to be happy.
    NewbieIATandem
    Big Team on Trek T900

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by e78990 View Post
    You're review would be perfect if...
    Your post would be better if... oh, never mind.

    -Greg

  15. #15
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    Not to dredge up an old thread, but are you selling this bike or has someone simply ripped off your picture? (Second picture)

    http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-s...QAdIdZ52491876

    I've been on the lookout for a used tandem to get started with and found this ad. I thought I'd check here for a review on this model and found your bike!
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  16. #16
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    This is my first visit to the tandem boards. I'll never get a tandem (I dont think) but I like the idea of them for leisurely rides. I heard they go pretty quick downhill?

    Great review, thanks!

  17. #17
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Coasting downhill in Northern Arizona's White Mountains: 53 mph
    Same 'hill' going UP: as slow as 4 mph
    Warning: Would not try that on a Kent/Wally-type tandem.

  18. #18
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    Hi Mike,

    I know I am digging up a really old thread here, but I am curious how this Kent did for you in the long term. Do you still have it?

    Best and most helpful review I have read on a product lately. Thanks for taking the time!!

  19. #19
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    When this thread was new we had our first Kent two years. We bought that one assembled off the floor in the Wally World in Paramus, NJ. We acquired a Raleigh Coupe soon after and the Kent became our grocery getter. We gave it away when we left NYC and took the Raleigh cross country to Oregon. As soon as we arrived we ordered an unassembled Kent from the Wally world in Portland and I built it up myself. Thanks to the o.p. I knew what to look for, or is that "what not to look for". We now have two years going on this new Kent. OEM saddles and seatposts gone immediately, saddles are Bontrager CRZ Sports. Seatposts are generic aluminum (25.4!). OEM tires replaced with Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0. We pull a Bob Yak and routinely overload it with 100lbs.+ on our weekly grocery run. Before the tire upgrade we kept trips on the Kent to ~2miles. Now we do a weekly Trader Joe's run that is 8 miles each way. This bike is our car and we ride it every day. If 'J' is running late for a train I sometimes run her down to the station on it and ride back solo. The Raleigh only comes out for club rides. It's handling is much more nervous and you don't always want to concentrate that much when you just want to run an errand. Since 'J' is blind and we are car free, the tandems get a LOT of use. Nor would we have it any other way. Bottom line, the Kent can hold up for the long haul.

    H

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