I own a Kent tandem and enjoy riding it with my gandson a lot but I am starting to think about upgrading. Would like to know what you guys recomend as an upgrade path keep in mind money is an issue.
It also really depends on what type of tandem riding that you plan to upgrade to (e.g. road touring, offroad or more faster tooling around the neighborhood)? If the Kent is beginning to feel too slow and heavy and you and your grandson would like to go a bit faster, then a lighter road type tandem might fit the bill.
As for cost concerns, there are less expensive new tandem alternatives (about double or triple the cost of a Kent) available if you search. Otherwise a search for a good used tandems on Craigslist may be in order.
Eventually the upgrade path will ultimately lead you to: a carbon fiber Calfee DaVinci road tandem.
'10 C'Dale Tandem RT2. '07 Trek Tandem T2000, '10 Epic Marathon MTB, '12 Rocky Mountain Element 950 MTB, '95 C'dale R900, "04 Giant DS 2 '07 Kona Jake the Snake, '95 Nishiki Backroads
Since you stated 'money is an issue' (just like many of us), I would recommend you save it and not put it into upgrades, unless you need comfort or fitment changes which you should do right a way.
Beyond comfort mods, just tune your Kent to its best stock performance and ride and enjoy it 'as is'. Many times upgrade money gives a much lower return on investment than what it would return on a complete bike purchase be it new or used... so why risk it if your money is precious at this time.
Save it for now...keep an eye out for another Tandem that has all the goodies on it that you want and buy it and when the time is right for your budget... If you never pull the trigger on another one, then no harm done and you still have all your money.
Now, having just said what the logical thing to do was.....IF you are a fiddler like me...take whatever funds you have to throw down a rat hole, get on Ebay and have a great time finding goodies that will make you happy and hang those new bits and pieces all over your ride, knowing you probably won't get back 2 cents on the dollar BUT you will have big fun making the changes and enjoying the placebo effect of them....Either way, just have fun!
If the stoker geometry is not too small for your grandson and money is an issue then you could just concentrate on upgrades with decent used parts if you can do the work yourself. I converted an old ashtabula crank single chainring tandem into a fairly conventional tandem until my daughter was big enough for a regular tandem. It makes a big difference if you can do the work yourself.
Thanks guy my grandson and I are starting to ride a bit faster. Frome 9 to 11 mph to...we just did a 20 mile this past Saturday riding at 14 to 16 mph on the Kent with Kenda 26x1.25 tire upgrade with rack and panniers I think main reason is my grand son grew a few inches during this summer and I adjusted my seat a bit higher so we both have the right leg extension now. Both were very fresh at the end of this ride, looks like 30 miles is very realistic. Could not help but to think what about if we were not hauling such heavy beast? Or am I kidding my self and there will be not much deference if we were on a more stiff and lighter tandem?
I don't know how much your Kent tandem weighs, but 26 x 1.25 tires tells me its probably not that light.
Like all bikes, you gain a noticeable amount of speed and efficiency the lighter and stiffer it is.
The trick is to not loose comfort with the added stiffness. Carbon fiber and titanium both do this well but are both expensive. There are steel and aluminum tandems that are a good compromise.
Nishiki Continental, Bilenky custom travel tinker, home built winter bike based on Nashbar cross frrame
Sometime back in the seventies I read that you should go for the best frame you can afford, since you can never upgrade that, but you can always upgrade the rest. I'm still convinced of that philosophy. So given that you're considering an upgrade path that doesn't mean changing components, your best bet is almost certainly to go to craigslist (or less likely other sources) for a used bike, not too new, and be prepared to replace components as they wear out.
Brand names that come immediately to mind:
Cannondale, Trek, Co-Motion, Santana, KHS, DaVinci, Burley. There's a variety of grades of bike in that list, and it's in no particular order. There are a few smaller builders out there that also make or made excellent bikes, so don't immediately discount something for not being on the list.
Or am I kidding my self and there will be not much deference if we were on a more stiff and lighter tandem?
Unless you're riding in some hilly terrain or your grandson is getting upwards of 100+ lbs, I don't think you'd get a big bang for your buck.
My recommendation would be to cool your jets and ride what you have while you keep an eye out on Craigs list for something like a 26" Cannondale Los Dos / MT900, MT1000 or the like from the mid-90's that's not been ridden a lot and is in good shape. That is, assuming your grandson is tall enough to ride the bike without kid-cranks. Otherwise, wait until he's taller.
Cannondales are great bikes for the type of riding that you're describing and can be turned from an all-around light touring / trail bike into a road burner with a simple change in tires, assuming a rim of normal width like the Sun RhinoLites that came on many of those mid to late 90's Cannondales.
Check the classifieds in the latest print issue of Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine (Fall '09). It lists 14 used tandem for sale; a 1980s Santana Arriva for $800; a KHS Tandemania also for $800; a '93 Santana Rio for $975 and pricier ones.
Any of these could be better than spending $$ on upgrading a Kent. www.rtrmag.com for more info.
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem