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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 04-12-10, 01:15 PM   #1
chandltp
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Kent Tandem

I know this is probably like the evil department store bike, but from what I've been told this Kent Dual Drive is a pretty adjustable bike that both my son (4' 1"ish) and wife (5' 2") might be able to be the stoker on with me.

Is this a an OK bike to buy when I'm not sure I'll have a permanent stoker? I realize it's not bike shop quality, but I'm not sure spending $1000 for a bike shop bike that my wife OR son can ride is worth it. Thoughts?
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Old 04-12-10, 01:40 PM   #2
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If your going to use the bike for casual, occassional spins through the neighborhood, you'll likely have fun with it.

If you want to do much more "serious" riding, such as you'd do with a regular single road bike, you'll likely be dissapointed.

So if you want more than a casual cruiser, you may want to look used to avoid having to make a huge investment.
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Old 04-12-10, 02:00 PM   #3
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Well, I'm not sure anything I do counts as "serious" riding, as I simply ride. I don't care about cadence, heart rate, watts, etc. I have a Trek 7000 I ride everywhere right now (except for my Huffy MTB in the winter). It's not the best tool for most jobs but it gets me there.

Does that help at all with my perspective / expectations?
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Old 04-12-10, 02:46 PM   #4
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I have a Trek 7000 I ride everywhere right now (except for my Huffy MTB in the winter). It's not the best tool for most jobs but it gets me there.

Does that help at all with my perspective / expectations?
Yes.

As far as your original question, the Kent might meet your needs. If not, a likely good choice would be something along the lines of a KHS Tandemania. There are several used tandems within a few hours drive of you, but I don't know much about them, except the Burley, in Grove City, near Columbus. They don't say the size on that one. The GT Quatrefoil in Buffalo might be worth a look. Again, no sizing information given.
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Old 04-12-10, 09:05 PM   #5
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WE ride with a couple who purchased a Kent, year ago, they have had good luck for casual rides. My observations, its a bit heavy and shifting is not accurate
R&J
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Old 04-12-10, 09:41 PM   #6
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If we recall correctly the GT Quatrefoil ran some very odd ball sized wheels/tires.
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Old 04-13-10, 05:43 AM   #7
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There are several used tandems within a few hours drive of you
Are you finding these on something like craigslist? Although a tandem that is a few hours drive from me might present a problem. I'm waiting until I sell my truck to get a tandem. Not sure about getting one home from that distance in a minivan.
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Old 04-13-10, 06:23 AM   #8
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Minivan? No problem. Just take the wheels off.
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Old 04-13-10, 06:46 AM   #9
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If we recall correctly the GT Quatrefoil ran some very odd ball sized wheels/tires.
Yes, the GT Quatrefoil in question was on this forum for awhile. It's since been retrofitted with 26" wheels, so the oddball sized wheels are history. I don't know how well getting the brakes to line up worked out. I only know what I can easily find by doing a google search on GT Quatrefoil.
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Old 04-13-10, 06:51 AM   #10
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Are you finding these on something like craigslist? Although a tandem that is a few hours drive from me might present a problem. I'm waiting until I sell my truck to get a tandem. Not sure about getting one home from that distance in a minivan.
Craigslist essentially. I used crazedlist which aggregates Craigslist, letting me choose cities. I clicked on Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Erie, and Cleveland. Came up with (I think) four hits, one of which was a Burley, and another was the Quatrefoil that used to have the 700D (yes, 'D', not a typo) wheels, but now has 26 inch wheels. As for getting it home in a minivan, we brought our rather large Bilenky home in the back of our Prius, by taking off both wheels. I've got to believe a minivan is easier than a Prius to fit a bike into.

They say that for a new tandem you'll be happy with, you ought to figure a bit over 2x the cost of a new single "like" the one you're riding now. So the Kent might work for you, but based on this rule of thumb, you would probably be better off with something in the 500-750 range, which doesn't exist. Hence the suggestion to look into used. But if these used bikes don't fit, they're just more money badly spent. I don't know where you'll find detailed geometry on the Kent to figure out whether it can be made to fit both of your stokers.

Last edited by WebsterBikeMan; 04-13-10 at 06:56 AM. Reason: More info
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Old 04-13-10, 10:56 AM   #11
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I don't know where you'll find detailed geometry on the Kent to figure out whether it can be made to fit both of your stokers.
Yea, that's the problem I'm having. I can't seem to find geometry information on sub-$1000 bikes. I was told by a LBS that all the lower end tandems are a one size fits most. Although tandems seem to be such a niche market that getting good information out of the bike shop is difficult.
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Old 04-13-10, 11:44 AM   #12
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Yea, that's the problem I'm having. I can't seem to find geometry information on sub-$1000 bikes. I was told by a LBS that all the lower end tandems are a one size fits most. Although tandems seem to be such a niche market that getting good information out of the bike shop is difficult.
So, looking at the Amazon listing more closely, I note that a) they indicate a 20" standover in the rear; b) it appears to have 26" wheels; c) at least one view of the bike is pretty much flat-on, and d) you can zoom in to the point that you can see the seatpost collar is about an inch above the top of the rear tire. With a ruler you should be able to measure the distance to the lowest point that the top of the saddle could be down to the crank centre, and from that figure out whether your son will fit with the saddle all the way down. Between the theoretical standover and the estimated 26" wheel diameter (tires included), you should have a good enough scale to go from.
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Old 04-13-10, 12:18 PM   #13
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Between the theoretical standover and the estimated 26" wheel diameter (tires included), you should have a good enough scale to go from.
Wow.. that's a really good analysis. I'll have to try that. Or I may just buy it anyway knowing even if my son can't use it this year he'll be able to use it next year and my wife will be able to ride with me.
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Old 05-19-10, 06:54 AM   #14
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Well, I got the bike and it fit mostly. The pedal reach is a bit much for him, but he's fine just putting his feet up when he gets tired . I'll be removing the rear reflector from the seat post to get the extra 3/4". It's interesting that most of the components seem to be similar to my Trek 7000... maybe I'm just uneducated, but it seems like a good bike so far. Planning a family ride this weekend and I'll see.
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Old 05-19-10, 07:56 AM   #15
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You're really going to enjoy have built-in company on your rides. When the stoker starts talking about weekend projects just pick the speed up and say "Honey, I can't hear you". While I've never personally found this to work you may have better luck.
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Old 05-25-10, 07:04 AM   #16
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Merlin gave you good advice, and for what you do I suspect it may work. Don't know if the seat will drop enough to fit your son, however.

I got an adjustable stoker stem for my cheap tandem and it works great. I can fit my grandson 3'6" (but he can't reach the pedals so I built a foot rest,) My wife 5' 10", and my self 6'. I also got an extra long seat post.

It's not a bike you want to do a century on, but 30 or 40 mi is no problem. Mostly it's round the town fun with my grandson, and an occasional club ride 20 - 40 mi with my wife.

Someone mentioned about imprecise shifting, and that can be a problem with cheap bikes. I have to say, however, that I have been very impressed with the 8 sp MircroShift brifters in my Lambo. Now 8 spd has a lot more lee way than 10 spd, but the RD shifts are crisp and fast. FD shifts not so much, but adding an N-Stop has eliminated the dropped chain on shifting to the granny gear, and allowed me to tighten up the FD shifts quite a bit. It's not Dura Ace, but I'm very happy. I just love riding it. I hope both my wife and grandson will stay healthy long enough to stoke for me this summer.

As Zonatandem would say get out there and "Pedal on TWOgether!"
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Old 05-25-10, 11:55 AM   #17
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We went for a longer ride on Sunday and after lowering the seat he does pretty good. The very top of the seat post is tapered so I didn't drop it all the way in. I may try it and see if it holds, but he's doing good. I had my daughter in a trailer on the back. That was fun. The shifting was a little imprecise, but I think I'm getting it dialed in.

Anyway, I did have a slipping feeling that I asked about in the mechanics forum, if someone wants to take a look in case it's a tandem specific thing.
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Old 05-25-10, 12:07 PM   #18
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chandltp, your tag line is just "10" funny!
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