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First Tandem - KHS

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First Tandem - KHS

Old 03-21-20, 01:38 PM
  #1  
cranky
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First Tandem - KHS

Picked this up for $200. Components were in good shape but they are lesser quality. Hopefully though it's better than what's at Amazon/Walmart for $279. It'll do for my purpose, trying to get my 9 year old to ride. I've taught him to ride a bike but he is still very afraid and lacks the confidence to do it. The trail-a-bikes are wobbly and freaks him out. This one is pretty small so it's a good fit. Too small for me but I'm not really planning on keeping or riding it for too long.

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Old 03-21-20, 04:40 PM
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Should be a good deal for $200. Our first tandem was a 2000 Tandemania Comp - I think that was one level up from the Sport. We got a decade of use out of it before moving on up (or down) to a recumbent tandem.
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Old 03-21-20, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Should be a good deal for $200. Our first tandem was a 2000 Tandemania Comp - I think that was one level up from the Sport. We got a decade of use out of it before moving on up (or down) to a recumbent tandem.
Welp, got my son on the bike for 3 short rides today, smashing success. Best $200 I've spent for that reason. It really is too small for me, I may just cope with it until my boy is comfortable enough to ride himself. Otherwise, I'll need to get a more upright bar.
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Old 03-21-20, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by cranky View Post
Welp, got my son on the bike for 3 short rides today, smashing success. Best $200 I've spent for that reason. It really is too small for me, I may just cope with it until my boy is comfortable enough to ride himself. Otherwise, I'll need to get a more upright bar.
that should be a fairly easy fix, if you decide thatís the way you need to go
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Old 03-23-20, 10:29 PM
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I love those Kent/Pacific Dual-Drives that they sell at Wallyworld! They are great bikes don't let anyone tell you different. The KHS is probably o.k. but not IMO better than a current Dual-Drive ... lets say they are equivalent. I'm not understanding "too small" in the fit of the KHS. Anything can be changed. Life is too short to be cramped in the Captain compartment. Take the bike to a co-op (NOT a bikestore) and let them see what they can find to stretch you out a bit.
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Old 03-23-20, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I love those Kent/Pacific Dual-Drives that they sell at Wallyworld! They are great bikes don't let anyone tell you different. The KHS is probably o.k. but not IMO better than a current Dual-Drive ... lets say they are equivalent. I'm not understanding "too small" in the fit of the KHS. Anything can be changed. Life is too short to be cramped in the Captain compartment. Take the bike to a co-op (NOT a bikestore) and let them see what they can find to stretch you out a bit.
How is it not better? The obviously better wheels, the better shifters, better brakes, fork at the least looks better, actually has an adjustable stoker stem. If you argued a Giordano Viaggio vs an older KHS of this level I could maybe see it, either way for 200 its a nice looking tandem that should do wonderfully.

My kids love riding the tandem and its fun to guide them around on it. Hope you get lots of joy from riding together.
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Old 03-24-20, 09:15 AM
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Yep - KHS is significantly better. Real eccentric in front instead of idler thing. Real hubs and wheels with quick release make a huge difference.

You could actually invest in making the KHS better whereas any Walmart thing is throwaway after a few years.
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Old 03-24-20, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
My kids love riding the tandem and its fun to guide them around on it. Hope you get lots of joy from riding together.
This tandem has been a boon for my son's enjoyment of cycling. He's actually enjoying it whereby he hates riding his bike. I wish I had thought of this sooner.

Originally Posted by unikid View Post
Yep - KHS is significantly better. Real eccentric in front instead of idler thing. Real hubs and wheels with quick release make a huge difference.
I had to look up what an 'eccentric' was. Slick!

I'm very pleased with the bike. It is small though, as I mentioned. I had tested a used Cannondale, and it was much larger and 2.5x the price. But then that would have been more uncomfortable for my son, if he could even fit. I'm fine coping for now. I need to judge how long he will prefer this ride to the cost and effort of re-cabling with more upright bars.
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Old 03-24-20, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cranky View Post
I'm very pleased with the bike. It is small though, as I mentioned. I had tested a used Cannondale, and it was much larger and 2.5x the price. But then that would have been more uncomfortable for my son, if he could even fit. I'm fine coping for now. I need to judge how long he will prefer this ride to the cost and effort of re-cabling with more upright bars.
It looks like you are located in Davis/Sacramento area. There are lots of tandems listed on Craigslist in that part of the world. And in a few months there will be even more.

You can always keep scouring Craigslist for tandems and you might find another one relatively cheap that gives you a larger captain but keeps the stoker small. You can easily flip that KHS again - for what you paid or possibly more.
Learn what you like about the tandem you got so you can compare when getting the next one.

Bikes in slightly nicer category with larger captain options and kid-friendly stoker would be the Trek T900, some Raleighs, some Burleys, and even other KHS models.

Here's a T900 that's been sitting for 1 month. A bit of a drive from Sac but it gives you an idea what can be found and likely negotiate a sweet price on: (https://fresno.craigslist.org/bik/d/...077006171.html)
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Old 03-24-20, 06:26 PM
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What's the frame sizing on this one? Biggest difference I typically ever see it L/S, haven't seen an XL/S just XL/M. Another option would be a slightly bigger bike with crank shorteners which I have to do for my youngest to be able to ride.
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Old 03-24-20, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
Here's a T900 that's been sitting for 1 month. A bit of a drive from Sac but it gives you an idea what can be found and likely negotiate a sweet price on: (https://fresno.craigslist.org/bik/d/...077006171.html)
That T900 looks sweet! That'd compliment my Trek 520 nicely. I have sent him an offer. Thanks for the find.
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Old 03-24-20, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
What's the frame sizing on this one? Biggest difference I typically ever see it L/S, haven't seen an XL/S just XL/M. Another option would be a slightly bigger bike with crank shorteners which I have to do for my youngest to be able to ride.
I couldn't find a size sticker, but the captain's seat tube is 17 inches c-c.

After seeing that T900 above, I think I'm going go that direction rather than invest in mods. The KHS is a good first time trainer.
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Old 03-24-20, 09:47 PM
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How tall are you? 17 inch seat tube is a Medium. The T900 is 18.5. Which is like a Medium-Large.

https://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.co...00-39703-1.htm
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Old 03-25-20, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
How tall are you? 17 inch seat tube is a Medium. The T900 is 18.5. Which is like a Medium-Large.

https://www.trekbicyclesuperstore.co...00-39703-1.htm

I'm 6'3", though I'm more torso than leg.

Hmm.. I cant tell if Trek measures from the center of the top tube or the top of the seat tube. They may be the same size actually.
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Old 03-25-20, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cranky View Post
I'm 6'3", though I'm more torso than leg.

Hmm.. I cant tell if Trek measures from the center of the top tube or the top of the seat tube. They may be the same size actually.
The seat tube measurement of the Trek is really unimportant to someone your height. I am 5'10" and I have more than enough stand-over height on ours. Since one sits fairly upright on the Trek you're good to go. You might want to get a different stem than the adjustable one that comes with the bike. Maybe. Something like a 120mm would give you some room to stretch forward.
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Old 03-25-20, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
How is it not better? The obviously better wheels, the better shifters, better brakes, fork at the least looks better, actually has an adjustable stoker stem. If you argued a Giordano Viaggio vs an older KHS of this level I could maybe see it, either way for 200 its a nice looking tandem that should do wonderfully.
"Better" has nuance. Yes the eccentric on the KHS is 'better'. That is one area where the KHS has a definite advantage. But the Kent is really not as bad as it is made out to be. The wheels ... we pull a trailer with our Kent. A single wheel trailer that puts as much weight on the rear wheel of the bicycle as on its own wheel. The Kent wheels have stayed true for years. Way better than we would have expected. The fork is above reproach. Massively overbuilt. The Shifters, derailleurs, etc. are Shimano whatever. My point is it is branded running gear on the Kent. 8speed at that. And the capper: the Kent is brand new. I bought mine directly drop shipped from the factory so I didn't have to risk the questionable build standards of a Walmart employee with no training in bike mechanics. I mean, I am not arguing the Kent is the greatest thing ever. We have other, definitely higher quality bikes but I would not buy a 20 year old bike that was mid-tier even then and put it on a higher ranking than the Kent. The people who do that have never actually lived with a Kent for years on end like I have.
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Old 03-25-20, 12:30 PM
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Don't know which you have but the only Kent tandems I see are 7sp not 8, with flimsy looking dropouts on the fork and stamped aluminum cranks with riveted chainrings and doesn't look to have anything good to speak of.
i would happily take a 40yo tandem over that. Maybe you got something better and maybe the work you did putting it together helped a lot.
I don't have the same standards as a lot of people here. I see the Schwinn that goes for 450 and the Giordano that goes for 600 and think they could be made to be decent for the average person with proper assembly, I wouldn't say the same about the Kent I found online but again it's not 8sp. At the same time I would be hard pressed to believe that any of the 3 would have better equipment standard then what comes on the khs. You also have the fact that equipment doesn't degrade or become junk just cause it's sat around, (barring flood, bad storage, etc.) if the bike is low usage and has barely been used the parts are as good as they were which means it's still decent stuff and still better quality than what comes on the schwinn or kent
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Old 03-25-20, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cranky View Post
I'm 6'3", though I'm more torso than leg.

Hmm.. I cant tell if Trek measures from the center of the top tube or the top of the seat tube. They may be the same size actually.
Most men are indeed 'more torso than leg." Luckily most bikes are built to accommodate this. It's women with long legs and short torsos who have problem fitting bikes. Thus women-specific designs.

This $600 Santana currently on CL is a great example of the good deals to be found. It's old, but nice. The mechanically-inclined would do well with this as a first tandem:

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik...095893459.html
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Old 03-25-20, 02:51 PM
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One of the advantages of newer designs (Kent included) is that they accommodate child (or very short adult) Stokers. The Mixte rear ends or compact (no lateral stay) design make this possible. Most of the classic style tandems were made to fit a Stoker at most 6" to 8" shorter than the Captain.
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Old 03-25-20, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
The seat tube measurement of the Trek is really unimportant to someone your height. I am 5'10" and I have more than enough stand-over height on ours. Since one sits fairly upright on the Trek you're good to go. You might want to get a different stem than the adjustable one that comes with the bike. Maybe. Something like a 120mm would give you some room to stretch forward.
Originally Posted by cranky View Post
I'm 6'3", though I'm more torso than leg.

Hmm.. I cant tell if Trek measures from the center of the top tube or the top of the seat tube. They may be the same size actually.
Most frame measurements are to the top of the seat tube. Not center to center. If you re-measure your KHS to the top of the seat tube what do you get?
If the 2 numbers are pretty close, don't get too worried just yet.

If you look at the picture of the Trek you will see it has a very tall head tube with a sharp downward angle to the seat tube. Whereas the KHS has a short head tube and gentle slope down to the seat tube.
So even with similar length seat tubes, the Trek provides a much taller "stack" height. This prevents you from having to add so many stem extenders or spacers to get the bars where you need them.

The next thing you want to check is the "reach". Normally bikes with a taller stack height have a proportionally longer reach. However the Trek picture doesn't give that impression.
I am not sure if that is an optical illusion, or if Trek deliberately kept the reach shorter to accommodate a broader range of captain sizes.

To find out, you should measure the "top tube effective length" and/or "reach" on your KHS. And get the Trek owner to do the same and share the results with you.
Since you are 6'3' and mostly torso, it would be good to know upfront what you are getting into.

Here are a few links explaining Top Tube Effective length, Stack and Reach:
https://www.bikecad.ca/effective_top_tube_length
https://www.bikecad.ca/taxonomy/term/91
https://road.cc/content/feature/2669...they-important

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Old 03-25-20, 03:50 PM
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Coincidentally here's another tandem that has also been sitting for a month in the same town as the T900.

https://fresno.craigslist.org/bik/d/...076901475.html

This might fit you better. And roll a lot faster. However with these standard road tandems you might have to go with Russ' recommendation of crank shorteners or possibly even a kidback depending on your child's size. Maybe somebody on the forum doesn't need theirs anymore and can offer you theirs up cheap?

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Old 04-10-20, 06:53 PM
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@cranky - what did you end up doing?
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Old 04-10-20, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by unikid View Post
@cranky - what did you end up doing?
The seller of the T900 never responded to my offer, so in the meantime, I messed around with my fit by test swapping the flat bars with beach cruiser bars I found on an abandoned bike that sat on the side of the road for months. Raising the seat post all the way and using the cushy beach cruiser seat too. I'm actually really happy with it! I'm going to order more upright bars and then i'll need to lengthen the brake/shifter cables for higher placement.

The KHS is going to work out just fine for my needs. It'll probably look a bit strange with ape hanger bars, but it's 100% more comfortable for me that way. Frankly, it's actually affected me more than just a cheap hack to get this particular model to fit me better. I didn't realize how much I like riding upright. I have a more commanding view of the street. I smile, wave, and engage more with people I ride by. And it's more comfortable. I frowned on hybrid/comfort geometry as a younger man for reasons not clear to me. But this has changed my opinion and I intend to get some nice Nitto Albatross handlebars for my main bike now( Trek 520 ).

EDIT: Forgot to mention too how cool it is to have a tandem around the house. I've always wanted one of those curious looking things, and here it is. Kinda neat. People react to it too as we ride around the greenbelts.

These are the bars I'm thinking of getting: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002I7O5YA...v_ov_lig_dp_it

Last edited by cranky; 04-10-20 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 04-10-20, 11:18 PM
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Glad it all worked out!
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Old 04-11-20, 09:00 PM
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However IF you changed your mind and still wanted a T900 - here is one at a very good price: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/bik...106846597.html
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