Kent Folding Bike FAQ #2
This morning, I received an email asking about the differences between the Kent Superlites sold exclusively on RideTHISbike.com and the Kent Ultralite sold on Amazon and several other websites. Since many of these questions pop up several times a week, I'm posting my response here for the benefit of everyone.
I saw the video about the three Kent bikes on YouTube, and am now thinking of sending back the 6 speed Kent folder I purchased on Amazon (it has not arrived yet) & replacing it with the Nexus. But I had several questions, I was hoping you could help me with my decision:
Q: Does the Nexus have pedals that are only rideable on one side?
A: All 3 of the Kent folding bikes have the same type of folding pedal. The pedal folds in only one direction and has a lever on the bottom that locks the pedal in the riding position. Kent plans to make dual sided pedals available next year. Meanwhile, if you must have dual sided folding pedals, I've seen them from time to time on eBay for $15-40.
Q: What does the cable do that is shown in the picture at ridethisbike.com? I loved the clean lines of the bike shown on the YouTube video, not sure if there was a cable present because it was a bit dark.
A: The single cable on the Superlite Nexus 3 is the shifter cable for the grip shifter on the handlebars.
Q: Does it weigh 23, 24, or 25 pounds?
A: Kent International makes 3 folding bikes (besides the 6 spd and the Nexus, there's a single speed too). Following are the weights for each model:
1 Spd Kent Superlite Folding Bike: 22 lbs.
3 Spd Kent Superlite Nexus Folding Bike: 24 lbs.
6 Spd Kent Ultralite Folding Bike: 25 lbs.
In 2006, Kent started with the 6 speed and they sent me one to review. I was impressed but I also sent back a list of suggestions that would make the bike better. That list led to them making the single speed and Nexus models and granting me an exclusive to sell them.
Back when there was just the Ultralite 6 speed, that bike weighed 23 lbs. With the introduction of the Superlite series in June of 2007, the Ultralite was outfitted with fenders (the same fenders as on the Superlites). Those fenders added another pound of weight.
Q: Are the levers for folding made of plastic or metal?
A: There are 3 quick release levers used on the Kent Superlite and Ultralite folding bikes. The primary quick release folds the frame; the other 2 are for adjusting or removing the seat and the handlebars.
All quick releases on the Kent Superlite and Ultralite folding bikes are made of metal alloy. Also, the primary quick release for folding/unfolding the frame has a clear vinyl cover over the end to prevent the lever from scratching the frame.
Q: Are coaster brakes repairable?
A: Coaster brakes are wonderful. They're low maintenance, reliable and eliminate the need for brake pads, cables and levers - items that eventually require replacement (brake pads also wear out rims so the rims on a coaster last longer too). Coaster brakes can be repaired/replaced if necessary and are readily available.
Q: Is the mph between the 6 speed & the Nexus noticeable?
A: There is; the Superlite is faster.
Due to the gearing, you can cruise at a higher rate of speed on the Superlite Nexus 3. The difference is about 2-3 mph which sounds minor; however, if you're riding more than a couple of city blocks, you'll notice it.
Q: Is the bike durable? I plan to use it mostly for commuting, throwing it behind the seat of my car, and local shopping. (two miles each way) I usually keep bikes forever, my one and only 'cumbersome' has been with me for over 15 years. So I hope to keep the folder a lifetime too.
A: The Superlite and Ultralite folding bikes are sturdy and durable. Because the bike frame is so light, Kent was able to use standard bike components that have been proven rather than parts that are delicate.
Q: Is the bike heavy? I am small in stature (about 5' 2" 120 lbs.) so lifting a heavy bikes is a bit difficult.
A: All of the Kent folding bikes weigh less than 26 lbs. They are at least several pounds lighter than other folding bikes and much lighter than the average store bought mountain bike.
Q: Why are the Kent folding bikes so light?
A: The Kent folding bikes are made from a special magnesium aluminum alloy. Magnesium is among the lightest of metals; it also is stronger for its weight.
Q: Why does it cost so little for a Kent folding bike?
A: Using the latest in technology, the frames for the Kent folding bike are die cast. Instead of someone tediously cutting tubing and welding it together, molten magnesium aluminum alloy is poured into a mold. Seconds later, it's x-rayed to assure quality. If there is a problem, the frame is rejected and melted down for reuse. As a result, there is zero waste and production time is just a fraction of that needed for a conventional bike.
Q: Is it comfortable to ride?
A: Another quality of magnesium is that it has greater shock absorbtion qualities than steel or aluminum. Thus, Kent folding bikes have a gentler ride than similar sized folding bikes that weigh even more.
Q: What are the differences between the Ultralite 6 Speed & Superlite Nexus?
A: The Superlite Nexus 3 has a higher cruising speed; the Nexus model is also almost maintenance free whereas the derailleur on the Ultralite 6 speed hangs low and will pick up grass clippings, twigs, etc. when in low gear. The Superlite models have a better seat and hand grips (the seat has more padding; the grips are a comfy soft rubber).