Takara Kabuto Single Speed Road Bike
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- Steel frame and fork; 54 centimeter top tube
- Alloy rims with alloy hub
- Tig-welded steel frame with horizontal drop out
- Alloy side pull brakes
- Weighs 29.5 pounds
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The Kabuto is all about keeping things simple and getting it done without breaking the bank. At the heart of the Kabuto you-Feetll find a strong hand crafted steel frame with horizontal dropouts that can handle the abuse of the big city. City riders told us that they didn-Feett need derailleur-Feets so we listened and outfitted the Kabuto with a flip flop bug so you can run it as a fixed gear or in standard freewheel single speed mode without having to worry about adjustments to temperamental components. The 32 hole alloy wheels roll on loud Kenda 700 x 32 tires that are capable of withstanding less than perfect roads. Front and rear alloy side pull brakes round out this spectacular model.
An ideal commuter bike, the Takara Kabuto features a strong handcrafted steel frame with horizontal dropouts that can handle the abuse of the big city. The Kabuto has a flip flop hub so you can run it as a fixed gear or in standard freewheel single speed mode without having to worry about adjustments to temperamental components.The 32 hole alloy wheels roll on loud Kenda 700 by 32 tires that are capable of withstanding less than perfect roads. Front and rear alloy side pull brakes round out the specs of this bike that will fit riders 5 feet, 8 inches tall to 6 feet tall with a standover clearance of 31 inches. Specifications:
- Steel frame and fork
- Alloy rims with alloy hub
- Rear flip flop hub
- Brakes: Alloy side pull
- Tires: Yellow Kenda 700 x 32
- Frame: Tig welded steel frame with horizontal drop out
- Fork: Tig Welded 1 inch Threaded
- Handlebar: Steel Road 42.5cm wide
- Stem: Alloy Quill 1-inch 90 deg x 100mm
- Crank: Steel 3-piece 170mm 44 tooth steel chain ring
- Bottom Bracket: Loose ball and cone, English thread
- Pedals: Alloy cage with toe clips
- Rims: Alloy singlewall 32 hole with stainless steel spoke
- Hub Rear: Joytech alloy 16-tooth freewheel and fix gear, bolt on
- Hub Front: Joytech alloy high flange, bolt on
- Tires: Kenda Yellow 700 x 32
- Seat Collar: Alloy
- Seatpost: Steel 25.4
- Kickstand: Steel
- Bar Tape: Cork
- Weight: 29.5 pounds
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First, I would like to address some common things that come up in the other reviews of this bike. There is much misinformation with regards to the right pedal making a clicking noise at the top of the pedal rotation. One reviewer, claiming to be a bike mechanic, has stated that the problem is due to a faulty crank. I'm an auto mechanic, not a bike mechanic, but I'm quite certain the problem has nothing to do with the crank. I have fixed and reduplicated the problem four times now to be certain that I have pinpointed the problem accurately. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE PEDAL NEEDS TO BE TIGHTENED MORE TIGHTLY THAN YOU MIGHT INITIALLY THINK. If you happen to own a torque wrench, as I do, you should apply about 40 ft/lbs of torque when tightening the right pedal. If you don't own such a tool, just tighten it with quite a bit of force. In my experience, that will completely eliminate the 'clicking' problem with the right pedal. You might as well tighten the left one a little tighter while you are at it.
Some reviewers are unhappy with the brakes. As I have said above, this is my first jump into road biking and so perhaps it is because I don't know any different, but I have found the brakes to be perfectly capable of stopping me whenever I have needed. I have had to stop very quickly (a deer ran right in front of me the other day) and much of the terrain I cycle on has very steep hills. I have never had a problem with the brakes being inadequate. Yes, they needed a little adjusting at first, but I have not had to mess with them since after the first day of use.
Before I forget, I should warn anyone buying this bike that EVERY SINGLE NUT AND BOLT ON THIS BIKE NEEDS TO BE TIGHTENED WHEN YOU GET IT. I thoroughly went through the entire bike and found that several of the hex-nuts were slightly loose as were some of the other fittings as well. Be safe and take the time to tighten everything well.
Perhaps the seat is hard and not ergonomic compared to others ones, but to be honest the discomfort was only noticeable during my first few longer rides. I am currently cycling about 30 miles a day, four to five times a week and the seat has been perfectly fine as far as I'm concerned. Some of the other reviewers seem to forget that this bike cost them close to $200 and not $1000 like most of the bikes I was looking at in my local bike shops. For the price, this seat is perfectly fine with me. I purchased the Pearl Izumi biking shorts on Amazon and they provide a little added comfort.
The tubes that these tires come with are total crap. Other reviewers have also said the tubes are awful; they are absolutely right. After the first two days of use and repeated blow outs and flats, I replaced the original tubes with Avenir Schrader 48mm Valve Tubes (700 x 28-32C), which can be purchased right on Amazon, and so far I have not had a single flat or blow out. I weigh just around 200lbs and have been putting exactly 105 psi in them without any problems so far. I check the pressure before every trip and must admit that I usually need to put about 5-10 psi in it each time; in other words, the tubes do seem to slowly leak over time. I'm a novice and don't know if this is typical of other bikes or not, but I don't really mind filling them up each time. I should also mention that, just to be safe, I also purchased rim tape at the time I put in the Avenir tubes. There were a few rough spots on the rim that the tape helped cover.
In conclusion, I am completely satisfied with this bike for the price. The single speed makes me work my butt off on the big hills, which gives me a good burn, a good interval workout, and has so far made my weight drop in the last few months from 210 pounds to just under 200. I was hesitant about buying a single speed because the main bike trail I ride on here in Nashville is full of hills and steep inclines. So far I have been able to ride up every hill I have encountered without needing to get off and walk the bike. I'm rather happy I didn't pay the extra money for a bike with gears, which would have been more maintenance (especially the cheap ones I was looking at). For the money, I think this bike is an excellent buy for anyone thinking of trying out the sport for their first time. I plan to ride this bike to death over the next year or so and then think of getting something a little nicer. But for now, this is holding up just fine and is helping me achieve my fitness goals with a lot more fun and enjoyment than I had anticipated. I hope this review is helpful to someone.
UPDATE: April, 2013
Still enjoying this bicycle and it has held up great. I am only cycling once or twice a week now for about 15 miles each time. The bearings in both wheels are still going strong, the brakes have never given me any issues, chain and crank are fine, and tires are still good (original tubes are crap as stated above). For the price and the wear and tear I have put on this bike, I am even more convinced now than I was several months ago that this bicycle is a bargain.
UPDATE: August, 2014
A year later and still cycling about 15-20 miles one time per week. I have not had to repair a single thing on this bike except for a brake lever handle that broke because I wrecked. About every six months I am sure to spray lubricant into the gears and to keep them lubed up. About 8 months ago I decided to upgrade the seat on this bike. I upgraded to the Adamo Full Gel Road and absolutely love it (hated it for the first month! it is dreadfully hard to get used to). I was getting numbness in the groin region after my rides and did a little research to find a seat that wouldn't have that effect. I will never go back to the original seat that comes with the bike now that I am in love with this one, but the original held up just fine for as long as used it. Oh, and I am yet to have a flat tire on this bike, but keep in mind that I ride on a greenway, which is much smoother and cleaner than roads around the city.
0. If you don't like the color,the only parts that are yellow are the stickers, the handle bar tape, and the tires. All 3 are easily replaceable at a cost of less than $40.
1. If your wheels aren't spinning freely as you would like , the bearings are being squeezed to tight. Loosen them by using two adjustable wrenches. You do not need a cone wrench (even if you think you do) for this because the nut is large enough to fit a 6" adjustable wrench. The nut-looking thing closest to the hub is the cone and the next farthest out is the nut you want to loosen.
2. If you want to go faster, you can get 700c x 25 tires. I did it and I can ride at a higher psi which results in lower rolling resistance. You can probably even go lower than that.
3. The pedal straps can be irritating, but they are easily removable/replaceable.
4. You only need two tools to assemble and maintain. A set of allen wrenches and a 6" adjustable wrench. No more no less.
5. Brakes can be nearly impossible to center because they are low quality and not "dual pivot" If you're brakes touch one side of the rim, pull on the cable housing, adjust the tension of the bolts, and get thinner brake pads. It will take some ingenuity to get it right. Or just get new brakes.
7. A water bottle cage is easily attachable.
8. The chain and freewheel are 1/2 " x 3/32"
9. The freewheel is not good. It has high internal friction. It is impossible remove without specialized tools. I regeared my bike by removing the fixed cog. The fixed cog can be removed with a lock ring wrench. No tools are necessary if you are handy. Over tighten the fixed cog with the "rotafix" method (google it). This means having the cog turn to the right. This creates space between the lock ring and the cog, so you can use a hammer and any type of pick to loosen the lock ring. Remember that the lock ring behaves opposite of all other screws. You must turn it right to loosen it.
10. You can use a 18t cog/freewheel without changing chain length. The dropouts are wide enough to permit both sides. I have a Sunlite 18t freewheel on one side, and the stock 16t freewheel on the other. I wish I could take that 16t freewheel off and put a shimano freewheel on there. But I am too lazy/cheap to but the tool and the freewheel.
11. The seat can be adjusted in height, angle , and longitudinally.
12. Amazon has marked the bike down from $229 to $200 and now its at an all time low of $129. Buy it while it's low if you can. In general Amazon prices can be erratic so it helps to hold out or buy immediately. Amazon prices how they like and they don't show pricing history. I bought the bike at $200 4 months ago and now I could have it bought it $70 cheaper. Nothing I could have done about that...
Edit: Upgrade the brakes if you value your life. Installing a "dual pivot" brake on the front allows you to stop in less than half the distance. I didn't realize how crappy the brakes were until I upgraded. Stopping in 10 ft vs 20 ft is literally life and death when riding in traffic.
This bike first and foremost is a very good looking bike. Now that we've cleared the air, there are some down sides to this Fixie.
Easy to Set up
Amazon: Fast shipping, arrived 1 day early.
Sturdy frame, great cog and nice flip-flop hub.
Very poorly packaged, cheap boxing and lots of masking tape.
Various dirt spots on tire, not too big of a deal, but takes away the, "Wow" factor.
Not the best brakes I have seen in a while.
No Optional Water Mount?!
Makes a squeaking noise, needed some adjustments in the Axel Screw.