Monday, December 13, 2010

Kettler City Bikes

Kettler Nena - Blue


KETTLER is a German manufacturer of aluminum exercise items and furniture, including patio furniture, table tennis tables, kids toys, exercise machines, and bicycles. This bike, the Kettler Nena, is a good example of their line, and is currently on sale for only $760 with shipping, in the "Blue Nova" trim. (Regular price is $960)


Like all of the KETTLER bikes, the frame is aluminum, made in Germany(!), and the bike is designed for city use, with an upright seating position, a sturdy rear rack integrated with the frame, a 7-speed internal gear hub with coaster brake (in addition to front and rear v-brakes), front hub dynamo powering front and rear LED lights, and fenders, chainguard and kickstand. 


Although integrating the rear rack with the frame can cause problems, this one looks right, and should work for most panniers as well as truck bags and cargo on top of the rack. The front suspension fork and suspension seatpost are probably unnecessary with the wide tires, but the extra weight can be forgiven.


Another interesting feature is the KBS "Kettler braking system", which allows a hand-operated rear v-brake to be used with a rear back-pedal brake. There is only one hand brake, on the right-hand side, which operates both front and rear rim brakes. According to Kettler, "KBS prevents the rear wheel from locking when the back-pedal and rear-wheel rim brake are activated at the same time. The brake force is transmitted unevenly to both rim brakes. This prevents the second rim brake from taking full effect". 


While there are only a few retail stores selling these bikes in North America, several of the models are available directly from the manufacturer's website, or from online sellers such as Commuter Bike Store. Surprisingly, these aluminum alloy frames are made in Germany, and it appears the whole bike as also assembled there before being shipped to the warehouse in Virgina Beach. Bikes arrive partially assembled in a box; they claim all that is needed is to "turn and tighten down the handlebars, attach the pedals, adjust the seat and make sure there is enough air in the tires and you are ready to go", but we would recommend taking the box to a local bike shop for safe final assembly and a tune-up before riding.

Specifications:

Price: $960 shipped (Blue on sale for $760)
Frame: Aluminum 7005-K1 frame 47cm Step Through
Fork: Suntour CR 8V adjustable suspension fork
Shifter: Shimano Nexus twist shifter 
Rear Hub: Shimano 7-speed Nexus internal gear hub with coaster brake 
Front Hub: Shimano DH-3N20 dynamo front hub 
Crankset: Kettler Alloy 3-piece
Rims: 28" Alloy Rodi Hypno rims with 2mm Stainless steel spokes 
Tires: 28"Continental City Ride Tires [About 37 to 47 mm wide]
Saddle: Selle Royal Rio saddle [Foam padded plastic]
Seat Post: Kettler ALU RAD patented aluminum suspension seat post
Handlebars: Kettler Moon Cruiser handlebars [Alloy]
Stem: Aluminum adjustable stem [threaded]
Headset: Aluminum 1 1/8 semi-integrated headset 
Brakes: Front and rear Kettler V-brakes with KBS braking system, plus rear coaster brake
Pedals: Non-slip Kettler aluminum City pedals 
Kickstand: Single, center-mount
Rack: Integrated alloy rear rack [Welded to frame, painted]
Fenders: SKS thermoplastic fenders, with mud flaps
Chainguard: Resin, full-coverage
Lights: Front Basta Sprint LED headlight, Basta Riff tail light with standlight (capacitor)
Colors: Blue [on sale], Black, (Yellow, Green, Red - in Europe?)
Size: 47 cm only

Kettler Nena - Sun

Frame Geometry

Kettler does not list geometry, but it appears to have a moderate seat tube angle around 71 to 73 degrees, and a head tube angle around 70 to 71; the frame has extra room in front for a suspension front fork. Unfortunately, the Nena is only available in 47 cm size, which may fit men and women as short as 5' up to 6' (150 cm to 180 cm), but taller riders may be cramped. Taller riders might consider the Kettler City Cruiser, a similar bike with a diamond frame and slightly higher-end components. We will have details shortly.

Reviews:
The only review we have found is in German, but it is a very extensive review
Here is the English translation from Google, which is somewhat intelligible.
If anyone knows of other reviews, or had ridden this bike, please leave a comment.

11 comments:

kfg said...

Re the German translation:

Well, there ya have it, kids. Don't try to screw yourself unless you can get in the position. Better to go to a shop and have it done professionally.

Velouria said...

I have ridden this bike, and others similar to it, in Austria. The super-low step-through frame and the dynamo lighting is very useful, but I am really not a fan of these aluminum frames with front suspension and low-end components.

Joseph E said...

Velouria,
Besides the aesthetic shortcomings of the frame and the (unnecessary) front suspension, where there practical problems with the Kettler bikes you rode? Had any of the components wore out or broken prematurely? Was it comfortable to ride?

Velouria said...

Joseph - I did not ride them long enough to be able to comment on component wear. In the short run, some were comfortable, while others had wonky geometries (steep seat tube, hand pain from handlebars) - which is a common complaint I have about modern "city" bikes. I do not remember how Kettler compared to the other brands I tried.

PS: You might enjoy this!

Danial123 said...

I do not remember how Kettler compared to the other brands I tried.
beach bike

BRE said...

Kettler Fahrr├Ąder (bicycles) are a very popular and well known brand name here in Germany. I was a bit surprised to learn that they had only a handful of US retailers because the bikes are so popular in Europe. Several of the best German bike manufacturers are not represented on the U.S. market at all___ a fact that would make a great follow-up post when you can find the time and have the interest.

I doubt very much if the frames for Kettler bikes are actually made in Germany but it is correct to say that design, testing, and assembly of many models does take place at the Kettler Werft. In regards to independent reviews of their bikes and specifications on the different models have a look at the Kettler Deutschland website link below:
http://de.bike.kettler.net/
There is a link on the German website to an English version of their catalog.

The German cycling enthusiast magazine aktivRadfahren (www.radfahren.de) and other German/European cycling magazines will most certainly have loads of reviews and reader comments on Kettler and other top German bike brands. Some of the news and reviews of Kettler bikes are available in the English language on European bike blogs (Bike Radar - UK) and Bike Europe (a news site for bike professionals and retailers).

Here is a link to an aktivRadfahren "heads up" article on the Kettler Nena from March 2009
http://www.radfahren.de/archiv/alle-rubriken/detailansicht/artikel/die-fahrradsaison-wird-bunt-mit-dem-neuen-kettler-nena.html

The link you have used to a review at ciao.de is to a website for price comparisons on all kinds of products sold in Europe.

I hope that this information helps you and your readers out a bit in re: Kettler Fahrr├Ąder.

P.S.
I really like the idea of publishing a blog about bikes and cycling "for the rest of us" back in the States. I shall be back soon to learn more about what's happening in the non-professional cycling world of people who just love to own and ride bikes .

BRE said...

Ooops! Correction to the following is necessary:

I meant to write Kettler Werk (factory) and Kettler Werft (shipyard/shipbuilding factory). Kettler designs and builds bikes, not boats.

aabner58 said...

Now a bike shop is no longer the only place to find a great bike, you can find one online and have it shipped to your door and assembled in under ten minutes.
bike grips

helena said...

Adding to the beauty and detial of the dreamcycle,the brown saddle and grips are embossed whith hiniscus graphics,giving it a fun and elegant touch Comfort Bikes.
Mini Vans

jachmilli said...

These casinos can be accessed from any where on the computer through internet.

how to bet

trisha said...

Nice post.This is very helpful.This only shows how translation is vital in every industry or business.English translation is well written.I gain too much insight from this.Keep it up.Thanks for sharing.