A while back I posted my preliminary Torker Kickback review which discusses all of the components and specifications of the Torker KB2 Kickback bicycle. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to put the Torker through its paces and really get to know the bike better. So with that background, I’ll share with your my Torker KB2 riding review.
On the road the Torker Kickback rides just like an urban bike should. While it is certainly no lightweight, the KB2 feels sturdy and strong, and the substantial 700×38 tires help to take the edge off of bumps and potholes. Turning is predictable, and I found the grips and handlebars to be comfortable, while at the same time giving the bike a Spartan look that says “why bother stealing me” (a good thing for an urban bike). The saddle looks nice, and rides o.k., but I would have appreciated just a little more padding.
Of course, one thing everyone is interested in is shifting with the Torker KB2’s Kickback 2 speed Sturmey Archer hub. As you may recall from my earlier Torker KB2 review, shifting gears on the kickback hub is accomplished by pedaling backward slightly until the hub clicks into the other gear (just before the coaster brake engages).
The kickback shifting takes a little getting used to, but soon you get the hang of it. The hardest part for me to get used to is that the Kickback shifts gears every time you apply the coaster brake, but with a quick kick back it’s easy enough to get back to the gear that you want. It’s certainly handy to have an extra gear without the need for cables and shifters and the maintenance that goes with that (and no cables for vandals to mess with or for others to accidentally damage while parking bikes outside).
The coaster brake on the Torker Kickback does its job as well as any coaster brake does. While it’s generally fine for mostly flat riding, if I were commuting in a hilly city I’d probably make use of the brake mounting holes that the KB2 has and install a front brake for quicker stops down hill.
As I mentioned in my other article, the fact that the brake and shifting are all done by the hubs gives the Torker KB2 a nice clean look similar to a fixed-gear or single-speed bike. It can look even cleaner if you decide to take the chainguard off, however since I liked to use the Torker as my “hop on” anytime bike, I kept the chainguard on and it did its job protecting my pants. The KB2 also has mounting holes for fenders to stay clean when it’s wet.
The KB2 is perfect for use as an urban commuter or bar/cafe hopping bike. It’s not designed to be a lightweight road bike, nor a fancy “cycle chic” bike, but the KB2 is a simple, low maintenance bike that you can hop on and ride, then lock up outside in any weather. And the extra gear is a useful bonus that adds to the fun. The Torker KB2 has an MSRP of $499, and you can find more information on the KB2 on the Torker website.