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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 09-25-09, 05:47 AM   #1
Peter_C
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Any thoughts on the Electra "Townie"? Should I buy one?

So far, all my research has been on the forums, and on the web. See my first thread here if you like about "Am I dreaming, or is This Possible" - to see where i am at (the long version). The short version is a knee replacement in the next 60-90 days, been off a bike for 30 yrs, weigh bout 370lbs. Want the first bike cheap and new - was hoping to be around $200-300 bucks - but that looks bad to me.

Realistic is the $400 to $550 range plus tax plus gear (helment, lock, fenders, pump, etc) - Looks, comfort, ease-of-use are critical, and am thinking the first bike to get me past the re-learnng, the pains, the long 200 yard rides, etc... then when I find I am maxed by what the bike can do hill-wise, or distance-wise, etc - I can upgrade to perhaps a hybrid, or touring-type-style bike?

I went to a LBS for the first time last night. Not Commision, slow night, guy spent 90+ minutes with me, he focused on two bikes - he only had the Electra Townie 7D built (but I have been all over the site, and he stated he can get whatever one I wish), and he compared it too a Trek Navigator 2.0 - both were bout the $400 buck range, both would need fenders and rack, etc.. the Electra would be a wide-geared 7-SP, the Trek a 21-SP.

If you have not done so - do some reading about Electra's Flat-footed concept - where you are flat-footed on the ground while sitting on the seat - yet have the proper pedel angle and distance, etc - seems very, very comfortable.

Comparing features - the TRrek has way more "bang for the buck", but the Electra has way more "style for money in my eyes" The "Euro 8I, or perhaps the "Balloon 9D" are making me drool - can we say "comfort ride"?

Thoughts and knowledge please?

Remember what I came from 30yrs ago! A 1979 Shcwinn Le Tour - was into distance riding, but today's upright wide-geared 7-Sp Electra will out-power, and out-hill pull that old Le Tour - and, with my weight, and my knee knee, how long will it be before I will be standing on the pegs and cranking??? Might as well call me a Newbie all over again, and a really big one at that?! So - stay with the comfort/cruiser, under $500 range please??

Yes, am drolling over the KHS Urban-X - but I think that is too much bike for me to start! Thoughts?
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Old 09-25-09, 06:29 AM   #2
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There is never 'too much bike'. It has been said before, but it's worth repeating "Hot Pants" ... er wait, I mean "Buy the bike that makes you want to ride."

I'm also interested in seeing what people have to say about the crank-forward design--someone correct me if I have my terminology wrong-- of the Electra for people with knee problems as well. Being able to reach the ground quickly might be a plus for someone back to riding or a new rider. It almost seems like a semi-recumbent design. And I have to tell you I'm really starting to dig my low-end boat of a recumbent. My bike is a Sun EZ-1 and it's been the most comfortable bike on my wrists, back and knees. However, I was missing the upper-body workout of my diamond frame bike, so I got it out the other day and rode it for about 2 miles. The fit of it is way too small, and after I ride 10 miles on it my back feels like murder, but for the short ride I took, the thing I knoticed most was my knees hurt, I was sitting up on the rivets of my brooks and I still could have gone back a few inches. Anyhow, my point is fit, fit, fit. Make sure to ride several bikes to see how they feel to you. I'm now enjoying just riding against my own personal weakness, not riding against the pain of a poorly fitting bike.
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Old 09-25-09, 12:50 PM   #3
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Look at the Trek Pure series. There are three versions, 3 spd internal, 7 spd derailler, and a 21 spd derailler. On this bike you also sit "flat footed". The crank is about 5" ahead of the seat tube. Handlebars are cruiser type, high and wide swept back. wheels are 36 spoke, tires are 26" x 1.9". I have had back surgery and have limited range of motion in the right hip (different problem). I have the 7 spd version. I Love it. All ready riding 10 miles per day. Hoping to find more time to ride longer.
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Old 09-25-09, 01:40 PM   #4
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Hey Peter,

I haven't tried the Electra Townie, but when I was looking for it I stumbled upon this thread:
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-145468.html

The first poster didn't like it and had trouble, but several other posters really like it.

Hope that helps!

Leslie
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Old 09-25-09, 01:41 PM   #5
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The Electra Townie is a good choice if you aren't planning on covering serious mileage. It's not built for that. It's designed to be comfortable, convienient and easy for short trips in town (hence the name "Townie").

As you build mileage, you may find that the pedal forward position is tiring, because you're pushing your body "back" instead of "up" on the power stroke, meaning that you have to pull on the handle bars to get as much force.

On the other hand, it might be ideal for getting into shape, because you're involving more upper body muscles in the pedaling stroke.
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Old 09-25-09, 01:43 PM   #6
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I know my opinion matters not...

I like Electra's bikes...

if you like the Townie and gets you riding... awesome...

be prepared to spend more money on a better road bike later though and don't be disappointed because we told you so
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Old 09-25-09, 01:59 PM   #7
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If you plan on any serious miles, the townie would not be a bike I would look at.
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Old 09-25-09, 05:39 PM   #8
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I agree with the idea of buying the bike that makes you want to ride. If you're really big right now and not used to riding the Townie concept make be the ticket. If that's the case, I'd think about a two step bike process, the Townie until you've lost 1/2 your goal. By then you'll be used to riding and more nimbile and a more standard hybrid can be your reward for make a big step.
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Old 09-26-09, 06:00 AM   #9
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I'm going to throw this in... I think just about any person could buy ANY bike and it could be the most fantastic bike ever, they'd still be wanting another bike later. N+1
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Old 09-26-09, 06:53 AM   #10
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You should buy the bike that calls to you and makes you smile and ride. That said, try other similar bikes to see which feels most comfortable for your body. The Trek Pure series and the Giant Suede series are the same type of pedal forward design. Both are great bikes for fun rides. I still ride my Giant Suede 7 speed after 3 years, lots of rides longer than 10 miles. However, I rarely ride for speed - more for distance and enjoyment.
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Old 09-26-09, 07:54 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter_C View Post
...If you have not done so - do some reading about Electra's Flat-footed concept - where you are flat-footed on the ground while sitting on the seat - yet have the proper pedel angle and distance, etc - seems very, very comfortable.

Comparing features - the TRrek has way more "bang for the buck", but the Electra has way more "style for money in my eyes" The "Euro 8I, or perhaps the "Balloon 9D" are making me drool - can we say "comfort ride"?
...Yes, am drolling over the KHS Urban-X - but I think that is too much bike for me to start! Thoughts?
You can never have too many bikes... just ask my husband.
Whichever one you buy, you may eventually decide to get another bike of another type, so go with the one that you can most easily imagine yourself riding right now, this minute. The Townies are designed to be non-intimidating and fun, so that could be the right bike to get started on. You can still use it for grocery runs and cafe rides long after you've racked up a whole stable of other bikes.
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Old 09-26-09, 09:11 AM   #12
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If I were in your shoes, I would not look at any bike with less than 21 gears. I have had 2 knee operations and I use how my knees feel to determine what gear I need to be in. I do not worry about how fast I am going. I focus on rpms and how much pressure is on my knees.

I would look for a bike with good low gears like a less expensive mountain bike so that when you start riding, you have plenty of low gears so you can shift down alot for hills. This way, you spin more and put less pressure on your knees.

I am a steel frame freak so I would go steel but that is my just my opinion.

Like the others said, get one you will ride and it will serve you well. You will get more later.

I promise.
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Old 09-26-09, 09:19 AM   #13
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Regarding the knee replacement, I am not so bad off as you but have gotten some relief from prolotherapy. It is a treatment which has gotten some interest from the Mayo Clinic and C. Everett Koop because it seems to be able to generate new joint tissue.

Regarding the Townie, it is not built to commute over many miles at high speed. If you use it to work out, you can work out on it as long or longer than other bikes because it's more comfortable, although you don't get so much secondary benefit from holding your torso over the bars. It is also easy on the knees and if you have issues it is critical to let the knees have full extension and not be cramped up.

Last edited by garage sale GT; 09-26-09 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 09-26-09, 09:20 AM   #14
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Oops. I did not see the stipulation that you wanted to stay with the comfort/cruiser area.

I like the looks of the Trek Pure Sport 21. If you go with the Townie, I would go with a
21 gear. Again, just my opinion.
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Old 09-26-09, 09:29 AM   #15
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If you plan on any serious miles, the townie would not be a bike I would look at.
THERE IT IS... Pay attention to the words AND his bikes as well as the CO.s that offer them ..... OPERATIVE WORD .. riding extensively, + 10 mile round trips. These CO's offer many models, TRUE variations . Electras are good I suppose but a pleasure bike. I find that even the not so laid-back hybrids are tiresome after a few miles.
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Old 09-26-09, 10:34 AM   #16
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Electra Townie

I have an Electra Townie 21D. I got mine due to back problems. I haven't had any knee issues but also don't have any knee problems. For a female who does not have the knee or weight issues you have, this has been a great bike. I love riding it. I at first hated the seat but got used to it. I probably should still get a new seat. If you buy one get the 21d because you will need the gears. This bike does not go up hills well.
I am getting a fuji saratoga (1989) touring bike because my Electra got me interested in Triathlons and I need a faster bike. I love this bike and even if I get several other bikes I will keep always keep this bike. It is super comfortable and a blast to ride.
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Old 09-26-09, 10:48 AM   #17
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if it were me...

I'd get on Craigslist find me an old Specialized Hardrock or Rockhopper that was my size...

$100 or so dollars... build some wheels slap on some Bontrager Comfort tires... get a proper saddle and ride the crap out of it...

if you have to change the stem for a more upright one... but ride...

I freeking love my Hardrock... it is my ride of choice and is the official Clyde bike of these here forums...
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Old 09-29-09, 08:43 PM   #18
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To answer my own question....no -I guess not!

I really wanted to go with the "Electra', I really did! Apples to Apples, for the same feature-set, the Electra costs (here in Ohio) roughly $45.00 to $75.00 more than a 'Trek' or a 'Giant' "pedal-foward" style Bicycle.

If you then go and add some of the eye-candy that the Electra is famous for (but not any better actual gear - wheels, running gear, etc) you will pay $100 to $350 more than a comparable brand. So I had already decided to call it a pass this time as I simply can not justify it.

Then this evening I finely gt a reply to an email I sent to Electra back on 09-22-09. I will paste the entire email and the reply for your reading please below. Below all of that, I will then post my comments and thoughts...

My email...

From: Peter Home [mailtoeter@putergeek.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 9:37 PM
To: info@electrabike.com
Cc: *** R P Crockett - Home
Subject: interested in your "Townie" style of Bicycle here in Ohio



Hello

Am hoping for a Dealer name and location, address phone, website nearby Akron, Ohio if possible? Am wondering about weight limitations on your Bicycles?

Am 47 and 387 and soon to get a full knee replacement, am looking to get back on a bike after 30 yrs as part of my rehab - am hoping to find one that will not die prior to me losing weight?

Am open to thoughts and suggestions - was leaning towards the "Electra Townie balloon 9d" - looked to be rather sturdy?

Any possible literature? Feel free to mail it to:

1937 Wise RD North Canton, OH 44720 (I like to drool)
---
Peter Crockett
mailto: peter@putergeek.com
---


Their reply today...

From: Laura Ashcraft
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009 7:55 PM
To: Peter Home
Subject: Electra Bicycle Co RE: interested in your "Townie" style of Bicycle here in Ohio


Hello Peter,

Thank you for your patience with this reply as I was out of the office all last week. Here is the dealerships in your area…

Eddy’s Bike Shop #330-666-2453 (Akron, OH)

Eddy’s Bike Shop #330-688-5521 (Stow, OH)

Ernie’s Bicycle Shop #330-494-5323 (North Canton, OH)

Our bicycle frames do not have any weight limitations, however, the wheels are intended to support a rider plus any cargo of up to 250 lbs. This is a common question for your local bike shop as they will have heavy-duty wheel sets in stock or have custom wheel building capabilities, should you wear out the originals. The Townies are going to be a good choice for you because they allow you to put your feet flat on the ground when you come to a stop. I definitely suggest test riding at your local dealership to see which model is most comfortable to you. You can also pick up a paper copy of the catalog there as well.


Best Regards,

Laura Ashcraft

Technical Support
www.electrabike.com


~~~ __o

~~~ _<,_

~~~ (_)/ (_)

WOW - She tells me to get the catalog from the LBS, the LBS points at the producer...the LBS tells me the bike will handle my size wonderfully, she states - no way, have the LBS build be some wheels - OMG!!!
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Old 09-30-09, 05:36 AM   #19
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I wouldn't think too hard about this email. She's just a Customer Service Rep, might not even ride bikes. The email says, "should you wear out the originals". My friend, it is likely that you will destroy the original rear wheel on one good pothole or bump. She's just getting ready for the typical American expectation that if you complain to the factory, you'll get unlimited free rear wheels. When you have a rear wheel built that will not crumble under 400lbs, you'll spend ~$150. You understand this but lots of folks don't.
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Old 09-30-09, 05:18 PM   #20
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Talk to Ernie Lehman at Ernie's. He can build your wheels.
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