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  1. #1
    JRS
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    Avoid Electra Townie

    If any of you are in the market for a "flat foot" bike (the rider can put his/her feet on the ground while sitting on the seat) I would advise not buying the Electra Townie. I recently purchased one for my wife which enabled her to get some exercise after her advancing arthritis made her old road bike too uncomfortable to ride. Unfortunately, helping her to ride again is the end of the good news concerning this bike. So far, I have had to deal with squeaking dry hub bearings, erratic noisy shifting caused by the chain being six links too long and flat tires caused by too-narrow rim bands. The bike seems to be made of cheap components assembled by people who just don't care. The good news(for you) is that this "flat foot" idea is nothing new and certainly nothing unique to the Townie. I suggest shopping the Giant Revive and Suede, Trek Sole Ride, Raleigh Gruv and Specialized Expedition. These are just the ones I've noticed, there are probably others. It seems like Electra hasn't been around very long and seems to concentrate on "cruiser" type bikes with flowers on the fenders. I suggest buying from a "real" bicycle company with a good reputation that has been around a while. Don't be me! Avoid impulse buying and ride a bunch of bikes before making a purchase.

  2. #2
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRS
    ...Avoid impulse buying and ride a bunch of bikes before making a purchase.
    Hi JRS!

    I agree with your last sentence whole heartedly!

    Ironically, my experience with the Electra Townie was almost a mirror image of yours! My Townie was durable, reasonably well-made for the price, and held its value extremely well on resale. I had none of the problems you did. The ONLY problem I had with my Townie was a twist-grip-shifter misadjustment that was cured on the spot. I guess this variation between our experiences speaks poorly of Electra's quality control!

    The "caveat emptor" caution should apply not only to Electra, but to ALL bike manufacturers. A defect or two are not a deal breaker (for me), but I expect the shop that sold me the bike to stand behind the product and fix any defects. That expectation applies not only to Electra, but to ANY bike I buy locally.

    Sorry to hear of your wife's problems with the bike. I hope she continues to ride anyway!

  3. #3
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    messy shifting?

    I thought the townie was a singlespeed cruiser. Guess I need to look closer. The flat-foot ride's a good idea though. There's an LBS near me with some beautiful cruisers, so I know they're out there.
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

  4. #4
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eatadonut
    ...I thought the townie was a singlespeed cruiser...
    Electra makes them in everything from single speed coasters to 24 speed derailleurs to 8 speed Nexus internal hubs - your choice.

  5. #5
    Riding and Loving It dhampton's Avatar
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    I had to join the forum just to respond to this thread. I'm sorry you had such a negative experience with your Townie, but I have had excellent experiences with Townies.

    A neighbor bought a Townie 24 for exerecise. He's been a bike rider for decades and knows all the different makes and models inside and out. He looked comfortable riding his new Townie, so I asked him about it. He generously let me ride his - my first bike ride in years - and it felt really good to me. A few weeks later he was out of town for 10 days and loaned me his Townie for the whole time. I was hooked.

    To make a long story somewhat shorter, we now have 5 Townies in our neighborhood. Three 24's, a 21 and my Townie 7. Mine and the 21 were purchased used on craigslist.org. The others were purchased new from local dealers. None of us are heavy-duty riders, although a couple of us are HEAVY riders. All of the Townies in our group have performed excellently. The only problem I can remember was a tube blow out on one bike.

    I now know there are other flat foot bikes out there, but I'm certain that we're all riding as much as we are because our Townies are such great bikes. Don't automatically "Avoid Electra Townie". Give it a try.

    Dan Hampton

  6. #6
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    I ride in a casual group from time to time and several people have Townies. Not one has ever done anything but brag on how happy they are with their bikes. Narrow rims are not unique to Townies - the whole industry appears to be moving in that direction, and underinflation is going to cause pinch flats. For the casual rider who rarely checks tire pressure, inflation problems are very common. Dry hub bearings are a grouppo defect and could just as easily show up on the Trek, Raleigh, or Giant and should be addressed by the LBS. And, the final assembly on all bikes is the LBS. If it looks like it was put together without caring, I would be looking at the LBS. It is also hard to believe that Townie would have speced their chain with six links too many. I wonder if some changes were made at the LBS level?

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    I too had to join this forum to reply...unfortunately your post comes up when on googles Elctra Townie. I have a Townie 21 and absolutely love it. I ride it on an off road and have had no problems. I probably ride it places it was never meant to go. I also have bad knees and this bike has enabled me to resume getting to places I want to go...sorry your wife got a lemon...guess anyone can make one. Or maybe Electra has gotten better, but I tell eveyone this was the best money I ever spent.

  8. #8
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I've looked over the Electra Townies a few times. The components are usually pretty average for the price. The bike is certainly heavy. So I wouldn't give them a ringing endorsement.

    OTOH, their reliability has been very good and they are well regarded by their owners.

    Personally, I think some of the other crank forward bikes are better values. For example, I thought the Raleigh Gruv was better in several ways, and would favor the Giant Suede and Trek Pure over the Townie. But Electra has done a good job marketing them, and they do have some cool styles that make them stand out from the models I just mentioned.

    So I think one gets an okay bike for the money from Electra, and one that is comfortable and stylish. You can do a lot worse.

  9. #9
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    And what is with this revival theme this week. What is this, the 5th or 6th thread that is over a year old to pop back up this week?

  10. #10
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    My wife has an Electra Townie which she rarely rides, but I ride it sometimes. It's fine if you ask me. It gets treated here perhaps better than most: proper tire inflation pressures, brakes are checked and even the chain is lubed. Not a lot of miles on it but it's a nice change from the other bikes, and it embarasses the heck out of my son when I ride it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    The big problem with the Townie and others is that the target audience is composed of people who might want to ride "just a little" and probably not willing to spend more to get a good bike. Most of us have heard time and time again that if we get a better bike, we might be tempted to ride it more than if we got a cheap, clunky thing from X-Mart. (Right DG?) Well, the same thing should apply here, if the prospective buyer could recognize the logic.

    Several brands have been named here, and for the most part they're... clunky. One line I haven't seen mentioned yet is the RANS lineup. RANS makes recumbents, and IMHO they make the best flat-foot bikes, bar none. They cost more than a $300 Electra, but for lots of people they might be worth it. Check out the Fusion and you'll see that they are way different from the competition.

    (No connection with the company, just a happy RANS bike owner.)

  12. #12
    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    And what is with this revival theme this week. What is this, the 5th or 6th thread that is over a year old to pop back up this week?
    I think here is why, this was posted today and re-started this thread.......

    Quote Originally Posted by MLM54
    I too had to join this forum to reply...unfortunately your post comes up when on googles Elctra Townie. I have a Townie 21 and absolutely love it. I ride it on an off road and have had no problems. I probably ride it places it was never meant to go. I also have bad knees and this bike has enabled me to resume getting to places I want to go...sorry your wife got a lemon...guess anyone can make one. Or maybe Electra has gotten better, but I tell eveyone this was the best money I ever spent.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
    --Ben Franklin

  13. #13
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
    Several brands have been named here, and for the most part they're... clunky. One line I haven't seen mentioned yet is the RANS lineup. RANS makes recumbents, and IMHO they make the best flat-foot bikes, bar none. They cost more than a $300 Electra, but for lots of people they might be worth it.
    RANS is definitely better. But when one is out shopping for $300-$400 bikes, that's not an option. They are 3X this amount. Most neighborhood riders aren't looking to drop a grand on bike.

    A lot of people love their Townies. There are Townie forums and clubs.

    My issue with the Townie isn't that it is clunky and slow, it's supposed to be clunky & slow and comfortable and stylish. It's that a model like the Townie 21 that lists for $390, uses a very low end Shimano Tourney derailleur and very low end RST suspension fork. Compare this to a comfort hybrid like a $380 Schwinn Voyageur GSD which has a SRAM SX4 r.d. (not great but at least two levels above the Shimano Tourney) and a RST fork that is also 2-3 levels above what's on the Townie. Electra uses some low-end parts at price points where you wouldn't expect to find those parts.

    But I guess if the low-end parts aren't getting much of a workout, they may last a long time.

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    I love my Townie 21. It's not particularly heavy, it's stylish and very comfortable. I would love to have a RANS Fusion or Crus or Citi, but these bikes cost four times what the Townie cost.

    BUT-- I have been plagued with flats recently! No, they're not pinch flats. The deep, narrow, double layer rims have holes drilled through for the nipples. The edges of the holes are quite sharp, and the factory installed rim tapes are too thin and narrow to save the tubes from getting little semi-circular cuts.
    Today I'm installing Zefal rim bands. If these don't solve the problem, I'll be damned annoyed with Electra.
    Jitensha de GO!

  15. #15
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    Walked past a rack of Townies today. I see they have a lighter, sleeker line out now. One version of the Townie 21 now has 700c wheels with thinner tires (maybe 38-40mm) and a rigid fork. Unfortunately at $400, it still sported some low-end components, including retaining the Shimano Tourney rear derailleur (which can be found on some $150 bikes). The new line looked a lot like the Giant Suede crank forwards.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  16. #16
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    JRS's experience sounds more like a complaint about poor assembly practices than about the bike's design, frameset, crankset, wheelset, or other big-ticket items. If you bought it at a real bike shop, shame on them! When I worked at a "mom-and-pop" Peugeot-Nishiki dealership in the early 1970s, one of my recurring assignments was to join the owners and a few other employees every Friday evening for pizza and bike assembly. It took a fast, experienced mechanic more than 30 minutes to make an out-of-the-box Peugeot fully roadworthy, and we saw everything from ungreased Normandy hubs to horrendous chainlines to wine corks in the shipping boxes.
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  17. #17
    Brand Newbian BishopLord's Avatar
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    IMHO, the RANS is an ugly looking bike.

  18. #18
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    Thread. Go back to sleep.

  19. #19
    Brand Newbian BishopLord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mokaimo View Post
    The Townie's stock seat feels great when it's sitting still but after 5-6 miles causes me some numbness. Too heavily padded I think. Wife loves hers though. I replaced mine with a Brooks B67 and that makes my ride real plush. Looks great too with the honey finish. Just to trick her bike out a bit, I got her Suntour NCXD5 suspension seatpost (similiar to the ones on the K2 Easy Street) and now hers rides smooth as silk. FWIW, I don't think the 'elastomer' springs in the Townie's stock seat works too well.

    I've got a few other nitpicks but they're going in my blog later. Bottom line is, so far I like the Townie. For $400 it's a decent spec, fun bike. I think another $40-$50 (besides my Brooks saddle) might make it comfortable and dependable enough for some solo tours on the Katy this winter. I'd spend at least twice that turning my mtb into a touring hybred, personally I'd rather have the extra bike.
    I replaced my stock Townie seat with a Schwinn no pressure seat and a backrest from Belizebike.com. Probably too padded for you, but perfect for me.


  20. #20
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BishopLord View Post
    I replaced my stock Townie seat with a Schwinn no pressure seat and a backrest from Belizebike.com. Probably too padded for you, but perfect for me.
    True. Chacun a son gout.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  21. #21
    Lone Star Tex_Arcana's Avatar
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    Geez, I just realized this thread was started on 10-11-05. Slipped into it's first coma 10-13-05 until revived 07-11-07 where it took a brief nap until 07-23-07 when it slipped into a long dormancy until 03-07-08. This thread is tired and needs another rest.

  22. #22
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BishopLord View Post
    I replaced my stock Townie seat with a Schwinn no pressure seat and a backrest from Belizebike.com. Probably too padded for you, but perfect for me.

    Oh my goodness! The solution to my Brooks Flyer Fit. It will go on a Townie!
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
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  23. #23
    Brand Newbian BishopLord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tex_Arcana View Post
    Geez, I just realized this thread was started on 10-11-05. Slipped into it's first coma 10-13-05 until revived 07-11-07 where it took a brief nap until 07-23-07 when it slipped into a long dormancy until 03-07-08. This thread is tired and needs another rest.
    Are you trying to boost your post count or be a comedian? Either way, since this post doesn't pertain to you, Mr. Join Date 02/08, why don't you take a rest and visit another board, like the BENT section.

  24. #24
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    This thread is a good reason for a "thread bullet" to put us all out of our misery.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    This thread is a good reason for a "thread bullet" to put us all out of our misery.
    Shoot, please, a seat with a backrest?
    t

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