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Old 09-27-08, 11:22 AM   #1
janalynl
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Townie Problems and Advice

I ordered a Townie 7 in a specific color with accessories and had a nightmare experience from the company. I received a color I hate (I know, but for a woman of 58 color is important) was told that I had no alternative because it was the only thing available, and the accessories trickled in over a four month period of time. The bike was never adjusted properly--very strange! You have to peddle constantly or it just stops dead in one spot. It never glides--ever! By the way, the fender for the bike arrived 6 months after the bike did. I'm most unhappy with the bike and would never recommend purchasing anything from the company.
I would appreciate any advice. This has been the worst purchase I have ever made in my life. I like the design idea and the fact that there is no pressure on my hands and I'm sitting upright. But the bike is nothing but a problem.
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Old 09-27-08, 12:15 PM   #2
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Did you order online or from a bike shop. I am not familiar enough with Electra's policies so I do not know if they are only sold through LBS's or not.

Does your bike shop (assuming you have one) have any answers? They should be going to bat for you, assuming you bought it from a shop. They are responsible for getting it adjusted properly so it sounds like at least part of your complaint is directed at them.

And, it's possible the entire problem is the shop but it's hard to say...

Stopping dead without 'gliding' (coasting) sounds like brakes that are way too tight. Again, hard to diagnose from afar but I've ridden a Townie 21 and it was a very nice bike that coasted easily.

Contact the company directly? If not (and if a number is available) it's worth a try.

Certainly contact the Better Business Bureau in your area or if you feel strongly enough, you can always contact your state's Attorney General office.
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Old 09-27-08, 12:32 PM   #3
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I re-read your post and have to say it sounds like you did not buy through a local bike shop. I hope that is not the case but if you did, this is a prime reason that people SHOULD buy from a local dealer. You might pay a little more (but not always) but at least you have service when you need it (usually).

I hope you get resolution for your problems soon, regardless how you acquired the bike. If you did not buy it from a dealer, you could always take the bike to a dealer and pay him for a tune up/set up. It would be nominal but I am certain it would increase the enjoyment of owning the Townie.

Townie's are not high-end bikes but from what I've read, the vast majority of owners have had wonderful experiences with their Electras.

Again - go to a dealer if you don't have one (or a different one if you do) and see if you can get the bike set up properly.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 09-27-08, 04:16 PM   #4
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You don't mention what level mechanical skills you posses, if any. From your
terminology I assume your bike wrenching skills are at the novice level ????
Be carefull not to hold the company responsible for poor assembly and/or
adjustments. From your description it sounds like a Tonka Truck would be
of better use than your bike !!!

Please take your bike to a shop for a tune-up so you can enjoy the pleasurable
ride that's been engineered into it. As to the parts showing up piece-meal....
that sounds suspicious. Do you believe the cause to be the manufacturer or
the retailer/wholesaler from who you purchased the bike? In regards to color,
most bikes are produced in very limited color choices and if colors of a desired
model changes for the new model year some intense shopping and questions are
required to insure you get the color of your choice.

Once you get the bike fixed correctly I'm confident you'll enjoy it very much.
Let us know how it works out for you.

Happy Trails.
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Old 09-27-08, 04:41 PM   #5
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Townie Woes

Yes, I did purchase it from a local shop. They've been pretty awful. With only 70 miles on the bike, after complaining of the problems, I asked if they would sell it for me. They said that they would but would take 40%. Considering I never really got the bike I ordered and I've been a very unhappy customer I thought that they had some nerve.
My mechanical skills, in reply to the one who asked, are non-existent! I'm a violinist and can do minor repairs on violins but NOT bicycles!!
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Old 09-27-08, 04:55 PM   #6
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Do try another shop to give the bike a fair chance. Maybe a cycling freind
can recomend a good shop to you. They're really not a bad bike. Once
you get it running properly the color will probably become very minor to you.
I do hope you get some enjoyment from the bike.
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Old 09-27-08, 05:06 PM   #7
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If you believe the poor service warrants it write a letter to your local paper. Make it public, if the bike shop doesn't care about their customers, prevent future costumers from going through what you did.
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Old 09-27-08, 06:09 PM   #8
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Stand on the sidewalk, in front of the bike shop, with a bright fluoresent sign saying "don't buy here . . . ask me why!" . . . oh, and invite the local newspaper to take a story and maybe a photo.
Sounds like a shop no one should do business with.
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Old 09-27-08, 06:36 PM   #9
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This seems like a clear warranty issue. Doesn't meet the description - it's a bike that doesn't work!

Like violins, bicycles require decent setup and need regular checkups.

If you're near east Tennessee, I can probably adjust it for you and show you nice fiddles at the same time. Just received a rather nice pre-1923 Albert Nurnberger bow - worth giving a test ride!

Anyway, if the bike doesn't work, demand that it do so. Usually there's a consumer protection agency. There's BBB and various other things to do.
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Old 09-28-08, 10:04 AM   #10
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mandovoodoo,
I'm SW of Atlanta but I do get to Tenn. because of fiddle music and my dulcimer. Tell me more about your shop.
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Old 09-28-08, 12:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janalynl View Post
You have to peddle constantly or it just stops dead in one spot. It never glides--ever!
You mean the free-wheel mechanism doesn't work? Delay in getting accessories is one thing (perhaps excusable), but this is definitely a defect. Did you get the Townie 7 with Nexus gears and a coaster brake, or a 7D with a derailleur? In either case, it's wrong, and the shop and/or Electra are legally liable for fixing it.

Last edited by deraltekluge; 09-28-08 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 09-28-08, 07:41 PM   #12
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Your bike does not coast at all and the shop that sold it to you does not consider this condition a problem?

If you have not spoken directly with the shop owner, now is the time. Something is very wrong with both bike and shop.

If you get nowhere with an owner conversation, I'd suggest asking local cyclists for the best shop around and taking the bike there. That should get you riding in short order and provide some evidence for whatever action you end up taking against the seller.
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Old 09-29-08, 05:17 AM   #13
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mandovoodoo,
I'm SW of Atlanta but I do get to Tenn. because of fiddle music and my dulcimer. Tell me more about your shop.
Bike setup. Gets involved. They're always needing work. I spent 1/2 the weekend getting my commuter set up for the weekend, fixing some tandem issues, and getting an old Schwinn Paramount ready to sell. We need better bikes that don't need air all the time and have shielded chains! And come out of the box ready to go instead of needing disassembly.

Dulcimer - Mike Clemmer in Townsend? He makes very nice ones. I've got wood for one, never got around to making one! No big deal to make, just time.

Gianna Violins, Friendsville, TN. I'm trained as a classical musician, but also played popular & jazz & whatever else was needed. Build a few violins. Set up and sell others. Have some specialty performance enhancement techniques. Probably have the best bow selection in east TN. giannaviolins dot com
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Old 09-29-08, 07:35 AM   #14
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Your LBS is at fault. My LBS is great and fixes all problems for free the first year. My bike, a Suede (Giant) is similar to yours in geometry. Love to ride it.

My advice - find one of the TV stations that does consumer advocacy. Tell them your story and see if they can help you. We have stations here like 12 on your side, etc. that help out consumers. If you paid by credit card, that helps too, since you didn't get a working product like you paid for. Good luck. Bike riding should be a joy, not a PITA because of a bad bike shop.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:58 AM   #15
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Yes, I did purchase it from a local shop. They've been pretty awful. ...
Do you mean a local bike shop -- a shop that specializes in the sale of bikes? Or, a store that sells bikes plus a lot of other things?
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Old 09-29-08, 07:44 PM   #16
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Townie Woes

Yes, it is definitely a bike shop. They sell only bikes and equipment for bikes.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:54 PM   #17
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I'm sorry about your bad experience with this bike and the shop. There's got to be a shop around who can give you better service. I hope your story has a happy ending and you can enjoy riding it... or another bike you like.
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Old 09-29-08, 08:48 PM   #18
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What shop? Free Flite? Bicycles Unlimited?
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Old 09-30-08, 10:10 AM   #19
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The later. The worst part of the experience is that I turn into an absolute nasty witch when I deal with these people. They are not at all accommodating. I am now waiting for a phone call from the owner on Wednesday and I seriously doubt that he will phone. They don't like me more than I like them! The worst part for them is that I come in contact with literally hundreds of kids in the community and I have a reputation for being level headed, kind, and fair. I have made it my mission to see that non of the children and families I know shop at this bike shop.
The good news is that my grandson is home from med school for a religious holiday and he worked on my bike in the wee hours this morning--brakes. We did a 5 mile route this morning and it was great. The bike actually moved!! And to think I had to use a family member 11 months after picking up my new bike from the shop! It just makes me angrier. The worst is that I didn't have the long awaited back fender for my grandson to put on. So now I must return to the shop to have that done. I really dislike all contact with them intensely.
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Old 09-30-08, 10:29 AM   #20
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Call or email Electra and tell them their bike and their retailer don't work and you are spreading the word about both on BF. Perhaps they will help you with a solution.
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Old 09-30-08, 04:08 PM   #21
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I would also suggest taking your bike to Free Flite. Explain the predicament you are in and the trouble you have had with the other shop. My guess is that they will bend over backwards to get your bike working like it should and to win your future business.
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Old 09-30-08, 07:41 PM   #22
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I'll be looking for a happy ending to this story with a solution from another bike shop that will win your loyalty. Please post and let us know how this works out. Glad you had a nice ride on your bike!
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Old 10-01-08, 06:41 AM   #23
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janalynl, bring the bike to the shop I work at, Intown Bicycles, near midtown Atl. We sell Electra bikes. I know it's a bit of a drive, but talk to Mike, the owner. I'm sure he'll do everything he can to make you happy.
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Old 10-01-08, 06:55 AM   #24
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Call or email Electra and tell them their bike and their retailer don't work and you are spreading the word about both on BF. Perhaps they will help you with a solution.
Thats a great idea

Electra will want to know if a dealer is being rude.
They may direct you to another dealer in the area that you didnt know about.
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Old 10-01-08, 10:11 PM   #25
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Thank you all for your advice. I think that my limited free time has kept me from dealing with this issue. However, the shops statement that they would sell the bike for me for a 40% commission angered me so much that I sought your help.
I took your advice and notified Electra of my difficulties. It will be interesting to see if I ever hear from them! Here is a copy of the e-mail I sent to everyone listed on their website:
Approximately 11 months ago I ordered a burgundy 7 speed Townie from Bicycles Unlimited in Peachtree City, GA. My experiences with the Townie and this shop specifically have been horrendous. I was more or less forced to accept a bike I didn't order in a colour I hate. The accessories I ordered arrived one by one over a three month period after the bike arrived. The fender for the bike arrived 6 months after the bike and has still not been mounted. After the first time I rode the bike I told the owner immediately that it didn't glide and was hard to pedal. I was told that it would take some time to get use to it. Period. No help and no assistance. I was promised a phone call today from the shop owner--he did not call. The purpose of the call was to arrange a time to have the fender mounted. My dealings with this dealership have been horrendous. I have now sought advice from the 50+ Forum on www.bikeforums.net. You can read about my situation by searching under user name janalynl and then Townie Problems and Advice.
I am not a novice rider. As a teenager my brother and I rode from San Francisco to Washington DC in 13 weeks. As a young adult living in Europe my late husband and I rode from Nurnberg to Budapest, around Lake Chiemsee and Bodensee, and thousands of miles in shorter trips. My hope was that the Townie would be easier for me to ride and not have pressure on my hands. (I'm a violinist and now 58 years old.) I was also hoping to have a bike so that I could go on tours when my grandsons visited. Imagine how disappointed I was to hear my grandsons fighting because they were short a bike and no one wanted to be stuck riding the Townie! In 11 months I have riden the bike about 50 miles while I have riden my oldest grandson's old bike over 600 miles. Until the past week, the Townie has been nothing but a dust catcher in the garage making me more enraged every day when I see it.
I think that it is important for you to know about my experience with the Townie and with Bicycles Unlimited. I have been so disappointed that I talked with the shop about selling it for me. They want 40% of the sale price for commission. That statement pushed me over the edge. This is not a way to promote happiness with a quality product!
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