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Old 01-12-09, 12:16 AM   #1
skysforever
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Townie or Cadillac?

Hi,
I'm new to this group. I have a trek bike and although I'm just now 50, I've been thinking of a more comfortable bike for years. I want more stability, yet I don't want to be too slow, so I've been thinking about the Electra Townie or some kind of bike where you sit up, rather than bend over. I was also thinking about the Ladies Cadillac Fleetwood Cruiser Bike. I like the idea of the internal speed shift. I would also appreciate any other suggestions. I want to be comfortable and still be able to go up hills. Not mountains, just hills. : ) Thanks for any advice.
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Old 01-12-09, 12:53 AM   #2
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Since you are looking at sit-up, flat-foot bike geometry, I recommend you give serious consideration to RANS Crank Forward bikes. They are highly regarded for riding comfort and climbing performance (there are many discussions here on BF and at bentrideronline.com discussing these bikes). There are several model lines to suit all riders. They are more expensive than the bikes you've mentioned but you get what you pay for.

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Old 01-12-09, 01:08 AM   #3
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Have you ridden any bikes of these types?

There are several bikes that are similar to the Electra Townie, like the Giant Suede, the Trek Pure, the Trek Navigator is close, as is the Specialized Globe Carmel. The RANS are of the same general geometry, but are sportier and use better parts. Very nice, but more pricey.

The NuVinci CVT hub is very interesting. Would like to test one out. It makes a lot of sense.

There are also a number of bikes that have 7 & 8-speed Shimano internal hubs. Not as slick as the NuVinci, but more common. Such as the Electra Euro 8i. But that one is $1000! The hub is rather pricey. They had a Townie 8, for $725. I think it is still available.

I was hoping there would be more bikes coming out with the internal hubs, but it is still a pretty limited selection.
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Old 01-12-09, 01:20 AM   #4
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How many days a week do you expect to ride?
Do you ever ride more than 12 mph?
How much do you want to spend on a bike?
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Old 01-12-09, 06:13 AM   #5
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Good suggestions and questions thus far. I'd also ask: How much have you ridden you current Trek recently? I'm not clear if you are just staring again or if you've been riding a bit. The "upright riding position" can mean different things to different people. Perhaps you Trek can be fitted with a Nitto Technomic Stem ( http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=418 ) that will give you enough of an upright position to meet your needs.
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Old 01-12-09, 11:46 AM   #6
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I vote for a classic (or classic-inspired) road bike with a slightly relaxed geometry and ample clearance for 28 or even 32 to 35mm tires. I rode my humble old Peugeot UO-8 commuter for the first time in several weeks and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It is remarkably stable, not much slower than my Bianchi, extremely comfortable, and noticeably quicker on the road than my mountain bike.
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Old 01-12-09, 05:00 PM   #7
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We bought two Townies for a vacation house in Santa Cruz that is shared by extended family. We were specificly looking for comfortable lower end bikes that were easily adjustable for a fairly wide range of riders. General riding scenario; under 6 mile rides, cruising to take in scenery and get a little workout. Beach town riding. The reason we wanted lower end bikes is the salt and sand in Santa Cruz slowly murders bikes, no matter what you do to maintain them. After 6-7 years, we will just replace them.

The townies fit the bill and are working out fine. I do all the maintenance and am happy with the quality of the bikes, given what we paid for them. Haven't had any problems so far, and don't anticipate any.

If you're a casual rider, the townie will be fine. Someone who is going to get into serious regular workouts and longer distance rides should think about an upgrade. The Giant Suedes are 1-2 steps up. The Rans crank forwards are upper end bikes for serious riders. Hope this helps. bk

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Old 01-12-09, 06:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
The Rans crank forwards are upper end bikes for serious riders. Hope this helps. bk
I wouldn't go that far. In fact, crank forwards in general are NOT for serious riders. Or at least not for serious riding. But the RANS are for those who appreciate better-quality stuff.
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Old 01-12-09, 09:02 PM   #9
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So how long of a ride, and at what speed, do you hope to do on the new bike? I've done 20 mile rides on comfort bikes with ease. Know people who do 40 mile rides on them.

What kind of Trek do you have? Give us an idea of how much of a change you are looking for.
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Old 01-12-09, 09:33 PM   #10
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Kerry -
If you really want stability and comfort, take a test ride on a recumbent trike. They're not all that slow, either - I've managed (once, for a short distance) to break 32 mph on more or less flat ground. I can generally cruise along the bike trail at 14-16 mph, and you get to meet and talk to a lot of curious people who want to know all about it (if you go that route, do what I did - get a stack of the shop's business cards to hand out!). I hadn't ridden a bike for 20+ years until last year, but I wound up riding over 1100 miles last year, and was having enough fun at it that my wife wound up getting a trike to join me. The only drawback is that going up hills can really kill your speed, but on the other hand, you can go as slow as you need to without falling over, and can easily stop and restart without problems. Going down the hill, though, makes all that struggle going up worthwhile. If you're near any of the big cities in CA, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding an LBS that knows about recumbent bikes and trikes.
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Old 01-12-09, 11:00 PM   #11
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If you are looking for a little more info on crank-forward designs, like the Townie, here is an article that was recently published:
http://www.bentrideronline.com/?p=462
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Old 01-13-09, 12:25 PM   #12
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Townie? Giant? Flat foot technology

Thanks to everyone who wrote back. As far as the townie, have you tried the one with different speeds or just the one speed? I was thinking I'd like to have at least 3 speeds with internal shifting. The bike I have now is a Trek Hybrid with probably 18 speeds. It has shifters on both handlebars. It is a very nice bike. My husband bought it for me a few years ago. I kind of want something less complicated right now. I never really got used to the variable speeds and I think I would feel better if I could put my feet flatly on the ground when stopped.
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Old 01-13-09, 12:28 PM   #13
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The bike I have now is a trek hybrid with about 18 speeds. The shifters are on both handlebars. I want to be able to go fast enough so that my husband isn't doing circles around me on a bike path so I would like an internal shift and upright postition with flat foot technology. I don't like being hunched over and not being able to stop with my feet on the ground.
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Old 01-13-09, 12:48 PM   #14
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When you say the Giant Suedes are a step or two up, are they a lot more smooth or faster than the townie? What makes them better? Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
We bought two Townies for a vacation house in Santa Cruz that is shared by extended family. We were specificly looking for comfortable lower end bikes that were easily adjustable for a fairly wide range of riders. General riding scenario; under 6 mile rides, cruising to take in scenery and get a little workout. Beach town riding. The reason we wanted lower end bikes is the salt and sand in Santa Cruz slowly murders bikes, no matter what you do to maintain them. After 6-7 years, we will just replace them.

The townies fit the bill and are working out fine. I do all the maintenance and am happy with the quality of the bikes, given what we paid for them. Haven't had any problems so far, and don't anticipate any.

If you're a casual rider, the townie will be fine. Someone who is going to get into serious regular workouts and longer distance rides should think about an upgrade. The Giant Suedes are 1-2 steps up. The Rans crank forwards are upper end bikes for serious riders. Hope this helps. bk
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Old 01-13-09, 02:29 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by skysforever View Post
When you say the Giant Suedes are a step or two up, are they a lot more smooth or faster than the townie? What makes them better? Thanks.
They used to have better parts across the board but they are pretty close now. Giant may have a few minor advantages.

The big balloon tired Townies are heavier and slower than the Suede, or Townie 700 or regular Townies.

The Townie 8 is a nice bike, that's the one with the 8 speed internal hub:
http://willybikes.com/itemdetails.cfm?LibId=41200

It has a suspension fork, which you may or may not need They already have wide 2" tires (the balloon models have 2.35") so they would be fine over many surfaces. If you have to bounce a lot over railroad tracks and through potholes then you might like the suspension.

Many Electra Townies have rigid forks.

The regular Suede's have suspension forks, while those with the auto-shifting coasting 3-speed option use a rigid fork.

The Suede GX 3-speed is a nice looking bike, with its fenders and rack:
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...le/2307/32168/

One thing to look for is how they do the brakes. Some have only a rear coaster brake, some have a rear coaster with a front hand brake, some have hand brakes front and rear. In the Townie line of 3-speeds, the Original 3i has coaster & front, same for the Art 3i, but the Euro 3i has front and rear hand brakes.

Another bike from Electra you could consider is the Amsterdam. It has the same upright seating position as the townie, but is a classier European-styled bike with full fender sets. They have several paint and styling configurations here: https://www.electrabike.com/index.cfm
I like the Amsterdam Sport Custom. Nicer 700x38 tires and 700mm wheelset than most of the Townies.
http://www.harborcountrybike.com/Ele...L_p/193012.htm

The Classic 3i is available from REI in yellow:
http://www.rei.com/product/781238
They also make it in a flowery green, or black or blue.
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Old 01-13-09, 02:38 PM   #16
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If you decide you want a suspension fork, then I would check out this bike (if you can find one) at a Specialized dealer:
http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...=38425&eid=208

This would be a nice, upright, lighterweight bike if it had a rigid fork.

Raleigh makes a semi-relaxed (like the Globe above, and the Trek Navigator line ... the seats aren't as laid back and low as the Townie, Suede, Trek Pure, or RANS, but they are more laid back than a typical Hybrid bike ... but not to the point of being flat foot) line of bikes that have rigid forks. The Raleigh Circa2. 8-speed internal hubs. They look pretty nice. Probably pricey with the 8 speed hub though.
http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/comfort/circa-2/

The flat foot bikes that I know of and are still in production, that have internal hub gears, are the Electras, Trek Pure, and Giant Suede. Cannondale and Raleigh both quit making them.
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