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Old 05-25-13, 03:33 PM   #1
Planemaker
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Townie Mod

My wife has a seven speed Townie and has been riding up to 20 miles. Her choice in buying the Townie was being able to get both feet on the ground when stopped. Her problem is that about three quarters of the way through the ride her back starts hurting. I think, based upon watching her, is that she is spending too much time in the high gears and she is not spinning in the 80 - 90 rpm range. The bike has a huge low gear and with it being a seven speed there just isn't a good range of gears for her. My LBS said they could install a different 3 free wheel that give her a better low end range. I was also thinking about adding a double chainring on the front but, I am not sure if it is doable or even practical. So, I am looking for some suggestions up to and including a different bike.

FYI - I am going to put a cadence computer on the bike to help her know what rpm she is at.


Edit: Her back starts hurting

Last edited by Planemaker; 05-25-13 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 05-25-13, 03:36 PM   #2
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I don't know much about the bike or gears, but I can say that I "used to" encourage my wife to ride with a higher cadence. Lets just say that everyone's happier if she just rides the way she likes to ride, and anything I can do to her bike to help her ride the way she wants to is a good thing. Just my experience ...
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Old 05-25-13, 05:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h2oxtc View Post
I don't know much about the bike or gears, but I can say that I "used to" encourage my wife to ride with a higher cadence. Lets just say that everyone's happier if she just rides the way she likes to ride, and anything I can do to her bike to help her ride the way she wants to is a good thing. Just my experience ...
^^^what he said^^^
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Old 05-25-13, 05:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Planemaker View Post
My wife has a seven speed Townie and has been riding up to 20 miles. Her choice in buying the Townie was being able to get both feet on the ground when stopped. Her problem is that about three quarters of the way through the ride her back stops hurting. I think, based upon watching her, is that she is spending too much time in the high gears and she is not spinning in the 80 - 90 rpm range. The bike has a huge low gear and with it being a seven speed there just isn't a good range of gears for her. My LBS said they could install a different 3 free wheel that give her a better low end range. I was also thinking about adding a double chainring on the front but, I am not sure if it is doable or even practical. So, I am looking for some suggestions up to and including a different bike.

FYI - I am going to put a cadence computer on the bike to help her know what rpm she is at.
"...her back stops hurting." I don't understand - what is the problem?

(OK - after the edit I now understand.)
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Last edited by JanMM; 05-26-13 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 05-25-13, 06:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
"...her back stops hurting." I don't understand - what is the problem?
You know how those wives are... if they get to feeling too comfortable they might just ride off into the sunset leaving us struggling to catch up.
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Old 05-25-13, 06:14 PM   #6
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Planemaker, getting a handle on her actual cadance sounds like a good first step. Once you have established that your LBS can help you determine what, if any, mods should be done to your brides Townie.
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Old 05-27-13, 12:51 PM   #7
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Hi,

The standard freewheel is a shimano 14t to 34t megarange
and basically you can't get any bigger (lower) than that.
Only route to lower gearing is a smaller front chain ring.

I wouldn't call the lowest gear huge, but then again I've
never ridden that style of bike, and wouldn't remotely
fancy doing 20 miles on it. 20 miles is about the limit
of my much more conventional geometry folder.

I can do double than on my road bike. I'd recommend
a second bike for doing any sort of decent mileage.

Feet on the ground from the saddle becomes irrelevant
if you learn to dismount and mount stopping/starting.
(And a useful respite from the saddle for longer rides.)

A half decent used no suspension MTB fitted with a ladies
saddle and nice tyres should be a lot more fun for a haul.
(Combined ergogrips with barends can also help.)
With the right size, standover should be no problem, but as
ever with the right seat height you can't touch the ground.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 05-27-13 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 05-27-13, 01:17 PM   #8
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Planemaker,
Doing the crank set swap would be a lot of work, you need the shifter, as well, that has the matching indexing to the derailleur. You could do it, just a matter of how much time and money you want to spend and you could well trade in the Townie on a hybrid for her without much of a stretch. My wife had a Trek 7300 hybrid that has front suspension and its crank set is a SRAM triple with a SRAM MTB rear cassette and derailleur that gives her a wide range with some seriously low gearing for the hills. Only thing she dislikes is the front suspension, it is heavy and you actually lose efficiency in your pedaling with the bounce so it just stays locked stiff. She had good road bikes years ago and now thinks she made a poor choice with the suspension set up. We are going to install a regular front fork that will save a few pounds. It is a light bike otherwise, as hybrids go. Sreten has some good advice in his reply, above mine.

Best of luck on setting up her bike or a new one, she would love a nice N+1, I'd wager.

Bill
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Old 05-27-13, 02:17 PM   #9
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Making big changes to a bicycle is usually not a good economic move. The changes you are pondering will probably come close to matching the cost of a whole new bicycle.

My advice is to visit a bike shop during a low traffic time and investigate what's available. I don't have any experience with crank forward bikes but I suspect the riding position might not be suitable for rides lasting more than an hour or so. I'm thinking the experience she has gained with the Townie might make her more confident with the idea of riding a bike with more conventional geometry.
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Old 05-27-13, 02:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Making big changes to a bicycle is usually not a good economic move. The changes you are pondering will probably come close to matching the cost of a whole new bicycle.

My advice is to visit a bike shop during a low traffic time and investigate what's available. I don't have any experience with crank forward bikes but I suspect the riding position might not be suitable for rides lasting more than an hour or so. I'm thinking the experience she has gained with the Townie might make her more confident with the idea of riding a bike with more conventional geometry.
Never ridden a Townie but Retro has voiced the same thoughts that I have. On the gearing change- just changing the front ring to a smaller one would work but you would lose out on the high speed.

Think it might be time to borrow or test ride a conventional bike to see if they are more comfortable.
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Old 05-27-13, 03:27 PM   #11
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Assuming that the cadence has anything to do with her back hurting could be a real bad assumption.

I'm not a doc, but I think the mods you need to make are in your wife's core muscles. This is especially true if she has only recently started riding these distances. If her core muscles are strong, the back problems should go away.

Can you get her to do some planks (no crunches or situps)?

[video=youtube;8qhEqya27lk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qhEqya27lk[/video]

Also, this is incredible, I've done these exercises every day for two years (takes less than a minute), and I haven't had any back problems since I started.

[video=youtube;vqzlbHsf5rw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqzlbHsf5rw[/video]

Book.
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Old 05-27-13, 03:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
I don't have any experience with crank forward bikes but I suspect the riding position might not be suitable for rides lasting more than an hour or so.
I had an Electra Townie for a couple of years, and rode it many times for several hours at a time. No problem.
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Old 06-11-13, 01:20 PM   #13
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Hey Planemaker... wife and I got into biking a couple years back, thanks to Townies really. I'm 55, she 54 and a little on the curvey side. As we grew in the sport and our weekend rides grew to 20 miles or more, I wanted more 'roll'. Picked up a hybrid Specialized 24 speed with 700x35 tires.
OMG - 'Roll and Glide' were improved greatly. We love or shall i say 'loved' our Townies... but progress came calling. After several weeks of me on the hybrid and her on the Townie, i convinced her the difference was too much to ignore. Test rode MANY bikes for her and finally got her onto a Trek 7.2 WSD (womens)... put a 2 inch riser on the handlebars and now she is back to leading me down the trail.

Yes- geometry change was different, but we are both surprised how easily we made the upgrade with comfort. The seat was the big deal i guess. Shop a great seat and i would suggest, the riser for the handlebar. I have one too and it helped us a ton.
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