I'm looking for some advice for my 77-year-old father's new bike. He hasn't been on a bike for some time, and has recently become interested in getting back on two wheels. Being able to put his feet on the ground, while still seated, seems like a "no-brainer" for safety's sake.
I've found the Trek Pure and Electra Townie models. The internally-geared hubs are the preferred configuration, for ease of use. He wants nothing to do with a derailleur set-up. Are there any other models available out there that we should have a look at? Does anyone have some experience with one of these bikes?
I have a Townie though not the internally geared version. It's awesome! Great city/suburb bike. Get him one without the shocks, I am sure at 77 he doesn't need the extra wieght. I'm partial to the Euro version, you'll pay a little extra for it. It has the 8 speed hub and light built in.
Middling ground has never been my zone... I'm either fully DF or fully recumbent. But, some people who have not gone fully recumbent rave about some of the Rans Crank Forward bikes.
I am not convinced that a flat-foot bike is a great idea. They sit lower to the ground, but actually fall over faster because of that.... for the same reason that a matchstick will fall over faster than a telephone pole will.
Search Google for "Day 6" bikes.
I have a RANS crank-forward bike (someone else suggested). They are expensive but the frame kits aren't bad (just find a cheap bike for donor parts). I think it is a more-aggressive ride than someone elderly would want though, because the seat has no seat-back. You must pull forward with your arms to pedal.
If there's any interest in trikes, then you're pretty much limited to 3-speeds if you want an IGH off-the-shelf. The $1500 Rohloff hub is adaptable for trike use, but the 7- and 8-speeds from the other companies aren't easily useful. They may be adaptable, but probably not without machine tools--another cog has to be attached to the left spoke flange.
There are "trike conversion kits" on lowrider sites for converting a bicycle rear-end into a trike and they're not expensive ($150) but these all only come with a single-speed rear hub.
You also might take a look at the Biria Easy Boarding bikes--a few different models, there is a 3-speed IGH ($~450) and 8-speed IGH (~$750).
These are not "flat foot" bikes, but they are easy to get on and off.
Thanks for the suggestions, guys. We toured the local shops and checked out the Electras, as well as the two and three-wheeled recumbents. Most of the Electra Townies that the dealers had were suspension and/or derailleur models. The only one that wasn't didn't really appeal to him. The recumbents were just too different from everything he's ever ridden, they didn't stand a chance.
I decided to swing by one of the Performance shops and BINGO! We came home with a Fuji Del Rey LE. It's a beautiful bike, at a killer price, and allows him to just ride. Heck, the Shimano automatic shifting is so slick that I might have to take a closer look at one of those Dura-Ace Di2 set-ups.
Yeah, just what I need, another bike...