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  1. #1
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    Tell me about Electra Bikes, ie Townie

    I have read some of the other discussions and noticed most opinions seemed to be polarized. I have purchased the Betty and Hawaii for my kids and wife and am thinking of purchasing the Townie after having test-ridden it. I'd especially appreciate if current/former owners would chime in.
    Any things to look out for, good, bad, etc.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Oh, and if you use a bike carrier/rack, which one do you use. I have read that most wont fit these bikes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    You may need to buy an adapter to load one on a trunk rack or hitch rack.

    I use this model for a Trek Sole Ride.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cannondaler's Avatar
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    My wife has arthritis pretty bad so riding a normal geometry bike is out of the question for her. We bought her a Townie 21 speed and she absolutely adores it. The overall quality is pretty good although I did upgrade the brakes. she has over five hundred miles on it this year which is alot considering her arthritis. I ride a Cannondale mountain bike and a Windsor road bike and have to admit that for tooling around the neiborhood and running errands I am rather jealous of the townie. frame quality is excellent and parts can be upgraded to suit your needs although the original parts are quite decent overall.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cannondaler's Avatar
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    I drive a pickup so my bike rack is a bar that mounts accross the bed and has fork mounts for the bikes so I don't have a problem with the frame but DieselDan is right that you will probably need an adapter for a trunk mount. Although my wife's fram is aladies model so maybe you won't have an issue with a mens frame.

  6. #6
    Senior Member airbrake's Avatar
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    I've had a townie 21 for a year and a half and about 4000 mi. It has fenders and a rack. I changed the cassette from 14-34 to 11-34, and changed to 26x1.5 100# tires, big improvement. so far I had to replace the chain and rebuild both hubs and broke a spoke. The good thing it did was get me riding a lot. the bad thing is it's heavy. a couple months ago I bought a cannondale synapse 3 carbon, but still use the townie for errands and winter etc.
    I've been to your village, I've met your idiot.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    I forgot, the Sole Ride is a step through frame (lady's bike), but I ride it with a baby seat with my 2 year old force of nature.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  8. #8
    GATC
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    We hit seldom-used LBS for 16" bike for Thing 2 last week and I was really digging the 3 speed townie w/ cream Fat Frank tires and drum(?) brakes.

    Is there a 'catch' to the crank-forward thing? Is it strictly a mechanism to let you stop flat-footed?

  9. #9
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    Is there a 'catch' to the crank-forward thing? Is it strictly a mechanism to let you stop flat-footed?
    There is no catch. Just a slightly modified frame that moves the crankset forward of the saddle enough to allow you to put your feet down at a stop, but allow for proper leg extension when you ride. Semi-recumbent is another name.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    Last year we went shopping for a 'crank forward' bike for my wife. She was just not happy with her K2 Rosario. While she liked the design of the Townie, it is a 'one size fits all' frame, and was just a bit too big for her. The bike store guy said 5'4" and up, and at 5'2", she looked a bit 'stretched'.

    The Giant Suede DX-W is of almost the identical design but slightly smaller overall. It fit her better, and is what she eventually purchased. 21 speed, $379. Trek makes a model as well. And as there is no Electra dealer nearby (we had to travel about 80 miles for the test ride), buying Giant or Trek in the local area became a further incentive.

    Only downside of the pedal forward design is that her toe can rub the tire on sharp turns.
    Last edited by Fibber; 12-31-07 at 10:45 PM.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies!
    Taught my 7yr old to ride w/o training wheels in ~ 2 hours thanks to techniques learned here and other places on the net. The 5 y/o is next. Rode my Townie for a few hours and am having fun so far.

  12. #12
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    Only downside of the pedal forward design is that her toe can rub the tire on sharp turns.
    This is the truth!


  13. #13
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    You will get used to positioning the crank away from the outside on tight turns and not pedaling. It is a downside, but one that you can live with on a recreational bike. Glad to hear you are enjoying it!

    As you may have read, I taught my daughter who turned 5 last week to ride during the summer with the 'no pedals / no crank / no chain / seat all the way down' method. Easy as pie!

  14. #14
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    Between my wife and I we have 3 townies now. We were riding me on a townie 8 and her on a townie 3, but I just upgraded her to an xtra-cycled townie 8 for xmas.

    As others have said, the one drawback is the front foot position. I had to take the front fender off mine or I couldn't turn at low speeds. My wife doesn't have this problem with hers at all though (smaller feet).

  15. #15
    Senior Member Coyote2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fibber View Post
    Last year we went shopping for a 'crank forward' bike for my wife. He was just not happy with her K2 Rosario. While she liked the design of the Townie, it is a 'one size fits all' frame, and was just a bit too big for her. The bike store guy said 5'4" and up, and at 5'2", she looked a bit 'stretched'.

    The Giant Suede DX-W is of almost the identical design but slightly smaller overall. It fit her better, and is what she eventually purchased. 21 speed, $379. Trek makes a model as well. And as there is no Electra dealer nearby (we had to travel about 80 miles for the test ride), buying Giant or Trek in the local area became a further incentive.

    Only downside of the pedal forward design is that her toe can rub the tire on sharp turns.
    FYI: I'm not sure about the Townie, but Electra makes some of their bikes in versions with 24" wheels -- slightly smaller than the standard adult size (which have 26" wheels), designed for adults 5'2" and under.

  16. #16
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    That's good to know about the townie. I was considering buying one, specifically to put a kid carrier on. The only time I've experienced toe overlap is when test-riding my wife's bikes. I despise it and am not willing to "get used to it".

    I'll test ride one anyway, but now know to check for this.

  17. #17
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    Townie 3

    I test rode a Townie 3 last Saturday. I noticed that my toe hit the front fender/tire on a medium sharp turn. I wear a size 14 shoe, so maybe that was the problem. My main impression of the bike was that the riding position was strange, as others have noted. I think I would have a little bit of a problem getting used to the laid back position. I was looking for a bike with an upright position, but this was just a little too much for me.

    The bike was good and solid and rode nice, other than the riding position. The gear shifting was smooth and everything else was real nice on it. I also rode a Raleigh Cruiser (auto 3 spd - rode very nice, but had a steel frame which felt very heavy) and a Specialized Expedition Elite, which is the one I think I will end up with.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  18. #18
    Old, fat, but not dead
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    Bought a Townie

    Well, I will be able to tell you a lot more about a Townie now - I bought a Townie 21 spd 700c over weekend. I test rode a Specialized Expedition Elite in a large and XL frame and a Trek Navigator 3.0 in a large frame. All of them seemed to be lacking something for me as far as a comfortable riding position. On the large frames, the handlebars were not able to be brought up high enough for the position I wanted. On the XL frame with it's longer length, I had to reach forward too much.

    Then my sales guy brought out the Townie 21. I resisted at first, because I had already ridden one at another LBS with the 26' wheels. He said just try this one and see. I got on it and within 30 seconds felt very comfortable. I rode it for about 15 minutes longer, then tried out the Townie 3. But, the Townie 21 with 700c tires was jurrrsssttt right. I made several sharp turns, and didn't hit the front tire with my foot. I must have had my foot too far forward on the pedals when I rode the other Townie.

    Anyway, I took it home and rode it on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. It felt great and confirmed that I made the right choice for me. That riding position feels a little funny at first, but I got used to it on the test ride very quickly and didn't notice it a bit when I started riding at home. This bike has no suspension, and I don't think I will need one.

    I got a Saris Bones 2 trunk rack and the bike fit on it very well. I got it home with no problem whatsoever. I am very happy with the purchase and think it will serve me well. The only thing I wish I had gotten was an odometer so I could track the miles. I think I will have them put one on when I take it back for the 90 checkup. BTW, I got it at Richardson Bike Mart (main store) and it was a great buying experience. I was pretty intimidated when I went in, but my salesman could not have been nicer and easier to work with.

    Now, to build up the miles and stamina! Thanks to everyone for their help and advice.
    Regards from Texas,

    Bean27

  19. #19
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    I've owned a Townie for 10 years and it's been a really good bike, I ride about 40 miles a week + in Southern Coastal Cali with hills, on road, and some light off road. I've had a really good experience, and the customer service is great. I ride it hard, and there have been a few things that I needed replaced or worked on, but I figure that's normal. The only thing I would like is that I could stand up and peddle, but because of the forward placement of the foot pedals, which make it the type of bike it is, you can't, but with 21 speeds , I have to say it's a rare occasion that I would need to.

    Awesome support and customer service ! My husband has the same bike and his frame cracked. The bike shop said they'd replace the frame for free and $100 in labor , I called Electra and they dropped off a brand new Townie for him within the week !

  20. #20
    Senior Member trestlehed's Avatar
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    I've had 2 Townies for a while now. My main suggestion to anyone buying one is to replace the stock handlebars with Electra's Bullhorn cruiser bars if you are mainly doing bike path riding. Also a better seat and pedals.
    Below is an older post of mine. Hope it's helpful.

    Just bought a 2nd Townie 24 speed I found on Craigslist for $225 (score!). Had it pimped it out with Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes. I had to buy a rear disc brake adapter kit from Brake Therapy (2bgoods.com). My 2nd Townie also has the Hobson Easy Seat 2 (version 1) ergonomic bike seat and Electra's bullhorn beach cruiser bars.
    The bike is very comfortable and looks fantastic as set up.

    Here is a link to my original review of the Townie 24. Scroll down to post # 310.

    Electra's New Townie

    IMG_0809.jpg
    Last edited by trestlehed; 07-05-14 at 12:29 PM. Reason: .
    "Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid"...

    1998 Santa Cruz Heckler (MTB)
    2002 Sun Easy Sport LE (Bent)
    Pimped out Electra Townie 24D

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