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  1. #1
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    Electra townie or Trek (and which Trek?)

    I'm looking for a bike for recreational riding, primarily to ride an unpaved rail trail, but ride up a hill to get there and occasionally might use it on the road or in more hilly terrain. I'm 50+ and most interested in a comfortable riding position. (I have an old Diamondback mountain bike, makes my neck hurt after 30 minutes or so.) Went to 2 local bike shops and asked them to show me what they had in an ergonomically correct ride. One carries the Electra Townie, the other had a couple of Treks. I rode both, both seemed comfortable. The Townie had 7 speeds, a pretty basic model. The first Trek had 28 speeds (I think) and suspension, and the sales guy was also urging me to try another model with thinner tires, less expensive, not sure of the specific Trek models. I ran short on time and need to go back. Want something well made that will last. Does anyone have experience with both? Any feedback welcome.

  2. #2
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    Electra won.

    I rode a Trek Pure, a Giant Suede, some sort of Specialized that was a comfort bike and an Electra Townie. The result is I have an Electra Townie 21D on order. I tried all the different gears 3, 7 and 21 and definitely liked the 21 speed better. The bike shop recommended the 21 speed also. The Electra was far and away the most comfortable and smooth ride of all of them and probably the Trek second. The Giant felt very heavy and slow and the Specialized was not crank forward enough. The Electras are also gorgeous which doesn't hurt!!!

  3. #3
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    Thank, cyanemi. I agree, the Townie is beautiful and comfortable. My husband ended up buying one, although his intention was just to accompany me when I went in for the test ride. Can you tell me why your bike shop recommended the 21 speed? The bike shop here is carrying the 7s & one 8 - but I think that's because it's what he finds sells most.

  4. #4
    GATC
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    Are the 7 and/or 8 gearhub or derailer models? I'm a definite gearhub fan.

  5. #5
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    My wife has the Trek Pure with 7 or 8 speeds. She likes it. Both the Townie and Pure have classy lines.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right

  6. #6
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    The sales woman said there was a greater range with the 21 speeds. I found this to be true in the ride. Someone with more knowledge may be able to answer this better.

  7. #7
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    I went to my LBS originally looking for a hybrid bike, but saw a black Townie Electra 21D on display. I took it for a test ride and nearly bought it on the spot. It was hands-down the most comfy bike I had ever ridden. It also felt nice and stable due to the riding position. I actually ended up winning a bid on eBay for a barely-used 2006 Giant Suede DX. It also has 21 speeds, flat-foot frame design, and looks great, but I find the seat isn't quite on par with the Townie's. My LBS also had a Townie with the 700c tires (I rode the 26" variety). I'm guessing the 700c would be much more efficient on pavement, but perhaps not as comfortable. The Townies are kind of expensive (I think - which is why I was bidding online) but they look sexy and ride as if on a cloud.

  8. #8
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Unpaved trail? You want comfortable? Definitely do NOT go with skinny tires. Go with a Electra Townie Balloon 8. Fatty-Fat tires = suspension without the complexity. And, they roll amazingly fast on non-perfect surfaces (they absorb / roll over bumps).

    Be aware, a lot of the fewer speed townies have internal hubs which have a wider gear range than a "similar number of speeds" dérailleur system. "21 speeds" being good is a myth for all but performance oriented riding. It's mostly good because there are lots of small steps between speeds for athletes to 'tune' their gear ratio. For casual-ish riding (what it sounds to me like you want to do) it's width of gear range helps, but not necessarily tiny steps between gear combinations.

    So, in summary, for what you're looking for definitely focus on:
    1) Internal Gear Hub
    2) Fatter tires
    3) Comfortable riding position

    All of these, for me, would add up to a Townie Balloon 8 (or 3 if you don't need the range of an 8 spd hub).

  9. #9
    over the hill juls's Avatar
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    question of purchase

    A local pawn shop here has a trek 7.5fx/wanting $225 for it. Can't test ride (flat tire) cosemetically a little rough. Missing a cover on the top of the headset. Is the frame worth the price??? Thanks for any input.

  10. #10
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    i compared the townie 7, the giant suede and the fuji saratoga 3.0 (7 spd) in the internet, mind you. judging by the pics, the giant was the least crank-forward of the three, the townie and the fuji about the same. decided for the fuji based on price, i liked better the townie. have been riding the fuji for three weeks and i just love it. did change the saddle for a schwinn "nose-less" model and i can ride for hours, almost as comfortably as on my recumbent bike.

  11. #11
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    I wonder about the internal hubs on the Townie 8 speed. They are supposed to require no maintenance, but if something goes wrong, how difficult are they to repair?

  12. #12
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joan View Post
    I wonder about the internal hubs on the Townie 8 speed. They are supposed to require no maintenance, but if something goes wrong, how difficult are they to repair?
    You'll find very few reports of IGHs breaking. Especially considering people don't take townies off road, the likelihood of you breaking one is minute.

  13. #13
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    Townie at home

    I picked up my Electra Townie yesterday and rode it only 3 miles because of rain. Today I rode it 12 miles and would have gone farther but my tailbone was killing me. The seat on the townie has a weird lip that comes up. I will be getting a different seat. Going up hills is different than with other bikes. Pulling on the handlebars give you leverage to go up faster. I'm unable to upload the pictures, don't know why. The ride was fantastic with no back neck or arm pain. It is a leafy green color. All their colors are darker in person. It is really gorgeous.

  14. #14
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    Trek Navigator

    I wanted to get my sister a townie, but found hem to be too expensive. I ended up getting her a Trek Navigator. Her back doesn't get tire and she is not moving her neck as much. I have a Trek 7100 hybrid and love it!!!!!

  15. #15
    And Through The Woods OverTheHill's Avatar
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    My wife and I picked her new Townie 21D yesterday. Townie is the original flat foot concept innovator and provides more lowstep room than the competition. She test rode the Townie, Trek, Giant and went back to the Townie. After a 3rd test ride on the Townie followed with an adjustment by the bike shop mechanic, she took it for a 4th test ride. The 4th test ride was followed by another adjustment and final test ride. That did it, she was in love with the Townie. There was no way she was going to leave the bike shop without that bike; her mind was made up. We got home, I took it off the bike rack and as soon as the tires touched the ground, she was off riding with a big priceless smile on her face. Man, does she love that Townie.
    Last edited by OverTheHill; 05-12-09 at 06:13 PM.
    2008 Giant Sedona DX

  16. #16
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    Final decision

    Ended up with a Trek 7100. Went to 3 LBS, rode several Treks & Townies. The Trek just felt the most comfortable and more versatile. I'm happy with the decision, comfort was most important - but must say the Townie has a slight edge in looks!

  17. #17
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    Geometry

    The biggest difference is the frame geometry. As you probably now know the Townie's *flat foot* technology places the seat back from the pedals much further, and slightly lower than normal geometry.

    As others have noted most of the big manufacturers have started building *crank forward* or *flat foot* geometry bicycles such as the Trek Pure. They also build bikes with geometry designed to move the majority of your weight to your bum (not your hands) with traditional crank placement such as the Trek Navigator's. The standard answer is to test ride them and see what fits and feels the best.

    My wife had a really nice Trek 7.3fx (wish we hadn't sold it, our daughter would fit it now). She is a little overweight, and the added stress on her hands caused a lot of numbness and pain.

    We finally purchased her the 21spd 700c townie, and she loves it. I accidentally *cough* upgraded the wheels to ultegra/Mavic CXP33's (why we went 700c), changed the shifting out to a 9x3 SRAM x.7,x.9 mix, and put on some 700x32 kevlar beaded/belted Panracer's. It is now much faster than it looks. We later added a rack, fenders, and wicker basket to use it for the usual evening family rides or light touring on rail trails.

    I have a Jamis aluminum/carbon road bike and a trek hybrid. After riding her Townie doing maintenance I broke down and purchased a Sun *Ruskin Sport* that has very similar geometry to the Townies (more modern styling) and 700c wheels for $330 ($400 now?). The components are pretty low level as the price suggests, but have already started replacing them anyway. The first to go was the terrible seat and post, replaced by the very nontraditional *Spongy Wonder* seat atop a decent quality aluminum post. The seat works with the geometry really well, it feels like your simply leaning against something while riding. Replaced the wheels this week with some decent road wheels, and will replace the drivetrain soon.

    If you are wealthy the Ran's Crank Forward's (they claim to have started the trend) are probably the best built and use the best components, but they come with the price tag to match.

    Good Luck, and let us know what you bought, and how it is working!

  18. #18
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    Works

    Quote Originally Posted by jdmitch View Post
    So, in summary, for what you're looking for definitely focus on:
    1) Internal Gear Hub
    2) Fatter tires
    3) Comfortable riding position

    All of these, for me, would add up to a Townie Balloon 8 (or 3 if you don't need the range of an 8 spd hub).
    If you jump over to the recumbent forum, a lot of them really like this combination.

    - The internal gear hubs are much less *fussy* than derailleurs, they simply work. Internal gear hubs have been on the market for many years and have a great service record. Can also change gears sitting still at a stop sign. The biggest drawback is the bigger jump in gear ratio's between gears, making it difficult to find just the right one sometimes. Only personal experience was an old 3-speed as a kid.

    - Fatter tires to absorb bumps better. Everything is a trade off. Have read many great reports using Schwalbe Big Apples, and still light so that you supposedly don't lose too much speed either. No personal experience.

  19. #19
    over the hill juls's Avatar
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    Guess I misposted in the snob thread. Thanks for all the help/Have fun with your townies in your golf coarse communities.

  20. #20
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joan View Post
    Ended up with a Trek 7100. Went to 3 LBS, rode several Treks & Townies. The Trek just felt the most comfortable and more versatile. I'm happy with the decision, comfort was most important - but must say the Townie has a slight edge in looks!
    Yeah, my wife went with a Specialized Globe Carmel 1 26", which is very similar, and loves it. Of course, she didn't want the "girly step-through model" but that's a different issue.

    Also, in a cruiser bike like this personal comfort is huge. I've heard the body positioning of the Townies bothers some people (I like it). I just wish Specialized / Trek with embrace IGHs on this style of bike without going all weird-looking like the Trek Lime.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KitN View Post
    You don't need to dress up like a spandex super hero to ride your bike.

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