Help me make a choice -- Raleigh or Townie?
I have narrowed my search down after getting to ride several models. I have tried the Trek navigator, Specialized Globe, Giant Sedona and Suede, Electra Townie and Raleigh Venture (7 gears).
So what I came up with is it comes down to a $500 Townie (21 gears because I feel with that geometry I might need more gearing, especially since I will be pulling a trailer) or a $300 Raleigh Venture (which has 7 gears).
I rode the Venture expecting to "rule it out" since it is the bottom line choice price-wise. I ended up really liking how it felt. I was very comfortable on it and there was even a small hill to try at the shop. I was able to get up it with no problems in 4th gear.
The Townie I also liked, but it didn't feel quite as "comfortable" to ride, at least in the limited time I had with both. It felt solid and like a quality bike and was the best of all the rest I tried.
I do plan on going back and trying the Raleigh again, to see if my original impression holds. That was the bike I wanted to keep on going and had the most "fun."
BUT, I guess I am concerned about the quality of it. I have read some reviews that these bikes don't last that long with regular use and that they have "cheapened up" in recent years. I don't plan to be a hard rider but I do want it to last. Also, I could ask to try the Venture 3.0 or 4.0 for more gears, but with this bike, is that wise, with more components to break or go wrong?
I keep reading that you should go with the bike you don't want to get off of, and the Raleigh fit that description. The Townies get great reviews and people seem to love them. I definitely think I could like it a lot and it would work for my needs, but it is also at the top of my price point. So do I go with the higher quality, more expensive bike that was my second choice for comfort/riding fun, or the lower end, less expensive bike that I liked the best but worry about longevity/overall quality?