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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2005
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    crank forward touring bike.. Rans or Townie?

    I'm looking for a light touring bike for my wife. We only plan to ride supported rides so by light I mean water and small kit for emergencies (tube, inflater, TP, first aid, etc.). She now has a Trek 7300fx, a wonderful bike that she road the 225 mile Katy trail on last summer. Problem is she is a bit overweight (why we cycle), and has terrible problem with hand numbness. She also doesn't like the seat at the proper height because she has trouble mounting / dismounting.

    I had her ride a Rans Crank forward bike with 700c wheels and she loved it. The first time I saw one of these bikes was riding the Bike Across Kansas (BAK) a couple years ago. I've owned a couple true recumbents but she wouldn't ride them.

    I've been saving for the Rans but then had a crazy idea. Could she tour on the 700c/21sp Electa Townie? It has similar but not as aggressive geometry at less than half the price. On the Katy ride I swapped some road wheels on her Trek with 28mm road tires, and could do a wheel swap with the right tires on the 700c townie as well. With the price difference we could even upgrade components and buy a set of spare wheels for the actual tour if needed.

    Were planning to start training for either the Oklahoma Freewheel or Katy ride again next summer. I'd like to take my daughter on her first ride so I'll likely ride a tandem.

    Biggest problem is none of the bike shops in the KC area keep the 700c townies in stock, so would have to order one.

    Should I get the townie... Or keep saving for the Rans?

  2. #2
    Newbie, and proud of it
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    I'm not familiar with the Rans, but I can vouch for the Townie 700c with few reservations. It is not a high-end bike by any means, but it is solidly made and reliably equipped. My wife is using hers for extended & loaded touring, with great (if modestly paced) success thus far. Major concerns would be stock wheels (decent parts, freewheel hubs, not terribly light) and shifters (7 speed shimano twist). If equipping it with a rack, don't believe the "fits all Townies" label on the Townie specific rack. It can be made to work, but the label pre-dates the 700c versions of the bike. A larger rack is now on the market, & it works much better.

  3. #3
    Got an old Peugeot kipibenkipod's Avatar
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    I'm from Israel
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    For the mounting/dismounting I can recommend from first hand a folding bike. The low frame allows to dismount very quickly. Trek 7300 are lowering the top tube, but its really not a true non top tube bike.
    On the bike I feel like a conqueror ;)
    4 months touring trip from England to Spain http://www.underadometent.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    thanks broken spoke

    Thanks Broken Spoke. I paid a deposit to have one of the bike shops order a 700c/21spd Townie in. They promised if she doesn't like it they would give the deposit back.

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