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New Townie 21D

Old 09-07-09, 08:13 PM
  #1  
RI_Swamp_Yankee
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New Townie 21D

The old Raleigh was just too old and creaky and needed too much work to make a reliable ride. I'm still pretty chunkified, and the uphill commute home everyday was too much for my knees and ankles and the poor bike's crankset, pedals, chain and wheels. I was at the point where I was looking at putting on a mountain triple crankset on a '70s ten speed, and enough was enough. Might as well get a bike designed for a mountain groupo.

The Electra Townie was inexpensive, and it's riding position was awesome... none of my joints hurt, even after a lonnnng shakeout ride. The gearing on it is plenty low enough for the ski-jump steep road I live at the top of, the brakes stop almost as well as disks with great feel, and it looks awesome.

Some gripes -

- The Shimano Tourney derailleurs are balky and like to miss gears even after tinkering with the adjuster barrel. The front one in particular is enormous, cheap looking, heavy, and shifts poorly up or down into the middle ring. I really miss my old friction shifters... the trigger shifters look and feel slick, but it just doesn't do as good of a job getting into the right gear without any drama. Also, the chain-guard is made from the cheapest plastic ever.

- Easy to spin out on the flats, never mind downhill. Needs a bigger top chainring, or a smaller bottom cog. Not complaining too much, as I'm riding the brakes on the way into the train station, and need all the low-end I can get on the way back. The bike really delivers there.

- The seat is worthless - overstuffed and undersprung. My butt hurts just thinking about the "shakeout ride" this afternoon. I've got a Brooks B-33 to replace it, but really, any saddle with less padding and a firm set of springs will be a welcome upgrade.

- The dinky plastic pedals need to be swapped out for some metal BMX platforms, but welcome to the modern bike market - everyone's stock pedals suck.

- The front suspension is worthless. All it seems to do is dive when I apply the brakes. I would much rather have a fixed fork - lighter, and better handling when stopping.

- The ape-hanger riser handlebars are a poor fit. Electra's swept-back beach cruiser bars would have worked better, at least for someone of my height and reach.

- Would it kill them to include an adapter kit for standard back-racks rather than overcharging you for a special rack? Not only is it $20 overpriced, not only is it at once flimsy and heavy compared to my old rack, the mounting hardware was wrong - the bolts provided were way too short. I had a set of 15mm-long hexhead screws on hand, and those did the trick.

So it's not perfect, but it's inexpensive, built like a tank, climbs like a goat, and damn comfy. I look forward to tinkering with it to get it just right - I already have a new set of pedals and a replacement saddle installed, and I'll probably look into the handlebar next - or maybe upgrade the derailleurs to something smoother. I'll probably swap the generic balloon tires for something with more puncture protection, too.
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Old 09-09-09, 01:58 PM
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luvlabs
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I picked up a couple of Townies this past weekend. I got myself a 21D and my wife wanted the 7D. I agree completely on the saddle and have ordered a new, Serfa gel padded one. My parts are too sensitive (which is what drove me off my MTB).

I don't have a problem at all with my derailleurs. My LBS did a great job with the initial setup/tune and shifting is crisp. My front fork seems to be adjusted on the stiff side which is fine with me. You might want to look at cranking it up if you think it is too soft.

I have found that small tweaks to the saddle position and handlebars made a big difference in fit and feel.

We do enjoy riding again (both are 62) and the Townies are a good fit for how we want to use them.
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Old 09-09-09, 04:39 PM
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Mrs. Zoxe just donated her Townie21 to her step mom, but after putting several hundred miles on one this summer, some of this sounds familiar.

- Getting the seat adjustment to be reasonable took some trial and error. We actually swapped seats to a cheap women's gel seat from Performance Bike but quickly switched back.
- She enjoyed the handlebars fine, but she is a foot shorter than me.
- We junked the factory pedals for some Shimano SPDs about 2 wks after she got it (and joked that it was probably the first time the shop had installed clipless on a townie).
- We all but locked out the front fork. So yah, kinda worthless except when she hit big big bumps.

Biggest gripe was a lack of ANY braze ons for a water bottle. That was a forehead slapping moment when we got it home and I literally had the wrench in one hand and the bottle bracket in the other saying "oh crap, where's this go??" We ended up getting a goofy looking adapter and mounted it on the handlebars (lame).

All that aside, we have a fond place in our hearts for the Townie, and I would recommend them to friends wanting cruisers as long as they only intended to ever cruise and no more.

She proudly rode the blue bomber 50mi in the Indy Tour de Cure. Great bike for her at the time but after 6mo of steadily improving her ride, she was craving more speed so we shelled out the $$ for a recumbent a couple wks back. We probably should have gotten the 'bent to begin with.
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Old 09-09-09, 06:05 PM
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My wife and I have Townie 21D's. We love them. The lack of a water bottle mount on her bike was kind of weird, but we got one of the mounts that mount on the handlebars and the problem was solved.

I haven't had any problem with the shifting. The fork is not top of the line, but for what we do with them it works fine. I'm not jumping logs or downhilling it.

I am thinking about switching the seat out on mine as well, but she loves hers.

Mandatory pic to follow....

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Old 09-09-09, 09:03 PM
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I actually got it because it was a 21speed cruiser with mountian bike gearing. I had a SS Fuji beach cruiser in college, and loved the hell out of that thing and rode it everywhere... I was half contemplating getting a generic 3sp cruiser, and slapping a SRAM iMotion 9 on it. If I lived someplace other than at the top of a damn ski jump, I might have just.

I fooled with the control on the suspension fork, adjusting it all the way in one direction and then the other, and I sure as heck can't tell the difference. The springer fork on my old cruiser did a great job of taking some of the harshness from the bumps, this hydraulic fork seems to be designed only to drop the front end six inches in case of a panic stop.

The new Men's Townie has water bottle lugs... didn't think to check the Ladies' model.
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Old 09-10-09, 07:10 AM
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The women's model doesn't have water bottle mounts (hence the handlebar mount we had to use). But, she likes that better anyways. The men's version only has the one set of mounts.

I don't really have any complaints about the fork. I wasn't expecting it to perform like my SID (especially since that fork cost more than my whole bike), but my wife is a bike path rider only, so for what we do the fork is just fine. Although I have to admit I'm seriously contemplating putting a springer fork on it...
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Old 09-10-09, 05:44 PM
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My 21D has standard water bottle mounts and my wife's 7D does as well. Her's are mounted on the underside of the top tube.
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Old 09-10-09, 06:40 PM
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I have a 2006 Townie 21d that I have ridden over 6000 miles. I have made quite a few changes over the years. The best thing was changing the cassette to a 11-34. if I change it again it will be something like 11-25. I have had various seats on it, cloud 9, brooks b17, and now a Terry Liberator gel, which I think will be a keeper. I changed the stem that allows the bars to be lower and now I don't have to ride in the "sit up and beg" position. I changed to narrower 100psi tires. At one time I had clipless pedals on it, but didn't want to use bike shoes all the time. The platforms were ok, but last week they crapped out so I have some new fancier ones. Now, knowing what I know now, I would have bought the 700c model without the suspension fork. I know this will blow some minds, but after having this bike a while I got a wild hair and bought a carbon fiber Cannondale Synapse 3 All Ultegra, yada yada. I rode that bike about 600 miles in a little less than 2 years. I just sold it. It was beautiful and fast, but I always seemed to hop on the Townie.
About a month ago we got my wife a new Townie and we didn't fool around. We got a Euro 8i, 8 speed internal gear, roller brakes, 700c wheels, generator front hub, lights, matching painted fenders, and rack. Also, about bottle mounts, some townies have them some don't. We noticed that while at the bike shop.
Also I've ridden a new Townie sport. They are real nice, but no fender mounts. There are 3 models, the top one has a 105 compact double drivetrain, and 700-28 tires.
The bottom line is a lot of people dis Townies, but i think the best bike for you is the one you will ride and for me that's the townie.
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Old 09-11-09, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by luvlabs View Post
My 21D has standard water bottle mounts and my wife's 7D does as well. Her's are mounted on the underside of the top tube.
Weird that the would make the two models differently. On my wife's 21D there isn't even enough room between the frame tubes to put a water bottle...
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