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Bob59 09-12-10 04:11 PM

Trek Vs. Electra --- quality ?

My wife and I are slowly getting back into cycling -- we are shopping a different bike stores, talking, testing, I'm trying to read on the net about different companies --- quality, etc....

We are looking for a "comfort" bike --- mainly flat riding, blacktop, some towpaths, not a commuter, weekend riding --- can be a 1 hour ride up to an entire afternoon/day out.

We tested the various Electra Townies -- we liked the balloon 3i the best.

A friend/neighbor of ours and his wife own a Trek Hybrid --- they love theirs, he said I can test anytime. We were thinking about going to our local bike store to test their "comfort" Navigator models.

Would someone offer your opinion -------

Have you owned/tested either brand ---- is Trek or Electra build a better bike/better reputation ?


Bikewer 09-12-10 04:58 PM

I don't really know anything about Electra bikes but looking at the specs on the one you mention indicate a pretty low-grade machine. "Hi-ten" steel frame, coaster brake....

That Shimano Nexus 3-speed is just fine until you need to fix a flat... Have fun. Price is not listed on the site... It's going to be a heavy, slow cruiser.... Probably comfortable as long as you're on level ground.
The various Trek hybrid (and "comfort" or "fitness" ) bikes are well-proven, reliable, have standard components.....

wahoonc 09-13-10 03:35 AM

Electra is a reputable company and makes decent bikes for their purpose. Go ahead and try the Trek Navigator and then buy the one you are most comfortable with. At your level of riding tubing material and hub type are less critical as long as you are buying a reasonable quality. Changing a tire on an Electra 3 speed is not anymore difficult than on a regular multi speed bike with a bolt on hub.

Aaron :)

dploy 09-13-10 03:50 AM

I own a Navigator 1.0 to use as a beach trainer about 5 to 10 hours a week - have had it about one year. I ride hard on the beach, then on pavement and sometimes trails. I beat the crap outta this bike and it has not faltered. It is a smooth ride and built like a tank! No rust or signs of heavy wear.

However, the gears are clunky and can sometimes miss. After several service visits they seem to think I am just to strong when shifting - I think it is just cheapy linkage.

ALSO this is a very heavy bike. If you have to lift it to a trunk rack or put in the back of a transport it may be an issue.

Great thing is that the bars are highly adjustable with great range - up and down is easy with an allen wrench and can make them easy to reach in many situations.

Make sure your warranty is good and you are promised service from the shop where you buy. I know comfort is most important but the shop you buy from is second IMO.

Bob59 09-13-10 08:37 AM

Thank you for the replies ---

We will test the Navigator models this weekend, and compare them to the Electra Townie Balloon that we picked out of the different Townie models we tested.


fietsbob 09-13-10 10:46 AM

Define your terms... Frame tubes are welded , then it gets painted and parts get attached,
is quality precise alignment?, parts pick price point?.
Or the bike shop's attention to detail when they take the bike out of the box and assemble it.
or just whether your preferences are matched by the product managers
when the bike was contracted ?

bkaapcke 09-13-10 05:30 PM

We have two townies at a vacation house. They are great because they are easily adjustable to fit a wide range of people. They are great cruisers and are good for a light workout. After about ten miles or so, the "comfort" gets a little tedious. Five more and you are done for the day. I can't imagine doing more than twenty on them. However, for a beach town vacation house, they are perfect. bk

NormanF 10-04-10 02:54 AM

Electra makes the Sports Townie so if you're looking for a road bike, its worth looking into.

Rans makes the Zenetik.

For people who dislike road bikes, they are a good option.

DieselDan 10-05-10 05:17 AM

My wife and I have been down this road. She tested a Trek Sole Ride and an Electra Townie. The Trek felt better for my wife and had a freewheeling 3-speed, while the Townie had a coaster brake. We bought the Trek and she still rides it.

GeorgePaul 10-05-10 09:44 PM

I have an Electra Townie 3 700c bike. The frame is aluminum, not steel. It does not have a coaster brake. I replaced the stock seatpost with a Thomson Elite, replaced the stock saddle with a Brooks B67 and replaced the stock grips with rubber ones. I had the LBS replace the stock high rise handlebar with one with less rise. I can ride this bike for hours in comfort. Much better than my road bike for casual weekend/weeknight rides by the beach.

Abneycat 10-05-10 10:21 PM

Trek and Electra are roughly comparable in quality at comparable price points. This isn't the important issue here, when talking about an Electra Townie vs. a Trek Navigator:

They are completely different bicycles in terms of geometry and design. A Trek Navigator is a fairly normal American comfort bike: slack seat / head tube angles, fat saddle and tires, high adjustable stem and bars, and overall it is a pretty normal "comfort" bike.

The Townie is a crank forward. It takes things to a further extreme than the Navigator, with the pedals placed further in front of the saddle still, with an offset bottom bracket design. It has a completely different riding position and is more akin to riding an extremely relaxed cruiser or even a chopper bike.

The closest bicycle Trek produces to match the Townie is the Pure series.

I'd have to really recommend taking both styles of bicycle for a ride. They handle differently and have completely different implications for how comfortable they actually are. In my personal opinion, I would take a crank forward style bike like a Townie any day over a "comfort bike"

(I have owned a Townie and enjoyed it greatly. I have never owned a comfort bike, because I have assembled, serviced, and test ridden dozens of "comfort" bikes, and never actually found one of them to be comfortable at all, but hey, this is just my personal opinion of the subject)

At any rate they're definitely different bicycles in geometry and design, they will put you in different postures and ride quite differently from one another.

I'd also suggest seeing if the shops you are dealing with carry "roadster" or "dutch" style bicycles as well, as both of these categories are regularly associated with comfort, fun, and good style. Unfortunately, many models in these styles are also regularly associated with incredibly high price tags.

Bob59 10-11-10 09:22 AM

Thank you for the replies ---

In addition to the Electra townie baloon/non baloon bikes, we went to a Trek dealer and tested the Navigator, and two hybrid models --- 7100 and 7300, and we purchased the Trek hybrid 7300. We both felt that the 7300 offered the best of what we were looking for, and completely enjoy the ride.


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