bike review: Electra Townie Original 7D
Since I bought this bike I've ridden at least 500 miles on it and I love it. See my pictures from when I bought it here. I haven't ridden my recumbent since December and it is for sale. The townie is my regular commuter bike. It's heavy and it only has 7 gears, but I don't need that much for 6.5 miles each way with many hills. I only miss the gears on the pedals when I'm barreling down hills. I like being upright. I like riding without hands. I did notice one drawback this morning though while I was riding hands-free. The front wheel started to shimmy. I couldn't reproduce it each time this morning, but it was crazy when it did happen. I think this is the risk of the cool feature that enables the comfort on this bike. It's not a true diamond frame. At the juncture of the downward frame components, Electra welded in a 6 inch extension, which pushes the seat further back from the pedals. Like a recumbent of sorts, I am pedaling slightly forward of my seat, which is really comfortable. But it provides an opportunity for the frame to wiggle since the bendy quadrilateral frame is not as rigid as a triangle. I do not feel unsafe on it, but I wouldn't enjoy a long ride of shimmying.
With the handlebars so high, it's not uncomfortable to ride with my hands holding on. The high handlebars were part of the attraction for me with tendonitis in my wrists. I can still ride my Trek 7200, but not for very long, as leaning over on the handlebars puts too much strain on my writst. In fact, I took my son out for some mountain biking on that ride. It has shocks on the front fork and the seatpost. It felt very awkward for me to be so far forward compared to the Townie. I could never take the Townie on the crazy trails we were on. I shouldn't have had the Trek on some of them. There's a time for knobby tires, I was in that time, and I didn't have them, but my son did. I admit, shocks are nice, but the balloon tires and fat seat on the Townie absorb a good deal without the weight penalty. It's already heavy. I made it heavier with extra large cage baskets on the back and tire inserts for all the broken glass on my route. Those shards shredded the skinny, high-pressure, road tires on the recumbent.
I love riding this bike every morning and afternoon. It won't win any races, but I'm an old man with a short commute, so having a bike half the weight would not save me half the time. Despite the negative review I linked to on the Cruzbike, I think I still might like that ride some day. Then again, the reason I have the Townie is because it cost less than $500.
My commute to work is on the map below.