Thursday, September 22, 2005

Electra Townie: a "perfect fit"?

The Bike Portland blog has a recent post that touches on the marketing of the Electra Townie, a subtly new species of cruiser bike that's being touted as ideal for new riders in our fine city. (At Bike Portland, click on the small picture of the ad to read it.) But what if newbies couldn't take their Townies on the bus?

According to an insider who attended the recent kickoff for BTA's Bike Commute Challenge, a Townie was ceremoniously placed in a TriMet bus rack for a photo op—only it didn't fit. Apparently the laid-back cruise machine was too long for the rack. Seems like it might be too long to hang from a MAX bike rack as well.

The Townie looks pretty normal, but its longer, more laid-back stance means you can have full leg extension when pedaling, yet put your feet flat on the ground when stopped. Maybe such security is a fair tradeoff for the potential loss of public-transit access; maybe not. Caveat emptor.


vj said...

I have a townie3, complete with chrome fenders, which I'm really pretty happy with. On MAX, the fenders rub against the floor, and it's really hard to easily angle it around if the train is full. On the bus racks, it fits, though a little too nerve-wrackingly for my anxious personality.

Still, knowing that it doesn't fit public transit well doesn't make me regret riding it. Recumbents also don't fit on public transit. It's just a trade off--albeit, a trade off that Townie buyers should be aware of.

the WOBG said...

Thanks, VJ, for the rider report. Be it amended that Townies don't fit TriMet racks very well.

Thanks also for bringing up recumbents, which look clearly long and/or "non-standard." The Townie, however, looks standard—thus the "outing" here.

vja4Him said...

I bought my Townie new in March , 2008, Modesto, California. I rode from the shop directly downtown to put my new Townie on the bus rack. Got on the bus, paid my fair, and the bus started rolling, then stopped after only a few feet. The driver told me that my bicycle wasn't secure. So, I got out and tried secure it properly, but realized that the Townie was about four inches too long for the Max bus.

I was very disappointed, because I need to take my bicycle to work sometimes. I work at a different location everyday, and some job assignments are several miles from the nearest bus. I can't walk that far because I have serious problems with my feet and back.

So, now I'm stuck losing out on many job assignments, because I can't get to work on the bus, and some assignments are too far for me to ride.

So, I take my old Mongoose Switchback instead. I've also recently discovered there are other issues with the Townie, like trying to find the right racks for the front and rear. Looks like there isn't much of a selection, and I'm stuck with just the Townie accesories.

So, it looks like I will have to start all over again, with another brand new bicycle, one that is much more versatile.

I need to be able to choose from the wide variety of accesories for shopping, getting to work, and camping.

My rear Townie fender is too long for the Bob one-wheel trailer, so I need to find a shorter fender, which I haven't been able to find yet.

And nobody can guarentee that their product will fit my Townie. I can't afford to buy stuff, then not be able to use it. I need to know with absolute certainty that it will work.

So, at this point I am very disappointed with the Townie. Also, it is not comfortable to stand up and pedal.

For people who are not very serious about bicycling, the Townie may be ok. I bought the Townie front basket, but took it off, because it gets in the way of my headlamp.

For me, everything with the Townie is wrong ... !!! The Townie has turned out to be a real nightmare and incredible frustration ... and huge waste of money!!!

With the front shocks, I'm been told that I should not even attempt to add a front rack ... So there is another negative issue with the Townie ... The list of problems just keeps getting longer ....

-- vja4Him * Riding 4 Life

Anonymous said...

vja4him_Yes I agree, the Townie is an accessory nightmare. The "flat foot technology" is supposed to eliminate standing-up, that's why when you stood up it feels uncomfortable. Overall though I agree again the bike is a waste unless you want it for what it is. iI am in the process of doing the same as you - finding something more versatile