electra-townie-go-2014-electric-bike-review

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Summary:

  • Comfortable, simple to use and affordable cruiser style electric bike built on the proven Electra Townie platform
  • The SRAM EMATIC system has no computer to mess with, no extra cables or settings to choose, just an on/off button
  • Solid 30 mile range but lower top speed (15mph electronically limited), two-speed geared hub auto-shifts

Stats:

  • Price: $2,200 USD MSRP
  • Range: ~30 miles (48.3 kilometers) per charge
  • Top Speed: 16 miles per hour electronically limited
  • Gearing: 2 speed hub motor with auto-shift at ~11mph based on pedal cadence from torque optimized to speed optimized, no shifters or chain rings on this bike
  • Weight: ~52 pounds with battery, heavier rear end with hub, rack and battery mount
  • Battery: 36 volt 8 amp hour Lithium-ion pack
  • Charge Time: ~3.5 hour
  • Ride Time: ~1.5 hours depending on rider and terrain
  • Charge Cycles: ~1,000+
  • Motor: 250 watt brushless geared hub motor
  • Other: Dynamo front hub powers the headlight, patented “flat foot” design positions pedals and crank forward for more comfortable seating position, oversized comfort style seat, SRAM EMATIC motor and battery technology, chain guard and fenders, deflopilator to support front baskets, euro-style sliding lock on rear wheel, high-step in black and gold, low step in black and light blue

Video Review:

Written Review:

The Electra Townie Go! is based on the popular Electra Townie frame set and was introduced in 2013 with several updates for the 2014 model. It offers two pedal speeds that automatically shift based on pedal cadence. The gears are built right into the rear hub motor which offers 250 watts of power and the battery pack is average at 36 volts of power and 8 amp hours of capacity. It’s a bike that’s fun looking, easy to use and fairly durable. The cruiser style seating position keeps your head up and back and neck relaxed. The tires smooth out the ride and the fenders, chain guard and lights make it safe and functional.

250 watts isn’t much in the world of American ebikes. It’s more standard in Europe where they have stricter regulations. Still, this geared hub offers decent support and because it’s torque-activated the rider must always contribute by pedaling along to make it go. The downside here is that there’s no throttle mode but you do get more exercise. For much larger riders or those who prefer a scooter-like ride I suggest checking out the Pedego City Commuter which offers both pedal assist and throttle along with 7 speeds instead of just two. It’s a more complicated bike, and it’s more expensive, but it offers a stronger motor and battery pack.

Powering the Townie Go is a 36 volt, 8 amp hour Lithium-ion battery pack that’s mounted on the rear rack. The entire drive system here was built by SRAM and works seamlessly. In many ways, this bike is similar to the OHM XU 450 E2 that also runs on the SRAM EMATIC system but costs a bit more and features a front shock. As for the Townie Go, I’d say it has an average power and battery capacity offering, it works well for urban cruising but wouldn’t be ideal for off road or steep climbing applications. The battery pack itself is lockable and can be removed for charging on or off the bike. The same key that secures the battery also activates the rear-wheel lock. It’s a pretty neat system, one that will keep the bike a little bit safer but ideally you should still lock it to a rail or bike rack.

The beauty of the Townie Go is its simplicity. While it still offers mounts for a bottle cage and comes with fenders, lights and a rear rack this bike feels minimalist. It’s easy to forget there’s a motor and battery helping you along because you don’t have to choose an assistance level, look at an LCD computer or even shift gears. It’s like riding a single-speed kids bike, you just pedal along and the bike does the rest… and in this case, the bike reduces the strain on your knees, lets you keep up with friends and go further than a regular bike would.

I’m a big fan of the oversized tires and plush seat which absorb bumps and cracks. The chain guard is beautiful and keeps your pants clean and the high step and low step options are perfect for a his and her setup. The bikes come in black and gold for highstep and black and light blue for lowstep. A deflopiliator spring has been added on the front wheel to help stabilize the bike if you add a basket (for flowers or kittens) and the pedals are stiff, though a little less grippy in wet riding conditions due to a rubber grip pad. The rear rack is perfect for a saddle bag or panniers and uses standard gauge tubing that’s compatible with most after-market packs and the kickstand works well, keeping the bike very balanced, even with baskets or packs attached.

Pros:

  • Incredibly simple, beautiful and durable. Based on Electra’s proven Townie design
  • Well priced at just $2,200 compared with other ebikes
  • Relatively light weight at just 52 pounds
  • Cables are integrated into the frame keeping the bike stylish and less vulnerable to snags
  • The rear rack uses standard gauge tubing that works with most packs and panniers
  • Simple electronic system only has one switch on/off so you won’t be confused or distracted
  • Includes front and rear lights powered through the front dynamo hub
  • Comes in black and gold for high step and black and light blue for low step
  • Comfortable, ergonomic seating position combined with soft tires and plush sprung seat
  • High end Lithium-ion battery will get lots of charge cycles, recharge quickly and weigh less than Lead acid alternatives
  • Battery locks to bike and is hidden by a swivel reflector in the rear
  • Slide-through lock secures rear wheel making bike less easy to steal
  • Sturdy kickstand and deflopilator keeps bike from tipping even if it has packs mounted to it
  • Built in fenders look great and keep you clean and dry
  • Chain guard protects pants and dresses from getting oil on them
  • Automatic two-speed geared hub is quiet, stays clean and changes itself automatically based on pedal cadence

Cons:

  • Lower top speed than many other US electric bikes, just 16mph
  • Only offers pedal assist mode so you have to keep pedaling to go vs. using a throttle
  • No computer to tell you how far you’ve gone or how fast you’re riding etc.
  • Since the battery and motor are built into the rear end, this bike is back-heavy
  • Curvy frames look nice but are harder to mount onto some car and bike racks, especially the step-through version

Rating:

Electra Townie Go, Rated 4.5 out of 5
Updated by Court Rye

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