This is a review for the 2013 version of the Electra Townie Go! which made its way into dealers across the United States in the Spring of 2013. Follow this link for a review of the most recent Townie Go. This bike offers a unique combination of style and simplicity. The rider doesn’t have to shift gears, adjust speed settings or mess with a tiny computer. In fact, the Townie Go doesn’t even have a user facing computer or gears to shift into our out of. Hands are left completely free to hold on or use with the brake levers. Everything that goes into making it an “electric” bike lives in the rear hub and battery pack and is connected with just one wire that runs through the frame. This makes riding a breeze and means there aren’t any extraneous cables to detract from the beautiful color and clean lines that Electra is so well known for.
Picture this, The Battery Management System (BMS) is integrated into the rear battery pack. The torque sensor, speed sensor, controller and gear box are all integrated into the rear hub. There is only one wire lead going from the rear hub motor to the battery and it runs through the rear rack carrier which is beautifully designed. This is the benefit of using SRAM’s E-matic system, it’s super clean. There is a light on the front of the bike but in order to keep the system from getting messy, this light does not actually run off of the battery pack, it’s powered by a hub dynamo built right into the front wheel. The same is true of the rear light which uses AA batteries and is not integrated with the SRAM e-matic system.
For more advanced riders this bike may underwhelm. It is electronically limited to just 15 miles per hour top speed. In the USA, electric bikes are legally permitted to hit 20mph. While we’re on the subject of speed… This bike is a single-speed meaning it doesn’t have any gears for the rider to choose from when pedaling. It’s like most of the other Electra bikes, reminiscent of what you may have had as a kid, just one speed for all occasions. In so many ways, this is just a standard Electra bike with a motor attached. But it’s attached very well and the design is smart. Having a motor at all is a huge benefit for longer rides, windy days and whenever hills come into the picture and this bike adds one while keeping weight and complexity at bay.
According to the CEO of Electra, this bike can take a 200lb rider ~37 miles per charge which is quite an accomplishment! The Lithium ion battery pack is high quality and because this bike doesn’t have a throttle, the rider is required to constantly pedal in order to keep it going which extends battery life. To get it going all you have to do is press the power-on button on the rear battery pack and then begin pedaling. It’s that easy.
I’m a big fan of the upright seating position that this bike and other Electra bicycles offer. It keeps your head up and on the road. You’re less likely to get a stiff neck or back from being arched over, like on most road bikes, and the tires are large and soft which helps to absorb bumps. The handlebars are swept back letting your shoulders relax and the “flat foot” design positions the pedals and bottom bracket further forward on the bike letting you sit in a more natural knees-forward position.
All in all I’m big a fan of this bike. It takes something great and makes it a little bit easier to use… and more fun! For just $2,200 this bike is priced very well and while it doesn’t offer quite as much power or technology, that’s fine, that’s part of what makes it fun and easy to use. It also weighs just 52lbs which in the world of electric bikes is on the low end, especially for a comfort design. It comes in many colors and both a high step (men’s) or low step (women’s) configuration.
- 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 rack that houses the battery is welded onto the frame and won’t rattle, this is a quiet bike
- Simple electronic system only has one switch on/off so you won’t be confused or distracted
- Includes a front light which is powered through the front dynamo hub
- Lots of beautiful colors to choose from
- 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
- Awesome kickstand folds to the side vs. strattling the rear wheel. This is lighter and can stow higher up than alternatives.
- Built in fenders look great and make riding in the rain or on wet streets no big deal
- Chain guard protects pants and dresses from getting oil on them
- Single speed design means the chain is short and tight and won’t fall off as easily as some elctric bikes
- Lower top speed than many other US electric bikes, just 15mph
- 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
- 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
- The rear light is powered independently by AA batteries and not integrated with the SRAM e-matic system