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Electra Townie 7D



Fun cruiser for easy riding on good surfaces, but struggles with the hills

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Electra Townie 7D will appeal if you're looking for something a bit different for flattish cruising around town. At £375 you don't need a second mortgage to own one and it's good fun around town, but compromised climbing position and a tendency to ship its long chain mark it down a bit.


The frame

Firstly: don't buy this if you'll have to store it in a studio apartment, because it's huge. It's a good foot longer than a standard town bike and bulky with it. The idea of the Townie is to get an upright position with an efficient pedalling stroke, whilst still being able to put your feet flat on the floor when you're at a standstill. Electra call it Flat Foot Technology, and basically it equates to a clockwise rotation of the ride position, by 23. So, pedals move forward and up a bit in relation to the saddle, which is lower in relation to the ground. You get full leg extension when you're pedalling, and you can put your feet down at the lights.

The frame is based around this premise and fashioned from 6061 alloy, with a steel unicrown fork. It's a big old beast but not super-heavy, at 28lb. Cables are routed internally for clean lines and you get a half chain case for the extra-long chain. Mudguard and rack mounts are provided.

The components

It's not sexy, but Shimano's Tourney TX derailleur does the business at the rear, controlled by a Revo twist shifter. There's seven speeds, with a Megarange cassette with a massive 34T bailout sprocket next to the spokes, a big leap from 2nd but useful in a hilly crisis. You need to ease off on that shift! A galvanised KMC chain and 44T steel chainset make up the rest of the drivetrain. Stopping is handled by linear-pull brakes and you get a big elastomer-suspended saddle and wide risers with decent grips.

The ride

It's a bit odd at first, the Flat Foot position. It's somewhere in between normal city riding and recumbent. You're too far back to ever stand up on the pedals, so it's sitting down all the way which is fine for about five miles, when the big saddle starts to make its presence felt. But for ambling through town and lolloping along canal paths it's a lovely relaxed bike, slow on the turn but very comfortable and not over-heavy.

Point the bike uphill and it's not such good news. With standing up denied to you, the only option is to sit down and sweat it out. I found myself alternating between upright climbing (hunched over the front of the bike) and recumbent climbing (arms locked out leaning backwards), with the latter generally winning out as it felt a touch more efficient. Neither is that much fun though, and remember to get into the big sprocket early if you think you'll need it, because making that shift under load makes sounds you don't want to hear from your transmission.

Going back down the other side of a hill is fun though with the bike lovely and stable, although the steering is a bit vague when the scenery is rushing by. The V-style brakes were faultless throughout, stopping the considerable rotating weight of the double wall rims and 2" slick tyres without undue fuss.

This is a bike aimed at people who aren't going to do a huge amount of riding, and as such it's fairly low maintenance. But those same people are going to be cursing into their flat whites if they have to stop on nearly every cafe ride and put the chain back on, like I did. That long chain and single chainring means it's much too easy to drop the chain on bumpy surfaces. The bike needs a chain guide at the top of the chainring to keep things in place; since there's a chain case there already it shouldn't be hard to fit one.

Climbing position and chain-shipping niggles aside, this is a fun bike to cruise around on. If you live somewhere with flattish topography and good road surfaces, you shouldn't have any problems at all. Sadly at least one of those two is missing in most parts of the UK...


Fun cruiser for easy riding on good surfaces, but struggles with the hills

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Make and model: Electra Townie 7D

Size tested: Black

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame - 6061 alloy flat foot geometry

Fork - Uni-crown steel

Headset - 1.1/8' threaded steel.

Crankset - FSA alloy 170mm

Chainring - Steel 44T

BB - Sealed cartridge

Derailleur - Shimano Tourney TX

Shifter - Shimano Revo

Cassette/Cog - Shimano 7spd 14-34

Chain - KMC Z51

Front Hub - Alloy 32H

Rear Hub - Alloy 32H

Spoke - 14G stainless.

Rims - Double wall alloy.

Tyres - Semi-slick 26' X 2'

Brake Levers - Alloy

Pedals - Resin with non-slip tread.

Handlebars - Alloy custom bend.

Grips - Kraton rubber.

Stem - Alloy.

Seat Post - Alloy pillar.

Saddle - Ergonomic with elastomer bumpers.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Nothing special, but well put together

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

6061 alloy frame, steel fork

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Long and low with Electra's Flat Foot geometry

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

It's not like most other bikes. but it was fine.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Very comfy for short journeys

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Not really too much of a concern on a bike like this

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

It felt fairly efficient

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

Not a problem

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Slow

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Very stable for cruising, slow on the turn, happy going downhill at speed

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The drivetrain

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Wheels and tyres

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Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, nice to try something different

Would you consider buying the bike? Probably not

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Possibly

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Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

It's a decent bike for the money and it fills a niche. The chain issue and climbing position don't ruin it by any means, but they will limit its appeal a bit.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

Add new comment


2_Wheeled_Wolf | 7 years ago

You should try the 21 gear version, just bought one 2 months ago after road testing one at the nearest Electra dealer & I absolutely love the bike. The gearing is perfect for hills especially with the oversized 1st gear, no twist grip which I can't stand anyway & it's a great bike for my osteoarthritis in my left knee due to it's lightweight frame & flat foot pedalling ergonomics. Finding its great for shopping or long rides & look forward to pushing its boundaries for even longer rides.  1


crow666 | 8 years ago

Great review!
I was wondering... Did you test the regular size townie or the Tall model?
I'm 192 cm and was wondering if the Tall model would be big enough for me.. Also what are the exact differences between normal and Tall model (length, height...)?
Thank you!
Greetings from Croatia.

PJ McNally | 12 years ago

Odd bike (not my cup of tea but someone will like it), great review - hope the manufacturers listen about the chain guide!

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