Picked up a cruiser for my wife

Smaug

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I went to the local bike shop during lunch. They are going out of business and everything is discounted.

I found this Electra Townie GO! 7D step-thru for $1650. (normal price is $1900):
Townie Go - 1st pic.jpg


I have two eBikes right now, and the one I thought my wife would ride, (Lectric XP Lite) she doesn't like. It does this thing where if you forget to set PAS to 0 when you stop, then you start to walk the bike, the cranks turn, which fools the motor into launching the bike. Also, she doesn't like how it takes off with authority when she pedals. So that'll be my daughter's eBike and the travel eBike.

The other one is mine, the Aventon Level.2.

She wanted something where she could touch the ground and that "feels like a real bike". I took it for a test ride and this will satisfy both criteria for her, even though it has a cadence sensor. The motor is only 250 W, but since it's only geared for 20 mph and the bike is only 44 lbs., it feels pretty torquey. I think a suspension seatpost is in order for our bad roads here, but other than that, it's perfect.

It's a 7-speed, and since the big sprocket is really big, there's never going to be a problem pedaling it unpowered. I tried it both ways on a test ride around the neighborhood. It feels just like a regular unpowered cruiser.

The feet-forward design makes it so that the rider doesn't lose as much leg extension for having the seat low.
 
If the shop is going out of business, you should see if you could score some tools, repair stand, wheel truing stand, compressor head, parts washing cabinet, etc.. Those items are expensive to purchase new, but last for a very long time, even with daily use at the bike shop.
 
The electrical specs are humble, except that it has a combination torque/cadence sensor:

Motor: Hyena 250 W
Battery: 36 V, 250 Wh
Lighting: None provided

Stated range is "up to" 40 miles, which I assume means 40 miles if I only use the motor occasionally.

They sell a "range extender", which mounts to the bottle cage bosses:
1683206282445.png


Reviews say it is $600, which is quite a gouging for such a humble battery pack. (esp. so, considering how badly it ruins the bike's elegant lines and screams "I'M ELECTRIC!")

The connection point for the charger or "range extender" has many contacts. I think there is some proprietary technology here to keep us from being able to use cheap battery packs from Ali Express or something.
 
If the shop is going out of business, you should see if you could score some tools, repair stand, wheel truing stand, compressor head, parts washing cabinet, etc.. Those items are expensive to purchase new, but last for a very long time, even with daily use at the bike shop.
Their repair stands are these big, hulking things. I'd want one that could be squirreled away when not in use. I do wonder though if such a stand would support a 65 lb. eBike...
 
Here's my wife's first ride on it. She was committed to house cleaning until after dark, and the bike has no lights, so I put this LED headlamp on her:


She said I was right; it's PERFECT. That's nice to hear, once in awhile.
 
I just had my first couple proper rides on this bike:
  1. Commuted into work. PAS0 on the downhill part, PAS1 on the flat part.
  2. Went for a lunchtime ride on PAS0. (since I'm at one bar of battery left and the commute home is uphill)
NO NEED FOR SPEED:
This bike is a lot of fun, somehow without needing speed. With previous bikes I've gone for, the faster I go, the more fun it is. This bike is fun at a walking pace. (1st gear is a walking pace) There's something about being upright that takes away the need for speed. Additionally, going faster doesn't make it more fun.

"FLAT FOOT TECHNOLOGY":
I really like the "Flat Foot Technology". (FFT) Typically, we cyclists who consider it a hobby know that having nearly full leg extension lets us apply the most force into the geartrain. Since the bottom bracket is usually at the bottom of the seat tube, getting the seat high enough for full leg extension usually means we can't comfortably touch the ground when we roll to a stop. With FFT, the bottom bracket is well ahead of the bottom of the seat tube, so that the legs are forward. The seat also tube angles back, so that as the seat is raised, it not only gets further from the pedals due to height, but also due to going further back away from them. The result of that is that the seat doesn't have to be so high.

For my part, I cannot get full leg extension while also being able to flat-foot the bike, but it's a lot lower. I can get a toe down easily; no need for a curb. If I settle for a bit less than full leg extension, I can get both toes down or one foot down flat.

For most guys I know, this is not important, but for most women, it seems to be.

RIDE QUALITY:
It has 26" fat tires and rubber bushings underneath the back of the saddle, so over bumps, it's not as nice as a good shock seat post, but it's better than something with firmer tires and a totally unsprung seat. Any penalty in rolling resistance, I don't really notice. It rolls noticeably easier than my Lectric XP Lite, for example. Rolling over some thick grass barely slowed the bike down. Loose, deep sand will be too much.

LIGHTING:
None provided. You'll have to add battery-powered lights on your own dime, if you want lighting.

OTHER ACCESSORIES:
None provided. If you want to make this more than a fair weather bike, you'll need to add the fenders, and if you want to carry something on the bike, you'll need to add the rack on your dime. Charger is a 2 amper, but the battery is small and lower in voltage, so that doesn't mean it takes all night to charge. (should take about 4 hours)

COMPUTER:
To me, it is simple and effective: Three buttons. One for power (long hold) and one each for PAS + and -. 5 green LEDs for battery status and 3 red LEDs for PAS level indication. This is just what my wife needed; she gets intimidated by too much information. (not thrilled, like I do)

BATTERY:
36 V, 250 Wh. (7 Ah) This is not much, and some reviewers over at Trek's site (who own Electra) mention it. They do sell a "range extender" that fits onto the bottle cage bosses to double the range, but I've read somewhere that it is $700 or something. I hate price gouging like this; I'm likely to source an aftermarket one because of this. That battery pack could cost half as much and they'd still make money from it.

One thing about this bike is that it has a multi-pin jack in the frame near the pack. This allows it to be more than just a charging jack, but it communicates a bit, so that the "range extender" can be plugged in there. I assume the "range extender" has a similar jack, so it can be charged too.

MOTOR:
Hub-type, Hyena branded, rated 250 W and 40 Nm. It's VERY quiet. I can't even hear it, except when I'm really lugging it. Since it's in a Class 1 eBike and only needs to assist to 20 mph, (It's geared lower than a Class 3) it has a decent amount of torque for being only 250 W.

RANGE EXPECTATIONS:
Trek advertises "up to 40 miles". I haven't charged it yet, but it was fully charged at the bike shop when I test rode it. (1 mile) Then, I rode it home from the bike shop. (3 miles) Wife rode it up and down the street and around the block. (0.5 miles) We went for a long ride Saturday. (20 miles) I rode it to work this morning. (2 miles). I expect to make it home tonight and have it flashing 1 bar or 0 bars shown, so about 30 miles, taking it easy. Maybe 20 miles if you have it on PAS 1 the whole charge. PAS2, with any amount of leg strength will have you spinning along in 7th gear.

WEIGHTS:
Weight limit is 300 lbs., including the 44 lbs. of the bike, so payload capacity is around 255 lbs.

Full specs can be found here, about halfway down the page.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
This is a relaxing bike to ride and fun at low speeds. It rolls surprisingly well for having the fat tires. It reminds me that biking is supposed to be fun. It encourages me to slow down and look around. I thought I would need to add a shock seatpost, but I don't think it's really necessary.

To me, the cruiser is a great type of bike to electrify: it is comfortable and relaxed, but usually heavy. The heaviness only really matters for carrying the bike or riding uphill. Electric handles the hill part, and since it doesn't have a big motor or battery, it still manages to be relatively light. (44 lbs.)

If you're hankering for another eBike and your current one(s) have a foward lean, I encourage you to try one of these out at your local bike shop. Even if they don't have the electric versions, try a regular cruiser, then imagine weight is not an issue with hills.
 
Bought my wife a Go! 7D last fall and she loves it. We ride nearly every evening. This is our 4th Townie. Have a 7D for our daughter, my older 21D that I converted with a 750W Bafang mid-drive (only 7 speeds now), and my wife's old 21D (she did not want a conversion - liked the Go! 7D too much after a test drive).
 
I wish my wife could ride. She's got bad knees and can't pedal a bike. I suppose I could get her a trike that has throttle and she could use it as throttle only but she doesn't seem interested.
 
I wish my wife could ride. She's got bad knees and can't pedal a bike. I suppose I could get her a trike that has throttle and she could use it as throttle only but she doesn't seem interested.
Get her interested.
Then fit the trike with a huge amp hour battery at preferably (to me at least) 52v at the minimum battery,
like 52v 45ah battery or bump up to a 60v 50ah battery.

I'd almost bet she'd like that while cruising with you mate eh?
 
I wish my wife could ride. She's got bad knees and can't pedal a bike. I suppose I could get her a trike that has throttle and she could use it as throttle only but she doesn't seem interested.

It's tough to get those who didn't enjoy riding before to imagine the joy of cycling.
My in-laws (in their mid 80's) were that way before I started riding with them about 10 years ago.
FIL got into fat tire ebike easily, he wanted to pedal to his fav fishing spot on his own and did that with me riding with him prior to the pandemic.
MIL had a stroke few years prior, her balance never quite recovered fully, along with foot ward that hinder her ability to walk & stand when it flared.
Since the pandemic, both in-laws have developed mobility issues, muscle atrophy, low stamina due to low activity level.
To the point that sometimes, FIL would pass out after meal at the diner table due to low blood pressure.
This past winter I got them an indoor recumbent cycling machine with arm exercise attachments, just to give them something to do while watching TV.
Last month, I got both in-laws to ride the Lectric XP Trike, one time each, just around the block as I walk next to them on the trike.
I think as long as there is someone watching them while they are on the trike, they feel safer to participate and maybe eventually enjoy riding on their own.
As much as I hate to think about it, there are not many years left that I get to assist the in-laws with enjoyment of activities.
If I can provide some level of safety or comfort, peace of mind while they can enjoy cycling outdoors for 30 minutes.. so be it.
 
I think she views trikes as a handicap device like a wheelchair or one of those scooters like you see in the grocery store. I'm sure she thinks she'd be embarrassed to ride one. She won't even discuss it when I suggest she might like it and that I see other people on the trail using them. I've told her how much she's missing out on by not being able to go with me on the trail. I think if I could find a bike shop that sells them and had a place to try one, I would stand a better chance of getting her to try one.
 
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