Electra Townie Go! 7D Review
Cons: Limited features, mediocre display and controls
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Electra bikes produce a large range of electric and non-electric bikes for adults and children. Their range consists almost entirely of cruiser-style bikes with a vintage aesthetic that permeates the entire line. The Townie Go! 7D is the least expensive option in their Go! line of electric models. We put this relatively no-frills electric beach cruiser up against our diverse selection of the best e-bikes on the market to see how it compares. While it couldn't stand up to our top-rated models, we appreciated this bike for its comfort and simple approach.
The Townie Go! 7D looks and rides a lot like a regular old beach cruiser. That's because it is a beach cruiser, just with a 250W rear hub motor and a 309Wh battery integrated into the rear cargo rack. While the battery and motor add a bit of weight to the bike, it rides with the casual, comfortable feel that you'd expect given its appearance.
The Townie Go! is long and low with a very relaxed geometry. In fact, Electra has patented and trademarked the geometry design that they call Flat Foot Technology. They claim this design provides "an upright, relaxed seating position with proper leg extension that allows you to plant your feet flat on the ground whenever you want or need to." During testing, we found this claim to be accurate, and we could pedal with good leg extension, yet never be reaching for the ground with our feet when we came to a stop. Electra has done this by designing the bike with the bottom bracket/cranks further forward than usual, and it works well for this style of bike. It promotes a laid-back body position and easy-going riding style that we found to be very comfortable.
The easy-going, cruiser style is also reflected in this bike's handling, as it feels smooth and mellow as opposed to quick and agile. It's far from the sportiest or zippiest ride, though based on the look and design of this bike, it clearly wasn't intended to be. Those seeking a classic cruiser style ride will feel right at home on the Electra. While riding, its longer wheelbase length helps to give it excellent stability at speed and a longer turning radius. Short radius turns aren't this bike's forte, although it still handles relatively well at lower speeds and tighter turns.
While the Townie Go! is a fully rigid bike, it has a comfortable and road-smoothing feel. The large ballon like tires have loads of air volume and help dampen vibration and smooth over rough surfaces and cracks in the pavement. During our range testing, we found the large cushioned cruiser bike seat to be plenty comfortable for extended periods, with a huge range of seat height adjustability to suit a broad range of rider heights (the Townie Go! 7D also comes in a step-through version). The handlebar has a high rise to it and promotes a relaxed, upright body position. The 7-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain worked flawlessly during testing, and the twist-grip shifter was intuitive and easy to use. We found the mechanical disc brakes to provide a balanced braking feel and ample power to control your speed. Should you ever run out of battery or simply choose to ride the Townie Go! without pedal assist, it feels quite reasonable. It may weigh 50 lbs, but we found it quite easy to pedal with no assistance, and you can lose several pounds by removing the battery and riding without it.
As one of only two Class 1 e-bikes in our test selection, the Townie Go! 7D is a bit of an outlier. Class 1 electric bikes produce power output only when the pedals are turning and do not have a throttle like Class 2 models. In order to test the Electra's range, we had to modify our throttle only test slightly. That said, considering its smaller 309Wh battery capacity, we came away from our range test relatively impressed.
In order to test the range of the Townie Go! 7D, we put it on its highest output setting and pedaled it with the least amount of effort we could to keep the drive unit doing the lion's share of the work. After 24.43 miles and 1,424 vertical feet of elevation gain, the battery was finally depleted. With a 14.8mph average speed, the test took an hour and 39 minutes to complete. Considering how little effort we put into pedaling during the test, we feel this represents the low-end of the Electra's range. It should be easy to travel significantly further while pedaling harder, using a lower output setting, riding on perfectly flat terrain, or all of the above.
The Townie Go! 7D is a Class 1 electric bicycle with a 250W rear hub motor. It provides three levels of pedal assist support when the rider is pedaling, and it does not have a throttle like the Class 2 competition. We found its delivery of power to be relatively smooth with a nice range of pedal-assist support, although its smaller 250W motor couldn't quite compete with the more powerful competition.
The Townie Go! 7D comes equipped with a 250W Hydrive rear hub motor. This motor system has three pedal assist modes that provide a nice range of support from light in level 1/low to strong in level 3/high. Pedal assistance comes on with about a half rotation of the pedals, and the delivery feels relatively smooth and consistent. Unlike some bikes that feel jumpy and eager to get up to speed, the power of the Electra comes on a little more slowly and seems to mimic the rider's effort. While we couldn't find any information about this motor using an advanced torque sensor, it feels like it delivers power based on rider input. While it may not be especially quick to accelerate, it has no problem getting up to its top assisted speed of 20 mph and staying there on flat terrain with a little rider effort. Gradual hills all but disappear on this bike as the pedal assistance helps enhance your climbing efforts.
The Townie Go! 7D lost ground to our highest-rated competitors for its simplistic user interface. While it was far from the worst we tested, we feel the basic display and controls leave a bit to be desired.
The Townie Go! 7D uses the Hydrive e-bike system, which has an all-in-one control/display unit attached to the handlebar by the left grip. This small unit has three buttons at the bottom of the unit for the controls and two columns of LED lights on the top that function as the display. The power button serves the obvious function turning the bike's power on and off. The up arrow is used to increase the pedal assistance level. The down arrow is used to decrease the pedal assistance level, and it also activates the bike's walk mode by pressing and holding it for 3 seconds. The location of the buttons close to the left grip gives them decent ergonomics, although the small size and positioning of the buttons had us looking down at them to make sure we pressed the right button.
While functional, the LED display of the Townie Go! 7D only shows the most basic information to the rider. Battery charge is shown in a column of 5 blue LED lights, while pedal assist mode is displayed in a column of three red LEDs. This display is not capable of showing any other information such as current speed, distance traveled, or elapsed time, like a more advanced display. When the battery is fully charged, all five blue LEDs light up. As the battery is depleted, the lights go out sequentially. The default pedal assist mode is level 0, or off, and the red LEDs light up sequentially as you increase the assistance (up to level 3, or max). It's nothing fancy, but it works, and the lights are relatively easy to see, even in bright sunlight.
The battery sits flat within the bars of the rear cargo rack. The battery is removable, and it slides on a track and locks into place using the key. You will need to use the key to remove the battery, but we found that you didn't need it to lock it to the bike as it would click into place. The battery has a large charging port cover on its side, and charging can be done on or off the bike. The 309Wh battery is relatively lightweight, plus it has a handle that makes it a breeze to remove and carry around.
The Townie Go! 7D was quick and easy to assemble, and it scored among the highest in this metric. Generally speaking, Electra bikes are usually sold through authorized bike shops, REI, or the Trek bikes website (Trek is the parent company of Electra), so they will typically come fully assembled. Our test bike was shipped to us from REI and required only a few simple steps to get it up and running.
Our Townie Go! 7D arrived in a full-size bike box that weighed in the neighborhood of 55 lbs. The bike was very well protected from shipping damage with a variety of packing materials. Once we pulled it out of the box, removing the packaging and completing the remaining assembly took approximately 20 minutes. The only steps we had to do were attach the front wheel, handlebar, and pedals. All of these tasks are quite simple and can easily be done by anyone, even those with no bike mechanic experience. Electra includes a printed owner's manual with the bike, although you'll need to look on their website for detailed instructions for assembly. Unlike all of the other bikes we tested, the Electra did not come with any tools. That said, you only need a 5mm allen key and a crescent wrench to finish the job.
The Townie Go! 7D is one of the least expensive models we tested, and we feel that it represents an okay value. Honestly, it feels a little expensive for how simple it really is, considering the fact that it is basically a no-frills beach cruiser with a battery and rear hub motor. That said, it feels like a quality product with a good ride quality that fills the electric beach cruiser niche nicely.
The Townie Go! 7D is a classic beach cruiser with a 250W rear hub motor and three levels of pedal assistance that can help propel you up to 20 mph. This comfortable bike has a relaxed seated position that pairs nicely with its laid-back handling and smooth ride feel. It's far from the most sophisticated bike in the test, but we feel it is a solid option for the riding seeking a simple cruiser with some pedaling support.
Electra makes a wide variety of electric and non-electric bikes for adults and kids for cruising, comfort, and commuting. They make everything from tandems, beach cruisers, vintage styles; you name it.
The Townie Go! 7D we tested is the least expensive model in their line of Go! electric bikes and is available in both step-over (tested) and step-thru frame designs and a variety of color options.The Townie Go! 8D retails for $2,100 and comes in both high step and low step frame versions. It features a Bosch PowerPack 400Wh battery, a Bosch Active Line 250W bottom bracket drive system, and an 8-speed Shimano drivetrain. The Townie Go! 8i has the same battery and drive unit as the 8D, but it comes with an 8-speed internal rear hub drivetrain and several other component upgrades with a bump in price up to $2,600.
— Jeremy Benson