Product Review: Electra Townie 7D

As I mentioned in a post a few months back, my wife Adrienne and I have been looking for a bike that would match up a little better with her around-town needs and with our Yepp mini kid-carrying seat.

Well, I think we’ve found it… and it looks like the Electra Townie 7D.

Two words come to mind with the Electra Townie: fun and relaxing! The laid-back position immediately makes everything seem less urgent, and it’s just a comfortable bike to sit on. That feel is a result of what’s called the “pedal forward” position – instead of being located at the junction of the downtube and seat tube, the bottom bracket (the thing your pedals and crankset attaches to) is located a few inches forward of that position. This relaxed position means a rider can put both feet down on the ground while still sitting on the seat – making it very stable at stops (and easy to stop suddenly). It also means that with the Yepp seat mounted, there’s very little issue with knee clearance on the seat (a big issue we had with the Trek hybrid Adrienne had before).

Both feet on the ground!

Electra makes a whole series of pedal forward bikes, from single-speed cruisers to multi-speed “Townie” bikes that can come with internal hub shifting or derailleur shifting. While the idea of an internally geared hub was attractive, the derailleur 7-speed version fit our budget better.

The Townie series of bikes comes in two versions: “men’s” and “women’s.” Really, there are only two differences between these: the overall size (men’s is a little bigger) and the shape of the frame: on the women’s bike the frame has very easy stepover, while the men’s has a more classic design. I actually like the women’s version just fine – size-wise I think you have to be pretty tall before it feels too small, as the angle of the seat tube means that as the seat goes up, your position on the bike goes back, so it adjusts to fit pretty nicely. I also like the step-through frame for riding with the Yepp on the bike – it’s a lot easier to get on and off. Without the front-mounted seat it probably wouldn’t matter – but with it, it’s an attractive feature.

Disadvantages? Well, we’ve only found a couple so far. One is that it’s hard to make this bike move quickly – the pedaling position really doesn’t lend itself to cranking hard, and standing up to pedal is a little more awkward than on most bikes. This also means that when towing a bike trailer (which we’ll do on occasion with this bike), the overall pace is slower and the trailer feels heavier. The other big disadvantage is that it won’t fit on a regular bike rack without some sort of adapter (which we haven’t yet tried) – to get it home we had to put it on our bike rack upside down and at a pretty ridiculous angle! For what we need to do these are livable negatives, but I wouldn’t get this bike with the intention of riding long distances at all quickly or if we weren’t riding directly it from our home.

Other advantages? The balloon-style 26″ tires absorb bumps pretty well, and the seat – although it looks huge for a normal bike – fits this style of bike and is comfortable. The only thing we’ve swapped out from the original configuration is a set of ergonomic grips, which made a big difference (the original grips had fancy stitching on them which was uncomfortable). And again – the bike is just plain fun!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.


  1. Matt August 9, 2012 6:14 am 

    We only took the frame!

  2. bigbenaugust August 9, 2012 1:49 pm 

    How do you guys feel about the seat in front? I’ve seen them and they scare me a little. We’ve always had a trailer for our kids, though.

    Maybe this is off-topic, though. :)

  3. Matt August 9, 2012 2:58 pm 

    bigbenaugust – I like them better than trailers, because I can see my daughter. With a trailer I’m constantly looking back. I think safety-wise they’re good – the kid is over the main part of the bike and between the parent’s arms, so not terribly exposed.

    For more of my take, you can check out the post I did on the Yepp Mini a while back:

  4. Max Power August 9, 2012 7:13 pm 

    We’ve got one here, too – it’s like riding a barcalounger. The Townie is the preferred ride on horrible humid summer days, with the upright position and slow speeds.
    The Electra-specific fenders and rack are totally worth it. They are a breeze to install with all of the mounting hardware in the right space.
    My only complaint is that the hi-rise handlebars make it impossible to put it in a locker at the train station without removing the front wheel

  5. Steph August 29, 2012 2:27 pm 

    You mention using this bike with a trailer… how’d you attach it? I can’t get either of our trailers (or have found any) that will work with the frame of my townie. Did you use some adapter? Or what trailer do you use? Electra responded that there are NO seats or trailers available anywhere that will work. Thanks in advance!

  6. Matt August 30, 2012 9:49 am 

    Steph –

    We use our trailer with a Burley hitch that connects to the rear wheel skewer – so you can tow with pretty much any bike (weird frame, disc brake, etc). To use it you have to have a trailer with a flex connector – both of these are available on Amazon.

  7. Kim May 8, 2013 2:28 am 

    Thank you so much for this review and the trailer hitch link above. We are biking happily on our Townie and used Burley now!

  8. Petros August 20, 2014 11:12 pm 

    Hi! I would like to add to your very nice article, that any problems on carrying your bike with a car rack, concern the specific type of bike that you have. That is the lady’s bike. I own the men’s electra townie, and it is easy to carry it with my car rack that fits at the rear of my car.
    And I love my electra! It is a great and very comfort bike!

  9. Marcus Benjamin January 23, 2015 10:39 pm 

    Thanks for sharing. I currently ride a Townie Men’s 21D and am considering the 7D for my wife. You’v

  10. Marcus Benjamin January 23, 2015 10:42 pm 

    Thanks for sharing. I currently ride a men’s Townie 21D and am considering the women’s 7D for my wife. Your review gave us the information that we needed. Thanks again!

  11. Maggie May 9, 2015 9:34 pm 

    Hi! I currently have a Townie 7D, and I’m interested in getting the Yepp mini seat for my son. Did you have to get the adaptor for the seat? (I’ve looked at the Yepp instructions online, and I’ve looked at the specs on the Townie, and I can’t seem to figure it out.)

  12. Matt May 10, 2015 4:12 am 

    Maggie –

    We did not need the adapter. The Townie has a quill stem, so the Yepp mount fits right on it quite easily.

  13. carol frohlich May 18, 2015 5:01 am 

    I am taking my townie 7D electra on a 5 day trip to Nantucket in a few weeks. The pedals forward is good for my knees, both replaced in 2019. I love this bike……I train with some faster,younger riders and i am always last. I’ve actually used this bike in 3 triathlons! Proper gearing is my toughest job. I’m improving………don’t love hills but am getting better at it.

  14. Alex October 26, 2015 10:09 am 

    On the third photo, it looks like your wife’s knees still bump into the seat at the highest point, is that actually the case? Were considering pretty much the same setup for my wife (and our son) but don’t want to run into knee clearance issues.

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