The 2017 Electra Townie Go! switched from using a SRAM hub motor and rear mounted battery pack to the Bosch Centerdrive which is better in pretty much every way. Now, it is more expensive than the 2015 and 2016 models at £2,334 and it does weigh more at ~26kg but you get an eight speed internally geared drivetrain and a lot more power that produces less noise when running! With a top speed of ~20 mph and an integrated rear rack the Townie Go! would make a decent commuter but it’s really best suited to relaxed neighbourhood riding. There are four levels of pedal assist to work with here and the lowest, Eco mode, will move the bike at a slower speed for people who want to take it easy. The oversized Schwalbe balloon tires function almost like a basic suspension in that they absorb cracks and bumps as you ride, they do weigh a bit more but the contact patch is enlarged and they feel pretty stable. At 26″ in diameter they don’t lift the frame as high as more traditional 700c (28″) wheels and tires but you still get reflective sidewall stripes and Kevlar lining for safety and durability.
Driving this bike is a 350 watt Bosch Performance Cruise motor that measures bike speed, pedal speed and pedal torque (up to 1,000 per second) for instantaneous starts and stops. The motor spins your chainring that’s about half the size of most traditional rings and this higher RPM delivers a wider range of pedalling speeds in my experience. When you shift, the motor responds and eases off so as not to mash gears or put strain on the chain. Powering the motor and integrated Spanninga lights is a 36 volt 11 amp hour battery running on Samsung Lithium-ion cells. It’s the same Bosch PowerPack 400 I’ve seen for the past year and a half on other models here in the US and it works just as well. You can charge it on or off the frame and it locks securely but make sure you push hard when re-attaching it to the frame so that you hear a click and know that it’s fully connected. Just like the last year’s model this latest Townie Go! features a cafe lock that disables the rear wheel for quick stops around town – saving the hassle and discomfort of carrying a u-lock or chain.
The biggest takeaway from this review should be that the Electra Townie Go! with Bosch drive system is more expensive but it’s way better and quite worth the price in my opinion. Range is more than doubled, the frame is stiffer and better balanced, you get more gears to pedal with and while there still isn’t any sort of suspension on the bike it rides very comfortably with balloon tires, padded grips, oversized saddle, swept back bars and the signature “Flat Foot” seating position that brings pedals forward vs. straight down. The two frames are very similar in weight, come in a wide range of colours and are warrantied for two years by Trek (which acquired Electra in 2014). If you enjoy riding but are struggling to keep up with a friend, scale hills or fight the wind the electric Townie Go! will become your best friend, I am not exaggerating. The motor and battery are overkill but not in a bad way, they operate quietly but can climb almost anything, the display panel is large and easy to read with an intuitive button pad (easy to reach and use even without looking down). This is my favourite cruiser style electric bike to date.