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Old 03-10-06, 10:18 AM   #1
Viggen Ed
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Cruisin' in Newport

Hi All,

This is my first post on this board. It seems like a friendly, laid back community thus far, unless you happen to be talking about a motorist afflicted with the road rage, of course.

I sat on a Rat Rod cruiser from Electra Bikes a coupla years ago and almost took it home that day. It's been at the back of my mind since then. I live in Newport, RI (which is on a fairly small island) and would like to use it for mild hills, commuting 4 or 5 miles to work, etc.

This bike is offered with the Shimano 3speed nexus rear hub, or with a single speed. But I dont know or trust the 3 speed yet, due to my experience with 3speed english bikes. I had one when I was younger and it had a tendency to come completely out of gear, and if I was pushing hard up a hill this usually resulted with my ribcage hitting the handlebar. Does anyone have experience with these hubs? If the front chainring was 44t and the rear cassette 22t, how would first gear compare to the old ten speeds that got darn near 1:1 in first?

Is the added complication worth the 2 extra gears? Does anyone have experience with this brand of bike, in terms of build quality, component life, etc? It seemed to fit like a dream when I sat on it in the shop, but I'll make sure it's ok before slapping the money on the barrelhead. Also, this bike doesnt come with reflectors. Where is the most effective place to put the reflectors on a bike to be seen? I've noticed that a lot of RI'ers dont even notice my CAR, so a bike might be trouble around here.. Maybe a light bar from a police car would help?

Thanks for any/all help, and I look forward to visiting this community often. -Ed
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Old 03-10-06, 01:11 PM   #2
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I have an older Electra with the Shimano 3 speed coaster hub. It feels more flexy than a single speed coaster when you brake hard, but has never come out of gear or had any other probems in 5 years. It will grind a little when you push hard in either 1st or 3rd if it isn't adjusted properly.

The internal gears are .75/1/1.36. Combining that with 44/22 would give you gear ratios of 1.5/1 in first, 2/1 in second, 2.72/1 in third.

Electras are generally well made medium price cruisers. Make sure the shop trues the wheels and shows you how to adjust the rear hub before you take it home.
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Old 03-10-06, 01:42 PM   #3
Viggen Ed
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Wow, just what I needed to know! Thanks!

Didnt realize that the wheels could be that much out of true on a brand new bike, or that it would even matter that much when using a coaster brake. I guess it does probably make the bike ride weird.
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Old 03-10-06, 02:11 PM   #4
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I think you will like the three speed more. It will be nice on the hills and they are well made these days.

Unless of course you ride north on East Main or West Main Rd. Then the mangled parts from the accident will not work very well.
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Old 03-10-06, 08:01 PM   #5
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I dont know if this will be of any help considering the superb response to your question given by Iz4005, but I have had a Fuji Shangri-la 3-speed beach cruiser (though I am selling it tomorrow) and have never had a trouble with the internal hub or the coaster brake in three years. I also have a similar set-up on my Firebike stretched-cruiser and haven't had a problem with it either. I know the Rat-fink choppers and test-rode the three-piece once, although I've never ridden one, it appears well-built and reliable. Good luck with your new bike. We need more chopper-riders out there.
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Old 03-13-06, 10:09 AM   #6
Viggen Ed
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Thanks for the responses, I appreciate any and all experiences people have had with modern 3 speed bikes or electra frames. I'm getting really psyched about having a bike.. come on Government, give me my money back...

North on East or West Main road is a dangerous place to ride. I plan on keeping to more scenic areas on leisure rides (ocean drive or second beach area) and will stay off of those two awful excuses for roads while commuting as much as possible. There was one point this summer that East Main was worse than most of the Logging trails I used to ride on in Connecticut.
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Old 03-14-06, 09:47 AM   #7
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Some of the old sturmey/archer hubs did slip out of gear--that problem was fixed years ago.The modern hubs like nexis should be great.
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Old 03-14-06, 11:39 AM   #8
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Niiiice. I'm chomping at the bit to get this bike now. Due to my bank changing stuff in my account, my tax return didnt go through electronically and now I'm waiting for snail mail money. ARGH! I wanna get some SALT on this bike!
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