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Old 12-16-06, 07:43 AM   #1
jwc
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What's the scoop on Electra bikes?

I was surfing bikes online and came across Electra. I'm not familiar with them, no one seems to carry them in my area. But, the Amsterdam Classic 3 looks like something I'd be interested in owning. Kind of retro and unique.

I wondering about quality and reliability.

Thanks.

http://www.electrabike.com/06_new/flash_index.html
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Old 12-16-06, 08:10 AM   #2
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If you are near an REI, they carry them (at least the Durham store does). I'm not sure if they carry that model, but from what I've seen, they have more bikes in the store than they list online. I've not heard negative things about Electra, but you'll want to try it out and see if it works for you. Your LBS may be willing to order one for you to try too.
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Old 12-16-06, 10:53 AM   #3
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I have the Townie3 and love it. It sees more miles than any of my other bikes and, being inherently more stable than any of my other bikes, it gets the nod for towing my canoe, by far my longest and heaviest trailer.
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Old 12-16-06, 01:04 PM   #4
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I think the amsterdam is kind of a rip.
I'd go classic or buy a pake urban 6-speed.
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Old 12-16-06, 01:27 PM   #5
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There some specific discussion going on on this thread.

You're not going to know if the riding position of a Townie or an Amsterdam is right for you unless you try it out. They're both more relaxed rides - the Townie more so than the Amsterdam. They're not my preferred position, but I'd rather be on one of them than a bike with dropped or straight handlebars.

Electra bikes are common in our LBSs in this area, and I see a lot of them in the city. They strike me as decent quality and reliable, though I'm sure CommuterRun could make more experienced-based comments on this. They're moderately priced, IMO. People riding them seem to be enjoying themselves.
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Old 12-16-06, 01:38 PM   #6
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Well, I've changed the chain on mine twice in the past year-and-a-half, but that's it. That's the only problem I've had and a lot of that, I think, had to do with riding on these sugar sand (fine grain sand) roads. One of which I have to ride if I'm going anywhere, because it's the road to my house.

Right after I got mine, my Dad, who is now 71, liked it so much he went out and bought the same one with fenders and racks and he rides all over the town he lives in. I doubt if his bike sees any more maintenance than an shot of WD-40 on the chain once in a blue moon and I haven't heard of any malfunctions.
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Old 12-16-06, 02:13 PM   #7
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Oh yeah, one of my local shops has a bunch.
They might be good for you, but $550 is just too much for me to spend when there are a lot of other good options out there, namely taking an older bike and customizing it.
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Old 12-16-06, 03:35 PM   #8
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I didn't realize that there was a review on another thread, thanks for the link.

I showed the Electra website to my wife...she likes the Sport model. She wants to do some casual rides around town...shopping and stuff. I have this romantic vision of us riding down town to have coffee in the morning.

I did find that there is an Electra dealer about an hour from me. I might have to take a drive down there after Christmas.

Thanks for the advice so far.
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Old 12-17-06, 05:16 AM   #9
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I've been waiting for the Amsterdams to come out, they look awesome. I've been riding a modified Rat Rod since March, and it's done very well. I'm car free, so it gets a lot of use. And in Anchorage in the winter that's no joke. Keep in mind that fully loaded that bike is carrying close to 350 lbs! That's enough to snap most modern bikes right in half, but the steel frame Rat is bulletproof.

The Electras are at their best in urban environments when you're doing a lot of shopping and dismounting. They're at their worst when you try to get going fast or go on a protracted ride with one. They also don't do as well as a mountain bike in heavy chop or off road. But boy can they cruise. With a few strokes that big steel frame gets enough mo to roll along for blocks. It's like riding a train. Though in the winter with all the ice and the Nokian studs on, the cruising opportunities are limited. I will say it's very stable, though, which is a plus for ice. And if you do slip it's easy to get a studded boot down in time to stabilize yourself.

Pros:
Nice heavy frame
Awesome cruise ability
Foot-forward design
Easy to step off of or put a foot down
Great Shimano hubs
Tremendous cargo hauling potential
Very nice as in-town shopping or short range commuting bike

Cons:
That same heavy frame
Limited ability to use arms for leverage
Limited hill climbing ability
Limited utility for rides beyond 25 or 30 miles.




Last edited by Cosmoline; 12-17-06 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 12-17-06, 07:52 AM   #10
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Wow Cosmoline !!!
You are The Man !! An Electra in ALaska !!!!!
You prove my theory correct that ANY bike can be commuted on........
I wish all people who are thinking of starting a "Is a _ _ _ _ _ _ a good commuter bike ?"
would look at this pick and read this post !
Great bike !!
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Old 12-17-06, 02:47 PM   #11
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Yeah, that's very impressive.
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Old 12-17-06, 08:47 PM   #12
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Cosmoline,
I just became the proud new owner of an Electra Betty, the Rat Rods twin sister, and I want to make her cargo friendly. How did you attach the front basket? I noticed that there's no rear fender - did you have to take it off to fit the rear rack? For that matter - does a standard rear rack work with the frame okay?
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Old 12-18-06, 03:36 PM   #13
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^^^ Firemaple girl........
Obviously Im not cosmoline but Electra makes all the
stuff you want to attach. Your dealer or even Electras
web site should be able to get you all the stuff you need
to commuterize your cool, new hotrod !
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Old 12-18-06, 04:57 PM   #14
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Thanks Łem in Pa.

I know that the Electra's are somewhat non standard, so I was hoping to get others' experiences using non-Electra parts. The frustration I'm running into with accessories is about half of the items on Electra's website are out of stock - for example the torpedo rear rack. I'll have to check a couple of LBS to see what they have. Unfortunately the closest one is eight miles away, which for my current abilities means a car trip .
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Old 12-18-06, 10:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
I just became the proud new owner of an Electra Betty, the Rat Rods twin sister, and I want to make her cargo friendly. How did you attach the front basket? I noticed that there's no rear fender - did you have to take it off to fit the rear rack? For that matter - does a standard rear rack work with the frame okay?
Welcome to the club! I used a standard wire basket, I'm not even sure what the brand is. I think you can find them anywhere. The loops fit over the handlebars very easily. The standard Electra rear rack looks cool isn't the best. Mine busted under about 15 lbs. of groceries. I replaced it with a stouter rack, but it took some creative tweaking to get it hooked on. I also had to swap out the rear fender, but the rack works as a fender if you put a bag on it. In my current configuration I can get about 10 lbs. up front and 25 on the back. I also put on a better alloy post in place of the stock one and put stronger spokes and a Sun rim on the back tire. The Electras cast more weight back than a mountain bike.
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