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First look at Electra’s new “Amsterdam” bike

Posted by on September 22nd, 2006 at 7:27 am

I usually wouldn’t post about a bike that has no connection to Portland and that I haven’t even ridden yet…but the new “Amsterdam” bike from Electra could make a serious run at being the perfect Portland bicycle. I’m also excited about this bike because it’s looks to be the first time a euro-stylish city bike has been offered by a major U.S. company.

Here’s the exclusive photo (it’s not even on their website yet):

[Electra's new "Amsterdam" series.
It also comes in black (which I prefer) and a
ladies version with step-through frame.]

As you may have realized from some of my previous posts, I have a major love-affair with Dutch-style city bikes. They’re just so dang simple, elegant, well-made, and I can’t help but think of all the cool Dutch people that ride around with them (sans helmet) on cobblestone streets with their healthy, bright-eyed kids hanging from the top-tube.

If only Wal-Mart and Target were selling these instead of the plastic toys they call bicycles, maybe more Americans would take bikes seriously.

Can’t you see these doing well here in Portland? After all, our elected officials, bike community leaders, and city bureaucrats seem to have a thing for Amsterdam.

Cool features of this bike include:

  • Nexus internal 3-speed hub
  • Coaster brake (keep things simple)
  • Aluminum frame
  • Fully-enclosed metal chaincover
  • Generator LED front and rear lights
  • Full fenders (with mud flap up front)
  • Rear rack
  • Coat/skirt guard over the rear wheel

Our local Bike Gallery stores are Electra dealers and I’ve asked owner Jay Graves to keep us posted when he’s got them in stock (you might recall that Jay was in an Electra ad a few months ago).

No word on price yet, but it will be much less than importing something from Holland!

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Comments
  • Jonathan September 22, 2006 at 7:54 am

    Just got back from Amsterdam, and yup, that’s them!

    Now if they only made those nice, simple bags they throw on the back rack. They were only 50 euro, and I’m really kicking myself for not getting one because I can’t find them here.

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  • Cecil September 22, 2006 at 8:51 am

    Very cool – I was THIS close to ordering one of the Netherlands-made versions from the dutch bike dealer in Florida (they also have bakfiets) – but maybe I should wait and check out the Electra version

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  • John Boyd September 22, 2006 at 8:56 am

    I don’t know why, but would be surprised to find a mainstream seller without a front brake. Though just a coaster brake seems perfectly suited to this handsome bike.

    Looks like the bike of a lifetime for a lot of people, is aluminum up to this?

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  • Geoff G. September 22, 2006 at 9:18 am

    Yeah, the lack of a front brake is strange. A drum brake would be sweet, but even a simple caliper would be enough.

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  • vj September 22, 2006 at 9:19 am

    I’m both excited and disappointed. What’s with the three-speed? That seems like a serious misstep. And the generator lights — are they built in, like Breezers, or are they the tire rubbing kind. And the big question: will they fit on bus racks, and be easy enough to control to hang on MAX hooks? Because for some of us, that’s the sort of issue that makes the decision, are you cycling or driving this trip?

    Still – Electra. You know it’s gonna look sweet, and I am overjoyed to see a coat guard. But probably not overjoyed enough to buy a three speed…

    Are you going to Interbike, Jonathan?

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  • [...] BikePortland.org got the scoop: [...]

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  • Cecil September 22, 2006 at 9:58 am

    I hadn’t noted the lack of front brake – the ones from NL have one – also 8 speeds – maybe I should just plunk down the bucks for authenticity . . . .hmmm

    http://www.dutchbikes.us/

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  • miroslav September 22, 2006 at 10:21 am

    I’ve got an Electra Townie (via Bicycling Magazine’s contest / promo a while ago). The bike is really nice, but has serious drawbacks. The main one being that it is huge and unwieldy. It’s also danged slow. I’d reserve judgement on this one until I saw some detailed specs.

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  • West Cougar September 22, 2006 at 10:32 am

    I strongly suspect if you are reading this you are not in Electra’s target market.

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  • Joel September 22, 2006 at 10:40 am

    VJ- looks like it’s an external dynamo that rubs on the tire. I’m a little surprised that a Nexus dynamo hub isn’t standard.

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  • Cate September 22, 2006 at 10:43 am

    Sorry to be rude, but I like my bike better (Bianchi Milano). It has a Nexus 7-speed internal hub (new bikes have 8-speed), rear drum brake, front caliper brake, fenders and chainguard. I added a front basket, and front and back lights.

    The only things on the Electra bike I don’t have are the “fully-enclosed metal chaincover, rear rack, and coat/skirt guard over the rear wheel”. Those things don’t matter that much to me.

    I wonder if it would be harder to lube the chain with a fully-enclosed chaincover.

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  • Cate September 22, 2006 at 10:46 am
  • Brad September 22, 2006 at 10:48 am

    My wife and I both have Electras and love them. Mine has a Nexus 3 and while I suppose that it would be nice to have more gears, I’ve never really needed more than what it has. The gearing is nicely spread out so that it’s not unconfortable. Plus, you get the advantage of having all the gearing internal to the hub. There is virtually no maintenance and the shifting is very smooth. I used it on the Bridge Peal, and it was extremely comfortable. As far as Max goes, this bike doesn’t appear to have the Flat Foot Technology thing, so it would be the same length as a standard bike. If I was in the market for a new bike, I’d definately look at this model.

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  • Cecil September 22, 2006 at 10:50 am

    Yeah, the Milano is pretty cute, and it would go well with my Veloce . . .on the other hand, I often commute in a skirt or dress, and at those times a skirt guard is a handy thing to have

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  • DL Byron September 22, 2006 at 10:59 am

    Cool ‘cept if you live in a hilly city like say, Seattle.

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  • eric September 22, 2006 at 11:09 am

    Coaster brake? What if you get a leg cramp?

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  • Dabby September 22, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    Yes, aren’t coaster brakes illegal?

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  • Jonathan Maus September 22, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    come on guys, please don’t hijack this discussion with that stuff ;-).

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  • Officer Barnum September 22, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    What if you your chain breaks or you get muscle cramps and can’t engage the coaster brake, or you have a seizure or a heart attack. How will you stop the bike then?

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  • felix September 22, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    Does it come in a 16 inch mini?

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  • BLDZR September 22, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Answer to post 1: If you’re looking for those classy rack bags in the Euro Style, look no further than Rivendell They may be currently out of stock of the “baggins” bags, but I believe you can backorder.

    re post 11: it is indeed harder to lube the chain when the guard is on, but you just have to take it off. simple procedure. The guard does keep a lot of crap (including your pant cuff) out of the chain, though, so you don’t have to lube as often.

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  • JimK September 22, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    I have an Azor HD Transport from the Florida importer. It is too long to hang from the MAX hooks! The lower fender stay has this extra loop that sticks out – I gather that is to protect the tail light – I don’t know if that loop is all that keeps the bike from hanging, but it certainly is what hits the floor when I try. Maybe my Azor is longer than this Electra though.

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  • Ian September 22, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    ME! WANT! NOW!

    Wow, I logged into bp.o today to search for the other Dutch bike importer and ran into this. I’m having serious nostalgia for my biking days in Eindhoven. (It was also cute to see the Dutch girlfriend riding sidesaddle on the rear rack.)

    I’m glad to hear about Brad’s 3-speed experience. That is my only qualm (aside from whether it is legal at all without handbrakes).

    I’ll also check out that Bianchi that Cate mentioned. Who sells this model in Portland?

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  • Clinton Rider September 22, 2006 at 2:22 pm

    Gee…remove the coat-guard and it reminds me of the Raleigh 3-speed I bought new for $60 when I was a kid, circa 1967. (the 5-speed was a whopping $70!) Bet this puppy will be a lot more than $60!

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  • JimK September 22, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    For lubing the chain, my Azor’s chain case has a tiny panel by the rear hub that snaps open to expose the chain. I have no idea how to remove the chain case – it doesn’t look easy!

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  • Randy September 22, 2006 at 3:43 pm

    Electra made a bike called the ‘Commuter 7′ for about a year circa 2001. It had 700c wheels, an old-school steel cantilever-style frame,
    Nexus 7 hub, fenders, rack and chainguard. It was probably a more versatile bike than this one, but apparently didn’t sell all that well, since the model was discontinued.

    On the other hand, if it’s geared correctly for the hills of Portland, a three-speed is really all you need, in my opinion.

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  • Greg Raisman September 22, 2006 at 3:45 pm

    I am so happy that a bike like this is hitting the market. It’s really set up to be able to ride in your work clothes, low maintenance, and has everything you need on the stock model.

    My commuter bike has a full enclosed chain guard like this bike. What I’ve found is that I don’t need to oil the chain until it’s time to replace the chain. The new chain goes on lubed and then by keeping it away from the elements, stays nice. With the internal hub and drum brake, the only maintenance I’ve done on the bike over the past couple thousand miles is to adjust the front brake.

    There are a couple of things I’d wish for on this bike. I wish they’d offer a true step-through model. The bike I ride came in a diamond frame, women’s, or step-through. I love having the step though for lots of reasons. One of the main ones is that it makes for an incredibly tall and relaxed geometry, that lets me easily mount and dismount. I’ve named this bike, my primary commuter, “Dreamy”.

    A rear lock, generator hub, and luggage straps would also be nice. But, maybe this will be the first entry of many European commuter style bicycles. Maybe later models will make me even happier.

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  • Cecil September 22, 2006 at 3:46 pm

    Jim – if you don’t mind revealing, how much did you end up paying to get the Azor from FLA?
    (you can e-mail off list at car@hhw.com if you don’t want to publish to the world) Thanks

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  • JimK September 22, 2006 at 4:23 pm

    I think I paid about $1490 to http://www.dutchbikes.us plus $300 for shipping. This is for the deluxe model, i.e. 8 speed Nexus hub, front hub dynamo, Brooks B66 saddle, and also a frame-fixed front rack. I’ve carried maybe 50 pounds of groceries in my front basket – a Wald Giant Delivery Basket is a good fit – and the bike handles fine with that load.

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  • SKiD September 23, 2006 at 12:24 am

    I think if you are going to have fenders and lights, there should be a brake on both wheels. And as we discovered tonight the Electra feet forward design increase the wheelbase just enough to make it NOT fit on a bus bike rack. I have a feeling that it won’t hang on the MAX trolley either. Crying shame because this feet-forward design is getting a lot of people back onto bikes. Novice and liesure cyclists like to have their feet on the ground while sitting on the seat, which you can’t do with a conventional “diamond” or “safety” frame unless you set your seat so low that your legs never straighten out.

    I like it. I especially like the pinstriping.

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  • vj September 23, 2006 at 9:02 am

    Skid -
    Electra has a number of bikes that have coaster brakes. Whether they’re legal or not, I have no idea.

    I have a townie 3speed, with the feet forward design, and getting it on & off the MAX is a nightmare. It’s really hard to manuever, given that it’s long, and the bike just isn’t designed to be walked by the handbars. I can hang it on the hook, but my fenders are on the floor, and getting it off the hook is a something best done when the train is empty.

    It is a shame. It’s very fun to ride.

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  • Cate September 23, 2006 at 10:12 am

    River City Bicycles sells the Bianchi Milano.

    I live in SW and having 7-speeds is great. From what I’ve heard, the 7-speed internal hub range is about the same as the 10-speeds from the 70′s.

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  • Jonathan Maus September 23, 2006 at 10:26 am

    I heard from Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves:

    “Yes, we are aware of this bike and plan on ordering bunches of them. They haven’t started accepting orders yet but you can bet we’ll have a bunch.”

    I hope to get a report from Interbike with more details from Jay about this and other cool news (since I unfortunately will not be there).

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  • SKiD September 23, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Vj: I am a big fan of the Electra bikes. Of course a bike with a coaster brake only isn’t illegal, it is a running joke from the fixed gear discussion.
    Jonathan and Timo figured out a way to get the bike to fit by turning the handlebars 180 degrees but i am not sure that will work if your Electra has V-brakes and it definitely work work with the motorcycle triple tree-style front end that the Electra Rat Fink has. I like my homebuilt cruisers a lot but that Rat Fink is the bomb. The Amsterdam is beautiful too.

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  • TimmyC September 23, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    You’re my hero for posting this! I hadn’t heard of or seen anything about this. As much of a fan as I am of Empo and Gazelle citybikes, it would be AWESOME to see Electra’s idea catch on here in the states.

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  • F. September 23, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    My lbs here in San Diego(calcoast) is also aware of these bikes. I forgot to ask if they were gonna stock it but from the sound of it, they seem really interested and might have a few of them. They already stock giant’s Cypress, very similar to the Electra Amsterdam

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  • DL Byron September 24, 2006 at 9:32 am

    Check Jason’s posts on Bike Minivans in Copehagen.

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  • Ethan September 25, 2006 at 8:45 am

    Close, but no cigar.

    With all due respect to our fixie brethren, this thing is a novelty bike, like much of the rest of the electra lineup, without a Nexus 7 or 8 hub, and better braking. It would seem that the company is at a crossroads, perhaps launching more into serious transportation bikes (thay have done this with a few non-euro models already) . . . or maintaining their brand, which has till now been centered around fetish/retro bikes.

    Still, it is great to see them offer this style.

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  • Carl September 25, 2006 at 9:52 am

    Considering that the classic Dutch city bike is a heavy steel-framed single-speed with a coaster brake, adding a 3-speed, a dynamo, and (though I’m not a fan) an aluminum frame make this a step up. Sure, a front brake, an 8-speed, and a dynamo hub would be another step up, but I’d argue that those are unnecessary luxuries that, particularly in the case of the dynamo hub, just mean more stuff to break.

    With the exception of some trailer-hauling, there isn’t a single ride I’ve been on here in Portland for which this bike would not have been suited. The range on a 3-speed is surprisingly wide.

    The only glaring omission that I can see on this bike is a built-in lock, but Electra probably recognized that in throw-it-in-the-truck America, frame locks are a bit quaint (though aesthetically Electra usually embraces the “quaint” and nostalgic and this bike is no exception).

    This type of bike is exactly what we need. Portland’s bike racks are smothered in mountain bikes and road bikes trying to be city bikes and, in one way or another, they all have unfortunate compromises. This bike is the right tool for the job.

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  • todd September 25, 2006 at 10:24 am

    I’m with Carl; I said similar in comments here: http://todd.cleverchimp.com/blog/?p=149#comment-11360 . Who’s to say this photo isn’t just of the base model, with wider gearing and front drum brakes etc. available for a little more? Hey wait, who’s to stop those upgrades from happening at the LBS? A lot depends on price. If this bike comes out around $300, I think it could be revolutionary. $600 and it’s a fetish.

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  • Adrian Hands September 25, 2006 at 11:01 am

    Sweet!

    Pashley also makes some great high-quality traditional style bikes:
    http://www.pashley.co.uk/products/roadster-classic.html

    Gilbert Anderson, at North Road Bicycle Co. imports them into the U.S.: http://www.northroadbicycle.com/
    He’s got a lot of experience with custom set-ups for Dynamos, internal hubs, baskets, etc…

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  • Anonymous September 25, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Here’s the thing a lot of “commuters” or “hardcore cyclists” don’t understand: not everybody wants what you want out of a bike. Some want utter and complete simplicity. Some want a bike that is comfortable that they can put along the waterfront with on the weekends. Some want to win the criterium. Some want to get to work in a certain amount of time and be dry. Some want a challenge and see bikes as soem sort quasi kinetic art sculture and practicality is not even considered. Some like to jump dirt mounds and fly high in the air…..

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  • SKiDmark September 25, 2006 at 1:41 pm

    Here’s the thing a lot of “commuters” or “hardcore cyclists” don’t understand: not everybody wants what you want out of a bike. Some want utter and complete simplicity. Some want a bike that is comfortable that they can put along the waterfront with on the weekends. Some want to win the criterium. Some want to get to work in a certain amount of time and be dry. Some want a challenge and see bikes as soem sort quasi kinetic art sculture and practicality is not even considered. Some like to jump dirt mounds and fly high in the air…..

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  • Craig September 28, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Nearly all cruisers, and many kids bikes come with coaster brakes only. This includes the many vacation rental bikes. I’m sure a coaster brake is a legal bicycle brake in nearly any juristiction. Whether it is sufficient is a different question. I would a front brake if I was going to use this bike off of a bike path.
    BTW Electra has an add in the latest Bicycling for this bike. It is a very classic looking bike.
    Craig

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  • Matt September 29, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    A similar bike which is already available is the Breezer Uptown 8. It has the Nexus 8-speed rear hub, front and rear brakes, rack, kickstand, chainguard (though not fully-enclosed chaincase), Nexus front hub generator driving headlight and taillight, and a built-in rear lock. It’s aluminum framed (oh, and has reflective-sidewall tires, too). It might even have a bell. It’s not as classic-looking as this Electra but is very functional.

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  • F. September 30, 2006 at 1:46 am

    I just got word from my LBS that I can pre-order this bike now if I talk to the onwer. The price is estimated to be around $550 but I can’t confirm it. They showed me a brochure and this bike will come out with at least 4 different models/color.

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  • todd September 30, 2006 at 9:05 am

    There’s another photo here: http://rodale.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/electra_amsterdam.jpg

    Unconfirmed/rumor pricing is ~$550.

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  • mary October 2, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    I think I’m exactly the kind of person this bike is intended to appeal to — lazy, out of shape, easily intimidated, and as much concerned with style as function — (I should say “one kind” — I don’t mean to denigrate others who likes this bike!) — and boy, I really love it! One of the things that appeals to me most is the skirt guard, but it occurs to me I could put one on my existing old 3 speed and save some money. This probably isn’t the right place to ask this — so forgive — but does anyone know where you can buy skirt guards in Portland? (I don’t need directions on how to make one myself — google got me that far!) I asked at a bike shop here in Portland a couple of years ago and the person working there had never heard of them.

    Thanks1

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  • brettoo October 2, 2006 at 3:31 pm

    I love the feet forward retro look, but I’ve heard that that design prevents you from fully using your quad muscles and thus deprives you of power. Not that I’m a power biker — just an in-city rider who occasionally hits the Springwater and trails like t hat — but is it really worth it to have to pump that much harder just so your feet touch the ground easily?

    Don’t get me wrong — I love the looks of this bike, and Townies, and would consider getting one but I’d need to know how much harder it is to ride on Portland’s moderate hills than my current cheap Specialized hybrid, and what other advantages it offers, so please enlighten. thanks.

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  • vj October 2, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Mary -
    I’ve never seen coat/skirt guards for sale separate from a bike in the US. Hopefully if the Electra is popular, that will no longer be the case.

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  • mark October 3, 2006 at 8:30 am

    just got back from interbike. this bike is really great in person, and i think it could be a great way to turn non users into users, and provide super simple, reliable transport in most cities. it is true that the price is $550 for either model. there is a steel model that is equipped with a rack, coat guard, chaincase, and generator lights. the aluminum model does not have the lights, rack, or guard, but is the same price. the steel one is the steal.

    the chaincase is not fully enclosed. it is open on the backside except near the chainring, which is covered in back too.

    the rumor from the electra folks is that they intend to make the rack, and coat guard available aftermarket for the alloy version eventually. no date for that though.

    they hope to have the bikes ready for delivery to lbs in time for christmas.

    several colors for both models, more in ladies than mens. the usual suspects, maroon, black, dark green, cream, blue, etc.

    i hope that boston can benefit from a bike like this. i believe it can. it may not be the ultimate commuter bike, but it is a great start towards changing the mentality of american city dwellers and their surgical attachment to their cars. i don’t know if it will change the world, but it is a good start.

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  • [...] As a follow up to my post about Electra’s new Amsterdam city bike, Bike Gallery’s marketing guy Kris Schamp has just posted more information and photos they took at the recent Interbike trade show. Apparently their head buyer was so impressed with the bike at the show that they’ve put in an order for 200 bikes that should be available by mid-December. [Not too shabby.] [...]

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  • Curtis October 6, 2006 at 7:06 am

    Today’s Wall Street Journal has a nice article on the new generation of commuter biker, including the Electra Amsterdam *which is prices at $459).

    It begins:

    “A radical idea is sweeping the world of American bicycle manufacturing: building bikes that people will use for actual transportation.

    After decades of pushing models designed for recreation, from full-suspension mountain bikes to ever-faster road bikes, industry heavyweights are now moving into commuters — rugged specimens made for riding to work. Nearly every major manufacturer has a new or revised commuter model for 2007. They may look like 1940s Schwinns, but materials like aluminum and carbon make the frames lighter, while technological advances mean better brakes, shock-absorbing seats, smoother shifters and even electric power. The models usually come with practical accessories, like racks for carrying briefcases, fenders for splash protection on wet roads, lights that turn on automatically at dusk and big chain guards to keep legs and clothing away from chain grease….. ”

    I think it’s subscription only, but here it is:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116010158918484570.html?mod=weekend_journal_primary_hs

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  • Michael in CT October 6, 2006 at 7:11 am

    Thank you very much for writing about this exciting bicycle with comments that ring very true to me. I just returned from Copenhagen, which similarly, has similarly designed models whizzing by throughout the city or parked at the central train station.

    Anyways, I wanted to point out that today’s (Friday, October 6, 2006) Wall Street Journal has a good article and a couple of photos of this new Electra offering and some info on other bikes of note. Perhaps the article will answer some other people’s curiousity. It’s on Page One of the ‘Weekend Journal” section.

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  • Curtis October 6, 2006 at 7:48 am

    Ooops… my bad. The price for the Electra Amsterdam is %550. I misread the article.

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  • Brad October 6, 2006 at 8:29 am

    On a similar note, I was channel surfing last night and stumbled across a Travel Channel show about Lyon, France. The hostess goes to this kiosk where you can rent bikes with your credit card.

    I started thinking, “What a brilliant idea!”. It works a bit like Flexcar and was called Velo. You insert a credit card in the kiosk to release the locked bike from a rack of about six steeds. The first 30 minutes are free with each hour afterwards costing $2.50. The bikes are sort of space age looking (French designers to be sure) but have fenders and baskets for carrying stuff. I wonder if something like this would work in Portland? Tourists could grab one to get around town and folks living in The Pearl or South Waterfront could saddle up for quick errand trips or just cruise around on nice days. I like the idea since it allows people with limited funds or storage to enjoy bikes without the costs or hassles of ownership. Most importantly, it gets people out of cars for those short but necessary trips we all need to make.

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  • Jonathan Maus October 6, 2006 at 8:53 am

    Brad, just FYI, I covered this program last year.

    Here’s the article:

    “French bike rental system shows promise”

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  • links for 2006-10-13 | A Whole Lotta Nothing October 13, 2006 at 1:31 am

    [...] BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » First look at Electra’s new “Amsterdam” bike wow. can’t wait until this comes out (tags: wishlist cycling) [...]

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  • Nate Haeffner October 16, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    Ok,,,It was like they had read my mind…..and there it was front page of Electra’s website…….I’ve had many layovers in Amsterdam as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines…I’ve searched high and low in Portland for a Dutch simple style bike….I bought a Townie 8 and had a shimano front generator hub installed for front and back lights….and then……..they come out with it!!

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  • Todd in Long Beach, CA October 31, 2006 at 11:51 am

    I am about to purchase something also, and I have been searching for the perfect ride for me in my city. Nate, I just recieved an email response from Scott Payton at Electra yesterday, he was responding to an email I sent to him requesting inforamation on the Townie 8 700c model with in hub lights, in hub gears, fenders, and rack. I can’t find this on the Electra web site but I have seen it in stores. Is this the one you got?

    I have also been looking at the Breezer Uptown 8
    http://www.breezerbikes.com/bike_details.cfm?bikeType=town&frame=d&bike=uptown

    the German company; Biria (a true step though design!)
    http://www.biria.com/bicycles/

    Kettler makes a similer city cruisers, also from Germany (I saw it at a Sports Chalet)
    http://www.kettlerusa.com/page14.html

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  • Ian November 3, 2006 at 9:40 am

    Re: built in locks

    In the Netherlands, having a built in rear wheel lock is a requirement for theft insurance. You need to present the key (normally held by the lock when open) when making a claim to prove that you locked your bike. I even remember some Dutch PSA’s on TV to remind you to lock your bike.

    That said, are there any dealers in the US that sell an aftermarket rear wheel lock? My dad got one for his bike while on vacation in Europe.

    P.S. It’s November. What’s the ETA on the Amsterdam arriving in town?

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  • [...] Barnum also threw in the ever popular, “what if your chain breaks?” question. I don’t know how to begin to express what a silly and irrelevant question that is. Mark didn’t touch it either. All I can say is, don’t get too excited about that new Electra Amsterdam. As far as Balzer’s logic is concerned, that bike, with its coaster brake, is illegal. [...]

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  • [...] The Electra Amsterdam will be available in December [...]

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  • [...] The long-awaited, Dutch-inspired Electra Amsterdams have hit U.S. bike shops, and it just so happens there’s one in my basement right now ;-). [...]

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  • [...] When I first saw the Electra Amsterdam in an ad in Bicycling Magazine I was stunned. Not just by the bike’s drop-dead gorgeous looks, but because of what the bike signified to the U.S. bike industry and American cycling in general. [...]

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  • michael white January 8, 2007 at 5:52 am

    This bike has little in common with any real Dutch bike except a few style points. It’s a beach cruiser in euro drag. Dutch bikes are excellent, indestructible tools which live outside 24-7, let you see what’s ahead, take trolley tracks at 12 mph while carrying the shopping on back, etc. This is for fat-ass poseurs who ride it a few times in the park, then hang it up forever, like all beach cruisers. I wish that we had real bikes made for riding, but perhaps that’s not realistic in this culture. We’ll have to do what we’ve always done here, cobble the bikes together ourselves. Cheers,

    mw

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  • michael white January 8, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    sorry if that came off a bit harsh. I was just really irritated by looking at the UK Cannondale 2007 offerings: they are exporting some truly beautiful, brilliantly designed city bikes which we don’t get here. I’m angry at our culture. But the Electra does really rankle me. I don’t think it’s really made for riding. I rode one in a parking lot once, and it was like, wow, that’s just like my sofa! only, you don’t want your bike to ride like a sofa. This bike is all show, no go. The Jamis, Breezer, and yes, the Bianchi city bikes impress me much more as bikes I could get around on and enjoy RIDIHG for a long time. (My current commute bikes include a converted mtn bike (Litespeed) and converted road bike (Jamis).

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  • victor January 19, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    to answer post #61 and a other few questions about availability of dutch bike accessories: our bike shop will specialize in accessories such as rear bike locks, rear bags, and dynamo hubs for converting or adding on to your existing dutch bike. please email us with any inquiries or orders. victor@raincitybikes.com thank you. vc

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  • Dan R February 5, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I have been THIS close to importing a Pashley from England or a Dutch bike from dutchbike.uk or even one from a Vancouver Canada company Jorg & Olif. So finding this bike is a dream. I have only ever had big Raliegh Cruisers my whole life, so no front brake or only 3 speeds is fine by me. It’s three speeds more than I’ve ever had. It’s light, it fits into my city’s bus racks, and it’s the same color as the Pashley. Reading the threads, you all seem to be way more in to bikes than this bike is geared toward. This bike is the alternate to my car, and I am not much of a driver, this gets me smartly from A to B and back again…

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  • Ronnie G. February 14, 2007 at 3:40 am

    That bike is hogly. It’s your standard, masochistic, prudish and drab, commie-bike. Barf.

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  • J.P. Szpakowski February 14, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Hello:
    So, the comment by Ronnie G. was acceptable, but my comment about the Electra being made in China was removed. What does that MEAN??????
    Hmmm……….

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  • Jonathan Maus February 14, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    J.P.

    your other comment was caught in the spam filter and was deleted. it was probably caught because of excessive exclamation marks (usually a sign of spam).

    Please consider retyping your comment.

    thanks.

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  • Little Tigermiss April 22, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    I have the Bianchi now. I spent a little while gazing lovingly at the Electra’s but neith bicycle shop we went to had any on the shopfloor to show me. I suspected the Electra’s would be heavy too. My Bianchi is a very smooth and sturdy ride, very secure feeling. It’s pretty fast and I’m a bit of a lazy pedaller. It actually stands up properly on it’s kickstand.It looks gorgeous (mine is the black version with step through) The best thing for me though is that I can carry it up and down our 2 flights of steps with no problems and I am only 5’2″, so in terms of a best friend bicycle that goes everywhere with you and that you can easily carry, this would be good.

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  • ha_asfan May 7, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    I had the Bianchi Milano for two summers, didn’t care for it. i found the Milano to be slow to get going and not wonderfully maneuverable. Also, my oolor choice was unfortunate. Black would have been more appropriate. I returned to riding a Kona which I adore. Dutch bikes are always sometihng I’ve greatly admired and enjoyed in The Netherlands. Some are like trucks and once the bike has broken you in, you become one with the bike. Some of the higher end Dutch bikes I’ve ridden have simply been, wonderful. That said, riding a Dutch bike in The Netherlands is not the same as riding the same bike here. The Dutch bicyclist rides witin a riding mentality, everyone rides, everyone is aware of bicycles and it is very different to biking in less hospitable areas where bikes are frequently seen as intruders. I’m going to be looking at and riding an Amsterdam tomorrow…for me, it looks like a nice bike for neighborhood visits and leisurely cruises. It’s also a nice bike to ride to appointments, like pulling up in a fine motor car.

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  • ha_asfan May 10, 2007 at 4:24 am

    I looked at the Amsterdam, it was a disappointment. If you want a true Dutch bike, you’ve got to buy a true and genuine Dutch bike. The Amsterdam, at first glance looks fine but, as most things today, it is a pale immitation of the genuine article.

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  • studioloraine May 14, 2007 at 6:15 am

    what a lucky mommy! I just received this bike for mother’s day and I love it! It is so beautiful and I have a big dumb grin on my face the whole time while riding it. Like previous posts, yes, it is kind of heavy – but I think it is important to consider what it is – it is a city cruising bike, not made to throw over your back on a mountain! I have a minivan (the smallest one), which it fits fine in the back. Very fun ride…

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  • Christian May 21, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    I just tried out the Amsterdam in Chicago. I’d say it’s a good get around town bike though I’m sorry they chose 3 instead of 7 internal gears. It’s certainly comfortable and the aesthetic says, “c’mon ride a bike!” I’m a nurse and I often ride in my whites, (too much hassel to change at work), so the low, front mudflap and full chain guard are perfect for everyday clothes. $550 is a good price for what it provides. It’s lighter than my Kronan. I don’t know about hilly-er cities but this one’s good for neighborhood living in Chicago.

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  • Rokzane June 14, 2007 at 7:21 am

    To all those who look down on this bike, you can peddle off! :-) I love this bike as it allows me to ride again after suffering from tennis elbow and carpel tunnel syndrome. I can\’t handle hand brakes; they send shooting pain up and down my arm and cramp up my fingers, so a coaster brake is ideal and plenty fine for me. I also love the upright handle bars, which take pressure off my lower back and make riding much easier. I\’m not a competitive or an adventure cyclist. I ride for leisure, pleasure, and to replace my car as much as possible. I live in Denver, one of the top 10 of cycle friendly cities, and this bike gets me all around town on our extensive network of bike trails. I also don\’t mind only having 3 speeds; it\’s all I ever need anyway. Once upon a time I had a 24 speed mountain bike (in high school), but I only ever used 3 speeds anyway. My sister currently owns a 24 speed hybrid, but for commuting around town, she only uses the first 3 speeds.

    When I was looking for a bike, I also looked at the 7 speed Townies. They have one front hand brake and one rear coaster brake, but I passed on those because they did not have the upright handle bars and the front hand brake is on the right side, the side of my injured hand :(, so that model wasn\’t ideal.

    Anyway, for those who are suffering from hand, wrist, and elbow injuries, this bike is really ideal!

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  • Ingrid June 23, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    This is an old thread but I have to comment on this bike. I am originally from Holland and hadn\’t biked for over 10yrs (it ought to be a sin but there you have it). When I first test rode this bike, it felt very wobbly, but I thought that was my bike version of sea legs..I just hadn\’t been on a bike for that long. Well, one of the previous commenters is right (Mike something)..this is far from the real thing. It looks the part, but after having bought it and having ridden it for two days, I hate it! It does not feel stable and when you\’re going slow, it is tough to stay on it. I was explaining to my American husband that as a kid/teen, sometimes you\’d yak with other kids on bike and could even do so standing still sitting on the bike, no problem…well, not on this bike. I can\’t put my finger on it why it is.. but it just doesn\’t feel right still.
    I am going to return this bike and hope to be able to get something else. I like to be upright, but want something more stable. A City bike does not by definition have to be a thin wheeled bike that looks like this one. In fact, the old \’grandma\’ bikes had good thick tires.
    alrightie, enough of the belly aching.. if only we had proper bike lanes here in Austin, not just only designated areas and the hike and bike trails..
    adios portland..
    Ingrid

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  • [...] at Bikeportland celebrated the introduction of the Electra Amsterdam to the US market as indicative of a larger trend. Many commenters there compared the technical [...]

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  • Neil July 24, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Rolhoff hub….answer to any gearing problems…cool bike.

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  • BAW July 30, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Three speeds all you need? Come to West Virginia and say that. In a small, densely-populated, FLAT country like the Netherlands, perhaps. Not here in the \”Mountain State\”.

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  • Jessica Roberts July 30, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    I test-rode one of these last weekend, and really didn\’t like the geometry.

    I have a strongly negative physical reaction to the flat-foot \”technology\” (you sure it\’s a feature, not a bug, Electra?) thing. It feels wrong and inefficient and even dangerous, because I can\’t accelerate quickly or with control.

    So, even though it\’s handsome, it\’s not the bike for me.

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  • Suzanne September 14, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Comment to #71
    My daughter\’s Electra was made in Taiwan not China ( a huge difference). I would like to know if you can put a front brake on these bikes (she has a Gypsy), how much would it cost and where can I have it done. She uses the bike to get around her college campus which is quite hilly (Harrisonburg VA)

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  • Jerrod October 3, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Just bought one the other day.

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  • lurifox October 20, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    I love the churchill balloon from velorbis – http://www.velorbis.com

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  • pyrahead October 28, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Just got mine last week…ladies white classic. I\’ve been lusting after one for months now an am satisfied now that I actually own one. I use a bike to commute in and out of Boston and for weekend rides. This bike performs the way I need it to…and it is easy on my lower back which I injured last year. Not to mention it\’s drop dead gorgeous. The only real draw back for me is I have a really hard time biking large hills on this hottie. I am new to cycling on a regular basis (started last year since my back injury now prevents me from running and gas just costs too much) and this bike is just what I needed/wanted to help get me started.

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  • John Ramble December 8, 2007 at 7:07 am

    I have just been with work in Copenhagen and I saw the Velorbis Churchill Classic bike over there. It was amazing! I found the Velorbis showroom close to the trainstation, and could not resist to take a ride on this lovely bike. The quality of these bikes is something I have never seen before, and the detail of the whole build is fantastic. They seems to be flexible in terms of gears and breaksyste. I ended up spending two hours there! They also had a really cool version called Scrap Deluxe. You have to check it out on their website http://www.velorbis.com

    The guy in the showroom told me that the Velorbis brand will be launch in the US and Canada by the end of this year. I cant wait to buy my own!!!

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  • Messenger of Doom February 28, 2008 at 8:59 am

    £500 in the UK. What a f******* rip-off!

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  • TP May 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    I know this is a really old thread but I thought I would comment anyway. I have the Amsterdam Royal 8 (8 speed nexus hub). I ride approximately 200-250 miles a week on it as it is my primary mode of transport.

    Between a front basket, panniers, and my backpack I can easily carry 50-70 pounds of groceries and the bike doesn\’t seem to care (I have the women\’s model). I imagine that some features have changed since this thread started.

    I think it\’s sad to read so many comments trashing the bike and, more importantly, the comments about the people who ride them – fat, lazy, ride it once and hang it up, posers, wannabees, more money than brains, etc etc. People choose bikes for so many reasons. Your judgements just prove how arrogant you are to think that you are \”above\” such a bike.

    I do half-iron triathlons and ride a Specialized Ruby Pro for those. I have a mountain bike for trails and I even have a coaster hub beach cruiser for fun rides. The beach cruiser is GT, not Electra. Each bike has a purpose and each gets a lot of ride time.

    I initially contemplated the high shipping cost to get an \”authentic\” Dutch bike to California but decided to just go with the Electra. It\’s a perfect commuter, around town, errands, visit friends kind of bike. Those people who think that it\’s wobbly or unstable really need to work on their cycling skills. It\’s extremely simple to balance at an intersection on this bike.

    It\’s really silly to compare this bike to a Batavus or a Pashley or whatever else because that\’s not what it is. It\’s an American bike that is trying to *look* like a classic. Most of us don\’t leave them outside year round because it\’s not in our culture. Although most Americans wouldn\’t be using the Amsterdam as primary transport, I have certainly put this bike through the tests and it has proven to be a perfectly viable option for a transport bike. It probably does target a certain audience, being Electra and all, which is sad because after riding the Globe, Milano, and Breezer, this bike just screams comfort – and who doesn\’t want to be comfortable when the bike is his or her car?

    I would do just about anything to live in Portland. Unless you\’ve lived in cities that absolutely hate cyclists, you have no idea how good you have it. You should be embracing all kinds of bikes and the people who ride them because political power is gained in numbers. If your judgements discourage would-be cyclists from making the switch, all cyclists will suffer from a further lack of support.

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  • Amy May 26, 2008 at 10:20 am

    TP- thank you for that comment. I\’m new to biking, and in love with these Dutch bikes, but not sure I want to fork over the $2K to have an Azor Swan shipped and assembled. I\’ve been looking at the Royal 8, but the comments were getting me down about it. (I am not what many seem to think the target market is either.) Glad to hear you like it!

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  • brettoo May 27, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I think you just have to test ride it and see how it feels. I did (3-speed classic) last week at Clever Cycles, along with a Batavus Old Dutch. I found both remarkably comfortable compared to my current Specialized hybrid. The Batavus\’ ride was a bit smoother, but the Electra\’s gearing was smoother and I found it better for (moderate) climbing, both because of the slightly more reclined position (allowing you to use your arms to pull) and the very low 1st gear.

    I hated my only ride on a Townie but loved the comfortable upright position and smooth ride of both of these. Reminded me of riding a real Dutch bike in Holland last summer.

    Of course, one test ride can\’t reveal much if anything about durability. I need to ride it more, and try the 8 speed, and perhaps a Jorg & Olif, but at this point, I\’m leaning a bit toward the Electra because it\’s considerably cheaper and feels almost as good riding around town.
    I\’m so glad we have these choices now — I like this upright style a lot for around-town riding. What do others who\’ve tried them think?

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  • E August 7, 2008 at 10:32 am

    I got the step-thru classic about a week ago- I LOVE it! This is my \”first time\” with a \”real\” bicycle, though I have had some in the past (of the wal-mart variety). I think it\’s a great \”about town\” bike because the upright seating position is good for the casual ride around town or down the streets, and whereas the bike itself is not meant to go super fast, it is big, comfortable, and a great bike for commuting or getting groceries.

    I foresee the \”skirt guard\”, chain guard, and built in fenders coming in handy when it starts to rain here. And the fact that it comes with the front and rear light, and bell, and rack, are awesome for someone who might find it a hassle/ pricey to buy all of these separately (and get them to match!)

    On the downside, this doesn\’t seem like the type of bike you want to get if just want reliable transportation or are not willing to learn about bikes and put some work into it. Because of all of the built in (some might say \”unnecessary\”) features, it is more likely that something will need tweaking or fixing. I think if you get this bike, you need to be willing to learn how to fix and adjust its components, or at least have a good maintenance plan that is close by. If that is a concern, you might want to go for a townie or something else instead, since they seem to be a little lower maintenance and will get the job done.

    Another concern with the step-thru is mounting a lock. It\’s difficult to find a positioning that does not block or hinder the step thru. I eventually did with some help, but once again it\’s something that might frustrate someone new to biking.

    And you will need a good lock, because believe me, people will be envious of your bike. Its good looks can\’t be beat. Just keep in mind that, like with a significant other, you have to put some time and effort in for the relationship to work!

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  • First Rally-Almost « Jiangli November 17, 2008 at 6:03 am

    [...] in the Marin Redwood, but they don’t carry Electras-I’ve been lusting after the Amsterdam for a while (of course I read bike blogs). But I was nervous about spending $500, and I called jb [...]

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  • Dyer May 18, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Sure, great bike… but still way too expensive for the average person to feel good about buying.
    I like what you said here: “If only Wal-Mart and Target were selling these instead of the plastic toys they call bicycles, maybe more Americans would take bikes seriously.” Unfortunately, Americans base too many of their choices on trends and then go from there. Biking in Portland is trendy and too cool for the average person to feel comfotable going into Clever Cycles or the Bike Gallery to drop severala hundred dollars.

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