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Yesterday and today’s influence seen in Electra’s new ‘Ticino’ bikes

Posted by on August 18th, 2009 at 9:30 am

Electra’s new “Ticino”.

A source in the bike industry sent along these photos of Electra’s new “Ticino” line of bikes.

Slated to come out in 2010, the bike struck me as being very similar in look/style to some of the city bikes made by local builders right here in Portland (especially from builders like Mitch Pryor of MAP Bicycles, Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles, and Ira Ryan of Ira Ryan Cycles).

According our source, every part (except drivetrain components) on the Ticinos have been custom made by Electra and will be available aftermarket. The bikes will come in 1, 7, 8, 16, and 20-speed versions and will retail from $500 – $2,000. Availability in the U.S. is expected by late October/early November.

Here’s a little blurb I found on the Eurobike website:

“Ticino pays homage to the handbuilt bicycles off in the 50s and 60s, but does so with the design precision and integrity of today’s materials and manufacturing processes. Period-piece components, not produced in decades – were re-examined: retro-style hubs, cranksets, chainrings, tourist handlebars, brake levers, forks, pedals and rims – Ticino’s retooled parts retain the aesthetics of the originals, but apply highest performance.”

It seems clear that Electra wasn’t just paying attention to the bikes of the ’50s and ’60s when they designed this. The influence from modern-day custom builders is unmistakable…

I wonder how/if this bike might in turn influence local small builders. As I get ready to attend Interbike (America’s largest bike industry trade show) in Las Vegas next month, I’ll be taking a closer look at next year’s bike offerings.

I also might be getting one of these Ticinos to review. Stay tuned.

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  • Nick August 18, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Glad to see them making more tasteful bikes instead of the gaudy grandma style I usually associate with the name.

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  • Dave August 18, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I have to say, I was mildly hoping to see cottered cranks, but no such luck :)

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  • Dave August 18, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I’m a different Dave–it’s good to see cotters gone! Seriously, to quote my neighbor’s 15 year old–SWEET!

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  • Dave August 18, 2009 at 10:29 am

    They are pretty bikes – I hope they focus more on making them practical (that is, well built enough) for everyday use than they did with the Amsterdams.

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  • todd August 18, 2009 at 10:45 am

    i don’t see them copying modern artisanal builders as much as copying the same mid-century builders that some modern (local) ones do.

    i will be a little skeptical about build quality until i can check them out up close.

    does that fork blade say 420 tubing? *cough*

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  • PDXbiker August 18, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Looks nicely built, would like to see one when they come out. I also have an Electra Amsterdam. I use it for a break off the road bike, for a leisurely laid back ride. This “Ticino” would come off as a better commuter bike. Although for a top price of $2000 one has many options for purchasing decent machinery.

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  • Bent Bloke August 18, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Pretty bike, but those suicide brake levers look like an accident waiting to happen. Seems like it would be pretty easy to hook them on something as you ride by … maybe that’s why brake levers these days face the other direction.

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  • WOBG August 18, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Seconding #5. Locals and Electra are taking cues from Rene Herse and contemporaries.

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  • jv August 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Ditto on the suicide sharp reverse brake levers. I fail to see how those are useful or practical. Also, what exactly is supposed to be carried on that front rack? A single baguette?

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  • twistyaction August 18, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I have mixed feelings when I see the passion of a niche group of enthusiasts become the next mass co-opted trend. Check out this slideshow of Trek’s new line-up. Can you say unapologetically borrowing? I predict a big line of “innovative” cargo bikes from them next.

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  • joe adamski August 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    If I were PeeWee Herman.. I would covet this bike. Maybe I should head down to Chucks Bikeorama and see if they’re in stock.

    Actually, the lines and such remind me of a 50’s era cruiser more than anything else. Thats not a flaw.

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  • Dave August 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    This reminds me more of like a Schwinn Collegiate or something like that – kind of an around-town or on the college campus type bike. 50’s cruisers more often had the curved top tubes and big bottle or tank headlights and such, not such straight lines as this.

    The frame also shows Electra’s flat-foot deal, with the top tube slanted down towards the seat post.

    All in all, pretty classy looking, though I agree with JV about the racks, neither of them seem like they would be able to practically carry much of anything.

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  • Jeff Wills August 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Hmmm… the Eurobike site refers to this bike as “new in Europe” and not “new worldwide”. I’d bet 10 bucks that it’s a Europe-only model not slated for the USA. I’d wait until Interbike before lusting after it… but I’m a sucker for high-flange hubs. If those are high-flange cassette hubs… boy oh boy!

    I don’t think the brake levers would hook anything- it’s only due to the camera angle that they appear to stick out. The side view shows that they hang below “North Road” style handlebars, so the lever would be shielded by the bend of the handlebar.

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  • david August 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Dave #12,

    Ive got a root beer flavored ladies collegiate five sp. hanging in my rafters that looks very similar. Since it was “saved” from a crusher and retired I just had to ride it, although they do weigh about thirty-five pounds they ride smooth. Cost about forty-five dollars to re-road it. I don’t have to wait for a new one to come out.

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  • amos August 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Yes please.

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  • Donna August 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    This bike looks like Velo Orange was its interior decorator. ;)

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  • are August 18, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    re 12 you don’t get flat foot unless you offset the bottom bracket from the seat tube. this is a departure for Electra in at least that respect. interesting the extremely limited focal range in these photos, like they are trying to hide the details until the formal unveiling. is that leather on the toe clips? also, does a rack other than Electra’s own rack fit on either the front or rear? and how do you attach a pannier to either of them?

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  • Electra Chris August 18, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    A few notes:
    – Yes, it will be available in the US (Jeff #13, go ahead and send me the $10).
    – In addition to the derailleurs, we didn’t create the brakes, shifters, chains, headsets, seatposts or BBs. Most everything else was developed in-house by Electra.
    – 1, 7, 8, 16, 18 & 20-speed variants – seven total models (Europe does not get the 18).
    – also to Jeff #13 – high flange hubs are 8/9/10-speed cassette and will be available as aftermarket (also in flip-flop nutted F&R sets)
    – Most of the other exclusive Electra parts will also be available aftermarket (cranks, stems, saddles, wheelsets, fenders, racks, handlebars, etc.)

    -Chris from Electra

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  • John C August 18, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Love the bike. Pounded honjo fenders, cool randonneur racks (they support a front handlebar bag really well), and clean lines. I have a Surly Travelers Check built up like this with a nice leather saddle and leather bar tape. It’s the bike 90% of us should be riding IMHO. So comfy around town. A definite take off on PDX builders and many randonneur bikes. Velo Orange for sure! Great job Electra.

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  • John August 18, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    It’s interesting to see a bike like this being offered, but putting randonneur style on a bike with really slack angles, a sloping top tube, and upright bars doesn’t make too much sense to me.

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  • John August 18, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    The minimal racks are meant to support a boxy handlebar bag and a saddlebag, which also hang by a decaleur and saddlebag loops. Traditional randonneur style.

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  • CMark August 19, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Gorgeous!! OMG! The retro lines and styles are just absolute candy!! Gimme!!!

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  • […] More information can be found here. […]

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  • Esteban August 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I don’t the origin should be attributed to Velo Orange, who just remakes things already in existence or sells things available elsewhere. The origin would be a mix between the classic British 3-speed and a rando bike. So it seems, anyway.

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  • aloy August 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I try not to be too much of a safety nerd, but those levers freak me out.

    My friend just broke her arm and seriously injured her face because of a handlebar-practicality issue. Having the ends closed off by the brake levers seems to be a good way to catch your fingers and move the bar in a way you won’t really like.

    But, what a good-looking bike! (The “bike boutique” shallow-focus technique on the photos is a funny bonus.)

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  • Jeff Wills August 20, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Electra Chris (OK- which name do you want to use?)…

    Thank you, thank you. I’ve been waiting for someone to do pretty high-flange cassette hubs for a long, long time. There’s a couple other sets available (we’ve been talking about the possibilities at http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?p=9529403), but yours are the real deal. Once they’re available, I’ll all over them like butter on toast.

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  • Jeff Wills August 20, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Oh, yeah… Chris, if I make it to Interbike (not a sure thing- I’ve been out of the bike biz for a while), I’ll buy the first round.

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  • Electra Chris August 21, 2009 at 8:31 am

    @ Jeff Willis – Electra Chris is okay for now. Thanks for the link to the bikeforums.net page. We’re super-excited about the new line and the related parts.
    Look for more information in the near future.

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  • Anon of Florida August 22, 2009 at 9:31 am

    @Electra Chris

    Is that crank really a copy of the TA Cyclotouriste?

    As for the concerns regarding the brake levers: The idea of these is that the strongest fingers are the ones doing the bulk of the effort of braking.

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  • Electra Chris August 24, 2009 at 8:36 am

    @ Anon of Florida – we took inspiration from many of the iconic components from the golden age of cycling.

    But while our cranks may look like TA cranks, there are some important differences. Our crankarms are slightly larger and much stronger. Our chainrings, made specifically for us by FSA, incorporate modern shift ramps and pins to give contemporary shifting while maintaining classic aesthetics.


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  • Anon of Florida August 24, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    @ Electra Chris

    I am glad for the changes and considerations in this new crank.

    However my question was of a more technical nature. Are the bolt circle diameters the same? That is, can I upgrade the chainrings in an original TA crank with these new chainrings?

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  • Electra Chris August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    @ Anon of Florida

    Same BCD as TA cranks. We won’t be offering the chainrings as aftermarket equipment from the start, but we can consider it if demand exists


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  • Maude August 24, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    question for Electra Chris

    Im really motivated to go out and get a new bike RIGHT NOW, and had settled on a couple of bikes i thought would do the trick. But the Ticinos appear to be what i was hoping for all along. I can wait for what i want but only for so long. Any estimates on when they will become available in the U.S. ?
    P.S. will the chestnut metallic color be available in the lower speed versions?

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  • Electra Chris August 25, 2009 at 9:13 am

    @ Maude –

    At this point the Ticinos are due in to our warehouses late October. Chestnut metallic is only on our 20D model, but the colors offered on other models are pretty special too.


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  • Mark August 28, 2009 at 10:03 am

    This has nothing on the Nirve Eurosports and those have been out since last year. those are sweet! check those out on http://www.nirve.com

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  • Peter September 3, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Mark, I guess Nirve did not copy Masi? Give me a break. You can also buy Nirve online…so much for the dealer.

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  • Mark September 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Really? MASI didn’t copy some 70’s Lugged frame too? The Nirve looks more like a copy of a Bob Jackson with painted lugs and the seat tube stripes. It is sick. As far as the online It looks to be more than I could get it than from my local dealer when you add frt. So what does the dealer have to complain about? Unless just to bitch like normal. Plus wouldn’t it come in a box isn’t that another reason to go to a dealer?

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