Electra makes bikes well-suited for city cycling, but Trisha and I knew them only by reputation, advertising, and second-hand sightings. Today we stopped by a bike shop to take a closer look. Unfortunately, the shop recently sold its only lady’s Electra Amsterdam, so we were left with a Townie and diamond-frame Amsterdam Sport.
The Electra Townie Original 7D is priced around $400 and has a 7-speed derailleur and aluminum frame. The ride was smooth, but the bike is bulky with a beach cruiser vibe, which is not Trisha’s style. Electra touts their “Flat Foot technology,” which is supposed to let you rest flat-footed when you come to a stop, but when the seat was high enough to allow for full leg extension, only the balls of Trisha’s feet touched the ground. [Trisha says: this wasn’t a problem since I’m used to not having my feet flat on the ground, but I thought it was strange that it didn’t work as advertised for me.] However, during our ride we came upon a woman who owns the 21-speed version and said she loves hers.
The Electra Amsterdam Sport is priced at $750 and has an aluminum frame, swept-back bars, 9-speed derailleur, fenders, and no chain case, lights, rack or bell. The shop had only the diamond frame version, but there is a “women’s” version – a mixte frame! I enjoyed the ride on the Amsterdam Sport a lot. For someone looking for a new commuter, I put this in a class with bikes to consider seriously. It’s lightweight and quick, but the ride is surprisingly smooth for aluminum. The seat post angle is more like a Dutch bike, so my legs go slightly forward while pedaling instead of straight down, but the torso position is sporty with the handlebars even with the seat.
The experience at the bike shop was … interesting. I don’t have to add commentary, I’ll simply repeat some choice quotes from the guy assisting us.
“You girls aren’t dressed for test riding bikes.”
“You can’t ride that bike in a skirt…I’m just trying to save you some embarassment.”
“You girls should stay on the sidewalk…be careful out there, girls.”
“How was your photo shoot?” (because Trisha had a camera in her hand)
We do this legwork so you don’t have to :)
To see lots of real-world Electra Amsterdam action, check out Girls and Bicycles.