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How to Choose a Bike – Things to Consider

Category: Bike Trends








If you’re NEW to Cycling , aren’t up to speed on the latest, or just don’t “know anything about bikes…

Here’s a little “Bike 101” on some of the basic things to consider, to help you find the right bike.

Whether you’re a Comfort, Casual or Commuter Cyclist, Denman Bike Shop has a variety of bike options for you.

What is the Right Frame Style for Me?

UP- Right and Comfortable, or Bent-Over Performance Position?

Riding in a bent-over performance position, is more aerodynamic, and allows you to use more of your core muscles and upper body power to pull on the handlebars; as if you were rowing. However, this position can be hard on the lower back, neck and wrists.

With the design of more upright city, comfort and commuter bikes, many people prefer the feeling of cycling in an upright position. You have better eye contact with drivers, your shoulders are relaxed, and you can maintain this position for a longer period.

The degree of upright-ness depends on the frame design and handlebars, and can even be customized to your preference!

Classic Frame or Step-Thru?

While traditional the step-thru bicycle has been associated with women’s frames, many men enjoy the comfort of a step-thru bike, and we have a number of options that allow a Gentlemen to ride a style appropriate step-thru bike.

Classic Frames are traditionally associate with Men’s bikes, but many women like the look and feel of the classic frame. Typically speaking this type of frame design provides more strength , and may be preferred by a taller woman, for example.

Steel Frame or Aluminum?

Your typical comfort-city, cruiser or urban performance bike may come n either a Hi-ten Steel, Aluminum or Chromoly frame.

Hi-Ten Steel Frame bikes are a little heavier, usually cheaper, but do offer more compliance in the frame and some people prefer the feel of real steel.

Aluminum frames are noticeably lighter, however stiffer. They now have a Life-Time Guarantee on the frame, and are rust-proof. (keep in mind your chain and other components won’t be)

Chromoly is a type of steel, that is stronger and lighter than Hi-Ten Steel. The discerning cyclist may say that Chromoly has a better feel. Sometimes, a bike may be Steel with a Chromoly fork.

What kind of gears and brakes do you need?

What kind of gears and brakes you need depends on your preferences, level of physical fitness, how heavy your bike is, how far you’ll be riding and how steep the hills are!

Gears – Internal Or External?


External gears are traditional gearing system with cogs (chain rings) and a derailleur which changes the gears by moving the chain from one cog to another, either increasing or decreasing the level of resistance.

This type of system is what you find on a mountain bike, for example. It’s also the type of system where your chain could fall off, if your bikes is not properly maintained or if you “down-shift” too fast,

This type of “drivetrain” can be lighter than internal gears. Quality levels for External gears vary dramatically.


In this type of gearing system, the gears are enclosed within the wheel’s hub. There is no derailleur. It is a very clean, very low maintenance type of system. The most common are either 3 speed, or 8 speed. It may not sound like a lot of gears, but the range is actually quite wide.

Some of the Internal Geared bikes, also feature a Coaster (or Pedal brake)

Brakes – Hand Brakes, Foot Brakes, Disc Brakes, Roller Brakes – Oh My?

Coaster Brakes (Foot Brakes)

Are so easy to use, that’s how they teach kids to ride a bike. Just pedal backwards and you will stop. This type of brake is normally found on an internally geared bike hub, but not always.

Rim Brakes (V or caliper)

Have Standard rubber brake pads, are easy to clean, and affordable. They do wear out faster, and are not as effective in the rain.

Disc Brakes

Are good for Commuters who ride year round, including in heavy rain. Though, more expensive initially, in the long run maintainance is generally less as the pads last a lot longer.

In some instances they can be a bit noisy in the rain, and are susceptible to “parking damage”.

Roller or Drum Brake (Hub Brakes)

The Brakes are contained within the wheel out of the way of dirt and damage.

Comparable in performance to Disc brakes, hub brakes offer Zero Maintenance, consistent stopping power and nicer “lines” on a fashionable bike . They also make a great upgrade on a bike that can’t accommodate a disc.

How Do you know which one is right for you?

The best way to choose a bike is to come in and test ride! And remember, almost everything on a bike can be customized or personalized to fit your function or your fashion!

“Experience is knowledge, the rest is just information.” ~ Albert Einstein

The New Electra 2016 Townie Go! Demo w/ Bosch motor is Here and Ready to Test Ride! Pre Order Yours Today!

Category: Bike Trends, Current Events, Featured Items, News








Ah e-Bikes. “The closest you can get to a motorcycle without makin’ yo mamma cry.”

Thanks to Electra, I don’t need one anymore! With a 32 kilometer top out speed I’m moving faster than I normally pedal uphill all without having to break my “don’t go any faster than the speed you’re willing to crash at” rule.

The Townie Go!, much like it’s non-electric counterpart still comes with a lightweight aluminium frame and the same great flat foot technology that has made the regular Townies the best selling bike in North America. Couple that with the new mid-drive motor from Bosch, and you’re so balanced the Dalai Lama is coming to you for advice.

If you got the chance to take last years model for a spin, let me tell you, the new Townie Go for 2016 is a whole new animal. This year Electra has partnered with Bosch to bring you a compact but powerful 250 watt mid drive motor with an Intuvia control center and 4 different modes of assist; Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. That mid-drive motor also means you get to keep the Shimano 8 speed rear internal hub  and roller brakes for greater cruise control. Clean, compact and low maintenance, we love internal hubs!

The breakdown for the four modes of assist are as follows:

Eco: Effective support at maximum efficiency
Tour: Steady support for long tours
Sport: Immediate, powerful support for athletic riding off-road and in city traffic
Turbo: Direct, powerful support up to maximum cadence for athletic riding

This addresses my only complaint with the 2015 version, having multiple modes and a way to see them makes all the difference. Like the 2015 version it still has the “Get On and Go” throttleless system that adapts assistance based on cadence, but with the Intuvia control system you can also see your speed distance and battery power giving you a greater control over your ride.

And of course all the things that have made the Townie the best selling bike in North America are all still there, as well as integrated front and rear lighting powered by a Dynamo hub, fenders and rack and an Abus frame lock that is keyed alike with your battery for extra convenience.

Exciting, no? These babies are so hot Electra is already sold out until April in the US – the only way you’re going to get to see or try one of these before spring would be if we could get our hands on a demo unit before then…Which of course we did! It’s here now for the next week so DON’T WAIT!

This ride is visiting us for a limited time only so don’t delay! Come on down to our 2607 Main Street location between now and Christmas and give the future a spin!

Townie Go! 2016 models have now started to arrive in store but supplies are limited so don’t miss your chance! You’ll want to make sure you pre-order yours before it’s too late!

Schwalbe Balloon Tires, What’s the “BIG” deal?

Category: Featured Items








Well first of all, Schwalbe Balloon “Fat Frank” tires look incredibly handsome on just about any bike. Second, they’re made in Germany. Das ist gut, ja? Yes it is!

Traditionally, Cruiser bikes (and many comfort bikes) have Fat tires on them, but not so uber functional a tire as the Schwalbe Fat Frank. Standard fat tires have more rubber on the road; ergo more comfort and stability, but less speed.

Well, Fat meets Fast with Schwalbe’s Fat Frank Tires!   These tires have been specially designed so that they make your ride both smoother and faster, acting like a pneumatic cushion to absorb impacts. These lower air pressure, high volume tires actually have less roll resistance than standard skinny tires making them the Oxymoron of Bicycle Tires.

Fat Franks in 3 colours

And, with Kevlar guard for flat protection, the tires are also lighter which further translates to a faster ride.

Fat Franks can be installed on many bikes with a 26” wheel, not just Beach Cruisers. Electra’s Townie Balloon line come standard equipped with Fat Franks. But ,you can also put these tires on almost any Townie, cruiser or comfort bike.

Electra Townie Balloon 3i Mens'

Available in 3 colours, + NEW Brown with Cream Walls!  Why not come in and test ride a pair of Fat Franks at our Vancouver Bike Shop today!

Discover the difference of Electra’s comfort bike lines

Category: Bike Trends








When looking for a comfort bike, you can’t go wrong with the Electra brand.  With patented geometry, comfortable smooth rides, quality construction and style like no other, you’re sure to find one you’ll love.

But how do you know which Electra comfort or cruiser bike is right for you?   Well, speaking strictly in terms of function and not fashion (that’s another topic), the following factors affect the feel of your ride the most:

  • Frame geometry including pedal position
  • Handlebars
  • Wheels/tires

In this blog we’ll explain the difference between the ride feel of:

  • Electra Beach Cruisers
  • Electra Townies
  • Electra Amsterdams

If you’re looking for a comfort bike with a higher performance for faster city rides, then read these articles on  Electra Ticino and Electra Loft (coming soon!)

Electra Beach Cruisers

Cruisers are easy casual riding bikes, fully upright with wide comfy handlebars, 26” comfort wheels with fat tires.

The frame geometry on the Electra Cruiser has a slightly forward pedaling position, allowing a lower centre of gravity, more room in the cockpit, and better control than other cruiser bikes.

The bikes have wide handlebars that ride a little like driving a bus (big steering wheel).

The handle bars come back toward you so that you are sitting FULLY upright, on a nice wide comfy seat, with a smile on your face.

Thanks to the handle bar position, it’s very easy to stand up erect and pedal, allowing your body weight to do a lot of the work, making hills easier to climb.

Wide tires on 26” wheels  provide more traction and allow for more stability, rolling over a variety of terrain.

Traditionally,  beach cruisers have a pedal back to brake, with 3 -speed internal gears being the most popular.  Internal gears are clean and very low maintenance, and if properly built and maintained, will not present problems with chains falling off.

Some Electra Cruisers have 7 speeds (external with a derailleur like a mountain bike), and Hand  Brakes front and back.  These models are recommended for people who live in an area with steep hills.

There are so many colour and fashion choices in the Electra Cruisers.  A great place to start is our website catalogue.   Use the filters to narrow your selection.

Electra Townie

The Townie is Cruise-ee bike, similar to a beach cruiser but with a little more function.

Designed with Electra’s patented Flatfoot Technology, The Townie has an even more forward pedaling position than the Electra Cruisers.  On a Townie when you take your feet off the pedals, you can put your feet flat on the ground, and still have a proper leg extension, so you don’t hurt your knees.

The Townie’s Handlebars are higher in front of you and  feel more like driving a car.  You are not 100% fully upright;  leaning just a little, and still very happy!

Townie’s are all made of light-weight aluminum, and are a little lighter than the cruisers.  The step-through models make it easy to get on and off the bike.

Tires on the Townie are not as fat as the cruisers, but do still provide a comfort-stable ride.

The riding position on the Townie feels laid back, relaxed, and takes the pressure off your neck, shoulders, wrists and knees.  Though this riding position is not for a high performance ride, the Townie is an excellent choice for someone who has body pain and joint issues,  someone who is nervous about riding a bike, or is just looking for a really comfortable ride.

The most popular model is the Townie 7D, with 7 speeds (external), and hand brakes.    Those who prefer internal gears choose the Townie 3i which has a pedal brake on the back, and a hand brake on the front.

With the forward pedaling position, it’s not as easy to stand up and pedal on a Townie as it is on a Cruiser or Amsterdam, so if you have a lot of hills, the 21 speed version is recommended.

View the complete line of Electra Townie’s in our on-line Catalogue.

Electra Amsterdam

The Amsterdam model is a modern take on the Dutch city bike, made practical for North America.

The main difference between and Amsterdam and an Electra Cruiser is the wheel and tire size.  The Amsterdam has a taller 700C wheel (28” vs. 26” on the Cruiser), and a skinnier tire.  The taller wheel provides more travel with each pedal stroke, and the skinnier tire less roll resistance.  These two factors make the bike automatically faster than a cruiser.    However, at slower speeds and rolling over bumps you will find the Amsterdam to be less stable and bit wobbly if you have trouble keeping your balance.

The handlebars on the Amsterdam are not as wide as the Cruiser.  They come back towards you in a more narrow fashion, and allow for a fully upright riding position with elbows closer to your waist.    Just like with the Electra cruisers,   you’re able to stand up erect and pedal using your body weight to get up hills more easily.

All of the Amsterdams have internal gearing, with fully enclosed chain guard making them very clean and easy to ride with casual clothes.

Light-weight aluminum frames, have a deep step-through for easy on and off (Ladies Models), and the Slightly forward pedaling position provides a comfortable riding platform.

The Electra Amsterdam is a very popular bike for someone who is looking for upright comfort, but would like a little more performance out of their ride.  They’re Great for riding on city streets, seawalls, and hard packed trails such as Dykes.

View the line of Electra Amsterdam’s here.

Fit, Adjustments and Personalization

Each of these 3 lines of Electra bikes come in 1 size fits most frames.  Seats and handlebars are very adjustable.  Unless you are shorter than 4’10 or taller than 6′ 2′ you’re likely to fit either the men’s or ladies models

As always, we recommend the best way to choose a bike is to take them for a test drive.

You can also change just about anything on a bike except the frame (seats, grips, handlebars, tires).  So it’s worthwhile to try them all.  You may find you like everything about the Townie, but prefer the Cruiser bars.  Change them, we say, and get yourself the perfect bike!

Come in to one of our Vancouver Bike Shops today and discover the difference of Electra’s comfort bikes.

Light, fast, comfortable Electra Ticino

Category: Bike Trends








If you’re looking for a comfort bike that’s light, fast and fun, check out the Electra Ticino.

I love the comfort of a beach cruiser with wide handle bars, cushy seat and comfy 26″ fat tires. But I also like speed!
Furthermore, my shoulder isn’t what it used to be and I have to lift my bike up a set of stairs each day.

Enter the Electra Ticino,

An upright bike that rides like a dream

Ticino 8D Wisteria

The Ticino is Modelled after the vintage touring bikes of the 40’s and 50’s, and named after a region of the Swiss Italian border that’s hilly.

This bike is super-light, 21 lbs compared to my 35 lb cruiser.
I can pick it up with one hand!

The light-weight frame and 700C wheels (taller and narrower than a beach cruiser) allow me to ride fast.

Equipped with:

Mixed-used treaded tires,
you can ride on streets as well as roll over hard pack trail such as the bike path at Jerricho Beach.

I never thought I would enjoy riding up hills so much!

With the tourist handlebars that come back towards you,
Riding up hills on this super-light weight bike is a breeze.

I’m able to stand up and pedal in a vertical position with my body weight doing more of the work. I like to alternate between sitting down in a low gear while leaning on the handlebars, and standing up in a high gear.   I find this allows my working muscle groups to alternate, making hill riding much easier than on a flat-bar commuter bike.

On the Ticino, I’m doing the stair-master up the hill, and I’m loving it! But don’t get me wrong…. it’s still a work-out!

The bike is stiffer when you hit bumps than a beach cruiser, and you’ll not want to ride over wet grass and really bumpy terrain, but this is a trade off I’m willing to make for all the other features it has.

Finally, there’s the benefit of riding upright. My wrists, back and neck don’t hurt, and I’m enjoying the view of the city on my beautiful and stylish “cruisee” bike.

Love my Ticino.

Check out our Selection online, and please come in and try one  for yourself!

Introducing the New Felt Café Line of Comfort Hybrids

Category: Bike Trends, Featured Items








The Felt Café comfort city bikes combine classic sophistication, with a relaxed ride feel and performance appeal.

Light-weight hydro-formed aluminum frames &  700C puncture-resistance Kevlar tires,   make these hybrids roll fast and easy.  Meanwhile, the partially swept back handlebars and frame geometry allow for an upright riding position that still allows the rider a performance feel.

Felt Cafe 8 Deluxe Ladies

8  and 24 speed models are equipped with easy to use grip-shift, V-Brakes, fenders and custom rear rack.

Felt Cafe 24 Deluxe Men's

For a casual cruise, the Café 3, includes a 3 speed Shimano Nexus internal hub with rear pedal brake, front hand brake and fenders.

Felt Cafe 3 Ladies

Available in Classic and Step-Thru frames

You can ride the distance in style and in comfort!

Many models are in stock now.

Click Here to check them out in our catalogue!

Leave your car and Ride like Royalty

Category: Bike Trends, Featured Items, Uncategorized








The best reason to leave your car behind and use Vancouver’s new downtown bike lanes is Electra’s Amsterdam Royal 8i .

Ride like Royalty on this European inspired bike.

The Amsterdam Royal 8i rides like it has an engine, thanks to Shimano’s 8 speed Nexus Internal hub.

Electra’s forward pedaling position provides balance and comfort with an upright cycling position, available in either step-thru or traditional frame.

Meanwhile, the Shimano nexus roller brakes stop safely and reliably in all weather, and contribute to the low maintenance appeal of this Regal Ride.

Arrive at work in style without having to change! The skirt/coat guard, full fenders with mud flaps and fully enclosed chain guard protect your fashion sense from harm.

For Vancouver’s rainy days, try the New Oxford Rain Cape from Brooks of England’s John Boultbee line.  This cape keeps you dry while avoiding having to wear unfashionable rain pants.

Also now available at the Denman Bike Shop, the New Bern Watts Helmet, for safety and subtle sophistication.

Here’s one glowing new Amsterdam owner who sold her car and now pedals her Sexy Boots business around town on the Amsterdam Royal 8i in white.  Check out her line of lovely boots at

The Royal 8 is perfect for keeping fashion boots clean !

Test Ride the Electra’s pinnacle of riding style and performance, the Amsterdam Royal 8i, at the Denman Bike Shop today.