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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

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.