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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.