Electra recently added the full Ticino line-up to their website.
Posted 9.22.09 in Industry News | Bookmark or Share
These look really nice.
The slack seat tube is a departure from the constructeurs, as others have noticed, but what’s equally striking is that they don’t seem to have changed the steering geometry. Like the old constructeur bikes, this one doesn’t seem to have a lot of trail– it’s got a reasonably angled head tube and lots of fork rake. It should be interesting to ride, but I can’t help but wonder if the lack of trail will make the bike feel funny with such a slack seat tube.
While I love the idea of these, the execution is just bizarre to me. What is the purpose of combining the following characteristics:
1. Flat-foot geometry. I.e., this is not a bicycle to use if you’re trying to go fast. It is purely for comfort.
2. Largest rear cog is either 27 or 26 on most models. 10-speed cluster on the highest end (Shimano 105) — a road-bike cluster. On the models with a front derailleur, there are only two chainwheels (neither of which is a granny gear). so, this part of the bike says road/racing bike.
3. Reverse brake levers. For the street-trendy/fixie-wanna-be crowd.
4. Very small randonneur rack on the rear. Not for carrying significant amounts of anything. More capacity than a road bike normally has, but far less than a practical bike has.
It’s as though they picked one characteristic that would appeal to each bicycle sub-culture, but the parts don’t create a whole that would appeal to anyone.
That said, I really think the women’s frames are pretty. If I could tolerate the bizarre flat-foot technology/geometry thing (which I can’t), I might get one. Even that said, if I run into an older person with some money to burn and interested in getting a bicycle to toodle around on, I might steer them toward the Ladies 8D in Plum. Very pretty.
These bikes appear to have the BB where it’s supposed to be. What makes them flat foot?
Right. Unlike Electra’s other recent models, the bottom bracket is in line with the seat tube. Otherwise the angles appear to be nearly identical to the Amsterdam (the image is a Ticino overlayed on an Amsterdam):
Perhaps they are not flat-foot?
Still, whether they technically are or not, that seat tube looks too slack (to me) to be considered “normal” geometry for an upright city bike. The women’s bicycles come in only one size (and the men’s only in two), and I believe part of Electra’s flat-foot claim is that that geometry allows one size to fit all. Right. Plus, that’s Electra’s “thing”.
I’d love to be wrong. It will take a test ride to find out.
That is certainly a slack seat tube, more so than most of the bikes you’d typically see here in the U.S., though I’ve seen Dutch roadsters with seat tube angles in that vicinity. As for the definition of a proprietary term like “flat foot”, I suppose that’s up to the manufacturer to decide. Certainly the Ticino can’t be considered “crank forward” since the bottom bracket is in line with the seat tube.
Thanks, Alan! I had my manufacturer’s proprietary terms mixed up! (Who is it that uses “flat foot…”? Anyway….) If it’s not crank-forward, that’s excellent news. I just hope the other characteristics (road-bike gearing, lack of carrying capacity) don’t prevent it from being practical as a city bike.
You were correct; it’s Electra that uses the term “flat foot”. My point was that it’s up to them to decide how to classify the Ticino since it’s their proprietary term. “Crank forward”, though being primarily used by RANS, is more widely used as a generic term to describe these types of bikes.
Yeah, the 20D gearing confuses me. 12-27 is a racer-roadie range, and this is not a racer-roadie bike. The commuter/utility-bike crowd needs a cogset that gives range to go up and down hills with a full load, not a cogset to keep your race cadence locked in. A mountain cassette would make more sense – say, 11-32 – and a compact double up front, or a decent road triple. I mean, the home-grown crankset looks pretty and all, but they really need a granny gear.
Is anyone as mystified as I am by the lack of a chain guard on almost all of these?
In my part of the woods 2009 was not the year of the beach cruiser, people were more interested in transportation style bicyles. I like the direction they are going, at least it seems like someone at Electra is paying attention and perhaps maybe someone at home base actually rides a bike.
I’ve nearly forgiven them for cross marketing with The Gap this last Christmas, building this bike restores my faith in them somewhat.