Man's Greatest Invention

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. - Elizabeth West

Purpose and Mission

To share our experience and to encourage and inspire others to use a bicycle as a form of year round recreation and transportation. To be an example of living car-free and to help others to make the transition to having a car-light or car-free life style.

Our bodies is the engine that moves us.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Electra Ticino 20D

I recently had the opportunity to take an all too brief ride on a new Electra Ticino 20D.  I'm stunned by the amount of detailing on this bike.  Every part of the bike has been built with top shelf components. The overall low weight of the Ticino 20D shows up in how well it performs on the road.  It accelerates with not much effort .  I expected the bike to weigh much more the first time I picked it up. 

The riding position places the rider in an upright position and is very comfortable. 

 The bike has a long head tube which the top tube angles up to meet.  It makes a higher handlebar position possible, allowing the bars to be above the level of the saddle quite easily.

The deeper you look, the more evident it becomes that this bike was designed and built with care, starting with the frame.  The quality of the welds is very high indeed.  This speaks of a hand built bicycle.

The head tube and top tube junction.

The left side shows the stainless steel covered cables and internal routing.  A piece of rubber is attached to the cable to prevent the cable from damaging the paint and is a nice touch!

The brake cable exits the top tube and uses a seat post collar mounted cable stop for a clean look.

A close up shot of the smooth welds at the seat tube, top tube and seat stay junction.

The down tube, bottom bracket, seat tube and chain stay junction.

Even the brake bosses are smooth welded.

The Ticino 20D has a beautiful frame.  The quality of the welds is at a level far above what one normally sees from mass market manufacturers.  It shows that Electra built the 20D for a more discerning buyer.  The handcrafted, smooth welded, double butted 6066 aluminum frame is truly gorgeous.  The paint looks very deep and rich.

Traditional Hand-Brazed, Investment-Cast Crown, Triple-Butted, Tappered-Leg Cromoly Fork.  Nice curves!  The long curved fork blades give the front end a relaxed comfortable ride.

Double-Chromed Investment Crown.

Moving to the cockpit, the swept back aluminum handlebar has a lovely satin finish.

The stem is a traditional quill type.  The removable top cap hides the head of the tightening bolt.

Hand-Brazed and Hand-Polished.  Very nice!

Inverse brake levers and wrapped handlebar grips...

...match the Cyclo Tourist saddle that is very comfy.

The front end features a randonneur rack, hammered fenders and a classic looking wheelset.

The randonneur rack.

Five star high flange hubs with ceramic bearings.

Stainless steel eyeletted rims with a non-machined brake surface.

Constructeur rack and hammered fenders.

The rear hub.

Shimano 105 cassette and derailleur.

Ticino double crankset, Shimano 105 derailleur.

Rat trap pedals with leather covered toe clips.

Shifters are Dia-Compe down tube and friction, of course.

I love this bottle cage!

I had the bike out on a very familiar ride that I often do.  It's a 34 km loop that has a couple of pulse raising sections and the hills take some effort to climb.  I never thought I would be riding an Electra bike that so readily responded to me standing on the pedals and powering up the hills.  This bike cruises but is no beach cruiser. 

I've made this trip on numerous occasions on a selection of bikes.  What I'm struck by the most with the Ticino 20D is just how easily it rolled.  When I would ease up off the gas, the bike would want to continue its path only by the propulsion of its own weight.  It was an uncanny feeling to stop putting power into the pedals and experience such a little amount of speed reduction.  The bike felt like it would just roll and roll. 

At first I questioned the need for ceramic bearings on a bike such as this.  I've now become a believer.  This wheelset gives a connected "to the road" feel that I have not experienced before.  I was able to feel the bike rolling on a very hard surface.  It's the hardness of the ceramic bearings I was feeling.  Interesting!  These wheels are also available separately and I'll investigate them further.  I may have to pick up a pair to see how they perform on my randonneur.

The riding position is a little too upright for my liking but that could easily be solved with an after market handlebar.  I can see myself riding this bike with either a Nitto Moustache or a flipped Nitto North Road bar.  Although I found the stock cyclo tourist saddle quite comfortable, a Brooks saddle would do quite nicely too.  That is all I would consider changing.

Electra has done such a fine job with the details that just some minor adjustments to the riding position would be all that's needed. I really enjoyed the time I spent on this bike.  It was comfortable, efficient and fun.  I'll sum up with what another rider on the bike path said to me:  "great bike, very nice".  I agree!  Well done Electra !

Quite a handsome machine.

Spotted in the wild.



  1. I have the 16D and love it! The 20D is such a beautiful looking bike. I agree with you, the attention to detail is usually found on smaller brands, and not the larger manufacturers. Its a good departure from their traditional cruiser line for sure. Thanks for the review.

  2. A big departure from their cruiser line for sure, yet very much an Electra. Glad your loving your 16D.

  3. The welds on this 20D are finished smooth, not welded that way. The Shimano 105 derailleur, down tube shifters and smoothed welds set his model apart from the 18D. BTW, all these bikes are available right now (Jan-2012) at steep discount for prior year models. Check with your dealer. Nearly half off while they have whse. inventory. My two friends and I bought 18D's just today. Yep, 3 bikes! We fell in love with the polished parts and attention to detail. We normally ride racing bikes but this bike will be good for a local rails to trail!