The manufacturers of the highest selling leisure/cruiser bikes in the USA, Electra, are introducing their bikes into the UK market later this month.
Electra’s “Original Modern Cruisers” are based on the classic American designs of the 1940’s and 50’s and reflect the designers’ passion for Americana. The idea was to keep the look, but bring the bikes up to date in terms of weight and manoeuvrability with modern lightweight materials and components.
Electra have developed a range of leisure bikes for both men and women, with different styles and purposes. Any surfers will notice the surf-inspired ranges, such as Sunny Garcia (2001 world champion) signature line and the best-selling Hawaii.
The faces behind the brand are two Germans, Jeano and Benno, one an engineer, the other a graphic designer. They have been producing cruiser and comfort bikes from their base in the USA for nearly ten years now. They started off as a very small scale operation, producing just a handful of bikes that were sold through surf shops in the US. At the beginning it was mainly through word of mouth, surfer to surfer, that the reputation of Electra grew.The Electra Deluxe
Before long Electra had moved beyond the surf market and eventually the pair found their success extended to some European countries; Germany, Norway, Sweden Switzerland and Belgium. But the biggest boost to the company has been the untimely demise of Schwinn, since Schwinn disappeared from the scene, Electra’s business has quadrupled and they are now the top seller in the US leisure/cruiser market. Today, Electra claim to take inspiration from “the diversity, the inherent individuality, the character and yes, the soul of America”.
The latest move into the UK market has come about more through chance than design. On a shared stand at a US show (Electra are the US distributors for Whyte), a Whyte rep noticed the Electras and brought back a few brochures with him to the UK. The brochures went down very well in the offices of ATB sales, but Ross Patterson of ATB told us that it was their non-biking wives who “really went mad for the bikes” and asked for imports to be arranged. The breadth of appeal of the bikes was obvious, and ATB got on to Electra to organise UK distribution.
The bikes will require some slight modification for the UK market though, to comply with the UK law stipulating that bikes should have two independent brakes. The original coaster brakes will be added to with an extra hand-operated brake. Prices range from £219 for the basic, to £359 for the Deluxe Nexus, with the Hawaii coming in at £289.
The bikes are currently floating somewhere across the Atlantic and are due to arrive on the 28th of April and should be in the shops a couple of days later. For a full list of stockists more info on the bikes themselves check out the Electra UK website.