Living life on two wheels occasionally gives me a chance to enjoy the day on a pedal variety bike. For such occasions, I purchased ride from what is perhaps the coolest bicycle manufacturers on the planet, Electra. Their latest selection of bikes includes models like the Rat Rod, Hellbilly, Straight 8, Punk, Betty, Karma, and Flying Sue. However, my ride of choice is the Rat Rod. Fashioned in homage to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth himself, this green monster of a chopper bike has got style coming out of its ape hangers. I happen to have the original version but they are now on the second edition and each is a limited production run. My bike has whitewall tires, white and green handgrips, and a sweet white seat. The new model has changed the white to orange for the rims and black for grips and seat. A minor change in the frame styling as well, but other than that, it is the same machine.
Electra produces an amazing product with state of the art gear systems and way cool, vintage styling. The internal hub that is used on all Electra bikes comes from Shimano. This company has created a totally contained hub that houses the gears, bearings, and brakes all in one. Because everything is located on the inside, there is never a need to adjust any of the components. Plus, the shifting is as smooth as a Harley paint job. You can even change gears while the bike is stopped! Try doing that on a traditional multi-speed bicycle.
Besides the coveted Cruiser line of bike by Electra, they have a line called the Townie. This is actually what had me perusing the website this evening. I remember taking the Townie for a test ride before I bought my Fink. It was smooth, stable, and very easy to ride. Electra attributes this to their “Flat Foot Technology,” which is simply the ability to place one’s feet flat on the ground at a stop. What it means to us as riders is that the seat height is low, our center of gravity is low, and the pedals are pushed out and placed more in front of the body than on a traditional bike. This allows the rider to sit upright and still gain the benefits of proper leg extension and maximum torque from each stride.
So, here I am, on the Electra website (www.electrabike.com) looking at the Townies, trying to decide if I should sell my beloved chopper bicycle in favor of comfort, style, and perhaps the ability to strap one of the younglings to the back, when my mind wanders… this is nothing new, I seem to have an attention deficit problem. So what do I do? Well, thinking of the kids of course, I start looking at motorcycles. I find a bunch of sidecar rigs that I think are butt ugly and then get interested in comparing the Ural to the Royal Enfield. So, I shoot on over to a dealer’s website and lo and behold, they sell Urals, Enfields, and Ridleys. Yes, those automatic motorcycles that have begun to come of age with aesthetics, but still have a funny little engine in them. Anyway, I digress. I see something that makes me shoot on over to Ridley’s homepage (www.ridleymotorcycle.com). They have a bicycle with an engine! Not like the pedal scooter I used to ride and my grandparent’s house in Myrtle Beach, but like the classic, original motorcycles. A part time, combustion powered bicycle! And are they ever sweet.
There are four models and each comes standard with a 49cc engine capable of approximately 24mph and gets about 120 miles per gallon. The models include the 1903 which sports a single speed with springer front end and shorty fenders, the Chief with its three speed transmission and distinct lack of fenders, the single speed Twin with its full length fender with license plate mounts in front and back, and the Desert Patrol with three speeds, full length fenders, a headlight, luggage rack, and leather roll bag behind the seat. Now you can’t beat that with a stick! But say you are a bit of a speed demon. Well, there is the optional 70cc engine that will propel you to a whopping 33 miles per hour. And there is no cost for that upgrade! But hey, when your ride looks this cool, do you really want to go whizzing by so fast people can’t get a good look?
MSRP for all four models is just $1999. However, I have noticed that if you put in an order now with Ridley, they are going for $1499. Talk about a bargain. Now, if I can just convince all of you wonderful folks to visit the ArtBiker store and get yourself a shirt, or perhaps order a limited edition ArtBiker print, perhaps I can get one of these babies in the garage.
Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,