Electra has a new line of bikes for 2010. Ticino joins the family with seven men’s models and five women’s models, from the basic singlespeed Ticino 1 to the top-of-the-line Ticino 20D with a Shimano 105 grouppo. All models are equipped with fenders, and while the Ticino’s seatube angle is very relaxed, it is not as laidback as the "foot-forward" geometry found on the rest of the Electra line-up.
I rode a Ticino 18D, which is just one model down from the top. The $1500 price tag sounds a bit steep, but this is bike has a level of detail rarely seen outside a handmade bike show.
I could go on an on about the small details of this bike, but that would take way too long, so I’ll hit some highlights.
The crank is a modern interpretation of the famous French TA crank, but with modern shift ramps and pins on the chainrings. Hammered aluminum fenders cover the skinwall tires, which are mounted to a wheelset with high flange cut-out hubs complete with grease ports. Skinny steel racks are mounted front and rear (my tester didn’t have these) and leather is used for the grips, toe straps, and shoe guards on the chrome toe clips. These shiny chrome and alloy bits are hung on a Pistachio-painted aluminum frame. The only part that looks slightly out of place are the trigger shifters.
While hefting the Ticino into the back of the van for the trip back from Outdoor Demo I was impressed with how little it weighed. No scales were included with our Vegas rental house, but I’d estimate the weight to be in the low 20’s. The low weight combined with a relaxed upright position made for a fun and fast ride in traffic and around town. Handling was surprisingly quick, and combined with the road bike-like acceleration, made it easy to slice and dice my way through traffic. This quick handling (probably the result of a highly raked fork) might make it a bit of a handful at high speeds, but I doubt this bike will see many mountain descents.
So, is this bike a classic interpretation of a flat-bar road bike, or a modern interpretation of a classic upright touring bike? Does it matter? I certainly didn’t worry that much about how to classify this bike. You shouldn’t either. It is ideally suited for those looking for an upright position and classy looks, but who want to avoid the sluggish nature that usually accompanies this style of bike.
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