It took a Swiss and a German obsessed with American pop-culture to bring the cruiser bike to the world scene; to invite a whole new demographic to the world of cycling.
In the early nineties, extreme sports enthusiast and talented graphic designer Benno Bänziger had found that the snowboarding and skateboarding industries were awash with pre-established brands, and so sought a new avenue to explore with his newly established design firm Projekt Design in California.
A creative mind found an outlet in an industry that you might think was much more crowded than those action sports oriented markets he had originally worked in. But Bänziger found what appeared to be a small untapped niche within the cycling industry; a niche that would later turn out to be a gaping hole. Other established brands were soon chasing, developing their own products to get in on the latest trend.
When Bänziger met German Jeano Erforth, he was selling pieces of the Berlin Wall. They both put forward their own funds – Erforth promising to handle the sales side of things – and Electra Bikes was born.
The idea was simple, and like all simple ideas was beautiful. Bänziger once said “I wanted to introduce the 'having a bike in your life' factor, as opposed to 'being a cyclist.’”
So they set out to create a range of bikes that were comfortable and easy to ride: bikes that anyone could ride, whenever they wanted to.
Not surprisingly, retailers didn’t think much of Electra Bikes to begin with. Designs were radical, riding positions were 'inefficient' and they thought they just wouldn’t sell. But they were soon proved wrong. There was an immediate demand for stylish bikes that offered a relaxed riding position – perfect for cruising about town.
In 2003, Electra released the game-changing ‘Townie’ which for the first time showcased their Flat Foot Technology. FFT was designed to allow riders to remain on the saddle while putting one foot flat on the floor. They achieved this by positioning the seat post further back over the rear triangle and moving the bottom bracket and crankset forward. This allowed full leg extension and more efficient riding, a comfortable upright position and relaxed arms...the perfect cruiser model. Tie it all together with hot-rod inspired curves and cool graphics and Electra was setting the bar for cruiser bikes around the world, soon to be imitated by other brands, and soon to pique the interest of American and international cycling industry giant Trek.
In 2014, Trek acquired Electra Bicycle Company, and has helped expand operations and distribution into Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
The Loft is Electra’s slightly more aggressive lightweight city commuter. It is available in fixed and geared options, perfect for the ride to work, or to your neighbours BBQ.
The Amsterdam get its name from the Dutch city bikes that dot the streets around Europe. Designed with versatility and comfort in mind, the Amsterdam comes with luggage racks, chain guards and the characteristic flat foot technology.
Inspired by the Europe of the 40’s and 50’s, the Ticino is a stylish road / cruiser hybrid: lightweight and with a range of optional accessories, the city is your playground.
The bike that set them on the path to world dominance, you can have an Electra Cruiser bike in a huge range of stylish designs and configurations inspired by fashion, the automotive industry, and by the American culture that first drew Bänziger to Californian shores.
Electra has stayed at the forefront of cycling trends and industry development, producing their own line of electric and power assisted bikes to further expand their reach and encourage even more people to consider riding as their dominant means of transportation.
It’s not just about the bikes themselves. Electra has expanded their operations over the years to develop their own range of accessories that work in perfect unison with their bikes, and stylish clothing to make you look the part when you are out exploring the roads of your beloved city.