Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Batavus Old Dutch


Let's face it: the most utilitarian yet elegant bikes are the ones that are being pedaled everyday as basic transportation in Old World Europe. Just take a look at the blogs Amsterdamize and Copenhagenize. Europeans ride a whole lot more than Americans and they look good while doing it.

As some of us Americans have clamored for more "bikes for the rest of us," companies such as Batavus have tried to market their bikes here. The women's Old Dutch, pictured above, retailed for $829.99 at City Bikes, but it's currently not in stock.

Old Dutch is a 3-speed with an SRAM hub, making it ideal for cruising around a city. It comes with a "theft prevention chip" and a lock, but I would strongly suggest double locking it in underground parking garage. This is a bike that attracts attention.

Specs

Frame: High Tensile Steel (sizes 50-56)
Luggage rack: Steel
Taillight: Manual with battery
Tires: CST Traveller with anti-leakage layer
Bell: Chrome
Crank: Steel, chromium plated
Grips: Batavus comfort
Headlight: Traditional battery-powered
Pedals: Plastic anti-slip
Brakes: Coaster
Lock: Trelock RS420
Carrier Straps
Spokes: Stainless steel
Mudguards: Steel
Stand: Batavus Safety adjustable
Handlebars: Steel, chromium plated
Rims: Stainless steel
Saddle: Selle Royal 8274

Yes, that's a lot of steel. The Old Dutch weighs in at 19.7 kg, or about 44 pounds.

This is, in so many ways, the antithesis of most bikes being marketed to Americans today. Maybe, some day, our bike shops will look like this one visited by Dave Hembrow in the Netherlands. Until then, many of the best "bikes for the rest of us" will come from Europe.

9 comments:

Pepik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
2whls3spds said...

They are slowly but surely making an inroad in to the American cycling economy. Redline, KHS, Schwinn, Raleigh and Breezer (among several others) all offer off the shelf ready to ride bikes that fill the need. Getting the local bike shops to stock them is a different issue. Demand them! The more people that walk into a store, ask for a "city bike" and walk out without purchasing anything will get their attention. There are several dedicated stores around that get it. Clever Cycles being one of the ones that I am aware of. I have a Redline R530 that is being brought up to the Dutch standard. People in the US have got to get over the $69.95 price tag at Walmart and realize that quality costs. But even at $500+ a good quality bike is cheaper than the average one month car payment. Then we need to improve cycling infrastructure so people aren't afraid to get out and ride!

Aaron

Fiasco said...

I do think it seems excessive to pay $900 for a bike that weighs 44lbs, when you could pay $300 for a bike that weighs half that and add fenders, a big comfy seat, etc. yourself, and which will be much easier to ride around town, carry up the stairs, etc.

Joel said...

I love my '72 Schwinn Speedster - very similar to these bikes but cheaper ($75 from Craigslist). Yeah, it weighs a lot (and I lived 18 months carrying it up 4 floors) but it's stable and comfortable in a way that can't be recreated just by slapping similar parts on a different style frame.

Anonymous said...

For a premium quality Dutch style bicycle see www.velorbis.com - available through www.dutchbikes.us.

The velorbis bikes will soon feature in Desperate Housewifes.

David Hembrow said...

There is a lot more that is of importance on a bicycle than weight. For an everyday bike, this very much includes reliability. Real Dutch bike are very resistant to corrosion (see the brine bath used to test components in this video).

Besides, Dutch building codes have required ground floor cycle parking in one form or another for decades...

fietsguy said...

Here in Holland people rarely bring their bicycles indoors so they have to live outside (the bicycles not the people). The Dutch ride their bicycles a lot and expect that they will be reliable (as David says above) even when carrying kids, adult passengers, groceries and so on every day of the year, rain or shine.

It's not true that you can just take a $300 bike and add a few accessories to build a utility bike that will survive under these conditions. Some people do try here but they end up with a very compromised bike that quickly rusts away anyway. Ironically, once they've added all the necessary parts: puncture resistant tires, fenders, lights, parking stand, racks, chain cover, wheel lock... they weigh more than a bike originally equipped with them.

Oh, and the "dutch style" Velorbis bikes that anonymous plugs above are just overpriced and lower quality copies of English Pashleys.

cathy said...

I have one of these I brought back from A'dam (bought it used). In those "good old days" you could wheel your bike to the KLM counter, buy a box for about $30, load the bike in and roll it out the door upon arrival home. It weighs a ton but rides as smooth as a Cadillac. It is a bear to replace the tires, though.

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