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Old 09-22-08, 12:41 PM   #1
tsalyards
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Picking a Dutch bike: Velorbis, Azor, Biria, etc.

Hello,

I'm in the process of researching a Dutch-style city bike for commuting to work and general errands around the city. My requirements for such a bike are partially practical and partially emotional:

- Full chain guard
- Fenders
- Upright riding position (not hunkered over mountain or road bike style)
- Sealed bearings
- Sealed shifting (3 or 8 speeds)
- Good rust resistance to survive a Minnesota Winter and lots of salt on the roads
- Frame size of at least 61 or 64 cm (24-26") I'm 6'2 with a 34" inseam
- Traditional styling

Initially I was looking for something in the sub $700 category, which lead me to the Electra Amsterdam, the Biria Classic Dutch, or Kronan Swedish army copy. The Electra bike was eliminated because the Amsterdam has been recalled and I used to own an Electra. It's frame was extremely sub par in quality and it had rusted out after one Winter. The Biria has been eliminated because they are sold out until Spring of next year and the Kronan because its frame is too small.

Now I'm looking at just dropping the big bucks on a proper Danish or Dutch manufactured bike. I'm specifically interested in the Azor Opa and Velorbis Churchill.

Are there any other bikes out there that I should be considering? I prefer traditional styling because it reminds me of my days riding around on a Dutch bike in Northern Germany.

Please don't respond with unhelpful comments like "I don't understand why somebody would buy such a heavy/slow/inefficient bike." The lycra/bike courier-poser crowd shouldn't question century old designs from countries that actually ride bikes on a day-to-day basis. They've figured it out long ago and don't confuse utility bikes with sporting equipment.

Thanks!

-Tad
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Old 09-22-08, 12:49 PM   #2
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I would not consider the Biria EZ boarding bike for such use. If you go downhill in one at speeds ~20 mph, there's a shimmy of sorts. Plus, the components are not too great--the fenders and kickstand seem cheap.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:09 PM   #3
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Bianchi Milano?
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Old 09-22-08, 01:26 PM   #4
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You might consider the Batavus Favoriet.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:36 PM   #5
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I would not consider the Biria EZ boarding bike for such use. If you go downhill in one at speeds ~20 mph, there's a shimmy of sorts. Plus, the components are not too great--the fenders and kickstand seem cheap.
Agreeing with The Dave here in that our Biria U-frame is a flatlander bike, hauling butt down the big hills is on the spooky side.
The fenders seem to be the same as Planet Bike fenders and the kickstand is a Greenfield rear triangle mount.

{edit**

The frame of our Biria is a tank. It'll last much longer than you.

Last edited by Allen; 09-22-08 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:56 PM   #6
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The Electra bike was eliminated because the Amsterdam has been recalled and I used to own an Electra. It's frame was extremely sub par in quality and it had rusted out after one Winter.
The Amsterdam recall was just the chainguard - not a big deal. I'm not a huge fan of the bike, but don't see the frame to be of lesser quality than any of the others. Then again, I couldn't care less about lugs.
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Old 09-22-08, 02:02 PM   #7
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If you don't mind powering a 47 pound bike, check out the Pashley Roadster Sovereign. It's about as European as it gets.

http://www.bicycling.com/gear/detail...1670-0,00.html
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Old 09-22-08, 02:12 PM   #8
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You might consider the Redline R530:

http://www.redlinebicycles.com/adultbikes/R530.html
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Old 09-22-08, 02:36 PM   #9
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Also consider the velorbis churchill balloon its a 26" wheel version of the churchill with fat frank tyres and missing the coat guard, I own one and it is a fantastic bicycle. The upright ride with the big tyres is very comfortable and it looks great.

Other wise there are some german bikes from Retrovelo which are beautiful looking utility bikes.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:12 PM   #10
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Thanks for the recommendations. Does anybody know of a US dealer for Paschel?

Keep em' coming if you can.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:31 PM   #11
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North Roads Bikes in Raleigh, NC. They do a Roadster Sovereign delivered to a local Amtrak Station for about $1500. Salud!! -- Z.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:46 PM   #12
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Test rode Kruisframe by "Dutch Bike" the other day- wicked smooth!
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Old 09-22-08, 08:20 PM   #13
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Too bad about the grip shift on the Kruisframe, otherwise it looks like a cool bike.

I wonder how a Pedersen would ride.

http://www.pedersen-bike.dk/pedersenbikes.htm
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Old 09-23-08, 11:43 AM   #14
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Test rode Kruisframe by "Dutch Bike" the other day- wicked smooth!
That bike is also produced by Azor...which I assume is the largest Dutch manufacturer of traditional city bikes. I did not notice the grib shifting either (it looks like this plagues all of the Azor models). That's not something I want to deal with either. If I go that route I will likely have them replaced.
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Old 09-23-08, 03:32 PM   #15
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My co-author at AustinBikeBlog has written about the Electra Amsterdam (review here) and Azor Secret Service (review here and here.) He initially liked the Electra but there were some serious safety issues with it. It also did not appear to be as durable as a true Dutch bike.

He then agonized over an Azor versus Velorbis ("The Agony of Indecision"). He went with the Azor. From everything I've read since and people I've talked to, it looks like her made the right decision by going with the Azor. I've heard not so good things about the Velorbis's but nothing but good things about the Azors.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:57 AM   #16
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Thanks for the great posts on the Azor. I emailed the US distributor of Pashley asking for information about shipping to my state and haven't received a reply three days. That's sort of a customer service deal breaker for me. The fine folks at Dutch Bike Co responded to my queries within hours. At the end of October I'll be taking a trip to their new Chicago store to do some test rides and figure out what frame size I need.
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Old 09-24-08, 06:43 PM   #17
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Gilbert at North Road Bicycles (arguably the best Pashley dealer in Caswell county, NC) is a great guy - I got a Roadster Sovereign from him last year. I think North Road is a one-man operation, though, so that might account for the delay in responding.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:37 AM   #18
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What companies actually manufacture the junkers that people ride around Amsterdam on? I've been thinking about buying one next time I'm over there and shipping it to the states (which I know would be damn expensive, but when in Amsterdam...).

I'd love a city-bike for winter commuting and commuting in general. Whenever I get on the cross bike I use for commuting now and put my hands on the drops I can't help but go at it as if I were in a time trial (which on Monday resulted in aggravating my sinus infection and barely being able to leave my bed for two days).
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Old 09-25-08, 11:02 AM   #19
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What companies actually manufacture the junkers that people ride around Amsterdam on?
There are a lot of different brands over there, but the Azor and Batavus bikes seem to be quality brands. Myblog co-author had a Union, but his impression was that is was the Dutch version of a Walmart bike. I'd get a decent bike if you are going through all the trouble of having a bike shipped.
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Old 09-25-08, 06:56 PM   #20
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I test rode a Pashley Princess Sovereign, the Batavus Old Dutch, Batavus Personal Bike, and Biria Classic Dutch. I ended up buying the Biria because I thought it was the best value for the money. I've been riding it recreationally for a couple of months and I quite like it. My only comment is that I'm not a fan of the grips, otherwise, it's really really fun.

I know that this is probably not helpful, since you've eliminated the Biria as an alternative. But, I just thought I'd weigh in. I'm a big fan of Dutch-style bikes, so good luck to you!
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Old 09-25-08, 07:41 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsalyards View Post
Hello,

I'm in the process of researching a Dutch-style city bike for commuting to work and general errands around the city. My requirements for such a bike are partially practical and partially emotional:

- Full chain guard
- Fenders
- Upright riding position (not hunkered over mountain or road bike style)
- Sealed bearings
- Sealed shifting (3 or 8 speeds)
- Good rust resistance to survive a Minnesota Winter and lots of salt on the roads
- Frame size of at least 61 or 64 cm (24-26") I'm 6'2 with a 34" inseam
- Traditional styling

Initially I was looking for something in the sub $700 category, which lead me to the Electra Amsterdam, the Biria Classic Dutch, or Kronan Swedish army copy. The Electra bike was eliminated because the Amsterdam has been recalled and I used to own an Electra. It's frame was extremely sub par in quality and it had rusted out after one Winter. The Biria has been eliminated because they are sold out until Spring of next year and the Kronan because its frame is too small.

Now I'm looking at just dropping the big bucks on a proper Danish or Dutch manufactured bike. I'm specifically interested in the Azor Opa and Velorbis Churchill.

Are there any other bikes out there that I should be considering? I prefer traditional styling because it reminds me of my days riding around on a Dutch bike in Northern Germany.

Please don't respond with unhelpful comments like "I don't understand why somebody would buy such a heavy/slow/inefficient bike." The lycra/bike courier-poser crowd shouldn't question century old designs from countries that actually ride bikes on a day-to-day basis. They've figured it out long ago and don't confuse utility bikes with sporting equipment.

Thanks!

-Tad
Most dutch bikes have about a 64 degree seat tube so you will likely find a 21 inch frame will work for you. This is because as you raise the seat post, you also move the seat back more than on a conventional frame.
I sell the Biria Classic Dutch sries, and it's a good sturdy (heavy) bike, but like all dutch style bikes, rear wheel removal is a serious PITA. I'd reccomend upgrading to Scwalbe Marathon tires or something like them to minimize risk of punctures.
This bike has 28" (635mm) wheels, so tire selection is limited, but the Schwalbe is offered in this size.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:58 PM   #22
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Why has nobody mentioned Breezers?
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Old 09-25-08, 09:05 PM   #23
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I just looked at the Pederson site. I'd never heard of Pederson before now.

My prostate hurts just looking at them.
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Old 09-26-08, 07:23 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukasz View Post
What companies actually manufacture the junkers that people ride around Amsterdam on? I've been thinking about buying one next time I'm over there and shipping it to the states (which I know would be damn expensive, but when in Amsterdam...).

I'd love a city-bike for winter commuting and commuting in general. Whenever I get on the cross bike I use for commuting now and put my hands on the drops I can't help but go at it as if I were in a time trial (which on Monday resulted in aggravating my sinus infection and barely being able to leave my bed for two days).
too many to list. buy a gazelle omafiets, or a batavus personal bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikinpolitico View Post
There are a lot of different brands over there, but the Azor and Batavus bikes seem to be quality brands. Myblog co-author had a Union, but his impression was that is was the Dutch version of a Walmart bike. I'd get a decent bike if you are going through all the trouble of having a bike shipped.
apart from one or two brands, they're all walmart level bikes.
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Old 09-26-08, 09:11 AM   #25
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apart from one or two brands, they're all walmart level bikes.
I did not find the Azor, Retrovelos, Pashleys, or Batavus to be on the same planet as the best bike Walmart sells. That's 2-3 more brands than you've indicated.
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