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Dutch City Bikes

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Dutch City Bikes

Old 01-16-11, 05:29 AM
  #1  
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Dutch City Bikes

So my wife and I are reading through David Owen's "Green Metropolis" book and I think she's getting convinced to move closer to Car Free.

We watched one of the "rush hour in amsterdam" kind of videos and she seemed to be pretty open to riding bikes like that. I was telling her how the relaxed geometry of the Dutch bikes they're riding makes it a lot slower, but relaxed ride. Also, with the step through frames it's a lot safer starting/stopping suddenly (or slipping in the rain/snow).

I looked online and most of the bikes that have these attributes (70 degree seat tube and head tube angle, clearance for wide tires, jacket/skirt fender, coaster hub) and they're either super expensive ($1200) bikes for yuppies that'll just get stolen, or super cheap crappy ones. Has anyone gone through a similar process in finding a good flatland city bike? What did you end up doing?

I've looked at a lot of options and I'm thinking of getting an older cruiser or something and putting on a 3 speed coaster hub and the whole works. It seems like that process can easily end up with price creep. I want something cheap enough that we can spray paint so it looks trashy, but nice enough that it's not breaking a lot (i don't want my wife crashing because of bad brakes or something, or get stuck in a gear).
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Old 01-16-11, 08:12 AM
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You don't say where you are located. Is it a flat area? What distances are you looking at? There are lots of options out there.

If you can find them old, Raleighs (or clones) can usually be had relatively inexpensively, are easy to work on and extremely durable.

Torker Bikes
makes several bikes that are suitable and fairly inexpensive. Look specifically at the T-530 and T300. I have a Redline R530 (no longer made) that is almost identical to the T-530. Base price is around $600, accessories extra...

There are many other brands out there that would be suitable too.

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Old 01-16-11, 08:57 AM
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i've been thinking of the same thing, but my guess is that i'll eventually end up with a mountain bike and riser bars.
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Old 01-16-11, 09:47 AM
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Check your local bike collective for a vintage mixte frame.
Seem like you could do really well recreating a city bike with one.
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Old 01-16-11, 01:45 PM
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One point to remember during your search for a good bike........DON'T BUY A BIG BOX MART BIKE!!

The mart bikes are only good for kids until they tear them up!!
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 01-16-11, 03:07 PM
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Try looking at the bikes from Public, Linus, or the Trek Belleville.

The Linus dutchi sounds close to what you want.

Last edited by Abneycat; 01-16-11 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 01-16-11, 09:04 PM
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Torker and other similar bikes

I have a Torker Cargo-T. I got it new for less than $500. It's a copy of the Batavus Personal Delivery, one of those $1300 bikes you were talking about. The difference is that the Dutch bikes are made to sit outside in the weather (like cars in the USA). They have treated frames, fully enclosed chains and all of the shiny bits are rust resistant. The Torker is fine, but wouldn't last as long if left outside.

There's a website that specializes in Utility and Transportation bikes available in the US and Canada:
https://www.bikesfortherestofus.com/
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Old 01-16-11, 11:37 PM
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Dutch making the bikes in their own country and then exporting them to the US
are going to be more costly than one made in China.. Wages are a cost..
Yuan is held low , where the Euro, as currency, is more than the dollar.
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Old 01-17-11, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Dutch making the bikes in their own country and then exporting them to the US
are going to be more costly than one made in China.. Wages are a cost..
Yuan is held low , where the Euro, as currency, is more than the dollar.
I agree as I own at present European made bikes only (Brompton & Raleigh Twenty-older UK made). I did pay a huge premium up front, especially for the Brompton. But the thing to consider is how the bike performed/aged during the time I had them. As for major problems, there has not been any for the now 5 years that I had the Brompton except for the chain jumping off the track just one time (and fixed on the road easily by my mechanically challenged self with no special tools or help). Ditto for the Raleigh Twenty. My former Chinese made bikes were ok for the first year or so (except for replacing defective parts on 2 different bikes from different years at purchase that were not spotted at the factory)-it fell on the dealer's shoulders to fix something that was not their fault). Then came the bad news that I could not replace the proprietary parts as they were no longer made (short production runs for only 1 year or so). So....now I only buy quality products that can be repaired, replaced, and proven reliable over the years. I will gladly pay far more for quality control and pride of workmanship over far east "bargain" products.

I think most people have forgotten these basic ideas and expectations since the shops are being flooded with cheap throwaway products.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 01-17-11 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 01-17-11, 09:39 PM
  #10  
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I'd love to get one of these style of bikes with a big cage up front for beer runs
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Old 01-17-11, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
I agree as I own at present European made bikes only (Brompton & Raleigh Twenty-older UK made). I did pay a huge premium up front, especially for the Brompton. But the thing to consider is how the bike performed/aged during the time I had them. As for major problems, there has not been any for the now 5 years that I had the Brompton except for the chain jumping off the track just one time (and fixed on the road easily by my mechanically challenged self with no special tools or help). Ditto for the Raleigh Twenty. My former Chinese made bikes were ok for the first year or so (except for replacing defective parts on 2 different bikes from different years at purchase that were not spotted at the factory)-it fell on the dealer's shoulders to fix something that was not their fault). Then came the bad news that I could not replace the proprietary parts as they were no longer made (short production runs for only 1 year or so). So....now I only buy quality products that can be repaired, replaced, and proven reliable over the years. I will gladly pay far more for quality control and pride of workmanship over far east "bargain" products.

I think most people have forgotten these basic ideas and expectations since the shops are being flooded with cheap throwaway products.
I agree with most of what you say here, esp. the part about being willing to pay more up front for quality that will last, but I disagree with your last statement, the one about the shops being flooded with cheap throwaway products. If you try to buy a bike in a department store then, yes, you will pay a lower price for a very crappy bike that will be inoperable within six months. On the other hand, every real bike shop I've been to recently is full of bicycles that are generally of high quality, and usually staffed by people who care about doing good work. I think that if you do a little research, go to a reputable bike shop, tell the people there exactly what your needs are, and are willing to drop $800-$1300, you will almost certainly leave with a decent bike that will last for many years. If you're willing to search around, you can get an equally good used bike for much, much less.
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Old 01-18-11, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post
I'd love to get one of these style of bikes with a big cage up front for beer runs
Lots of options for Beer Runs...this is mine

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Old 01-18-11, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I agree with most of what you say here, esp. the part about being willing to pay more up front for quality that will last, but I disagree with your last statement, the one about the shops being flooded with cheap throwaway products. If you try to buy a bike in a department store then, yes, you will pay a lower price for a very crappy bike that will be inoperable within six months. On the other hand, every real bike shop.....
Actually, I had more in mind other products besides bicycles only-and in other shops that sells these products. Every time I have to buy something nowadays, it becomes more of a "hit or miss" type of purchase. For example, I bought over the years electronic DVD players, mechanical sewing machines, and other similarly operational things on that order for the home. About 50 percent of the time, the unit functions fine during it's initial week of hard testing-I make a point to use that product each full day for a week-and will generally function for it's expected lifespan. The other 50 percent of the time, I have to return the malfunctioning unit back to the store during the first week for an exchange of another same model product as it simply fails to operate. I buy only from stores that have a generous easy return policy for that reason alone. Bike shops (I don't buy bikes from department stores) differ in the respect of they try to fix the bike before giving up completely on it. I have no idea what the other stores do with the reject products that are returned. I imagine that they are rotting in a dump somewhere.
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Old 02-09-11, 05:55 PM
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I took my GF with me on a business trip to Amsterdam for a week a couple of years ago... We rented bikes on the first day and we rode everywhere/everyday... she absolutely loved it! When we got home I found a used Electra Amsterdam on craigslist, and it hit the spot.

Now, I'm not claiming it's the same quality as a real Dutch bike, it's not. Then again, she doesn't fly off curbs, pop wheelies, take it mtn biking, etc... nor does she ride in the rain or snow. I clean & maintain it and and store it inside the garage (unlike the folks in Amsterdam). It's holding up great, no problems at all. She gets compliments ALL the time, and she is ready/willing to ride anywhere/anytime with me.

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Old 02-09-11, 07:27 PM
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Personally I have been wanting a dutch bike too, but I can't afford it with a car payment. I just saw one of those Linus mixte bikes over in Austin this last weekend and it was a beautiful bike. I don't know how much those cost though. One that has kinda found my interest a little bit is a Globe Live 2 Mixte here

Also on the cheaper end I think is KHS but I don't know how their reliability is. They have the Green and Cidi.

As for guys bikes I don't know much. My current Trek 7.3 I have it set up kinda like a dutch bike, but I don't think it is quite the same and is not as reliable as I would hope IMO. I still think a true dutch bike may blow them out of the water though still. Especially due to the fully enclosed drivetrain, skirt guards and lights with the hub generator.

Edit: I totally forgot about breezer, they are worth a good look too, and have the enclosed drivetrain on some models. Plus they fit in on the $600-$1000 budget.

Last edited by silentlysailing; 02-09-11 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 02-09-11, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by silentlysailing View Post
Also on the cheaper end I think is KHS but I don't know how their reliability is. They have the Green and Cidi.

Edit: I totally forgot about breezer, they are worth a good look too, and have the enclosed drivetrain on some models.
For the price of a bike and what it buys you in terms of transportation, anything less than $2000 will pay for itself pretty quickly. A bus pass here costs $50 a month. Put that $50 into your bicycle and see what it buys you over several years.

It's a steal!
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Old 02-09-11, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by silentlysailing View Post
One that has kinda found my interest a little bit is a Globe Live 2 Mixte here
I have a 2010 Live 2 (non-mixte model), and love it. The stock saddle isn't too great, but that's typical of a lot of bikes. With a somewhat fatter saddle more appropriate for upright riding, this bike is a dream. I'm hand making a frameset for myself next month - was going to make a similar frame and do away with the Live, but just couldn't find a decent reason why and am keeping the live and building a different style of frame instead. Quite a good bike.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:33 PM
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I love the Dutch and their uber-casual lifestyle.

These bikes wouldn't work in Richmond though, it's has too many long climbs.

Unless I'm missing something about these cycles?

Isn't The Netherlands basically flat?

I don't remember any hills in Amsterdam for some reason.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:19 PM
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A Kona Africabike that might fit what you're looking for. I don't know what MSRP is, I paid $329 for mine.

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Old 02-09-11, 11:07 PM
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Africa bike, easy.
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Old 02-10-11, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by JayButros View Post
I love the Dutch and their uber-casual lifestyle.

These bikes wouldn't work in Richmond though, it's has too many long climbs.

Unless I'm missing something about these cycles?

Isn't The Netherlands basically flat?

I don't remember any hills in Amsterdam for some reason.
Dutch bikes are beautiful but ultimately impractical in many cases. Seattle has a LBS that sells Dutch bikes, and when I went shopping for a new bike, I checked one out. I found it to be very cool, but too heavy even by my standards, too difficult to ride up hills, too slow, and far too expensive for such a poorly performing bike. A good touring bike costs less, performs the same function, and provides a better riding experience in much more varied terrain.

Apparently, a lot of other people have reached the same conclusion. The Dutch bike shop is still there, but they've converted over half of their space into a coffee bar, and that's the only part that seems to be doing any business.
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Old 02-10-11, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I found it to be very cool, but too heavy even by my standards, too difficult to ride up hills, too slow, and far too expensive for such a poorly performing bike.
That's kind of been my thoughts. I keep going back and forth between mtb, touring, or dutch bike.
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Old 02-10-11, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CarFreeFam4 View Post
A Kona Africabike that might fit what you're looking for. I don't know what MSRP is, I paid $329 for mine.
I was considering a Kona Africa Bike for a while-until the frame was "upgraded" to Aluminum in the recent ones. Now I pass.

Originally Posted by bragi View Post
Dutch bikes are beautiful but ultimately impractical in many cases. Seattle has a LBS that sells Dutch bikes, and when I went shopping for a new bike, I checked one out. I found it to be very cool, but too heavy even by my standards, too difficult to ride up hills, too slow, and far too expensive for such a poorly performing bike. A good touring bike costs less, performs the same function, and provides a better riding experience in much more varied terrain.

Apparently, a lot of other people have reached the same conclusion. The Dutch bike shop is still there, but they've converted over half of their space into a coffee bar, and that's the only part that seems to be doing any business.
I agree as the United States and Canada has a wide range in terrain environments. My old Dutch/German bike was actually a touring bike made for the similar hilly terrain found in Germany, Austria, and other countries like these. Since I bought it in the 1970s, it would have been considered "heavy" by today's standards. My present Raleigh Twenty is also considered very heavy by the same standards. As for buying these "expensive" bikes, I make a point of it as I ride the European way, plus I don't mind dismounting the bike and pushing up a steep hill-the bike is usually loaded down with groceries, hardware store supplies, etc. & I am spared not lugging these same packages directly on my own person. Bikes are utility vehicles in my world as they are in The Netherlands & similar countries. I use them for getting myself and my belongings around period. I never use "sport" in the same sentence describing any type of bike or using one here or anywhere on my Website series. Therefore, I buy the best product I can afford or locate just like I would in a house or car.

In the United States (and Canada too I think), Bike use is still recreational in nature-a glorified toy-and for the most part, there is no secure place to park them. So the disposable bike (far east made & cheap) is the way to go. Plus times are still hard (I don't believe the news anymore about the "improving" economy) and people are still not buying expensive anything right now-including genuine Dutch City bikes. Perhaps that is why your local Dutch bike shop had to add the coffee bar since that is still cheap and affordable even for an unemployed or underemployed person, not megabucks bikes or their accessories.

Originally Posted by JayButros View Post
I love the Dutch and their uber-casual lifestyle.

These bikes wouldn't work in Richmond though, it's has too many long climbs.

Unless I'm missing something about these cycles?

Isn't The Netherlands basically flat?

I don't remember any hills in Amsterdam for some reason.
I live surrounded by hills. I never let heavy steel bikes stop me from going up or down them 99% of the time!

Last edited by folder fanatic; 02-10-11 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 02-10-11, 07:38 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
I was considering a Kona Africa Bike for a while-until the frame was "upgraded" to Aluminum in the recent ones. Now I pass.
...
I live surrounded by hills. I never let heavy steel bikes stop me from going up or down them 99% of the time!
You are right, it is an upgrade... Congrats for bringing up something totally irrelevant.
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Old 02-10-11, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by electrik View Post
You are right, it is an upgrade... Congrats for bringing up something totally irrelevant.
I DON'T consider aluminum an upgrade in a bike frame.... so call me a retro grouch. I ride both and much prefer the ride quality and feel of steel, and yes I can tell the difference. The only advantage to aluminum that I am aware of is that it doesn't rust. That and I can get more money from the scrappers for it.

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