Saturday, April 11, 2009

Batavus in NYC

The Dutch are coming! And they're bringing their bikes with them.

I love my (no longer made) Batavus Barcelona in Amsterdam. It's the perfect city bike. For $800 new, the Batavus Old Dutch (pictured above) is a very good buy. It's a yuppie bike that makes sense. Especially if you got the money and can bring your bike inside. As a commuter bike, I'd definitely take it over the perfectly fine Bianchi Milano.

I didn't realize the Batavus brand bikes can be bought in North America. Even in NYC. Modsquad carries them.

The worst city bike? Any mountain bike with straight handlebars and no fenders--like most of the bikes out there.


Geoff Klock said...

why are mountain bikes bad city bikes?

PCM said...

The real question is why are they good city bikes? What's the advantage to heavy bikes with big treads and arm-shattering handlebars?

Is it going to kill you to ride a mountain bike around a city? Of course not. All bikes are good city bikes.

But city riding has none of the characteristics that mountain bikes are best suited for. Mountain bikes are designed for off-road hills and maintaining control of your bike on rough terrain.

City bikes, depending on what the rider wants, should either build for speed, comfort, or carrying lots of things. Mountain bikes usually fail on all three.

John said...

I agree with you on one point. Mountain Bikes USUALLY fail on all three. I would emphasize that suspension bikes usually fail, not necessarily mountain geometry. Of course most mountain bikes come with at least front suspension, knobby tires, and flat bars. All three things that I don't like. But I just finished my new city bike based on a mountain bike frame. I am comfortable on a mountain bike, although with the choices I made on handlebars kind of makes it more Dutch style. I got everything through Andreas, except the rear hub (I had to go through Harris for that).

Quick List:
Surly Karate Monkey 29er frame
Shimano alfine IG 8 spd rear hub
Avid BB7 Disk brakes
Nitto Albatross handlebars
Schwalbe Big Apple tire 29 x 2.3
Planet Bike Cascadia 29er fenders
Cetma 5 rail Rack

It is a different direction then you took with the Bluebird, or Salmon. For me, this is MY everyday commuter. Wet, dry, snow, typhoon, etc... I can carry whatever I need on the rack, from a big cooler to the park to my Dry bag with clothes for work. The huge tires roll smooth and surprisingly quick for there size. The massive air volume tends to suck up the road imperfections.

PCM said...

Cool bike! I don't know anything about bike geometry. I just get a frame a hope for the best. I wish I did understand what matters and what works, but I don't.

I am very impressed that you have steel frame. I didn't know you could find a steel mountain bike frame.

Thin tires are my preference, but just that. I've read enough to know that tire size is a matter for debate (and the smart folks at Rivendell, for instance, preach the wonders of fatter tires).

The handlebar shape is big. You've got it right. Think of the difference between grabbing the safety bar in front of you on the Cyclone versus gentle shaking a wise man's hand. That's the difference between flat bars and city bars with that bend toward the rider. The latter (and also drop handlebars) you can control with a very light touch going over very bumpy pavement. That makes a much nicer ride and saves your wrists and arms.

My only suggestion, especially for a single track: get a chain guard. Saves your pants and your chain.

didonia said...

Can anyone help me out? I am looking to buy a good commuting bike to use in NY, a Dutch one preferably.
I just don't know where I can find one that does not cost a small fortune.
Surely there must be some used or discounted Dutch bikes on sale somewhere in NYC, but where?

Thanks in advance!

PCM said...

I'm not so sure they must be around.

I doubt you can get one cheaply. They're just not that many of them around (and it's not like good Dutch bikes are cheap in Dutchyland, either).

There is no obvious place to go that I know. If money is more important than time, start the Craiglist hunt.