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Dutch & other Euro bikes @ Interbike

by Richard Masoner

There was quite a bit of response when Seattle Bike Supply began importing the Dutch Batavus bikes into the United States. Seattle Bike Supply had a huge display at Interbike 2007 with a large portion devoted to the Batavus Dutch Bikes.

Batavus delivery bike

Dutch Batavus bike

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to ask how much interest there’s been in this bike from dealers and consumers. I’ll try to follow up with that information later.

Another interesting import from Helkama Velox in Finland. The red bike is the 3-speed Helkama “Ainotar,” which comes complete with fenders, skirt guard, full chain guard, rack, basket, and front and rear lights powered by a front-hub dynamo. It’s a nice looking bike. A minor drawback is that the lights are old style incandescent halogen lamps, while everybody in the United States has moved to bright LEDs. The importer was at Interbike to line up dealers.

Helkama Ainotar Finnish bike

The German Retrovelo bike builders were also at Interbike 2007 lining up dealers for their unique town bikes. The brown bike below looks like a singlespeed bike, but the crank is an interesting planetary gear mechanism from Schlumpf Innovations in Germany. The Schlumpf Speed Drive gives you different gear rations without changing the chain tension at all by engaging and disengaging a planetary gear within the crank.

The red bike is an 8-speed fat tire city bike — they asked me not to call it a “cruiser”. The designers told me they’re inspired by American cruiser designs but with European practicality and sensibility. Check out the sensible features like fenders, front-hub dynamo and lights, and the slick-looking chainguard.

German Retro Velo

Retro Velo 3 speed

 
Burley nomad 229

13 Responses to “Dutch & other Euro bikes @ Interbike”

  1. Ghost Rider says:

    Mmmm…I love those Dutch bikes! You chose some great ones to photograph, too.

    I think that they’ll meet with a lot of interest in America, despite our love of high-tech and sleekness. There’s just something about the classic styling and utilitarian features about European bikes that makes them so appealing, particularly for savvy city dwellers.

    Did you see any “bakfietsen” while you were at Interbike? Now THOSE are truly intriguing, but a bit on the expensive side, especially for folks who already have and use other utility bikes.

  2. Mike Myers says:

    I like the panniers on the black Batavus. Very traditional looking. Does anyone know what they’re made from?

  3. Ghost Rider says:

    Those panniers look like canvas and leather…sort of like the Ostrich bags that Velo Orange sells — and VERY stylish!

  4. Mike Myers says:

    There’s a posting on the Velo Orange blog that mentions Brooks’ showings at Interbike. Brooks is going to sell panniers, eveidently. Fritz, did you see those? Any pics?

  5. Fritz says:

    Bakfiets: Unfortunately I didn’t see any, but in three days I probably saw 10% of the vendors at the show — it’s a big floor! Clever Cycles was there at Interbike but as a retail attendee — no booth. I was hoping to find him. He did sign Retrovelo on. He took photos of a lot of the same bikes I did and provided some intelligent commentary in his captions at his Flickr pool.

    Batavus panniers: Ghost is right — they’re canvas. I agree that they look very sharp.

    Brooks: I saw the Brooks booth from a distance but didn’t make it there (wish I had) — I totally missed the pannier announcement — rats!

  6. I just got back from Interbike myself, and I can tell you that my colleagues at SBS were completely blown away by the interest in Batavus bikes. Batavus bought SBS about a year ago and I could tell that the SBS folks – who are used to selling Redline BMX bikes – have had to deal with a sudden paradigm shift. But I think they get it. At Fourth Floor Distribution (in Canada: http://www.onthefourth.com) we are actually the first distributor of Batavus in North America and our store, Curbside Cycle (www.curbside.on.ca), has seen crazy success with the brand. Incidentally, the baskets and panniers you see are made by Basil (www.basil.nl), which is another company out of the Netherlands. Both SBS and Fourth Floor will be carrying Basil products this year – although we have a bunch of other European product launches up our sleeves. The Basil website is phenomenal, there are dog baskets (!!), about twenty types of rear and front baskets, tons of fashionable bags, and more. Another amazing bike at the show was the Redline electric bike (actually made by Sparta in Holland http://www.sparta.nl) that has full diagnostic software, a concealed battery and an impressive power-assist runtime. And yeah, the Brooks panniers were *&^# amazing!

  7. Fritz says:

    Hey Eric, thanks for the detailed note. I might be in touch with you later about all this if you don’t mind.

  8. sasquatch says:

    the planetary gear crankset is a really cool idea, simpler than lacing a geared rear hub up with spokes and cheaper too (lists for $550 at http://www.pbwbikes.com/product_info.php/products_id/59) and you bolt ‘em on. On the negative side, you don’t get the range of a nexus etc. it’s either 1:1 or 2.5:1 for the mountain set. You’d probably get a big clunk when shifting and blow out a knee! The positives are the strength and durability of planetary systems.

  9. rianagrn says:

    Has anyone ever imporeted a bicycle from Holland and what where the costs. Any hints? When and where do you pay import taxes

  10. I would llike some ifo and price (or E Mail)

    Wally Dickenson
    185 Taylor Blvd
    Elliott Lake
    Ontario
    P5A3L1

  11. [...] Bakfiets in Chicago Seattle bike dealer to open Dutch bike shop in ChicagoStephan Schier of the Dutch Bike Company Seattle plans to open the Dutch Bike Company Chicago (aka Dutch Bike Chicago) in September. "We already have an enthusiastic customer base in Chicago," Stephan tells me, so it made sense for them to open a dealership there.Dutch Bike Seattle is currently one of only a handful of North American dealers who imports the Bakfiets cargo bike, as well as other utility bikes from WorkCycles, Amsterdam's utility bike experts. Stephan plans to carry these bikes in the new Chicago store, as well as bikes from the Azor brand (Oma, Opa, and Transport bikes); Danish Velobris bikes; the German Retrovelo brand; Birdy folding bikes and more.Stephan is pretty excited about his Chicago plans. "Anyone visiting the city can see volumes of cyclists on the main boulevards on all manner of bikes and in all manner of dress. They are vying for a shot to host the Olympics and a well developed transportation infrastructure, which includes cycling, will make Chicago a highly attractive candidate."The Dutch Bike Company will ship bikes anywhere in the United States, but shipping charges are pretty high for these heavy duty bikes. They recommend that buyers make a trip to the store and then ride the new bike home because there's "plenty of room for your camping supplies and a cooler!" Alternatively, Stephan says, "If there are a bunch of Bafiets aficionados who want to make a group purchase, we can likely palletize a batch, ship them by truck and drastically reduce the freight charges."Learn more:Dutch Bike Seattle. Dutch Bike Seattle Blog. Bakfiets. WorkCycles in Amsterdam. Yehuda Moon's Bakfiets evangelism. Retrovelo. I write about Retrovelo and other Eurobikes at this post in CommuteByBike. [...]

  12. paul says:

    Here in Europe the must have Dutch style bike is the Velorbis. (www.velorbis.com) I have heard they are available in the US now through dutchbikes.us Enjoy….

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