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Batavus BUB Review : Introduction

by Bike Shop Girl

CommuteByBike was fortunate enough to be one of the first bike testers for the prototype Batavus BUB.  The bike we had in for review was a one speed with a coaster brake.  Slowly I’ll be unveiling my own thoughts, along with a friend who is a pretty new cyclist/commuter.  Let’s start with an introduction from a shop called Renaissance Bikes that was our contact for the BUB.

Batavus BUB

Some of the details:

  • Available early Spring of 2010.
  • It will cost $550.
  • 3-speed drivetrain with a coaster brake.
  • Classic frame or Step-Through frame (“sizes” are somewhat irrelevant because of adjustability.)
  • The color choices are: Gloss or matte black, battleship grey, raw silver, red (matte), white with white tires.
  • Front racks, rear racks, and battery powered lights are options.

Interested in a Batavus BUB? Visit our affiliate, Commute Bike Store.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
 
Burley nomad 229

12 Responses to “Batavus BUB Review : Introduction”

  1. Kevin Love says:

    Batavus is an excellent brand name. My question is “how is this bike different from any other Batavus commuter bike?”

    One difference that I can see is that it only has a partial chainguard. The government puts lots of salt on the bike lanes where I live. Failure to have a complete chaincase means that I have a choice of either spending more time cleaning the bike than riding it, or else watching the chain turn into a pile of rust before my eyes. Not good.

    Also, the BUB has no coatguard. I really do not want my winter clothing caught in the spokes.

    Also no built-in generator lights.

    By Batavus standards, this is quite an inferior bike. I would be far more interested in getting the Blockbuster or any other one of the better bikes that can be seen at:

    http://uk.batavus.com/

  2. Great feedback! I’ll make sure to note all those things for my initial feedback.

  3. @Kevin

    In fact I think you quickly picked up on the differences between the new BuB and the other bikes in the Batavus line-up.

    To address your comments:
    (1) The BuB is made of aluminum and is a few pounds lighter (although no featherweight) than the Blockbuster, Frysland, et al.
    (2) The BuB is targeted to the “new” bike commuter or someone without the need for a fully decked-out city bike. Hence the reasonable price of $550 for a high quality bike, but without the coat guard, dynamo lighting, etc.

    Basically, if a rider desires all of the bells and whistles, they should look to the Blockbuster, Personal bike, Breukelen, etc. according to their needs and buying power.

    On a side note, Batavus wrestled with the enclosed chainguard problem … but it would add another $50 to the base price. Instead they opted for the pictured chainguard and the KMC Rustbuster chain. I think this is a reasonable solution for most cyclist’ needs.

    And as with any new product, constructive criticism is very helpful.

    Bryan

  4. BluesCat says:

    I can appreciate the issues Kevin faces with salt and other, weather based, challenges.

    However, in sunny Phoenix, Arizona, we don’t face those issues. (I don’t even need fenders on either of my commuter bikes.)

    Better to have a nice, casual, upright riding position which the BuB would seem to provide.

  5. Kevin Love says:

    Bryan wrote:
    “Batavus wrestled with the enclosed chainguard problem ” but it would add another $50 to the base price”

    Kevin’s comment:
    $50 is a rather insignificant sum of money.

    A Batavus bike should be able to live outdoors all winter. Every try to take a bike up a narrow Amsterdam stairway? Many of the stairs in Toronto are not a lot better.

    A Batavus bike should last 50 years with minimal maintenance. Including a few years spent in a canal.

    In short, Batavus has a reputation for building solid, sturdy quality bicycles. Bicycles that last forever with minimal maintenance and take me to work every day without getting a speck of dirt on my nice work clothes.

    That reputation is worth a lot more than $50. That’s a paltry sum compared with what I should be buying with a Batavus bike – a lifetime of trouble-free transportation to everywhere I go. Doing that requires a full chaincase, coatguard and dynamo lighting.

    It is always possible to save some paltry sum by buying an inferior product. Batavus should not be one of them.

  6. BluesCat says:

    Kevin:

    Re: Retaining Batavus Quality

    I certainly agree with you, here’s a quote by John Ruskin, which is similar to your statement and which says it all:

    “There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man’s lawful prey.”

  7. Mike C says:

    Kevin’s comment:
    $50 is a rather insignificant sum of money.

    A Batavus bike should be able to live outdoors all winter…

    In short, Batavus has a reputation for building solid, sturdy quality bicycles. …

    That reputation is worth a lot more than $50. That’s a paltry sum compared with what I should be buying with a Batavus bike… Doing that requires a full chaincase, coatguard and dynamo lighting.

    It is always possible to save some paltry sum by buying an inferior product. Batavus should not be one of them.

    Original criticism was worth noting, this further griping is not. As the actual dealer pointed out: Batavus still has models that will fill the niche you outline; the new BUB bikes are not them.

    It would be nice if people would splash out serious cash on a well-built, complete city bike with coat guard, fully enclosed chaincase, and generator lighting. It would be even better if Batavus could bring such a bike to market at this same price point.

    But because this is not the case, and because to some customers that $50 will be the difference between this bike and any other with similar specs and price point, I commend them for their fully infomed, cost conscious decision at this price point.

  8. Kevin Love says:

    BluesCat:

    Love the John Ruskin quote. I agree. Batavus should leave the inferior BSO market to Wal-Mart et al and concentrate on building quality bikes. Otherwise they are just ruining their reputation and brand name.

  9. Sean Carter says:

    @ Kevin – i think its pretty disingenuous to use the term BSO and Batavus in the same sentence – the BuB is not a BSO, not even close.

    Certainly, it is cheaper and “decontented” compared to other much more expensive models in the Batavus line. That is the point. There are plenty of people who cannot afford to buy a Breuklen etc, but they still want to ride a Batavus because they know that the bike represents good value for the money.

    Think of it like this, the BuB is a VW Golf and the Breuklen is the VW Passat. Many current Passat owners started out in a cheaper VW model and worked up the line. The same principle applies here.

  10. Kevin Love says:

    Sean wrote:
    “Think of it like this, the BuB is a VW Golf and the Breuklen is the VW Passat. Many current Passat owners started out in a cheaper VW model and worked up the line.”

    Kevin’s question:
    Would it be possible to get this sentence translated into English? Because right now I don’t have a clue what Sean is writing about.

  11. Michael Hamiel says:

    . . . gulp, for a minute there I thought we were doing a Bush – Barama comparison, personally, I’m not riding a bike in the rain or at night (that’s what I have a car for) but as a retiree I am interested in how much the BuB weighs as I’ll be lifting it up and down a lot on a garage bike hanger, anybody know how much it weighs?
    Thanks for you coments.

  12. Mike C says:

    Kevin’s question:
    Would it be possible to get this sentence translated into English? Because right now I don’t have a clue what Sean is writing about.

    Maybe some will start with the basic BuB model, attracted to its styling and relatively affordable price. Then, once they have experience with the realities of commuting or errand running on their BuB, and appreciate the cost of a higher end, more adequately equipped bike, move on up to the kind of bike you think this BuB should be…

    The simple economic realities of manufacturing a bike to this price point means that some nicer features will be left off. Like the difference between buying a stripped down car (VW Golf), and one with more features (VW Passat wagon).

    Lower entry price will entice more buyers who will hopefully maintain brand loyalty and sometime in the future entice them into higher priced, more well equipped products. If the Bub was spec’d like you think it should be, it would be as expensive as their current models… and why would a company introduce such competition for their own bikes within their own lineup…?

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