Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Batavus Breukelen & Diva

I made a trip to Flying Pigeon LA over the weekend and look what I found!

Breukelen

I got to take the Breukelen for a test ride at last. Josef was just unpacking it and I was delighted that he was able to quickly get it set up so that I could take it out before I had to leave. First I have to say that the bike was a bit small for me. My long arms felt squished. As I have said before I can't exactly give a fair review of a bike that doesn't fit me. However I have to say something about it. I am undecided on the look of the bike. I like the matte black and the limited logos. I am not wild about the shape of the bottom tube. I thought the 7 gears were nice and the coat guard and the chaincase. The bike is lighter than the other bikes I have tried before because it is an aluminum frame. I was not incredibly pleased with the ride. It wasn't terrible. It was stiff and the bumps in LA are not nice. I think that there are plenty of people who would love this bike.

Batavus Diva

They also had a pair of Divas which were a real treat. So Lucky was I. First off I have to say I do not care for the flowers and frilly look of the saddle grips and fenders on this model. The lavender bike had a solid black saddle though. I took it out for a ride anyway. The bike was so nice to ride. I am going with the tires as the reason. The tires are wide and cushy. It is sportier than the other Batavus bikes I've ridden. It is an aluminum frame but it didn't feel as stiff as the Bruekelen. It was also the larger size frame and I am assuming that would make it a bit heavier. It was a lot of fun and I would definitely recommend trying it out if you get the chance.

So after taking these two bikes for a ride I as I had been hoping to do for such a long time I was thinking more about what it is that I want in my bike. I was talking about the options with Josef and The Hubby. I was asking if it would be a pain to add more gears to the 3 speed Diva. Josef said it is kinda pricey and a pain. The Hubby suggested ordering the Breukelen in the larger size and putting fatter tires on it. I am not sure if that would be best. The fenders don't seem to have a lot of room for the extra width and height. Maybe I should take a chance and order the Fryslân in my size and put fatter tires on it and get a new saddle. Then there is always the Kronan. At that price spending a little extra for a few more gears doesn't seem like a big deal and that thing is soooo smooth.

Maybe should consider spending a fortune on a balloon tire bike like the Retrovelo or Velorbis Scrap Deluxe. Why don't the balloon tire bikes have coat guards? Maybe I just need to get up to Santa Barbara to test an Azor. Anybody live on hills that rides an Azor? I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. I have only seen one in LA. Maybe I need an A.N.T bike. Anyone have a Boston Roadster that they want to let me take for a test ride? Though it doesn't look like the tires on the BR are very wide. If I weren't worried about the brain and spine of my little one being injured by the constant potholes around LA I'd be less worried about that. The bumps give me a headache. Though the Gazelles will be in California next month and the Miss Grace is intriguing. It has Fat Franks.

14 comments:

  1. You know, you have a beautiful smile.


    ...and.... nice bikes! ;- )

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  2. Those Batavus are beautiful bikes! Thanks for writing up this review; I've been wondering how they ride. Chicago is completely flat and I can't imagine riding my Azor on hills. I love the balloon tire Retrovelos. My shop (Dutch Bike Chicago) is getting Gazelles in a few weeks and I can't wait to give those a try. I love the idea of an ANT. If the tire is the only thing holding you back, email him about it and he can probably work something out.

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  3. @Doohickie, Aww, Thanks,

    @Dottie, As I have said before, I love the Gazelle Toer Populaire. I'd have it in my living room right now if it weren't for the rod brakes. If I could test ride an ANT I would definitely look into having him see about putting fatter tires on a BR.

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  4. I test rode the Toer Populair at Flying Pigeon and felt just like you did on the Breukelen. My arms felt 'squished' and I didn't feel I had steering control of the bike.

    Are the Gazelles not coming until October? I had phone and e-mail contact with the Gazelle rep in July. The bikes were supposed to come end August. I do want to try some of their 'modern' styles such as the Chamonix.

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  5. The email I got said that the basics are coming in this month and the Miss Grace will be in by the end of October. I was interested in the modern Gazelles but the colors are so dreadful on the european site. Why can't the Chamonix be one solid color?

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  6. As the "Hubby" I also tested these bikes. I have to say I liked them both very much. Since Both were on the small side for me I did not notice that much difference between the rides on either bike. Like Cosmo said I think that the main difference between them is in the tires. If I had to choose one over the other I would choose the Breukelen and that is not because of the color scheme (I am perfectly happy riding pink and floral bikes.)

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  7. Hello Cosmo, Thank you for the links to my bikes and for your interest in a test ride. That has been one of the biggest deterants for people buying my bikes. I am sorry to say that I do not have any BRs in CA. The BR is equipped with 35mm tires. I can fit up to 38mm and can also build the same bike built for 26" x 52mm Fat Frank tires. as the tires get bigger, the bike gets a bit heavier and harder to push, but it does make the bike ride even smoother. My bikes are very smooth, longer in the top and the bars are much lower than the Dutch style bikes [about level or slightly above saddle height]. This position helps much with hills and wind, but it is not to low. I also gear my bikes very low, for better hill climbing and the 8 speed hub is just a bit better than the 7 speed for overall gear range. Please do get in touch with any questions and thank you again for the links.
    Sincerely Mike Flanigan/ANT

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  8. Thanks for the information about the 26" Fat Frank option. The riding position sounds similar to the ride on my Raleigh which I am starting to adjust to after being so used to my Townie.

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  9. The Diva seems like an attractive and versatile choice; I bet this bike would be suitable for a lot of people who want a Dutch bike but wish for ti to be slightly sportier and lighter weight.

    I do not own an Azor or an ANT, but I know several people who do. From them, I understand that Azor + hills = difficult. In flat areas like Chicago they are great, but hills pose a considerable challenge. Some acquaintances who own an ANT roadster have told me that it is great commuter and touring bike, even on hills. Not as sporty as a roadbike by any means, but less cumbersome than a Dutch bike.

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  10. @Filigree, I have taken the Gazelle up some hills and though it is tough I could manage it which surprised me because walking up the same hill was just as much work for me because my fitness level is so low. I would think that with the Azors being so heavier than the gazelle it would be a bit tougher. But the guy I photographed on the Secret Service said it wasn't horrible. Also Dutch Bikes Seattle and Clever Cycles both carry them so they must sell some locally and those cities are by no means flat. I just never hear from people who live in Seattle or Portland talk about how it is to ride up and down the hills all day, day after day.

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  11. Love the blog! I am in search of my new bike too! I am also dying to ride an ANT ( I almost got the chance being that I'm in boston and Mike had one in my size for a customer inhis shop) but the timing was really bad for me. someday maybe!

    V

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  12. @MamaVee, I am so jealous that you even got that close to having an opportunity to ride one.

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  13. Where are you able to buy the Batavus Breukelen here in the USA? I live in Sacramento and have been looking for someone who carries this brand or the Kalkoff brand. Thanks!

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  14. @Lori Dethlefs I don't think that they are currently being imported to the US right now. My understanding is the previous importer was not able to get enough bikes from them regularly to keep them available so they discontinued their sales of Batavus bikes. I would check craigslist and ebay. Maybe someone who bought one is selling. They were super popular. Then again they were great bikes and I doubt they come up very often. I haven't seen any of the Kalkoff bikes in the US either.

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