Thoughts on a Dutch bike?

Afternoon everyone hope you're all safe an well. A couple of questions, I been looking for a bike that's low maintenance and easy to repair, a bike that is a workhorse and durable. The nearest I can remember is a sit up an beg type bike, the downside is weight on these bikes but if you come to a steep incline or hill walk it up. A good cyclist mate said how abt Dutch bike! So thought I would ask you guys, has anyone got one these bikes ......how do you find them to ride? Would such a bike be suitable for up to 15/20 mile round trip? A bike that is a dependable and reliable is more important to my needs on day to day basis
 

Lozz360

Über Member
Location
Oxfordshire
They are heavy but robust. Comfortable on short journeys. Ideal for riding in town. I have only ridden them in the Netherlands (strange that!). Personally, I would prefer a road bike for a 15/20 mile round trip. Faster and more comfortable on the open road.
 

Chris S

Guru
Location
Sparkhill
I used to have a Batavus Barcelona. It was heavy and high geared but very comfortable. I'd regularly make 15 mile round trips on fairly flat ground. I wouldn't want to do it anywhere hilly though.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
I had one of the more modern, heavier duty Dutch bikes (a Batavus Entree) for a while in London, it was quite nice in a way (in that it was built like a tank and there weren't any others about). They're certainly good if you don't like maintenance (it had a Nexus Hub gear and roller brakes). On the downside they weigh an absolute ton, I mean not just heavy, they're super-heavyweight and really hard to manhandle, say if you need to cross a railway bridge. If you've ever ridden a Santander hire bike in London they feel and handle roughly similar.
If you mean the more traditional / retro Dutch bike (Batavus do one called the "Old Dutch") they're lighter, a little less bomb-proof, and even simpler, usually 3 speed.

I wouldn't want to regularly ride 20 miles on either one, or at least not unless I lived in Norfolk, and I was in "norfolking" hurry whatsoever.
They're likeable, but not designed for effficient distance covering.

To give a small insight into how most "Dutch" bikes are used I have a mate in Amsterdam who rides the bike below, but only for town use. He will do about 5-6 miles on it, maybe around the city to meet friends, bits of shopping (He says the front box is good for a slab of beer) and then ride back to his flat, but anything outside of the city and he rides a road bike.
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Boopop

Veteran
Town/dutch bikes are lovely but I think only for short ideally flat trips that are less than 3 or 4 miles. As @Lozz360 said for the sort of distance you're talking about I think a road bike would be the better option. I do like a good low maintenance town bike though.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
A good cyclist mate said how abt Dutch bike! So thought I would ask you guys, has anyone got one these bikes ......how do you find them to ride? Would such a bike be suitable for up to 15/20 mile round trip? A bike that is a dependable and reliable is more important to my needs on day to day basis
I've an upgraded Dutchie Dapper (steel 3-speed with hub brakes and dynamo) and a Universal Riviera Sport (a Polish-made gas-pipe clone of an old English 3-speed roadster, so not really Dutch but close - lighter because it's got a wire rack, rim brakes and battery lights) which are probably described more in some of my old posts if you want to search.

I think they are gorgeous to ride, with a high riding position, long wheelbase (which can occasionally cause cornering trouble), plush tyres (Schwalbe Delta Cruisers) and sprung saddles. Very comfortable. Easy to look around you. My Dapper is probably now 17kg because my upgrades have added weight: the SA hubs are heavier than the originals - but I'm fairly tall and even my hybrid is 16kg.

They'll do 15/20 miles easy. Comfortable is comfortable. I'd barely know I've ridden 20. I've ridden centuries on mine. I've ridden one of them across a small country on tour. What they won't do is fast: because I've got low gears for carrying/pulling loads and the occasional medium-steep hill, they've not got a high top gear for churning along the long flat roads (high cadence is the current fashion, isn't it?) and they've not really got the aerodynamics to compare with a road bike, not even with so-called "Dutch tri bars" position (grabbing the tops by the stem and leaning forwards). All that also means they're not ideal on many group rides, as you end up feeling a bit like you've taken a knife to a gun fight - you can do the distance and usually the speed, but the handling, acceleration and deceleration are very different to most around you.

The Dutchie Dapper has been mostly dependable and reliable. I had a few disagreements with its original Shimano Nexus coaster-brake hub but even during that, it always got me home. It gets ridden as first choice year-round except when it's icy (my old hybrid has studded tyres on). Maintenance is weekly check the air, oil the chain and check/adjust chain tension and check wear. Once every month or two, disconnect the shifter and inject semi-fluid grease (Landrover CV joint grease) into the gearbox. Annually, regrease the headset, check/replace cables, clean dust out of the brake drums and squirt grease into the front hub bearings. Replace the BB cartridge when it stuffs up (I would prefer cup-and-cone but many wouldn't).

The Universal is not as reliable, but that's mainly due to it being a cheap clone, being old and me learning what I was doing with its mechanicals. Oh and it's currently awaiting repair because I carelessly hit a tree - only damage was a cracked axle washer, though.
 
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MarkF

Legendary Member
Location
Yorkshire
Town/dutch bikes are lovely but I think only for short ideally flat trips that are less than 3 or 4 miles. As @Lozz360 said for the sort of distance you're talking about I think a road bike would be the better option. I do like a good low maintenance town bike though.
Why wouldn't it be fine for many miles more on the flat? I am sure I read a book about some women did a european tour in the 1930's on similar bikes. I keep looking for one for canal trips but might have to widen my search away from Yorkshire!
 

Boopop

Veteran
Why wouldn't it be fine for many miles more on the flat? I am sure I read a book about some women did a european tour in the 1930's on similar bikes. I keep looking for one for canal trips but might have to widen my search away from Yorkshire!
Well it's not like the thing would cease to function after 4 miles, it's just I know for me personally if I was going to ride 20 miles a day I'd want to do it on a bike that required little effort to ride...especially if hills were involved. Nothing to stop someone doing that distance reguarly on a town bike I just know that for myself at least I'd be pretty worn out doing 100 miles a week on a town bike. Even on flat ground that weight still matters - the more someone has to stop and start the more noticable it will be.
 

bitsandbobs

Well-Known Member
To give a small insight into how most "Dutch" bikes are used I have a mate in Amsterdam who rides the bike below, but only for town use. He will do about 5-6 miles on it, maybe around the city to meet friends, bits of shopping (He says the front box is good for a slab of beer) and then ride back to his flat, but anything outside of the city and he rides a road bike.
That is very true.

I have a Gazelle Tour Populaire which weighs a ton. Great for riding around town and doing the shopping, but hideous for riding any distance.
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
The steel Dutch granny bike is suitable for cruising around a flat city. For everyday 2*7+ commuting I would want something more modern.
You can get up to date, low maintenance, easy riding bikes. Look for aluminium frame, Shimano Nexus or Alfine gears, dynamo hub lighting, full mudguards and rear rack. This is typically of modern Dutch/German/Danish commuter bikes. My commuter is set up in this style and I have used it for 2*8 mile commuting for 12 years.

Example

https://m.bikester.co.uk/ortler-monet-black-matt-1122695.html?_cid=21_1_-1_9_446_1122695_201897230302_pla&ef_id=EAIaIQobChMI1t3o-4f66QIVybHtCh2IJgvIEAQYAiABEgLD_fD_BwE&ev_chn=shop&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1t3o-4f66QIVybHtCh2IJgvIEAQYAiABEgLD_fD_BwE
 

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
I'll add my name to the list of those who think you'll struggle. I've done 20-30 glorious sunny miles in one hit on a Dutch bike (in the Netherlands) but it was very slow progress. I also have an Ofo which is similar in terms of mass / riding position / typical gearing.

Mass is only one of the issues to consider along with drag and gearing; none of which are favourable for covering distance at a reasonable speed and cadence. As it happens I've just been out on the ofo and despite having built up a fair bit of fitness recently it's still pretty punishing; usually due to hills / in headwinds where it's affected massively.

As others have said for short, slow, comfortable urban journeys Dutch bikes are great. For efficienctly covering distance over hilly terrain they're not. I'd suggest your best bet would be an "all road" bike or if you're not a fan of drops a hybrid ;)
 

MarkF

Legendary Member
Location
Yorkshire
Think it's more down to the rider than the bicycle, there is only 1kg difference between @mjr 's Dutch bike and his hybrid and if the latter weighs 16kg anyway......my regular leisure ride is a flat (ish) 45 miles on a Dawes 501 (2010) which weighs in at 16kg with a rack. I want a Dutch bike for that same ride and expect to be comfier although no doubt slower too!:okay:

I don't know what hills the OP has to ride up/down, maybe a Btwin 7 geared Elops might suit? MrsF has one and if I can't get a Dutch bike soonish I might get one too, a bargain at £229.

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/elops-520-classic-bike-green-id_8378493.html
 
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ChrisEyles

Veteran
Location
Devon
I loved the Dutch bike I borrowed when I lived in Amsterdam for six months as a student.

The only downside I can see is that if it's a 3 speed hub geared bike (or perhaps even 8 speed, don't know what the range is like on them), you'll be geared quite high for steep hills.

Other than that you may go a tad slower than you would on a road bike but could easily do a 40 mile ride.

I now have a 1950s Raleigh Sports sit-up-and-beg bike - I have to pick and choose the routes I do on it, with a single speed drive train and rod brakes it doesn't like going up/down steep hills much, but on flat/rolling terrain it's lovely.
 
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