30 Nov 2010

Buying a Secondhand Dutch Bike

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Secondhand dutch bikes from Heavens are unpretentious, bomb-proof, and cheap.

They are certainly cheaper and better than the gas-piping (this is a derogatory term for inferior quality steel products) available from manufacturers like Bobbin.

We offer a two-month warranty (excluding tires) on all the bikes we sell, and we only really sell high-end bikes from major manufacturers from Gazelle, Batavus, Sparta. All of these bikes are still manufactured in Holland, and are usually around £600 to buy new.

But then the Dutch don’t think twice about spending this sort of money on a bicycle. But then they have a transport infrastructure which accommodates bicycles equally, even prioritizes the bicycle, as any visitor to Holland will tell you.

Most of the bikes we sell have modern 3, 5 or 7-speed internal gear hubs, which means all of the workings are hidden away inside the bike.

Similarly, these Dutch bikes mostly feature hub brakes. This again means the mechanical workings are hidden away, meaning it’s much more difficult for the weather to get at your working parts.

Dutch bikes are good at encouraging this sort of no-hassle experience. Mudguards and a straight-backed riding position add to this feeling of easy superiority.

When people ask me, How can I best maintain my Dutch bike?, I tell them to just ride it and forget about it. These things are designed to work until they don’t work anymore, at which point (several years later) you take them to the bike shop, where they are fixed. If they cannot be fixed, you throw them into the canal.

We often have to fine-tune gears and brakes, replace cables or adjust the position of the rear wheel. But most of the bikes we buy need only these minor works and new tires, then they are ready to sell.

Most of our Dutch bicycles sell for around £170, a bit more for a more really good one or a really fashionable or elegant one.

And as for selling them, half of the battle is getting people to try them. After that the riding experience kind of sells itself.

2 Responses to “Buying a Secondhand Dutch Bike”

  1. John Forster says:

    Hi there
    I am interested in buying myself a good quality Duch bike,I am 5ft 11in and would like a 3 speed.I am not intending to ride long distances but potter around and use my bike every day.

    Please can you provide any recommedations and give me an idea of prices,and condition of bikes you have for sale.


    • Ben says:

      Hi John,

      A Gazelle or Batavus dutch bike such as the ones we have recently brought back from Holland would suit your purposes for around town. All have 3 – 5 speed hub gears and hub brakes and are very sturdy. Some are inevitably better than others, by which i mean in better condition. Prices range from £140 for a good and working but slightly tatty bike, up to £215 for a really excellent modern machine.

      I hope this helps. Come to our Broadway Market stall on Saturday, or visit our Dalston lock up anytime, by appointment. Check out the website for addresses. Thanks for your enquiry,


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