The Batavus Breukelen
Posted on 26 June 2009
Editors note: in 2009 the Dutch bike was getting tons of press but we were not unaware of its limitations nor were we unaware of the many companies aping a Dutch bike in order to appear relevant (the Electra Amsterdam is still today the weirdest mashup of beach cruiser and dutch bike - as though riding on sand or on bike lanes had anything in common!). We had exclusive rights to Batavus, who had a huge R&D department and the means to tune their products to North American markets. Despite having to deal with constant turnover in their management structure (some who thought our project was interesting, others annoying) we were given permission to develop our interpretation of a Dutch bike for North America. This ended up being a lightweight, aluminum rust-resistant frame, fully internal gears and brakes, a dynamo system, and of course a chaincase. We also got to design the packaging, which we kept as clean and elegant as possible. Alas, this project was not to last. Still one of our favourite bikes.
- February 2016
Dutch bikes are iconic, and the classic omafiets is burned as an archetype in the mind of anyone who thinks of a Dutch bike. Alas, this is a mistake.
Companies who are making faux imitations of Dutch bikes have gravitated to the classic Dutch omafiets as a default option. Yet the Dutch themselves have long evolved from the classic omafiets. The modern Dutch bike betrays none of the essential properties of the classic Dutch bike, in fact it is the modern evolution of the Dutch bike.
Companies like Batavus who import bikes all over Europe are aware that city bike cultures exist in cities that have greater sprawl, hills, or snow - and they make bikes to suit these environments. As Europe's most cosmopolitan city bicycle manufacturer, Batavus is constantly adapting the classic Dutch bikes to modern needs - and they have done this again with the Breukelen.
The Breukelen, named after the borough of Brooklyn and the Dutch town after its namesake is a solution to North American sprawl, geography, climate, and at the same time, aesthetics.
The classic Dutch bike is great for certain conditions, but if hills or sprawl are in one's environment the need for a lighter bike, as well as a bike with more gears is fairly obvious. And no, the Breukelen is not lightweight - it is merely lighter than the classic omafiets. Because the Breukelen is designed for year-round outdoor storage and getting bashed around while locked up the priority is overall durability. It's ride, like all Dutch bikes, is remarkably efficient. Tuned to the pace of a city, the Breukelen takes you where you need to go in safety completely sweat-free. And its good looking. Really good looking!
The Breukelen may be made for North America but its still a Dutch bike. That means it is made in Holland and features all the essential properties that make a Dutch bike so iconic. The enclosed chainguard keeps your clothing safe and clean. The wheels and seat are bolted down to prevent theft. The brakes, gears, and hub-dynamo are sealed from the elements and are nearly maintenance free. The ride is upright, safe, and comfortable. But unlike the classic omafiets. the Breukelen can climb like a mountain goat and can traverse longer distances with remarkable efficiency. And, like we said, its darn good looking!