The Batavus Fryslan
Posted on 12 February 2008
Editors note: Like the Breukelen, the Fryslan was another bike we got to design to our spec and our graphics package. This was one of our most popular bikes and people still today call asking for one. If you've ever been to Holland the nicer bikes are often the older ones, partly because they have elegant colours and logos that we wanted to pay homage to (we still don't understand why today the Dutch make their beautiful bikes so ugly!). If you have one of these, keep it. It's a collector!
- February 2016
The classic omafiets is a bike often imitated but never replicated. It is an object of desire and one of the most iconic symbols of Holland. However, the omafiets was always designed for the flatter cities of Europe. They are found everywhere from Copenhagen to Munich to Llubjlana.
Companies like Workcycles have adapted the classic Dutch bike to North America by introducing seven and eight speed models. This makes sense to a certain extent but there comes a point where the correlation between weight and gears break down. In Europe, generally speaking, if you are going farther distances or up bigger hills, a greater number of gears are required, but so is a lighter frame and lighter parts. This is why Batavus makes bikes like the Breukelen.
However, the classic omafiets is an object of great desire. People simply want the classic steel frame. It's iconic, its archetypical, its symbolic of all Dutch civility and sensibility. Yet it needed to be adapted as much as possible to (mild) hills, and commutes longer than the average 7km. And so, the Fryslan.
The Fryslan is a showstopper. It's classic decals recall the Batavus of the 1950's - recalling the companies long and enigmatic history. It's whitewall tyres bring to mind the first Old Dutch bike of 1905. Yet, its five speed hub is adapted for the gentle hills but longer commutes of cities like Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, New York and LA. It's a cosmopolitan adaptation of the classic omafiets for those who crave an authentic Dutch bike but live with greater urban sprawl or rolling hills.