Home > Slow Bike Miami > Shopping For A New Bike – The Dutch Bikes

Shopping For A New Bike – The Dutch Bikes

I’m fairly decided that I’ll be getting an European city bike, but now the issue becomes which one. At the moment it comes down to two bikes.

Electra Amsterdam 3

Up to a few months ago the answer was clear: the Electra Amsterdam 3 Classic, the male companion to my wife’s bicycle.I absolutely love the look of the Amsterdam. It has very simple lines that say “I am a straightforward bike” and those extra details–the slightly swept-back seat, the wide handlebars, the coat and chainguard, the back rack, the dynamo-powered headlight–that give it that dignified look of a bike meant to be used by regular people for regular purposes. Yes, I’m waxing poetic on a bicycle, but look at it, it is a damn beautiful bike. The one drawback that I can name right off the bat: it doesn’t have a hand brake; while I’ve nothing against coaster brakes, a hand brake would be something I would like in my next bike, if possible. If I use my wife’s Amsterdam as a precedent, I’m looking at around $550 for this bike, built and ready to run. That’s a very attractive number! I do, however, need to add the cost of a front tray as that’s one customization I absolutely require for how I intend to use this bike.

The second contender is the Gazelle Toer Populair 3 SPD, a truly Dutch (as in, from Holland) bike. This bike brings Europe to you; you can rid it, squint real hard, and pretend you’re in Amsterdam. Again, simple lines (notice, however, that this one is straight at the crossbar and seat), a chunky back rack with back-wheel lock (love those!), coat and chainguard, dynamo headlight – all the fixings of a daily-use bike. The Toer, however, adds a hand lever brake out of the box, which is something to consider. And let’s face it, there’s the fact that this is a bike by a 117-year old company that knows how to make city bikes. Gazelle is an institution in the Netherlands, so they have the expertise to deliver a tried-and-tested fantastic bike. The one huge drawback? The price. Though Gazelle has a representative in Miami at the moment, they are still not carried by any local store, so based on the closest US dealer with prices displayed online (Dutch Bike Co. in Chicago), it’s $1300, more or less. Plus the cost of a front tray as well (though I don’t know if the Electra one I linked above will fit this one; if not, I need to find one that will).

That’s where I’m forced to stop and think. Marc from Amsterdamize.com, when I commented on the issue of pricing, replied, “Yeah, there’s no escape from import costs and duties, but we are of course talking about an investment in decades and decades of durability, the Dutch would say: ‘Goedkoop is duurkoop’ = ‘Cheap is expensive in the long run.'” Trust me, I know this is very much a case of up-front investment and I’m trying to keep it in mind. It would be a lot easier if the Electra Amsterdam wasn’t such a good and durable bike as well. As durable as a Dutch bike? Hard to say; to be fair, Electra hasn’t been around as long as Gazelle, nor do their bikes have had the same kind of use and abuse over the years. Which actually does bring a point: in Miami, I’m not quite yet at the level of use of people in Holland, and while I would love to get there eventually, does it warrant the expense now?*

I continue to ponder this as I inspect other bikes (in the interest of doing my homework and being diligent, even if I keep coming back to these two). I’m decided to keep both options viable until I have evaluated the bikes in person (and thanks to an email I received a couple of days ago, it looks like I’ll have a chance to see the Gazelle Toer in person in Miami). My other main concern is if the mechanics here will be able to work the Gazelle. I imagine so, but I intend to make sure beforehand.

Next I’ll look at some cruisers as well.

* – Of course, if Gazelle wants to work out a promotional/sponsorship deal with me, the decision would be a very easy one to make. I think about the amount of publicity Electra has gotten with my wife’s bike every time we ride around, especially when we go to Bike Miami events, and through this blog; maybe that would be worth something to Gazelle as they seek to stake a claim to the South Florida market. Just saying.

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  1. September 11, 2009 at 11:11 AM

    I was originally looking at the amsterdam as well but after seeing them and then riding the Gazelle Toer Populaire I can’t even imagine buying that. My budget wen right out the window. Now I am considering an Oma or Secret Sevice from Work Cycles. Miami is so flat you would be able really enjoy the amazing ride and not have to worry about climbing hills.
    .-= Cosmo´s last blog… The Face of Bicycle Joy =-.

  2. September 11, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    I think once you ride both bikes, you will get a good feel of whether the Gazelle is worth the extra expense. I’m in the camp of buying few things, but buying them well (i.e. quality but expensive). But Miami weather is much gentler than Chicago winters, so whichever bike you choose would go through much less abuse than mine. Have fun and good luck!
    .-= Dottie´s last blog… Cycling Is More than a Fashion Statement =-.

  3. September 11, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    @Cosmo – I’m afraid of precisely that, trying out the Gazelle and then having to wait however many more months to put together the extra cash. I mean, I’ve been over a year with my Schwinn cruiser-tank, so I know I could do it if it gets to that. However, though Miami is flat in general, I live on Miami Beach, and we have to take these into consideration: My Daily Climb. 😉

  4. September 11, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    @Dottie – In general, yes, we don’t have the harsh winters you northerners have to deal with, but I do have to take into account the salt in the air, which can wreak havoc on metal.

  5. September 11, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    That salty air is rough and it is all year long not just in the winter. That is a nice climb but I took the gazelle up a pretty steep (about 5-10%) hill near the bike shop and it was not really that difficult because it is just so smooth.
    .-= Cosmo´s last blog… The Face of Bicycle Joy =-.

    • September 13, 2009 at 10:55 AM

      You just wanna make my decision a difficult one, don’t you. 😉

  6. September 13, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    Me? Never. Besides you are doing really well just keeping it down to only 2 bikes. I think that you’ll make a decision pretty quickly between the two because the riding position is a little different. Definitely try to arrange to take each of them up your bridge or something similar.

    • September 13, 2009 at 1:55 PM

      That would be my ideal testride situation, but I gotta see how feasible it would be based on the store I go to check them out.

      I’m also narrowing it down to two because there’s not that many options in the Dutch bike dept here in Miami. I actually have another post coming where I look at two cruiser-style bikes as possible contenders. Again, just to do my due diligence.

  7. September 24, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    I don’t know much about bikes and quality etc. But a little bird told me Gazelles are not what they used to be… I think I heard they were changing production a bit to be more cost effieicient ( for them)…

    I have no clue if you could get one- but a work cycles bike with the rack in front?

    sorry to make your decision harder.

    • September 24, 2009 at 2:49 PM

      I’ll be able to test-ride a Gazelle sometime soon in Oct, so we’ll see how they feel. As for the Workcycle, yeah, I’ve been eying that FR8 already…

  8. September 27, 2009 at 8:03 AM

    Didn’t you check other dutch bikes brand like Batavus, Sparta or Azor, Pointer or BSP who my have some representative in your area?

    • September 27, 2009 at 5:27 PM

      Sadly, none of them have dealers in Miami. I all but get laughed at when I mention I am thinking of buying a Dutch city bike around here. It’s very annoying.

      I hope to have a chance to test the Gazelle, but it better be soon because my Red Beast is slowly dying and I’m getting desperate for a new ride.

  9. FloridaHoneybee
    June 5, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Im in FTL.
    I think there is a Dutch Bicycle shop in St. Augustine.

    The Amsterdam has various recalls. I love riding it. Longevity–ehhh
    for $500 and a larger dealer support system—why not–I guess.

    Im a slow bike fan! I have a Cannondale Bad Boy. I am selling it. Not comfy at all. I have grown to simply detest the lean forward design. I hate it.

  10. Jessica
    October 9, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    I am also looking for a Dutch bike retailer in the Miami area… I am kicking myself for not buying while in the land of Euro-inspired cycles in Chicago. Anyone have any experience with Public bikes out of San Francisco? They make a nice Dutch-esque ride stateside, at a reasonable price. I am not all that jazzed about buying without a test-drive.

    • October 10, 2011 at 9:18 AM

      In Miami, the only place I know is Miami Beach Bicycle Center, where you can order in an Electra Amsterdam. There is no place in town to test ride a Dutchie or Dutch-style, unfortunately. CB2 sells a Dutch-style Republic bike that looks really nice but I haven’t tested it.

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