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A new bike in the family

Posted by on February 18th, 2010 at 11:06 am

A new bike in the family-1
Eleni’s new Batavus.
(Photos © J. Maus)

My seven-year old daughter Eleni is the proud owner of her first city bike; meaning it came with fenders, a rack, integrated light, and more.

It wasn’t easy to find a well built kids city bike in local bike shops. Most kids bikes are just mini versions of adult bikes that aren’t really functional for getting around, riding in traffic, carrying stuff, and so on. When I saw this gorgeous, 24-inch wheeled, three-speed Batavus, I was immediately impressed. Eleni likes it too. Here are a few highlights:

The rear rack has a large platform, is very sturdy, and came with a high-quality strap:

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A new bike in the family-4

The front light is integrated into the steerer tube and it’s turned on-off via a twist shifter (it also has an integrated rear light):

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As a security measure, the bike comes with its unique serial number cut directly into the downtube (it also has a rear wheel “cafe lock”):

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The pedals have six little LEDs (three on each side) that light up when they move:

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The chain is fully enclosed:

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The fenders are metal and painted to match:

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And here it is in action!

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A new bike in the family-15

This bike retails for $700 and we found it at Clever Cycles in Southeast Portland. Hopefully, someday bikes like this won’t be so hard to find.

For more on kid’s bikes, read The best kid’s bike might be one you build yourself and a full rundown of options from our Family Biking columnist Marion Rice.

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Comments
  • Little Red Bike Cafe February 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Cool bike, indeed! Those features are amazing. Congrats Eleni!

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  • Bryan February 18, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Our son has one of those as well (in white). I second that this is a GREAT bike for kids (6+). The generator lighting is really useful for biking to dinner etc.

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  • Jackattak February 18, 2010 at 11:18 am

    My Dog, I’m jealous! What an absolutely awesome bike. Congrats, Eleni! She looks happy. :)

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  • Amos February 18, 2010 at 11:19 am

    So happy to see bike builders taking kids’ bikes seriously. I think it’s the perception kids have that bikes are a toy that keeps them from considering them over a car once they turn 16.

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  • Nick V February 18, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Congrats to the whole family! A shrewd buy and a sharp bike!

    For future reference, at what age can kids ride alone in traffic? Or anywhere for that matter?

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  • Dan Hawk February 18, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Jonathan, what is your daily rider?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) February 18, 2010 at 11:38 am

      Dan,

      my daily bike is also a Batavus. Here’s a photo of it when it was new (it looks a bit different now as you might expect). I’ve been thinking of doing a story about it. Like Eleni’s bike it really is awesome and it’s like nothing I’ve seen available here in the U.S. (mine was imported by Seattle Bike Supply but they are not longer importing them):

      Batavus Socorro-1.jpg

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  • Amos February 18, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Jonathan, you should consider a regular guest article that people do about their own bikes, they can include photos and stories. It would be cool to see how different people use their bikes and how much they are beloved.

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  • BURR February 18, 2010 at 11:55 am

    readily available in the EU for years…

    the price point seems a bit high for a three speed kids bike, regardless of it’s novelty in the US.

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  • John Lascurettes February 18, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Curious, how many years do you think you’ll get out of the bike before she outgrows it?

    My son is six and in need of a new bike. I love this one you got, but would be hard-pressed to get consensus on spending the dough if he’s going to be done with it before too long.

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  • K'Tesh February 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Jonathan, we still need to get you the retro-reflective treatment on those bikes.

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  • Carl February 18, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    $700 is hard to swallow but the good news is, the more of these bikes that get around, the more of them will be available as hand-me-downs. They’re well made and should for last far longer than their users will fit them.

    Plus, if dealers find that they’re popular enough, I’d imagine the price would drop somewhat.

    My only concern is that if they become too popular, disposable children’s bikes will become a thing of the past…and so will Zoobomb. :(

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  • Carl February 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    (The true test of this bike’s durability will come when Dani inherits it. THAT’s the review I want to read: “What My Little Sister Did to My Old Bike,” by Eleni)

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  • carlos February 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Sweet Ride!

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  • david....no the other one! February 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Hot dog! now that’s a bike. Lucky Eleni! She’s gonna wear those new tires out pronto I’ll bet.

    Like Carl@12 Im wondering who the lucky girl is who gets the old bike. Just wondering, maybe the answer is just as exciting as the new one.

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  • Jim F February 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Beautiful bike. But I wouldn’t pay $700 for a city bike for ME, never mind my still growing 8-year old. Still, beautiful bike.

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  • Ted Buehler February 18, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Sweet ride!

    Out of curiosity, how much does this bike weigh, and how does that compare to a WalMart Huffy?

    I think it’s terrible that kids’ frames weigh something like 40 lbs — life would be so much more nimble and quick for kids if they all had good frames. I’m appalled at the discrepancy between the quality of adult bikes and kid bikes in families at Bridge Pedal.
    Ted Buehler

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  • craig February 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Jonathan, what does it weigh?

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  • wsbob February 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    $700…for a kid’s bike? That amount of dimes pretty much puts po’ folks out of the market for this bike. Nice color though.

    I bet a lot of 7 year old kids today are doing just fine with a Magna or a Huffy. If you can get something better though…go for it!

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  • Ian C. February 18, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for the write-up on this bike. I’m thinking of getting a Batavus for my 6 y/o. Now I’ve decided to save my pennies and get one.

    As for the total cost, in this town it will be easy to find a buyer when she outgrows it. Because it’s a quality bike, it should fetch a good price.

    -Ian

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  • West Cougar February 18, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Congratulations on being an inspirational trailblazer Jonathan!

    As pertains to cost, AYHSMB! $700 is a pretty good deal. There is only trivially less steel and just as much labor in a kid’s bike as an adult’s. A similarly equipped, brand new adult-sized Batavus is going to cost more than $700. Basically, these are loss leaders for everyone involved, manufacturer, retailer, and including the parents. Such are the things we do for the next generation of cyclists.

    Also, I think of the $700 as a security deposit. After she’s ridden it 5 or 6 or more years you’ll be able to sell it for half that to another family with there own newly turned seven year old. $350 divided by 6 years is less than $60/yr. That’s nothing to complain about, and brings far more enjoyment and utility than two $40 Walmart bikes (you’re lucky to get three winters out of the Walmart bikes), and which would still need aftermarket fenders, lights, and a rack.

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  • Paul Johnson February 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    All bikes cost $700. A $50 bike requires $650 in maintenance…a $300 bike requires $400 to get good lights (LEDs don’t cut it in Washington County), a Zounds horn (a bell doesn’t cut it in Washington County), fenders, rack, etc… A $700 bike, apparently comes with pretty much everything you need.

    Likewise, all bikes weigh 35 pounds: A 10 pound bike requires a 25 pound lock, a 20 pound bike requires a 15 pound lock, and a 35 pound bike requires no lock at all…

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  • Equivalents February 18, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Paul J. (#22) – I love the math.

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  • Ted Buehler February 19, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I like the idea of the serial number highly visible on the frame.

    1) You have it in most photos of the bike, if it’s swiped you have easy access to the number.
    2) A potential thief knows you have that serial #. And it’s going to show up in any ebay/craigslist photo of the bike.

    I imagine this would make it a bit less attractive to a serious thief.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Thom February 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Can I get one in a 58cm?

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  • kenny February 20, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I have a Batavus very similar to yours, Jonathan. It is a blue Navajo. I love ho this bike rides and the seat position is very comfy. I am surprised, however, that mine came with single wall rims.

    It was purchased used from a couple in Los Altos CA off Craigslist while I was on a CA trip. The owner was from Sweden and no longer needed the bike. I might sell it only because it is really a bit too big for me. More fit for someone over 6 feet and I am 5’8. I am Right on that top bar. Oh well.

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  • Paul Johnson February 20, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Does anybody around here sell the full line of Batavus models? I’d like to shop around for one I like and can afford, and don’t feel like going to Toronto to their North American distributor.

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  • sarah gilbert February 20, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Jonathan, I fell so hard for this bike — and your post came a few days before my tax return — that I decided to go buy one for Everett (he’s 7.5). and we got the last one Clever Cycles had! I guess there were a lot of parents doing the same math. we both love the bike; I’d been looking for something targeted toward a serious commuting child. Everett wants to carry cargo and, once he gets used to the Batavus’ balance, his little brothers from time to time; and Monday he’ll start commuting to a new school that’s over three miles away. for a 6.5-mile round trip every day, and having the ability to tote his own stuff, $700 seems a sensible investment. (for us, spending this money means we’ll be eliminating dinners out and new shoes and all those other extras for the next few months — for those who’re saying po folks can’t afford it, I beg to differ ;) we too have younger siblings to whom the bike will surely go when he moves up to a 26″ wheel when he’s a teen. the cheap fenders on his 20″ Townie barely lasted a few weeks; it will be so nice not to have the mud stripe up his back every time he rides in the rain. plus, I’ve been having a hard time with lights; they never seem to stand up to the weather for more than six months or a year. it’s already such a relief to have a generator light.

    now all we need are saddlebag-style panniers made for a boy… all the versions Clever Cycles had were very (cute but) girly! any ideas?

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  • wsbob February 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Sarah…for 7 and half year old kids that are really going to regularly ride the bike to school instead riding it around the cul-de-sac or driveway after school…actually take care of the bike…and keep it clean, rather than toss it in a muddy pile in the backyard, so it’s in good shape to hand down to kids next in line, the 700 bucks could be a good investment.

    If that expense partly helps people to move away from the throwaway culture that crappy variety store bikes contribute to, all the better. Anyway it’s cut or budgeted though….$700 for a quality bike is a ton of money for many people…absolutely out of reach for so many people.

    They’re counting themselves lucky to get a hand me down variety store bike in good condition. I suppose anything can be afforded if people feel it’s important enough. It could take some families years to pay off this bike’s cost.

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  • Loren February 24, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Think I saw Eleni out yesterday with Mom and siblings on 52nd. Sweet ride!

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  • kenny February 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Paul, and anyone of interest… I might be posting my low mile Batavus. It has a new built Sun rim in back and is in very nice condition. Fit for someone over 5’8. I do not have the exact dimensions… You can message me to chat about it. : )

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  • Anonymous February 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    My “Batavus” is for sale too! It’s actually a “Magneet”, a 60′s road bike, which was another Dutch marque that Batavus acquired and then turned out the lights on.

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