Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

My quest continues: The Batavus Socorro

Posted by on January 24th, 2008 at 10:50 am

Just a quick note to introduce the latest bike I’m test-riding in my ongoing quest to find my perfect city bike.

Behold the Batavus Socorro:

The Socorro (MSRP $1,799) on family duty at the McMenamins Kennedy School.
[NOTE: I have swapped out the stock saddle (it was big and cushy)
and pedals (love those Shimano DX platforms)].

As I think about this bike and consider doing a review article on it, I would love to hear any specific questions/thoughts you might have about it. As far as as I know, no dealers are selling these yet. The U.S. distributor is Seattle Bike Supply and they just started bringing them in this year.

For more specs on the bike, check it out on the Batavus USA website.

So far I have pleasantly surprised and impressed by this bike. Stay tuned for more photos and thoughts.

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  • Joe January 24, 2008 at 10:53 am

    DX pedels make the bike, that a bit steep in price for me.

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  • Dabby January 24, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I have a Batavus. I don\’t know what year it is,(old) but it has a rod front brake, a rear coaster, and a bitchin\’ wolf headbadge. Cool older bike, that I wouldn\’t ride if you paid me, for it is basically a death trap, (I learned this having to ditch it on Burnside hill when the chain came off) even in it\’s great condition.

    The bike you are speaking of above, after looking at it and seeing the price tag, makes no sense to me at all.

    It seems like a backwards step in cycling.

    While it is a \”city bike\”, and should be judged in that context alone, justifying that cost, for that particular bike, would keep me, and most others, from ever swinging a leg over the top tube, even for a test ride.

    Maybe it has solid gold axles or something? Anything? Does it come with super powers?

    I, and you, know people that could build you a nice, handmade city bike, right here in town for close to that price Jonathan. (slight sarcasm, but you know what I am getting at)

    It has been shown that people in Portland will over spend for bikes that have anything to do with everything European, and maybe this is another fine example of that logic.

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  • steve January 24, 2008 at 11:18 am

    If anyone is going to spens $1800 bucks on that..

    Well then, I have a nice bridge property near sellwood that you may be interested in.

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  • Steve January 24, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Seems overpriced…paid 325.00 for my Kona AfricaBike and it came with a front basket and rear rack.

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  • Russell January 24, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Looks like a nice bike but I agree that it\’s a little spendy. Also, having to lug my bike up and down two flights of stairs every time I come or go most of the nice city bikes weigh too much (This one definitely does at about 44lbs). Anyone seen any nice, lightweight city bikes?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) January 24, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I would really caution you to reserve judgment on the price until you hear more about the bike.

    Steve, this thing is in an entirely different league than your Kona AfricaBike.

    Just to give you a taste… the bike comes stock with a very nice multi-tool (probably $40-50 retail), a seat bag, a cycle computer, front Shimano generator hub, full Deore LX 9-speed drivetrain, SKS fenders, a frame pump, and even a nice thermal carafe water bottle!

    It is also relatively light given what a complete bike it is.

    Also remember that this bike is not meant for the fixed-gear, DIY crowd. This is meant for the professional person who is looking for a serious city/transportation/utility bike that can replace their dependence on a car.

    ok..I\’ll save the rest for another post…

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  • BURR January 24, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I think we\’re being hurt by the exchange rate on this on. I think it would have priced out at about $1000.00 a few years back.

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  • SG January 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I\’m sure there are a ton of people in King City that would love riding this bike.

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  • David Guettler January 24, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    While Euro-type city bikes will always have a warm spot in my heart, we (River City) looked at those bikes and could not justify the price, since there are so many great bikes that are a lot less expensive that you can customize for you own purpose, and still not hit that price range.
    The search continues! To each their own!

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  • neutralwrench January 24, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Why is there such a fad with front suspension on city bikes? That fork must weigh a pound and a half yet only give 20mm of cushion. Any pot hole will still be uncormfortable. The rest of the bike fits european regulations, front head light, lock built in to frame. but why the suspension?

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  • el serracho January 24, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    those bikes are very common in the netherlands. i typically see them ridden my moms/dads with their kids on little racks behind or – for the really little guys – in front of them. i rode one (or one very very similar) as a hotel rental there once and rather enjoyed it.

    have you checked out a breezer? i\’ve had my \”uptown\” for something like 5 years (maybe 4) and could not be happier with it. heck, i rode it today.

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  • JE January 24, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    neutralwrench #10

    Why the fad with city bike suspension forks? Well they do really work. They\’re not meant to smooth out the potholes. But they do eliminate the little bumps, buzz and vibrations.
    I\’ve always prefered cro-mo over aluminium for a buzz free ride. But I will admit a good seat, suspension seatpost and suspension fork makes it feel like you\’re riding on a road as smooth as glass. (Until you hit that pothole.)

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  • Neil January 24, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Far far too expensive for a bike that will be locked up on the street all day. Looks pretty geeky too.

    It seems to me that if some company can make those cheap shiny full-suspension mountain bikes favored by tweakers, another company can make a cheap city bike.

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  • Scott January 24, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    what a dumb bike.

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  • Dabby January 24, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Actually a good solid pair of rubber handlebar end plugs, that fit well, can do a lot to help buzzes and vibrations by themselves. I actually install them first, then slide my grips on top of them. (not easy to do but be patient)

    And they don\’t weigh much at all.

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  • Rawn January 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Where is it made?… China, Taiwan? Country of origin and all the environmental and social baggage that comes with has lately become somewhat important to me.

    It\’s pretty easy to judge a product based on specs and price alone.

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  • Byron January 24, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    A nice competitor to my Azor Secret Service, available at Clever Cycles on Hawthorne. The Batavus looks quite nice, I must say. I am having great luck on the Azor for my 12 mile round trip commute from Woodstock to Old Town. A bit heavy, but there\’s a reason for that – it\’s a grown-up city bike! I have to question some of the comments about price. These imported city bikes (yes America, please try to make these too!!!) are a bit more costly with the Bush dollar melt-down, but are still worth it. And I see alot of $2500 and up racing bikes out there that maybe get an occasional weekend of use during the warm months – price is all relative. And alot cheaper than the car we recently got rid of, along with the $300+ monthly payment. I look forward to a full review Jonathan.

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  • Zaphod January 24, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I like to give new things a chance but if someone asked for my advice (which happens often) on how to set up a ride optimized for urban riding here in PDX, I\’d point to Bianchi (Milan), Biria, Trek and a few others. Suppose a local shop had a customer (picture non-cyclist wearing a tie for this scenario) who said, \”Sell me a commuter bike with all that I need and build it up. I can\’t spend over $1800.\” The LBS could go crazy with top shelf accessories, charge for installation and hand over a lighter, more stylish, near zero maintenance bike.

    There is value in having it all wrapped up, integrated and complete out of the box. I\’ll concede that most other bikes require additions/changes to make them perfect. But then again, that\’s where the personal touch of the LBS comes into play.

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  • michael downes January 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    As a former designer for a vary large Taiwanese bicycle corporation I can shed some light on the \’cost\’ both in dollars and environmental problems. Most of the bikes which are imported directly from China or Taiwan come almost completely assembled and the larger, more reputable companies adhere to fairly stringent standards as far as proper handling and disposal of waste products. The issues comes when portions of the production are farmed out to subsidiary vendors who may not operate within accepted practices. Aluminum is itself a problematic material requiring as it does vast amounts of electricity. That is why many aluminum smelters are located close to hydro electric dams and power plants. Then there are the transportation costs across the Pacific involving oceans of diesel fuel and it\’s attendant emissions. The Taiwan/China bikes sold in Europe were often sent as raw frames and then painted and assembled in Holland to get around EU anti-dumping policies. If the Batavus went through that route then it has effectively traveled three quarters of the way around the planet to end up a hop, skip and a jump from where it was first welded together.

    It would be interesting to see a detailed cradle to grave environmental life cycle of a bicycle to see if there is a net positive affect in terms of offsetting emissions or if we just treading water as far as our carbon footprint goes.


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  • k. January 24, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    I agree with BURR. I think all these new importers of the Dutch style bikes have got to be taking it on the chin what with the diminishing power of the dollar, especially against the Euro. Even given the level of features, it\’s a bit too $$.

    But at least it\’s got gears. Most of those Dutch bikes are built for Holland, which is flat as a pool table. They don\’t always make sense over here.

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  • Dirt Monkey January 24, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    what size wheels does it come with? The website doesn\’t really say, and I know that a lot of euro touring bikes are 650B and it is hard to tell from the pics.

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  • Jessica Roberts January 24, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Hm, at first glance it looks suspiciously like an American comfort bike, despite the Euro label…and I\’m definitely not a fan of the look or feel of comfort bikes. I wasn\’t sure why until Clever Cycles explained it all for me. I will be interested to hear your thoughts after riding it.

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  • Rawn January 24, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Michael, (#19) you make some good points. Somehow it would be great to be able to make informed consumer decisions based on the environmental cost of products we buy. In this case (a bicycle) doesn\’t it make sense to minimize the cost to the planet? I\’m commuting at least in part because I want to do my part.

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  • Tall Mike January 24, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    The price seems very, very steep for a city bike. I am a fan of the Dutch bike look, but the weight and gearing aren\’t practical for Portland, or anywhere else that isn\’t completely flat. The mid-century French style city bikes are the best fit for this town. The bikes are light, look fantastic, and more versatile than Dutch bikes. Check out the Velo Orange website.

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  • Eric @ Curbside Cycle January 24, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    The Socorro represents a maturation of a culture that has lived on city bikes – and it\’s certainly not for everyone. What the Dutch city cyclist has that we don\’t have is options in city bikes. In Holland there are city bikes for child carrying, shopping, short trips, long trips, recreational rides, the list goes on! Some are cheap, some are pricey. What they all have in common is durability, total weather resistance, excellent safety sightlines, comfort, almost zero maintenance, and a clothing friendly design. And, these bikes last decades, not years. Practicality, in other words, trumps performance on all counts. This bike is cheaper than a car and transit, and if its a little too luxury, well who cares? My 50 year old investment banker customer would love it, and what\’s wrong with getting a 50 year old investment banker onto a bike? Getting more people on bikes means more different kind of bikes. And by the way, I ride up a monster hill on my Batavus Personal Bike each day, and despite its weight, I feel safe and do just fine. I look forward to the review!

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  • Lisa January 24, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    About that front suspension: Not a fad. It really comes in handy when you have to stop short to avoid those nasty right hooks..absorbs all the momentum and you don\’t go flying over the handlebars.

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  • Modesto January 28, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I\’d have to agree with the observation that you need to consider the market for this bike. In other words, it\’s not for the cooler-than-thou crowd, or the recyclers, or the weekend warriors who often treat bikes like fetish objects.

    There\’s a growing market for out of the box commuter bicycles that don\’t require special shoes, clothes, or attitude–someone like my wife, for instance, who wouldn\’t be caught dead in Lycra, or who doesn\’t have the time or patience to tie up special shoes or go for that special look. Yes, it\’s not a cheap bike, but it\’s complete, designed for commuters and everyday cyclists, and a helluva lot cheaper than any car. Handmade and/or cheap are lovely, but a complete solution is very attractive as well.

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  • Adrienne November 10, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    I have this bike (in the step through version) and I ride it everyday in San Francisco. I think it is a fantastic machine! If it could just be priced within reach, I am sure more people would consider something like this. I got a deal on it @ $999 (!!!!) and have not thought twice about it as it is hands down the best bike I have ever owned- comfortable, powerful on hills, pulls my Burley well, beautiful to look at and fun fun fun to be on.
    Have you written anything else about your thoughts on it?

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