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Walmart goes Dutch with “Hollandia” model

Posted by on July 11th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

$249 for Walmart’s new Dutch bike. Notice how Walmart’s website puts “Adult Bikes” in the “Toys” section.

The Dutch bike invasion into the United States has reached a new level. Walmart now sells the classic “Opa” style Dutch bike for $249. Check out the new Hollandia Opa Citi 28″ Cruiser Bike (that “cruiser” label will surely make Dutch bike purists cringe)…

“Hollandia”

The bike was inspired by the classic Opa model made famous by Workcycles. To give you an idea of what an authentic Dutch bike costs, Clever Cycles sells the Workcycles Opa for $1,599.

The Hollandia is made in China and boasts a front and rear “Dutch-style rack,” bell, light, chainguard and a dualie kickstand. It even comes standard with fenders. Hollandia is not a Walmart house brand. It was created in 2010 by U.S. importer Cycle Force Group.

Dutch bikes have been growing in popularity in the U.S. ever since they first became available at the end of 2006. Electra helped popularize them with their “Amsterdam” line, which launched in fall 2006.

I haven’t seen one of Walmart’s Hollandia’s in person yet, but I hope it’s put together well (a $249 price point doesn’t give me much confidence). I think it’d be interesting to buy one and give it a thorough review (similar to what I did when the Electra Amsterdam first hit the market in November 2006); but I have mixed feelings about giving any money to Walmart.

What do you think?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you โ€” Jonathan

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captainkarma
Guest
captainkarma

Looks like something the Wicked Witch of the West would ride. This seriously looks like a generic southeast asia family bike, dooded up and painted black to look Dutch. Whatever. I don’t spend a dime @ MalWart. Sorry to be so negative. How could you build a new bike, ship it, and pay the workers in a civilized fashion, all for $249?

Chris
Guest

It’s destined to be recycled scrap metal at the Community Cycling Center!

Craig Harlow
Guest
Craig Harlow
Jonah
Guest
Jonah

If it works and is as utilitarian like a Dutch bike without the cost barrier of one, then I’m glad it’s being made more accessible!

Ann Marie van den Hurk
Guest

Love it, but I want an Oma Fiets! Actually, I’d really like an bakfiets, which is the Dutch Mom’s minvan, but they are really expensive in the US.

KYouell
Guest
KYouell

Every once in awhile you’ll find used bakfiets; that’s how we were able to afford one. Clever Cycles tweets about them when they show up on Craigslist. Good luck!

Amsterdamize
Guest

While it’s always good that more affordable ‘normal’ bikes become available, I’m sorry to say this is a bike you want to steer around. I’ve seen it before in a British online shop. It’s a 100% Chinese copy. So certainly not Dutch, in any way, there’s absolutely no ‘quality’ to speak of (and there are plenty of pointers for Dutch eyes, just from looking at this picture), you’ll definitely get a headache from it falling apart in a few months time. It’s like buying a Yugo and expecting Volkswagen durability/reliability.

So you’re correct, Jonathan, your suspicion is right on the money.

(PS: this is written NOT in defense of a Dutch brand like Workcycles or other Dutch bikes, but really as advice to people to spend their money wisely. As we say over here: goedkoop is duurkoop. Aka, ‘cheap is expensive’.)

Andy
Guest
Andy

Volkswagen has terrible reliability when you take their whole line-up into consideration, according to reader feedback at consumer reports.

Amsterdamize
Guest

I was just trying to make a point. Toyota instead? Well, anything is better than a Yugo, really.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

The Trabant might be worse but point taken.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant

Piet
Guest
Piet

http://www.hollandiafietsen.nl/ And HOW is this from China exactly? You people should get your facts straight.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
Guest

Piet,

Thanks for the link.

I just called Cycle Force Group (the U.S. distributor of Hollandia) and they confirmed for me that the Hollandia sold in Walmart is designed in Holland and made in China. Interestingly, the Hollandia bikes sold in Holland are made in Bulgaria from Chinese parts.

Brad Hawkins
Guest
Brad Hawkins

I don’t know, I go to Europe fairly regularly and most of the bikes being ridden are of this variety: cheaply made, pedals falling apart, loose cranks, and wobbly hubs. For a bike to be truly useful to someone who doesn’t consider themselves a cyclist, it has to have everything this bike has and nothing more (ok, perhaps a bottle generator and some lights, $20 more).

These bikes will last longer than you think and are certainly more useful and durable than a $200 full suspension bike also found at Walmart. I would much rather see your run of the mill migrant worker riding early in the morning to Home Depot/poor or DUI non-cyclist ride this useful bicycle.

I ride some fairly expensive and well curated bikes but I’m glad that there is something like this out there that the a new or uncommitted cyclist can start out with, ride in the rain, and wear normal clothes.

I say chapeau!

chris
Guest
chris

I live and repair bikes in Europe, and the ones of which you speak bear no similarity to this creature. The bikes I see by the thousands in places like Stockholm and Helsinki look oldish and clunky, but have been around for decades, ridden hard through ridiculous winters, and are repaired perhaps once every five years. They have a high resale value, and are extremely popular. The Wal-bike above, if ridden to the extent of European bikes, will be incapacitated within six months, if not sooner. They’re disposable, dangerous, and simply exploiting a trend.

Carrie
Guest

I agree with this. And in actuality, this is how it work in NL as well. Most people have cheap bikes. It works because it makes the threshold low and it isn’t a disaster when it is stolen – yet again – at the station. I paid about E150 for my last bike and have been happily riding it on a daily basis for the better part of a year with little problems. Idem ditto with most of my bikes. If you want to have an “authentic Dutch” bicycle, perhaps ironically, something cheap will more likely fit the bill.

Amsterdamize
Guest

Brad, there’s a big difference between the ‘cheaply made’ bikes you’ve seen here and this particular one. The first were actually well made and have been abused to no end and are, despite all that, still being used. This ‘Hollandia’ wouldn’t last 3 months with everyday use. I agree with you that this *type* of bike should become more mainstream and enable anyone ‘non-cyclists’ (odd, but ok, I get the US perspective) to afford a practical & safe bike, but prices are relative. A low-income person spending $250 on a bike that will fall apart quickly will most likely hurt his/her wallet more than it would more affluent people.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

3 months? That is nonsense. I see lots of perfectly functional 10 year old walmart and huffy bikes for sale at yard sales.

JR Namida
Guest
JR Namida

* * *
I also see these Big box bicycles that are mostly shinny & need repair in many garage & yard sales. They often still have shinny painted surfaces covered in dust from not being ridden. Almost always they need new tires (rotten sidewalls) or the tubes must be replaced. A lot of them need the wheels trued, or they have a missing or broken brake lever and will not shift gears correctly.

The reason these bicycles are often in garage sales, is something bent, failed, fell off and that is why it was not ridden often and it looks almost new instead of scratched and worn.

Why do the tires often need to be replaced on these garage & yard sales bikes? They sat in the same position for years.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Three months is complete nonsense. I have ridden such “low quality” bikes for years and years, only needing to replace the tires.

dwainedibbly
Guest
dwainedibbly

If Wal-Mart thinks that the US market for this type of bike is big enough for them to get involved, then maybe we’re getting somewhere after all. I just hope that the inevitably cruddy quality doesn’t create bad experiences and turn potential cyclists away from cycling before they really get started.

And it might be a good source for chain cases!

mikep
Guest
mikep

As someone noted above, while this is not a high-quality bike, it is still good to see for a few reasons. Walmart is a trend follower, not a trend setter when it comes to styles and fashions. If they are putting this bike out there, it is a good indicator that a healthy market for Dutch-style bikes exists.

For a certain set of people, the big box store is going to be where they get their first bike for one reason or another (price point, convenience (especially in areas without a lot of bike saturation), that’s where the parents buy everything else, etc.). That’s not going to change soon. Before this bike, that meant everyone was getting a cheap mountain bike. Now, it means someone thinking about riding to work can see a more practical option. If it turns out they like riding, when they go to upgrade they’ll discover “real” bikes just like the one they have but better. If the bike ends up in the garage like so many other do, someone gets an even better deal at a garage sale someday.

As for the the “it won’t last three months” comments – we don’t have the facts to say that. Obviously it is not of high quality, but it might easily hang in there for years depending on the level/conditions of use. Or it might implode after a dozen rides. We have no test data to go on here.

Jonathan – how about BikePortland buys one of these (business expense), tests it out, reports on the ride, have some bike mechanics give their opinion of its strengths/weaknesses, etc. Then you can donate it to a charity (if you deem it safe enough) when you are done. Alternately, you can probably review it and return it as long as you don’t crash it ๐Ÿ™‚

craig
Guest
craig

Like that last suggestion. Have someone ride it daily for the rest of the summer and report in weekly.

Robert
Guest
Robert

+1 to mikep

S
Guest
S

Capital idea…also great publicity for all involved.

KJ
Guest
KJ

and maybe try to buy it from the company or another retailer who carries it and not from walmart or something.

3-speeder
Guest
3-speeder

There is something I’ve been thinking of recently that this post reminds me of.

For many people, especially those in the “interested but concerned” group, the price of a quality bicycle is one of the barriers they face. For someone who hasn’t ridden a bicycle in 20 or more years, spending $1000-$2000 can be a tough choice. This is why such Wal-Mart bikes can find buyers.

When someone buys a new car, the value of the car decreases significantly the next day, and after 5-10 years, the car is only worth a small fraction of its new price, even if it is maintained well. (Yes, there are exceptions to this, but I think those are a small percentage of cars.)

I’ve never seen any analysis on how a new bicycle loses (or gains) value after owning it for 5-10 years. I have a feeling that if one pays $1000-$2000 (or more) for a quality new bicycle, then over time that bicycle’s value will remain in the ballpark of its original price (assuming it is maintained properly, etc.).

To regard a bicycle as a transportation vehicle, the same value analysis that is used for cars should be considered upon purchase. The initial outlay for a quality new bicycle is only 5-10% of an average new car, and if one wants to sell it in 5 years in order to upgrade, one can get back most of the original investment, or at least a far higher percentage of the original investment than a car would retain.

Do others agree with this sentiment? If so, should this sort of bicycle economics be more prominently discussed to encourage the “interested but concerned” to go ahead and spend that $1000-$2000?

9watts
Guest
9watts

“For someone who hasn’t ridden a bicycle in 20 or more years, spending $1000-$2000 can be a tough choice.”
Dude, who do you hang out with? $2,000 for a bike? Have you heard of Craigslist? I can get any bike I want for less than $100, and these are bikes that cost plenty when I was a kid. Now they’re marked way way down. Heck, I can even get a Cannondale or a Klein mountain bike from yesteryear for a couple hundred bucks on Craigslist.

To your larger point about loss of value. I think it is quite similar to cars, unfortunately–or fortunately for those of us who don’t buy anything new.

Mike
Guest
Mike

You can find a used dutch bike for less than $100 ?!?!?

You should offer your CL skills for hire! I would pay you to find stuff. First, I want a touring bike for my wife. Titanium frame with Ultegra 10 spd triple. 56 cm. I will give you a 50% finders fee, so $150?

9watts
Guest
9watts

9watts: “I can get any bike I want for less than $100…”

Mike: “You can find a used dutch bike for less than $100 ?!?!? You should offer your CL skills for hire!”

You didn’t read what I wrote. I don’t want a Dutch bike. Nor do I want a titanium bike. I grew up in Germany and so-called Dutch bikes were everywhere. Boring. Heavy. No good on gravel, steep hills, etc. I got a mountain bike in 1986 and have never looked back. I’ve put street tires, fenders, racks, & lights on mine for the last 20+ years. That is the kind of bike I find useful, sturdy, reliable, cheap, and would recommend to anyone who wanted to get around and/or didn’t know much about bikes. You prefer something else? Fine. I’m not making any money off this.

To all who wouldn’t recommend Craigslist to their friends, how hard is it to give them a few pointers, evaluate the seller’s photos, go along with them? Geez. I’ve gotten probably a half dozen sturdy bikes on CL, all for <$150. Pump up the tires, tune the brakes, lube the chain and you're off.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Bah! You had me excited for nothing. I was hoping that by providing you with an financial incentive, you would “want” a titanium touring bike you could then sell to me.

Since this article was about dutch bikes, I wrongly inferred that you were talking about the same thing.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

I guess the bright side is that for most of Walmart territory, hills are few and far between.

Al from PA
Guest
Al from PA

This might come as a shock to some in the US, but the typical, generic Dutch bike *in Amsterdam*, the kind that pretty much lasts forever until it is dumped in the canal, does not cost all that much more–when there I saw them in the $400 range. The rack on the front was about $40, separate.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I think it’s great that Walmart is offering a Dutch styled bike to the masses…

I’m of the same mindset as dwainedibbly in that it seems like we’re heading in a good direction if this is what is now mainstream…

yes, of course it’s cheaply made and the laborers suffered… just like with most cheap things made in Asia…

the seat stay isn’t even welded… and all those bolt connections on the racks will make it flimsy when loaded up with lots of bags of redemption bottles…

they should have made it a 3-speed and kept it under $200…

but it has a rack, fenders, and chain guard… I say kudos to a utilitarian city starter bike that we can hope gets people interested enough to buy a real one after a couple years of casually using this one on more and more trips back to Walmart…

also, it comes in lots of cool colors and sizes, including a step-through “women’s” version… kid’s versions start at $189 and adult ones go all the way to $399… The $399 one is a much better made bike… it has a 3-speed internal hub with roller brake, and a welded seat stay…

although they need to get it out of the Toys category and list it only in Sports & Fitness…

DK
Guest
DK

This doesn’t deserve press. Let Walmart pay for their own adverts.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I think it does. It’s a major sign of a culture swing here. It’s a sign that the huddled masses are transitioning from $150 mountain bikes that they will ride on a MUP 2 times a year, to a more utilitarian bike that will be used more often, reducing auto use.

fiets503
Guest
fiets503

Yes, if Wal Mart is willing to play in this market, then the dutch utility bicycle “trend” must be gaining traction here in the U.S.

ethan
Guest
ethan

People don’t need a $1000+ bike to get out of their cars and onto bikes. Suggesting that it is anything other than good news that Walmart is extending its bike selection beyond the cheapo mountain bikes I saw last time I was there is bald elitism at its worst. I hate to say it but it is true.

9watts
Guest
9watts

We had this discussion when IKEA gave away even cheaper bikes, and some folks defended the move and others excoriated them for not supporting the local bike industry or making a more serious move to actually encourage cycling by their employees, etc. I think there are reasonable arguments on both sides. And let’s not forget that in other countries IKEA does take bikes and its customers’ need for them seriously (see avatar).

lyle
Guest
lyle

Really? Bike’s that will, undoubtedly, break down in short order is good for reeling people into biking? It’s the reverse.. I think it will turn people off and make them think it’s the norm and give up. Not only that, Walmart doesn’t have an adequate mechanical maintenance policy/warranty (and if they do, their ‘mechanics’ are a joke), so kiss that difference goodbye in the first couple of years.

Antload
Guest
Antload

Important point.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Check out part of Todd Boulanger’s comment, July 12, 2011 at 5:29 pm: “…The $28 three year repair service warranty is crazy great…”

$28 bucks extra on top of the bike’s price, and you can hassle wallyworld for the next 3 years if, and whenever so much as a bolt or a screw comes loose.

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Saw one of these on display (not for sale, you have to order it, free shipping) at the West 11th store in Eugene. It’s a clunker, but well worth $250 more so than an authentic Dutch bike is worth $1500.

spokesy
Guest
spokesy

I can already hear the creaking and feel the ungainliness of the thing. Just looking at it makes me imagine which bolts are going to snap off the first time it carries a load on the porter rack and imagine which parts are plastic, mashed together and/or ungreased before assembly.

In my formative years, I worked at a Wal*Mart in the bakery, but would see the bike mechanic in the backroom in the mornings putting together the new shipments. It was unfortunately akin to an Ikea assemblage what with the assembly cue sheet spread out in front of him – and still managing to put it together shoddily.

At Fred Meyers, for instance, it has become a past-time on my various shopping trips to walk through the bike dept and note which ones have their front forks on backwards and the like.

Brian E.
Guest
Brian E.

“Fred Meyers” Ha, spoken like a true local. Don’t you know that it is Fred Meyer now?

I’m always catching myself saying it as Fred Meyers too.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

“I can already hear the creaking and feel the ungainliness of the thing.”

I feel the same way about all those production road bikes when I ride my Seven, Indy Fab or Vanilla.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I love all reading all the expert opinions that this bike wouldn’t last 3 months. When was the last time anyone on BP bought a Walmart bike and conducted a long term review?
I contemplating buying this bike and riding it for that long just to test it.
At least then one “expert” opinion would be based on first hand knowledge rather than “I looked closely at the internet picture and compared the specs to a bike that cost 6.5x as much”.

Using the car analogy that someone above referenced, we are talking about the difference between a base model Hyundai Accent ($10,000) and a loaded Mercedes Benz E550 AWD ($65,000). A fair comparison? Only if you have the means and desire to buy the Mercedes.

I hated Walmart for what they did (do) to small businesses, but I have begun to recognize that they are capable of making good contributions to society. Fortunately, I currently make enough money I do not have to shop there.

dmc
Guest
dmc

๐Ÿ™‚

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

The description walmart provides is pretty useless. Details like weight ( 55# Shipping weight does not give much clue as to actual bike weight) frame materials ( high tensile steel offers little information regarding frame/forks/stem). I question the 28″ x 1.75″ tires, not a common size in the US, much more expensive/inconvenient/hard to find than a 27″ or 700cc tire/tube.
For all of that, if it gets someone to ride to the grocers rather than driving, or provides introduction to cycling because someone thinks the bike is ‘cute’, thats fine. My son once spent 4 times that amount on a sound system for his car. Guess which would provide the most value, in my eyes: a $250 reproduction bike or a $1000 mobile boom box?

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

28×1.75 is the same as a 700×47

9watts
Guest
9watts
Jacob
Guest
Jacob

If you scroll to the table in your link that shows decimal sizes, “28x Any decimal size (1.75 in this case) has the same ISO sizing as 700c (622). Check out the sidewall of a Continental Touring Plus and you’ll see the 28 x 1.75 designation.

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

or maybe 1.50 or something depending on width.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Jacob’s right. “700c”, “700xN”, “28xN” and “29xN” are all designations in common use that refer to the 622mm rim size. 28×1.75 is indeed equivalent to 700×45.

622 used to be found mostly on LBS-level road and hybrid bikes, and almost never on discount-store-level bikes, but I’m increasingly seeing it on hybrid and even mountain bikes at the Fred Meyer/Target type stores. And Fred Meyer now stocks tubes and tires in those sizes, which they never used to do.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Here’s a bit about the company which markets these bicycles, Cycle Force Group:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_Force_Group

Forseti
Guest
Forseti

Buying things at Wal-Mart is un-American.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Ha! That is rich….

Tell that to the millions of Americans that either have no other options in their towns, or are too poor to shop anywhere else.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

I think the fact that walmart is selling dutch bikes is a sign that the dutch bike craze is coming to an end.

Why would anyone pay an enormous price premium for a bike that wieghs 35 lbs, is impossible to ride up a hill, and uses anachronistic and obsolete technology. Its always been far more about form than function.

Bikesnob says it best:

“It took a few years, but it would appear that people are finally coming to terms with the fact that New York is not in fact Copenhagen or Amsterdam…You’ve got to hand it to them, though–they really tried to maintain the illusion for a few years. Remember those articles about “cycle biker chic?” Remember when we were all going to be riding Dutch Bikes?”

Dave
Guest

I’m not going to say “we’ll all be riding Dutch bikes” – or that we all should. But if expensive derailleurs and disc brakes are modern technology, I’ll personally take my anachronistic 3-speed internally geared hub and drum brakes any day for my city bike.

I think it’s important to note that this bike is likely just as much an approximation of the average European city bike as the Electra Amsterdam is, and that cutting-edge technology is often not particularly reliable or durable, especially when used roughly, heavily.

Dave
Guest

Speaking as someone who bought an Electra Amsterdam, assuming it would be a once-in-a-while bike, and then finding I loved riding it… I had the experience of it falling apart on me under daily use, and I probably spent the cost of the bike over again in repairs and upgrades to make it not fall apart and make it more practically useful (rebuilding the rear wheel with a sturdy rim, for instance, so I wouldn’t break any more spokes while carrying weight on the back).

While that was really annoying, it did get me started riding a bike for transportation, and now I’m riding a 30-yr-old Raleigh that is rock-solid and I love it (http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/5910326543/).

I have a lot of thoughts about things made to be disposable, and I would rather not see things mass-produced which are going to fall apart and end up in junk heaps – and I think our American idea of value could also use some major re-arranging (the Dutch “cheap is expensive” motto is much more apt, I think, than our “cheap is a good value” – and most of the time I think it’s worth spending money for quality, even if you have to wait for it), but it may be that these serve to make riding a bike actually viable for some people.

Mixed feelings. I think too, as culture changes and a bicycle becomes more commonly thought of as a practical investment, people will be more willing to initially save up and pop for a quality one – whereas it’s still looked upon as a gamble and/or a recreation by most people.

9watts
Guest
9watts
Brad Hawkins
Guest
Brad Hawkins

This bike will last a lot longer than people realize. Here are some links to the kinds of bikes people in Europe actually buy, not the kinds of bikes we bike people imagine that Europeans buy:
http://online.carrefour.fr/sports-et-loisirs/cycles-et-accessoires/velos-de-ville/
http://www.zweirad-stadler.com/shop/fahrrad-shop/city-raeder.html,r132

Here are some new versions of what we imagine we would ride if we lived in Amsterdam (from a real bike shop): http://www.zweirad-stadler.com/shop/fahrrad-shop/hollandrad-nostalgie.html,r721

And here is what the dutch are actually buying: http://omafietsen.nl/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=390

None of the above listed bikes are any better than the Wallmart bike discussed above and Europeans ride these things for years and years with little problem.

This Walmart bike is right in the ballpark and everything that a noob bike should be. I hope that Walmart sells 50 million of these things because it would completely change cycling in America into something that we would like to see.

Amsterdamize
Guest

Brad: you couldn’t be more wrong. Yes, there are cheap bikes anywhere, also in NL. You wanna know what the AVERAGE retail price is that Dutch people pay for a new bike? 2009: 749 euros. 2010: 789 euros.

Yes, average!

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

So what is the ‘average’ price that people in the US pay for a new bike?

Brian E.
Guest
Brian E.

Looks every bit the same quality as other $250 bikes.

Very similar to my old 1960’s Columbia. Just take good care for it, don’t beat on it, and don’t expect a premium riding experience.

Amsterdamize
Guest

spare_wheel
I think the fact that walmart is selling dutch bikes is a sign that the dutch bike craze is coming to an end.
Why would anyone pay an enormous price premium for a bike that wieghs 35 lbs, is impossible to ride up a hill, and uses anachronistic and obsolete technology. Its always been far more about form than function.
Bikesnob says it best:
“It took a few years, but it would appear that people are finally coming to terms with the fact that New York is not in fact Copenhagen or Amsterdam…You’ve got to hand it to them, though–they really tried to maintain the illusion for a few years. Remember those articles about “cycle biker chic?” Remember when we were all going to be riding Dutch Bikes?”

Impossible to ride up a hill? Obsolete technology? More form than function? What planet are you on? No, really?

John
Guest
John

A lot of speculation here in the comments, but since no one has bought or ridden the Wal Mart bike, I think we can safely say that no one really knows what level of quality it is. With that said, I’d hope that someone would buy it so we could get this conversation started on solid footing!

Tony Fuentes
Guest

Definitely, someone buy Jon one of these for a review and test ride.

Although, I imagine overall quality will be in line with the WalMart’s last bike trend follower offering:

http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2010/04/bsnyc-product-review-walmarts-mongoose.html

Amsterdamize
Guest

Apparently I don’t really know what I’m talking about & the bike is given the benefit of the doubt.

I like there to be cheap bikes. Cheap bikes can be good (enough)…sometimes. Obviously, it’s up to each individual to determine whether they can live with unreliable parts or quality of construction & ride, which will end have them spending more than average on repairs and what not. As is often the case with purchasing products: pay a little more to save a bit in the long term.

People are saying we shouldn’t rush to judgement without some testing etc. Sure. That’s why I can’t wait for the Ding Ding Let’s Ride blog to follow up on this.

I’ve used and seen others buy & ride this exact type of (imitation) bike, countless of times. No exception: all crap. Whatever you think you’re going to do with it, daily use, or occasionally, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s fine if you feel you don’t have enough to go on. My comment was meant as an honest warning, based on experience, trying to save people, who don’t know these types that well (and are lured into the whole ‘Dutch bike’ thing), the trouble of going through a bad experience.

PS: the whole ‘but well worth $250 more so than an authentic Dutch bike is worth $1500.’ is really a ridiculous notion. And no, I’m not being elitist.

steve bice
Guest
steve bice

Guess what,we live in a $10.00 an hour world now.There for,this is a good bike. I own a Scott Sub 20, paid $900.00 also a Trek 2.1 paid, $1300.00 both paid with Tax Refund Checks & a 1985 Trek Mt. Bike I traded gardening work for. If I were just starting out I would be Running to the nearest Walmart to get one. And don’t worry Portland, all you high end bike builders & bike shops this is Good news for everybody !

Amsterdamize
Guest

and I thought most of you would like to support US made bikes. This ‘Hollandia’ crap is Chinese, which adds insult to injury, aka it’s not surprising it’s sold through Walmart.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Supporting US made bikes is not feasible for many US citizens. As of 2010, 14.3% of the US was living at or below the poverty rate. Current unemployment is over 9% nationwide.
Just out of curiousity, what is the cheapest US made dutch-style bike?

Dave
Guest

I don’t know of any U.S.-made Dutch-style bikes.

For what it’s worth, the majority of European city bikes are made with frames originating in Asia as well. A few still built in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium (and probably elsewhere as well), but even high-end WorkCycles gets the majority of their frames from Asia, I think.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

What bikes are actually made in the US that are not custom?

Chris
Guest
Chris

You realize that China practically finances this country now, right? Think twice before criticizing our Chinese overloads.

jered
Guest
jered

AND if we were having a cargo hauling race I’d put my money on the person from china winning and the uber commuter from Portland losing despite the Portland person having a fancy bike and all the first world advantages. If you deducted time for whining Portland would lose by a huge margin.

China is super cool, honestly one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever been in terms of human energy and potential, lots of amazing people – oh it is also really scary too.

Also funny because when I was in China I kept falling in love with all the crazy mash up bikes over there. The utility of the bikes and something about the proportions I really liked, also some really cool graphics and paint schemes… We should import Chinese bikes as Chinese bikes – billions of people can’t be wrong… or can they?

ALSO, I have as many conversations on the MAX about my wonky, bent, rusty, and somewhat disfunctional Philips 3 speed that I pulled out of the garbage as I do my fancy pants Vanilla bikes. People think both are rad for different reasons. I think both are rad for different reasons and ride them pretty equally, though I won’t ride the 3 speed all the way back from Beaverton.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Mostly due to lack of tariffs and domestic corporate taxes, yes.

Batavist
Guest
Batavist

“You wanna know what the AVERAGE retail price is that Dutch people pay for a new bike? 2009: 749 euros.”
Irrelevant. The Dutch don’t buy new bikes unless paid for by company or social services.

Immigrants may buy these and hand them down to locals:
http://fiets.hema.nl/ontwerpjefiets.aspx?id=4111001

Amsterdamize
Guest

what utter bs is this? Seriously, this comment thread is now becoming ridiculous.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

As much as I dislike Wal-Mart, I think it’s great that they are offering more bikes than the standard Mongoose fake mountain bikes, as if those are the only/best choice.

9watts
Guest
9watts

What I’m missing in all this discussion is the used market. Why is Walmart the measure of anything? If you want an inexpensive bike, you’re going to get a whole lot more bang for your buck, value, choice, etc. by looking on Craigslist.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Craigslist is good if you have a lot of time on your hands. Sure, you can find a good, older Trek MTB for a decent price. But, try to find a ready to ride, older road bike on there under $250. It is hard! And, when you do find it, you better be the first to see it otherwise it will be gone in two minutes.

I agree that you can get a decent bike on the used market. Don’t get me wrong. All of mine were bought used. However, I know how to wrench, know my grouppos, and how to check for fatal flaws such as cracked frames. But, joe average doesn’t know such things.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Yeah, and in a city such as Portland, the popularity of bikes at the current time drives up used bike prices as well, and as you said they seem to get snapped up quickly.

Before I bought my brand-new Felt last year, I looked on Craigslist for older ones. Didn’t find many, and if I remember correctly the one I saw that would have worked for me was actually more expensive than the one I was looking to buy new (their bikes have a lot of range… $750 – $10,000), as it was a higher-end model.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

I have seen Schwinn World Sports for the mid to late 80’s fetch for over $300 on craigslist. I remember buying one brand new in 1987 at a sporting goods store for $200.

Toby
Guest
Toby

Not just that, but if you’re buying a bike at a Kwik E Mart, sorry, Wall Mart…then you probably don’t know much about bikes and buying off of CL can be daunting. Easy place to get ripped off. Sure you can buy a decent bike for $100 but if you don’t work on it yourself it may cost a couple hundred more to get it in good shape. I’ve bought some good finds, but it took some work and a little bit knowing what I’m looking at.

Most people buying these will only let them see the light of day on select sunny days for a spin around the block/park/Esplenade etc and will probably do them fine enough. At least as good as any other cheap bike. I wouldn’t buy one, but I’d chip in a few bucks for someone else to get one as a long term, year round review ๐Ÿ˜‰

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Well yeah, you and I know that. But there is a giant swath of Americana that doesn’t, or maybe lives in a smaller community where everyone shops at the local Wal-Mart.

When a friend recently asked me for advise on where to buy a used bike, I sent him links to the local bike shops here that carry used inventory, and they sales people will be able to help him out. But that’s not everyone’s thing. I’d never send someone who doesn’t know a think about bikes to buy one off of Craigslist.

Brad Hawkins
Guest
Brad Hawkins

Let’s say that your average European instead buys what Amsterdamize says is the average bike in Europe (and I don’t disagree that this is average and the bikes I’ve listed are below average). Here are some examples:
http://www.hercules-bikes.de/de/Hercules-Ebikes-und-Fahrraeder-im-Ueberblick-162,386.html

Cool bikes, all of them and all bikes that I would recommend to a new bike rider. The cheaper ones listed before would be for someone who rides out of necessity or who doesn’t have any real idea of bike prices. We all figured it out eventually. In any event, all of these bikes are made in China. They aren’t made by gnomes in some idyllic mountain village in the Alps, they are all made in China.

Remember that IKEA comes from Sweden but everything in the store comes from China. Lenin was right about the exploitation of third world workers to satisfy the wants of rich industrialists, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be a market for cheap stuff. If these Walmart dutch bikes sell, you bet there will be a $349 and a $499 and a $199, and a $129 version soon offered and we will all be better for it because there are no shocks that bottom out, no crappy derailers, and no cheap v-brakes to rub constantly against the rims . The value will go back into the bearings and tires, of course, after the cream goes to the shareholders.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

err… “and they sales people will be able to help him out.” Jesus.

That should be “and where the sales people will be able to help him out.”

PDXbiker
Guest
PDXbiker

Amsterdamize, the vast majority of bikes sold here are made in Taiwan/China. We have a Local Bike Shop, Joe Bike, who used to import and upgrade Chinese Flying Pigeons. This WalMart thing seems to be at around the same level. He’d be the guy to go to for a review on one of these.

kww
Guest
kww

I agree, it looks exactly like a Flying Pigeon, or and Indian equivalent (which is/was sold by Yellow Jersey)

J Ryde
Guest

I don’t like walmart, but I am in favor of any bike that can act as a gateway to an active cycling lifestyle for those in the central states (or elsewhere). An inexpensive bike with fenders that’ll carry things might just get people into more regular cycling. For a good perspective on the issue I recommend the urban velo review of the Walmart “fixed speed”: http://urbanvelo.org/mongoose-cachet-review-150-walmart-bike

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Brad Hawkins
Remember that IKEA comes from Sweden but everything in the store comes from China.

Really? The last thing I bought from Ikea said “Made in France”, if I remember correctly.

Brad Hawkins
Guest
Brad Hawkins

Nice. France is nice too.

Alan
Guest
Alan

…well I wouldn’t give money to walmart either. but the cheap price may get people onto a bike, and that’s always good.

JR-eh
Guest
JR-eh

According to Bicycle Retailer mag, the European Commission just extended its anti-dumping duty (currently at 48.5%) on all bicycles coming from China.
We need that here.

Tony Fuentes
Guest

In 1996 more than half the bikes sold in the USA were made in the USA (9.3 million bikes made, 16.2 million sold). At that time, there was great concern about China beginning to dump bikes into the US market.

The largest US bike manufacturers (Huffy, Murray, and Roadmaster) petitioned the US International Trade Commission for protection from the dumping. The ITC ruled that the China-based bike manufacturers posed no “material threat” to US manufacturers.

Three years later, Murray, Huffy, and Roadmaster were all out of business as nothing more than brand-names traded about like Schwinn before them.

So in 1996, the majority of bikes purchased in the USA were made in the USA. Now, less than one percent of bikes purchased in the USA are made here.

Meanwhile, the EU placed in place duty and import taxes on China-made bikes due to dumping concerns issues. What was the impact there?

Here is one example, 40 percent of the bicycles sold in Germany are made in Germany. And Germans purchase nearly 5 million new bikes a year.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…Three years later, Murray, Huffy, and Roadmaster were all out of business as nothing more than brand-names traded about like Schwinn before them. …” Tony Fuentes

A funny thing about the selling off of established highly regarded brand names like Schwinn, to foreign companies seeking to edge into the market by hustling low priced and consequently mediocre goods, is that the brand name sometimes comes to be used by those companies to grab the brands formerly higher price points.

For example, whatever company it is that currently owns it, sells some fairly expensive road bikes under the Schwinn brand name. Overseas workers willing, or being obliged to work for cheap. U.S. workers without adequate employment. The wallyworld $160 road bike, and $250 ‘Dutch’ bike becomes the daring new price point challenge, at the expense of many, many, people in the U.S. that need jobs

steve bice
Guest
steve bice

Oh & by the way, Guys & Gals my $900.00 Scott Sub 20 bike, “Frame ” & my $1300.00 Trek 2.1 bike “frame”. Yes, both made in Taiwan & yes both Scott & Trek are American companies.WTF

David
Guest
David

After reading all the posts, I think Jonathan’s idea of a review (maybe a year long ‘test’) would be very helpful. I know the perfect person to be the test rider (not me…I like my personal bicycle too much). I’d throw in $10 to purchase one of these and set the record straight.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Last week in bikeportland’s forums, forum member ‘Dovestrobe’ posted a thread about wally world’s $160 road bike. Amazon sells it too:

http://bikeportland.org/forum/showpost.php?p=26677&postcount=15

Brand name is ‘GMC Denali’. Use Amazons’ zoom function, and you can see that the welds look just like about every other aluminum bike’s frame welds up to about the $1300 price level. Might be a much better bike than most of what the Magna brand seems to come out with. Some Shimano, but low end, and twist grip shifters. Quirky seatpost binder.

Last night, I thought I posted a comment about this wallyworld dutch bike, but I don’t see it. Oh well. The bike looks very stylish. So, if it holds up reasonably well, lots of people will probably buy the thing. Will they pay a quality mechanic…which can get expensive…to repair the thing? Or because, even at $250…(though no small amount of money for many people)… it’s kind of cheap, will they just let it break down, fall into disuse and get dusty in the garage, until it finally gets recycled or dumpstered?

Crash N. Burns
Guest
Crash N. Burns

From Johnathan’s Monday roundup:

http://www.bicycleretailer.com/downloads/US%20factory%20chart%2010-08LoRes.pdf

Chances are your “american” bike has some chinese or taiwanese roots.

Alex
Guest
Alex

I bet that thing will rust like hell in Portland’s rain.

3-speeder
Guest
3-speeder

To 9watts – Yes, I know the value of craigslist. I rode around Portland for years on a 3-speed I bought for less than $100 on CL. Less than $50 extra to replace worn items made it an outstanding bicycle to get around town.

But the “interested and concerned” will have difficulty identifying a quality used bike. For most of that group, they would see flat tires and assume the bike they are attached to is worthless.

I now often ride a top-of-the-line Breezer bike. Hub generator. Nexus internal 8-speed. Fenders, full chain guard, ring lock. Purchased new two-years ago for $1200 or so. It serves me better than my old 3-speed. I don’t know if it is 8-times better, but I was able to go into a bike shop and easily get all these useful features that I wanted.

On days I don’t ride the Breezer, I ride a Brompton folding bike. 6-speeds with a low-resistance hub generator. A bit over $2000 purchased a few months ago. It will enable new travel options for me.

Theoretically, we just need a bunch of $100 bikes to get 20-30% of the US population out of cars. But because of American materialist status values, this approach will not succeed (until capitalism collapses). The ‘sexy’ cycles that stand a chance of drawing large numbers of Americans onto bikes/trikes will cost at least $1000-$2000 new. And _new_ bikes will be what such Americans will want to buy. It doesn’t matter that you or I can find a cheaper, capable bicycle on CL. We don’t get to dictate what is ‘sexy’ for everybody else.

3-speeder
Guest
3-speeder

Oh – And the point of my original comment was that, compared to a motor vehicle, $1000-$2000 is cheap. And such bikes will have a relatively high resale value, compared to how cars depreciate over the same time period. I think this is an important economic point-of-view which I never hear mentioned.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Oh – And the point of my original comment was that, compared to a motor vehicle, $1000-$2000 is cheap.”

How many people look at these purchases that way? And if you do, how much cheaper/better deal is a $200 bike that was worth $1000 or more when new?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I actually had a friend say to me “Bikes are expensive”. I made sure to point out that I could buy a brand new mid-level bike for less than he pays in insurance on his car each year.

-j
Guest
-j

But this is only true if you have a car that requires comprehensive insurance โ€“ you can easily buy a $1000 car that will get you by for a couple years, and even if it breaks down, sell it for $200 scrap. My insurance is about $30 /monthโ€ฆnot really very much in the big picture. I just bought a new cable for my NiteRider bike light that cost as much as my monthly insurance payment.

craig
Guest
craig

A co-worker of mine who has several locally built custom bikes is fond of saying, “I never think twice about buying a fine bike that I want. I can own 10 superb custom bikes for the retail cost of one mediocre car.”

David Parsons
Guest

On the other hand, a car is enclosed, can carry multiple people (my 2001 Toyota Prius carries 5, if two of them are children) or 800 pounds of cargo,
and is really difficult to steal compared to a bicycle.

was carless
Guest
was carless

I have a friend who said the same thing to me. I showed him my 3 sub $100 bikes and $500 commuter I purchased (while I was a poor student). He makes 5 figures, but since he bought 2 cars and a house – “necessities” in his mind (and he is single), he says he can’t justify dropping $6k+ for a bicycle.

I told him he’s nuts. But I know others like him, here in Portland… they believe that bicycles are outrageously expensive, too expensive to justify, and the upper crust shuns Wal-Mart as much as the comments on this page.

3-speeder
Guest
3-speeder

Not many people look at it this way. Can marketing can change that attitude? Maybe it can, maybe it can’t.

But just imagine how many more trips would be make by bicycle if it can.

marshmallow
Guest
marshmallow

I’ve got a schwinn carbon fiber bike from walmart…Seems schwinn just slapped their name on a mass produced carbon frame and sold it cheap…rides like my carbon trek and costs a fraction. Anyway, most bikes come from 3 major manufacturers who have the expensive jerman and gapanese machinery to work with carbon weaving.

G.E.
Guest
G.E.

This is part (note I said part, not all) of the current financial crisis in the U.S. – everything is made in China or other low-wage, no real standard of quality locations (so it falls apart before the user has a chance to even enjoy it, wear it, etc). There is no longer pride in saying that something is “Made in the USA” as there was many decades ago. Manufacturing has mostly gone overseas and to countries that have no quality standards, nor decent wages for the workers making the products. Until the majority of the population is willing to realize that it simply costs more to make quality products and pay workers a decent living, garbage products will continue to be made (I’m not just referring to this specific bike, but many, many other products purchased). The only way to stop this is to stop buying from places like Wal-mart, Target, and many other big box type stores who purchase most of their goods from China and other low-wage paying countries. The problem is that it’s so cyclical. Americans are in tough times, so they look for the cheapest goods because they cannot afford the more expensive items. The goods we are purchasing are made cheaply because they are being manufactured in low-wage countries. At some point, it has to end. Going in to any store I very rarely see items that are made in the U.S. It’s rather sad, really.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

I dunno, I’m pretty proud of the work I do in America.

michael downes
Guest
michael downes

Although we like to get all misty eyed over the romance of Dutch bikes the fact is they are viewed in the Netherlands as unremarkable utilitarian tools akin to a vacuum cleaner. The classic Dutch Opa & Oma bikes are sold (in Europe) on price and available from most supermarkets and big box retailers like Wal Mart. It is price combined with good bicycle infrastructure that has made them universal. I think most Dutch would be mystified at spending $1500 on something no more valuable than a food processor. I applaud Wal Mart for bringing these in although I think the price tag reflects a healthy margin and I’m not convinced the wider public really understands what theses bikes are for.

Amsterdamize
Guest

Michael, you’re comparing apples with oranges, as a lot of other people are doing in this thread.

The Dutch know the difference between a supermarket omafiets (for instance) and a quality one. I’ll repeat: the Dutch spend on average(!) almost 800 euros on a new bicycle. And guess what, MOST of them are NOT bought at supermarkets and big box retailers.
The market is different here, way more diverse, competitive and innovative.

There are many specialty bike shops, either independent ones offering many household brands or ones carrying one brand, like Gazelle. The Dutch may look at bikes the same way you’d look at a vacuum cleaner, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t care less about what kind of bike they’d buy. They use bikes for everything and going everywhere, in any season, so they need to be durable, dependable (as the biggest nuisance is not having a -working- bike, as it’s that much part of life here) and comfortable. Aka, there’s a real demand for quality and expectations need to be met.

Thus, your ‘observation’ doesn’t hold any water. We do pay money like that and where do you get the idea that those bikes ‘are no more valuable than a food processor’? A proper, a US-based bike shop that carries real Dutch bikes needs to import, the entire supply chain needs to be a profitable operation, obviously.

I like to ask you and a few others that have been making quite extraordinarily bold claims about Dutch bikes to just ask me about it or do a little more digging than just perpetuating urban myths.

Next thing you know, someone will claim you can’t ride a Dutch bike up a hill, or…oh wait, right, someone already did.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“Next thing you know, someone will claim you can’t ride a Dutch bike up a hill, or…oh wait, right, someone already did.”

And why should the Dutch who don’t have mountains make bikes that are good on hills?
The geometry is terrible for climbing. Do you know anyone who likes to ride a Dutch bike where it isn’t just flat? I’m sure some do–I just have a hard time imagining it, when there are so many better choices out there. But then I don’t understand cyclocross either.

Dave
Guest

Dutch bikes are not ideal for hills, it’s true. However, when you look at the decision to buy a bike as if it were your only vehicle (crazy, I know), there are a lot more factors to take into account than whether it is ideal for hills.

There aren’t a lot of better options for, for instance, carrying 50lbs of lime for your garden, or the big 3-gallon water jugs for your water dispenser, or large bags of pet food/litter, or a number of other things I can think of. I can feasibly make a library run, a grocery run, and a pet store run all in the same trip without dropping anything off.

I honestly don’t see any other bikes around Portland, short of a bakfiets (which is even worse for hills), that would make it feasible for me personally to not own a car.

To me, that makes it worth pushing a little harder up hills.

Yeah, you can get a trailer, but then you have to store the bike *and* the trailer somewhere, and when you go to the store, you have to squeeze the trailer in somewhere, and you have to lock up the trailer, and it’s still hard to haul up hills, and it’s more awkward cuz it’s hanging out behind you, etc.

9watts
Guest
9watts

I noticed how you lament the difficulty of storing a bike and a trailer, but don’t mention how much room it takes to store your car. You might ask folks who do all that you describe without a car how they do it.

Dave
Guest

And I realize my priorities may be different from other peoples’, I’m just trying to give rationale for why someone might want to ride a Dutch (or other large, relatively heavy bike) in a place with hills.

Dave
Guest

9watts: I don’t own a car, thanks. I do all I just described with my bike, as I described it.

Dave
Guest

And I store my bike in my kitchen, because there isn’t anything to lock it to outside. There is *absolutely* no room for a trailer in there.

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

Any reasonable bike can carry the same load as a dutch bike. Heck, I routinely carry home 30 lb containers of pet-litter and ~40 lb cases of wine on my ~22 lb carbon fiber bike. (I drink a lot of wine.)

Dave
Guest

And I suppose you’ve loaded up a Dutch bike with a front and rear rack and panniers and loaded them full up with heavy items to see how much you could carry? Also, I’m guessing you don’t often carry other people on your 22lb carbon fiber bike (which is a common occurrence in the Netherlands)? I’m guessing you don’t often carry other bikes on your carbon fiber bike? Or three full grocery bags of groceries including liquids and glass? And I suppose you also know how a Dutch bike handles with 80lbs on it as opposed to your racing bike?

Look, I’m not trying to sell you a Dutch bike, I don’t care if you want to ride one or not. All I’m saying is, you’re making claims that you clearly don’t have the experience to back up, and trying to claim you know more than people who have the experience you lack. Stick to stating what you know.

Different bikes are suited to different tasks, and they do different things well. A Dutch bike is simply going to be better for hauling loads than a racing bike, and a racing bike is going to be better at climbing hills. So you consider your entire situation and decide what’s important to you and go from there.

trina
Guest

I live in portland (so not terribly hilly but not flat either), ride an 8 speed work cycles secret service, am a plus size woman, ride exclusively in 6th, 7th,and 8th gear (i hate the feeling of just spinning loosely) and do just fine every day. I’m not racing around town, but i get where i need to go perfectly fine with room to carry everything i need as i do not own a car. (oh and i do it all in skirts and dresses cause that’s just what i wear anyway.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

i suspect that from your perspective i am one of those people who race about town. but in reality i am just getting from point a to b FASTER.

i think its interesting that you chose the secret service over a traditional dutch bike.

According to work cycles web site is:

“Compared to our extraordinarily robust traditional models the Secret Service is tighter and lighter. It’s ideal both for those who cover some distance.”

ironically, that whole spiel from work cycles is exactly what i have been saying. i would go a step further and claim that many steel or aluminum hybrid/drop bikes with modern geometry would be just as comfortable to ride with the added advantage that you could go a little faster, climb much easier, and instantly shed 10-15 lbs of weight.

Dave
Guest

Have you ever looked at a Secret Service? It’s still lugged steel and weighs 40lbs. Geometry is basically the same as a traditional Omafiets.

And the Secret Service was an opportunity buy on sale, we would have preferred the Omafiets if we had the choice, but getting the Secret Service for nearly half the price was too good to pass up.

Again, stick to stating what you know.

Paul Johnson
Guest
Paul Johnson

Portland Metro is pretty darn hilly, as shown by contour maps, thanks to it’s thousand-foot changes in elevation. Willamette River is pretty much sea level, go just a few miles west and you’re crossing the Tualatin Mountains (they’re taller than 1000 feet above sea level, so yes, they are in fact mountains). You wanna see a “not too hilly, not too flat” city, you gotta look east where Portland’s shortest hills are considered massive.