Author Topic: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?  (Read 11590 times)

blake201

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Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« on: September 30, 2013, 10:41:39 AM »
Hi Mustachians,

Is $799 too much to spend on a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike for carting kids and groceries? Here's one from my local bike shop—I went and examined it the other day and it looks to be really well constructed and high quality:
http://rollingorangebikes.com/azor-bicycles/azor-oma-bike/

I've found since my husband and I started getting serious about Mustachianism a few months ago, most of our consumer cravings have dried up... except for in the area of bikes. We've started biking to work and for errands (good bye $224 in subway fare each month!) and are doing a lot more recreational biking on the weekends.

Anyway, I don't actually own a bike (I just use the Citibike bike share) and that has limited where we can go, since the docks are only in limited parts of the city. My husband has a Jamis commuter bike with a rack and a Topeak child seat that our daughter sits in... but our daughter is nearing the weight limit (45 lbs) for the Topeak and already seems very uncomfortable with the limited foot room (she's huge for a 3-year-old, more like the size of a 5 or 6 year old).

So, we are considering buying a bike sometime in the next few months with the following criteria that we can take turns using when taking the kiddo out or grocery shopping:

-- unisex color so either of us can ride it
-- step-through design, fenders and covered chain (so I can wear skirts and dresses when riding — my main clothing of choice)
-- sturdy and heavy-duty enough for a heavy child or light adult to ride on the back in a child seat 
-- 3+ speeds for a little help getting over hills
-- rear and front rack options for groceries, bags, panniers, etc.

Note that a child trailer is not an option for us (I just fear cars won't see it) and while I drool over cargo bikes and bakfiets they just aren't fitting in our little NYC apartment (no bike parking), plus they are even MORE expensive.

I've been scouring Craigslist and will continue to do so, but these type of bikes don't seem to come up very often. I did find these recycled bikes for $120 from a local biking co-op but I have to investigate them more—not sure if they can handle a heavy kid on the back, though they certainly fit all my other criteria... plus they often free bike repair classes:
http://times-up.org/recent-campaigns/times-1000-dutch-style-bike-program
http://times-up.org/bike-co-op

And I see this company, but I have no idea of their quality—a bit suspicious that some parts are made of PVC:
http://www.republicbike.com/shop.asp?product_category_id=4

So... any thoughts or advice appreciated. Again: main goal of this bike is hauling a large young child and groceries all over Brooklyn in all weather while wearing my everyday ordinary clothing (like dresses). 

In my head I find myself wondering... should I just suck it up and haul groceries and kid the way I have been doing–on foot with a granny cart on the bus or subway? I just love taking family bike trips, though... and we won't be able to do that in a few months when she outgrows the Topeak.

Thanks!

jfer_rose

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2013, 12:05:46 PM »
Have you considered a longtail bike? That might be an option to meet your needs.

I like this article about options for biking with kids:
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/14509/bring-the-kids-on-your-next-bike-ride-with-these-products/

blake201

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2013, 01:22:01 PM »
Have you considered a longtail bike? That might be an option to meet your needs.

I like this article about options for biking with kids:
http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/14509/bring-the-kids-on-your-next-bike-ride-with-these-products/

Yes, we did consider a midtail bike, the Yuba Boda Boda—I've heard it's pretty awesome, and if we have another kid, it can actually fit two kids. They have them at a few bike shops around me, including REI:

http://www.rei.com/product/850154/yuba-boda-boda-cargo-bike-2014

And we thought about longtails, like the Yuba Mundo or the Xtracycle.

BUT... they are actually quite a bit more expensive than a Dutch granny bike (starting around $999 plus accessories) and they are quite large in our little apartment. I think if we ever moved to a place with better bike storage options and had another kid those would be great, but for now, I just want a really sturdy bike that can handle a big kid on the back.


Hamster

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 01:37:48 PM »
Yes, we did consider a midtail bike, the Yuba Boda Boda—I've heard it's pretty awesome, and if we have another kid, it can actually fit two kids. They have them at a few bike shops around me, including REI:

http://www.rei.com/product/850154/yuba-boda-boda-cargo-bike-2014
Just looked at the specs on the Boda Boda on REI. It says max of 220 pounds - cargo plus rider. If that is true, it is almost worthless as a cargo bike or a kid hauler. If your husband is 175 pounds, and your child is nearly 45 pounds, then you can't carry any gear at all and still stay under the max. I have a hard time believing it really maxes out at 220 pounds, but maybe so

jfer_rose

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2013, 01:43:44 PM »
The reason I made that suggestion is I was wondering how you would make it comfortable for a kid who has already outgrown a bike seat to ride on a regular bike. The bike I ride isn't so different from a dutch style bike, but I can't imagine it would be at all comfortable for a kid to ride on my back rack (which pretty much looks like the rack on the dutch bike in your first link). The racks on a longtail (or midtail) are a lot smoother and seem to make more comfortable seats for kids. I guess maybe you could try to add a piece of wood to the rear rack for a better seating surface?

(edited for better grammar)

jfer_rose

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2013, 01:52:48 PM »


Just looked at the specs on the Boda Boda on REI. It says max of 220 pounds - cargo plus rider. If that is true, it is almost worthless as a cargo bike or a kid hauler. If your husband is 175 pounds, and your child is nearly 45 pounds, then you can't carry any gear at all and still stay under the max. I have a hard time believing it really maxes out at 220 pounds, but maybe so

Actually, I think the data I saw about the Yuba Boda Boda: "Please note: the Yuba Boda Boda cargo bike has an upper weight limit of 220 lbs. of rear cargo, plus the rider" which means that bike could easily carry a dad plus kid/cargo.

blake201

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2013, 02:03:08 PM »


Just looked at the specs on the Boda Boda on REI. It says max of 220 pounds - cargo plus rider. If that is true, it is almost worthless as a cargo bike or a kid hauler. If your husband is 175 pounds, and your child is nearly 45 pounds, then you can't carry any gear at all and still stay under the max. I have a hard time believing it really maxes out at 220 pounds, but maybe so

Actually, I think the data I saw about the Yuba Boda Boda: "Please note: the Yuba Boda Boda cargo bike has an upper weight limit of 220 lbs. of rear cargo, plus the rider" which means that bike could easily carry a dad plus kid/cargo.

Right, exactly: http://yubabikes.com/bikes/boda-boda/bike-comparison/

The rider isn't included. So the bike could hold my 190-lb husband, plus 220 lbs of children and groceries. :)

Whereas the Dutch bike I showed originally could hold me or husband, plus 110 lbs of children/groceries. When I was in Amsterdam a few years ago I saw plenty of kids and adults on the back of these bikes, but not sure how comfy they were.

I like that the Boda Boda has a footrest, too... Still, I'm struggling with the price of either, especially once we add accessories/locks/etc.... hmm.

Hamster

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2013, 03:27:22 PM »
That makes much more sense. They should word it "220 pounds of cargo not including rider".

So, would work unless your 3 year old is REALLY heavy.

capital

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 03:53:18 PM »
You're unlikely to have much luck finding a used Dutch bike-- biking as transportation is a relatively new trend in the US, so there aren't many old Dutch bikes sitting around in people's garages.

The Dutch bike you link to is built out of heavy steel parts and designed to be kept outside in the rain-- it is priced fairly for its quality. The Republic Bike model is built to offer a Dutch bike aesthetic, but is not likely to be nearly as durable. The use of PVC for the the chain and skirtguards is relatively standard, however.

Older American and British 3-speeds like the Schwinn Suburban and the Raleigh Sports were often designed for a similar purpose, but many will need a lot of restoration work.

Since you live in Brooklyn, will you need to lug the bike up and down a staircase or three? You probably don't want a 45 lb. Dutch bike for that purpose. If you keep the bike outside overnight, get a very good lock and lock to something very sturdy.

Silvie

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 04:08:34 PM »
You want an "omafiets"! Yay! You might want to look into buying one online from a Dutch store, because over here they are much, much cheaper. It all depends in the shipping costs.

And yes, we Dutchies regularly sit on the back of a bike (no helmets). It's not very comfy but OK for short rides.

chardog

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2013, 04:23:49 PM »
Those cargo bikes are nice, but very pricy.

I met a guy here in Austin who made his from plans on-line.  Looks very similar to ones shown with the box in front of the driver.  Nice so you can see and talk to your kids while traveling.

ruthiegirl

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2013, 05:10:26 PM »
How about an Xtracycle Free Radical?  You take a regular bike and mount on a long tail giving you space for a rider and large panier bags. 

Link :

http://www.xtracycle.com/cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-cargo-bicycles/xtracycle-freeradical.html

Edited to add -- I just noticed that space is an issue for you.  That does make it a bit more challenging.  I ride a cargo bike a lot and love it -- space for my 5 year old and 2 big bags of groceries, but it is big and very heavy. 

I like the bike you linked.  Personally, I am willing to spend $$$ on bikes.   I am on my bike every day with children and I want it to be sturdy and safe.   With the bike you linked, where does your child sit? 

« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 09:14:30 PM by ruthiegirl »

blake201

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2013, 06:13:06 AM »
You're unlikely to have much luck finding a used Dutch bike-- biking as transportation is a relatively new trend in the US, so there aren't many old Dutch bikes sitting around in people's garages.

The Dutch bike you link to is built out of heavy steel parts and designed to be kept outside in the rain-- it is priced fairly for its quality. The Republic Bike model is built to offer a Dutch bike aesthetic, but is not likely to be nearly as durable. The use of PVC for the the chain and skirtguards is relatively standard, however.

Older American and British 3-speeds like the Schwinn Suburban and the Raleigh Sports were often designed for a similar purpose, but many will need a lot of restoration work.

Since you live in Brooklyn, will you need to lug the bike up and down a staircase or three? You probably don't want a 45 lb. Dutch bike for that purpose. If you keep the bike outside overnight, get a very good lock and lock to something very sturdy.

Thank you, this is super helpful! I actually live in an elevator building, so not worried about lugging on the stairs—biggest concern is something sturdy enough to hold the kiddo and groceries. If/when we have another kid, we're probably going to move to a cheaper neighborhood where we can have a bigger cargo bike...

Did you have any thoughts on those recycled Dutch-style bikes? I love that they're $120 but with the kid, safety comes first so I have to investigate them more.

blake201

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2013, 06:14:42 AM »
You want an "omafiets"! Yay! You might want to look into buying one online from a Dutch store, because over here they are much, much cheaper. It all depends in the shipping costs.

And yes, we Dutchies regularly sit on the back of a bike (no helmets). It's not very comfy but OK for short rides.

Yes, a "granny bike", right? That's what the shop owner told me—all their bikes are Dutch imports. I would be tempted to just import one but good to also get the service and tuneups I think... I may just watch for good sales.

GuitarStv

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2013, 07:06:38 AM »
I outfitted an old department store mountain bike (super cheap - 40 or 50$ used) with fenders, a heavy duty rear rack and a front rack for buying groceries.  It regularly held my weight (200 lbs) and 60-70lbs of groceries with ZERO problems and had plenty of gearing for hills (trust me, if you're hauling 70 lbs or more, you want good gearing!).  If you can live without the chainguard and step through, this would be a much cheaper option for what you're looking for.  Here's an old pic from a grocery run with it:

« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 07:37:23 AM by GuitarStv »

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2013, 07:29:29 AM »
On the bike you linked, I did not see any mention of the gearing that you included as a criterion.  Did I miss that somehow?  I am a new bike learner, so if something besides 'speeds' and 'gears' indicates this, I would love to learn.

blake201

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2013, 01:15:50 PM »
On the bike you linked, I did not see any mention of the gearing that you included as a criterion.  Did I miss that somehow?  I am a new bike learner, so if something besides 'speeds' and 'gears' indicates this, I would love to learn.

It's a 3-speed, I went and looked at it in the shop.

blake201

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2013, 01:20:00 PM »
I outfitted an old department store mountain bike (super cheap - 40 or 50$ used) with fenders, a heavy duty rear rack and a front rack for buying groceries.  It regularly held my weight (200 lbs) and 60-70lbs of groceries with ZERO problems and had plenty of gearing for hills (trust me, if you're hauling 70 lbs or more, you want good gearing!).  If you can live without the chainguard and step through, this would be a much cheaper option for what you're looking for.  Here's an old pic from a grocery run with it:



Thanks for this! That's really awesome.

I definitely would PREFER to pay a lot less, but I really want to get a bike I will want to ride all the time in any clothing for many years, and not need specialty clothing for—I wear skirts or dresses 80% of the time and love that I don't need to worry about getting them stained or caught in the chain or hitting the bar.

I feel like maybe it is possible to somehow find or create a cheaper solution (I don't care if the bike is pretty) somehow...

But I also feel a bit at a loss as to whether a DIY option like that would be safe enough for a big kid on the back—the main reason I want the bike is to mount a heavy child, and groceries are secondary. How do I know if a cheap Craigslist bike I'm looking at has the strength to handle a heavy load? I have no idea!

GuitarStv

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2013, 02:03:09 PM »
You could always put the kid on your top bar:



This way you use the rear/front racks just for groceries, and the kid is up front where you can keep your eye on him.  I still think that a trailer is safer (kid won't fall as far in case of the bike tipping over) but this would work for you.  I have never, ever seen the top tube of a bike fail . . . they're VERY strong.

As far as strength goes, pretty much any bike frame steel/aluminum is going to be plenty strong.  You really just want to get wheels with lots of spokes (36 spokes or more is ideal) to hold up to the extra weight.  Those are the weak point . . . what happens is they'll go out of true (develop a little wobble) or potentially break a spoke much faster when you've got close to 300 lbs on the bike.

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2013, 02:21:00 PM »
I think the bike you linked is a pretty good deal, and sounds like a good match for your intended use.  If you are handy, you could certainly pick up an older 3 speed ladies frame (older Raleigh, Schwinn, etc.) and put racks (and possibly fenders, if it doesn't have them already) on it for less.  The accessories needed plus consumables like tires and a chain might make it pretty close to a wash though unless you pick a good condition candidate to start with. 

One more site to look at is www.bikesdirect.com; they now offer several city bike models but theirs don't seem to be any bargain over what you're already looking at.

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2013, 03:25:29 PM »
I bought an Azor bakfiets.nl cargo bike about 3 months before discovering MMM, and the quality of the Azor bike is very nice, with lots of great features for urban commuting (e.g. I love the internal hub and full chain guard).  These bikes were intended to be stored outside and in theory they should last for decades.  It has been very handy to put all 3 kids under a rain cover so they don't complain when it's wet.  I must agree though that the bakfiets is not meant to go up and down stairs; ours stays under a tarp in our back yard.

The company that imports the Azor dutch bikes into Canada also carries bobike kids seats, and they have a model intended for kids over 45 lbs (22 kg): the bobike junior.  I don't have an American URL, but this gives you an idea: http://www.urkai.com/bobike/ (near the bottom of the page).

Before #3 came along, we towed our oldest 2 in a chariot bike trailer and that's also a great way to get around.  It's definitely easier to pedal without towing the trailer, but the trailer was surprisingly easy to get used to and the bike still feels pretty nimble; the bakfiets turns like a bus.  The biggest drawback for us was that the chariot takes up a lot of storage space.  I can't recall the weight limit for the chariot, but it must be way more than 45 lbs.

jfer_rose

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2013, 04:46:01 PM »

The company that imports the Azor dutch bikes into Canada also carries bobike kids seats, and they have a model intended for kids over 45 lbs (22 kg): the bobike junior.  I don't have an American URL, but this gives you an idea: http://www.urkai.com/bobike/ (near the bottom of the page).


Wow, that Bobike Junior is great!

capital

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2013, 07:53:56 PM »
Do you have any thoughts on those recycled Dutch-style bikes? I love that they're $120 but with the kid, safety comes first so I have to investigate them more.
They're likely to be perfectly safe, yes-- most bikes are, so long as they're compentently set up. The main safety-essential components for a bicycle are good brakes for stopping and a good stem/fork setup for steering. I would test-ride one and check the brakes, but they have two brakes so you have redundancy on your side, and you're unlikely to ride a heavy bike particularly fast in a flat city. A cheap old bike is just more likely to get creaky or get parts out of alignment so they don't shift right, but isn't likely to be dangerous. You can always have your favorite shop do a safety check if you want to be extra-paranoid, but Time's Up is a solid organization.

blake201

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2013, 01:26:19 PM »
Do you have any thoughts on those recycled Dutch-style bikes? I love that they're $120 but with the kid, safety comes first so I have to investigate them more.
They're likely to be perfectly safe, yes-- most bikes are, so long as they're compentently set up. The main safety-essential components for a bicycle are good brakes for stopping and a good stem/fork setup for steering. I would test-ride one and check the brakes, but they have two brakes so you have redundancy on your side, and you're unlikely to ride a heavy bike particularly fast in a flat city. A cheap old bike is just more likely to get creaky or get parts out of alignment so they don't shift right, but isn't likely to be dangerous. You can always have your favorite shop do a safety check if you want to be extra-paranoid, but Time's Up is a solid organization.

Thanks everyone for all the ideas and comments! I'm going to visit Time's Up and also some bike shops and just keep my eye on Craigslist—hopefully I will be ready to get my own bike in a few months!

Silvie

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Re: Is this too much to pay for a heavy-duty Dutch-style bike?
« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2013, 05:29:03 AM »
You want an "omafiets"! Yay! You might want to look into buying one online from a Dutch store, because over here they are much, much cheaper. It all depends in the shipping costs.

And yes, we Dutchies regularly sit on the back of a bike (no helmets). It's not very comfy but OK for short rides.

Yes, a "granny bike", right? That's what the shop owner told me—all their bikes are Dutch imports. I would be tempted to just import one but good to also get the service and tuneups I think... I may just watch for good sales.

Yes omafiets = granny bike. I don't know why they call it that because a lot of young people own this type of bike too. Can you only get service for you bike in the store you bought it? Over here we have shops/service stores and you can just get the service or products (e.g. bike lights, locks, etc.) you need, regardless of where you bought your bike.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 05:31:00 AM by Silvie »