Now that I’ve had my Batavus Entrada Spirit for nearly a month, it’s time for the review. The short and sweet version: I love it. Buying a bike I’d never ridden was a risk that paid off.
My Batavus is sturdy and well-designed. The gears change easily and smoothly. Roller brakes do take a bit of getting used to—you have to grip them much harder to get the same stopping power that you have with a rim brake—but so far, so good, even on the bigger hills around here. Le Peug is upright, but the Bat is even more so, giving me a great view of everything around me and making me even more visible to cars.
Before I got the Batavus home, several worries haunted me. Would I be able to ride a 40-pound bike without struggling? Most of the bikes I’d ridden were 5-10 pounds lighter. This turned out to be no problem. Due to perhaps the frame geometry or the superiority of the components, it hasn’t affected my speed or exertion level at all (but then, if speed matters to you, you’re probably not considering a Dutch bike).
Size was a concern—at 5’1″ or so it is hard to find a frame that fits me, which was one of the reasons I chose this model. The 48 cm frame seems perfect. Both the handlebars and seat adjust up and down and forward and back, so I can imagine this bike fitting anyone from 5 feet to 5’6″ or so with ease. In fact, it has—Kristi is about 5’7″ and she looked great on the bike, too.
And would only 7 gears be enough in Nashville? The answer is yes. I do use them all, though, especially the lower ones.
Finally, there was the cost. Is an expensive bike really 3 times better than a vintage rebuild? If you are skillful enough to handle maintenance yourself, maybe not. I plan on learning more about bike maintenance, but until I do, the internal hub, roller brakes and covered chain are the greatest things ever. It makes commuting hassle-free—no more getting on the bike to go to work and realizing the chain is loose or the rim brake needs to be adjusted. It is also worth it to have everything you need for commuting right there on the bike when you buy it—dynamo light, rack, pump, chain and skirt guard, etc.
Speaking of features, one thing I love love love about the bike is the Trelock with the plug-in cable. This might be less useful in an area with more inventive bike thieves, but it’s so convenient. The Trelock is integrated, so you just plug the cable in (it’s mounted on the bike frame in picture one) and wrap it around the bike rack or other stationary object, engage the O-lock, take the key out, and go.
The only thing I’ve been disappointed in is the bell—as fellow Batavus owner Adrienne of Change Your Life, Ride a Bike! pointed out, it’s pretty wimpy and cheap. Other than that, I couldn’t be happier.