Reinventing the Dutch Bike for Global City Slickers


Photo credit Van Moof.

In Amsterdam, a majority of the bikes are black. Look out at the sea of bikes parked at the city's Central station and you see a lot of black, highly practical and functional omafiets ("grandma bikes") that most women and men prefer in the Netherlands. There's a reason you still see so many of these on the streets - they last and last. But style-conscious Dutch bike designers at Van Moof want to take the Dutch bike concept global with bikes that have the best of city bike smarts, with a few novel twists.Keeping it simple is the Van Moof motto - as long as simple includes high stylish, highly functional, and built for city life.

"Everything about the bike has got to be 'hater proof,'" said Niels Bark of Van Moof marketing. "And we want to lift the bike up so that it isn't seen as the poor man's vehicle, but is still affordable, minimalistic, and full of style. You dress up nicely for going to work, and you want something nice to ride."

The company last year won the Eurobike 2009 newcomer award for the Van Moof No. 5, with its sleek aluminum frame and such highlights as a solar-powered front and rear lighting system. The bike is also light - easy to carry up the apartment stairs, even if you choose the built-in chain lock system (14.9 kilos with the lock).

This built-in lock is pretty smart - no more lugging the chain lock over the shoulders, as many Amsterdamers do, or tied around the seat post. With the No. 5, you just pull the chain out of the frame in which it is embedded, wrap it around the nearest post, and then click it back into the top frame tube.


Photo credit Van Moof.

But what about for women? That's where the newest model innovation (pictured above) comes in. For on the new No. 6 model Van Moof will introduce at next month's 2010 Eurobike show not only is the top frame bar dropped at an angle to accomodate either male or female riders. Adn not only does it include colorful fenders and a matching chain guard. It's also got an important optional city accessory - the front 'pack rack'. The rack ingeniously plugs into the top frame tube (you remove the light, replace with the rack, and the rack has a cannister to reattach the light) and can handle at least 10 kilos of cargo.

And when the bike debuts in the U.S. in October, it will have 3 speeds and a front brake system.

For Van Moof, that's already a lot of extras - as the second part of the company's motto is "remove the redundant."

But Jasmijn Rijcken said Van Moof can balance the two objectives - keeping the look of the basic bike spare, clean, and elegant, and listening to customers and what they need for a practical city bike.

Rijcken said Van Moof is looking at many other accessories going forward, but always keeping that simplicity and functionality.

"We're dedicated to making the accessories fit riders' styles, and we also want to encourage people to customize them to make them fit," she said. " Because our ultimate goal is to get more people to ride."

More of the coolest urban bikes at TreeHugger:
Urban Biking's Next Generation: Five Snazzy Innovations
The Most Compact Urban Folding BIke Ever
Full-Sized Bicycle Folds Flat, Nearly Disappears

Tags: Bike Accessories | Bike-Friendly World | Bikes | Bike Sharing | Biking

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