This was originally published at our sister site, Commute by Bike. As the bike is a step through design and fits in well with trying to get more women on bicycles, I’ll be cross posting the review on both sites.
When the Batavus BUB rolled into my bike shop a good amount of thoughts rolled into my head with it. It looked heavy, was it? Where were the hand brakes or gears? Could I take it down my 4.5 mile daily commute with a decent size hill in the middle? (My worry was going up and down on it.)
Riding the BUB
I quickly checked the BUB over and rode it home that 4.5 mile commute. The step through design was very handy and made me crave for one in my daily ride. Very easy to get on, plus I didn’t worry about ripping my jeans as I didn’t have to throw my leg over the back of the saddle. The handlebars and saddle seemed to me much like what we consider in the US as a Beach Cruiser. For the entire first ride I was fighting with finding a position I felt efficient, yet comfortable in. If I was comfortable on the saddle, it would start to rub my inner thighs. If I was comfortable with the handlebars I was in a weird laid over position grabbing half way down the long swept back bar.
It took me a week to really grasp the ride of the BUB. It truly is a bike for folks that maybe don’t ride everyday, or are looking for something on the end of the spectrum from their mountain/road bike. You can easily hop on this and go, you won’t be going very far or very fast but it is easy and comfortable.
As I mentioned, initially I couldn’t get comfortable on this bike. Mainly due to the length of my long legs and once I was home I raised the stem a good amount in order to sit more upright than leaned over. In the end it fit a wide height range, for my 5′10 height down to my 5′5 girlfriend just as well.
The Prototype BUB & What I Would Change
The bike that I was reviewing was a prototype of sorts, it didn’t have the 3 speeds that the standard BUB will. Gears would of helped keep me in a comfortable seated position on the small climb I have coming from my work. I also wish it had some sort of rear or front hand brake to assist with the coaster brake, but that was also mainly me as I’m not used to riding a coaster brake bike.
All the options were installed on the test BUB. Front and rear racks, as well as front and rear lights. The racks had an interesting mounting design, it is non-standard and you’ll have to rig up your favorite rack to work on this bike if you wish. The racks felt very strong and stable, a small child could sit on the front, but would completely wreck the steering of the bike. The tubing on the rack is oversize, to the point a standard pannier clip system (of all types) doesn’t fit without bending or modifying. Out of all my panniers in my collect only the Basil bags that you drape over one side of the rack to the other worked.
The lights weren’t anything too special. Yes, a little different in looks but if you already have lights from another bike, save them and reuse them on the BUB.
The unique paper clip design made people ask questions and want to ride it. The only other bike I own that causes such questions is my Xtracycle.
The “mood meter” seemed like a joke to me. This little dial under the top tube that you are supposed to move dependent on your mood.
New pedals are needed unless you are rolling this bike in only fair weather. There is no grip on them and several times when wet I slipped off the pedals.
Full Chainguard, good fenders, strong wheels, and reflective Schwalbe tires. The small details that many “commuter” bikes are left off with weren’t forgotten here. I just fear they over thought the design aspect of the bike, leaving it very limited to accessories.