Batavus Intermezzo

We asked Tom a daily commuter and reader to ride the Intermezzo and blog about it for us. Below is his review.

How to get more people using bikes for transportation? Convenience. And what could be more convenient than a Dutch designed city style bike? I reached a stopping point in my work and decided to take the Intermezzo out for a spin. Let’s see: I’ll need to put on some shorts and a cycling jersey and change into my cycling shoes. Wait, this isn’t that kind of bike. It’s a come-as-you-are kind of bike. OK. So out to the garage, grab a Velcro band to keep my pants cuff out of the chain. Hey, look at that: full chain guard. So all I need to grab is a U-lock and my keys. What’s that? Built in lock? And the key is captive until you lock it? So all I need is my helmet (yes, it’s the law here).

batavus_intermezzo.jpg

Down the big hill to the beach. Yikes! I hope the roller brakes hold. At the bottom of the hill I need to cross a busy boulevard and I’m in the wrong gear. Ah, no problem for the NuVinci. At the park I stop to show the Intermezzo to a few friends. Check that out one says; it’s even got a Batavus branded tire pump. Good thing too as the valve stems are like nothing I ever seen before. They are not presta and they’re not schrader. Maybe it’s some new European standard that has yet to make it big here. How about this: you can adjust the handle bar and headset angle without tools. There is simple cam release on the headset. Think “tilt-steering”. I’m not sure it was such a good idea to try this out while I was riding.

I took a ride along the sea wall as the sun was setting. The hub dynamo powered headlight came on automatically as the daylight faded. Interestingly it shut off as soon as I came to a stop. Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of capacitor that keeps it lit when I stop at an intersection?

Heading home meant going back up the big hill. Twist the shifter to drop down to the lowest range. Wow, more than a full turn to go from highest to lowest range. That’s nice when I want to fine tune it to find just the right ratio. When I need to down shift for a hill climb it’s kind of annoying. As for that low range: it worked just fine for the climb up the short ramp from the sea wall to the street. For climbing the big hill it just wasn’t low enough.

Summary: This bike is convenient; just jump on and go. This bike would be great as a rental in a relatively flat seaside town. Here in hilly Seattle I need lower gearing and more substantial brakes.

The Intermezzo is available from your local Independent Bike Dealer and the MSRP is $1699.00



12 Comments

It’s probably a ‘Woods’ valve btw.

Good tip Shaun . . . here’s a link to [a Woods valve](http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_w.html#valve) from Sheldon Brown. The valve was unlike anything I’ve seen either and I succeeded it deflating the tire very fast by fiddling it with it.

“Here in hilly Seattle I need lower gearing and more substantial brakes.”

I feel much the same way about riding my Old Dutch in the foothills of Salt Lake City.  Love the bike though!

When I rode it I noted that it was the Lexus of comfort bikes. Considering also where it comes from, the biggest hill is a 2 meter climb over a canal bridge. For paths, beaches, and other flat rides, it’s the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden and really well thought out. It also has that Dutch sturdiness that appeals to riders who don’t want to worry about bumps or cross obstacles in the road. They want a stable bike they feel safe on, especially older riders.

I’m really have mixed views on the Nuvinci and will post on that later.

While it will not be as easy as on some other bikes, it should be possible to lower the gearing on the Intermezzo by installing a larger freewheel on the rear hub.  I agree that this hub should be set up with the lowest gearing possible, especially for areas like Seattle.  Also note that the Woods valves can be replaced with standard Schraeder valves, if needed.

The cost is pretty high for the conviences the Intermezzo provides, IMHO.

The Jamis Commuter 3.0 is priced ~$500-550 dollars and comes with a Nexus 8 hub with a better range to tackle the hills of Seattle (although you may want to lower to bottom gear to near 20 gear inches)  Going off of my memory I believe it comes with fenders.

I think one can seperately purchase a chain guard, lock, and rack still come well below $800.

Another promising option is the Gary Fisher Simple City 8 speed version which you can read more about in the Bike Hugger archives.  :)  Again one might one to lower the gearing a bit.

Tom,

Good point, but the Batavus target market here is I think less about value than, “it comes with everything you need” and is Dutch sturdy. An IBC could add a helmet and gloves and they cyclists is set.

A couple of points.

The Netherlands, where this bike is designed for, is FLAT. VERY FLAT. Plus, second only to Copenhagen, the whole of The Netherlands is very bicycle friendly.

Also concerning the price. In the UK, American bikes from smaller manufacturers are very expensive. I recently tried to buy a Huffy beach cruiser. The sort you find in department stores for about $99. In the UK that same bike retails at £399. That’s about $800. (Yes 800 dollars)

Batavus offers a massive line of bikes—not easy to figure that out on their site—but this is the high-end of what we call comfort and is aka as a treking bike. Check out the [Lighting](http://bikehugger.com/2007/10/batavus_midnight.htm), a bike I totally dug and the opposite of the Intermezzo with a minimalist approach.

I guess I’d rather see folks save ~ $1000 while still having a bike with everything you need   (after chain guard & rack installation)

Plus the Jamis bike I previously mentioned is reported to be ~ 29 lbs (without rack, chain guard, etc.)  It is my understanding that the Batavus Intermezzo is considerably heavier.

Tom,

Got it and what I’m saying is there are people concerned with price points and then there are baby-boomer disposable income people that just want a cool bike to ride around on.

Another thing to realize about a Dutch bike of this type is that it is designed and specced for extreme durability and absolute minimum of maintenance.  They can be ridden every day in every weather without the rider having to think about any mechanical aspect other than keeping air in the tires.  No chain cleaning, no brake pad replacement, no wheel trueing, etc.  Basically, all you have to do is ride it (and pass it on to your grandkids when you can’t any more).

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