What makes a great city bike? How I learned from my mistakes

Several years ago when I bought my first city bike, I didn’t really know what I wanted – I was pretty clear about what I didn’t want (a mountain bike, or a road bike!!), but apart from the fact that I wanted it to look good, I really didn’t have much of a set of criteria! Boy is that something that has changed!!! 

How I bought the wrong bike!

You see, when I decided that I wanted to make biking more of a part of my everyday life, I faced a problem. Nearly all the bikes on the New Zealand market at the time were designed for sport - mountain biking and road biking. The few city bikes on the market were either poor quality, slightly modified mountain bikes, or really ugly. Quite often they were all 3! I started my hunt for the perfect city bike!!

While trawling the websites of European bike manufacturers, I must confess to taking a bit of a wrong turn, and selecting a lovely looking wee Italian number. In red no less! She was gorgeous, and attracted admiring stares wherever I went, but I soon came to realise that she didn’t quite live up to all my expectations! Her heavy steel frame soon started to show signs of rust in damp, garageless Auckland, and adding the weight of a kid to the already heavy frame made it tough getting up hills with the rather old fashioned gear system. So, I started again! 

What matters to me in a city bike 

I had a list this time. Quite a long list, of all the things that were important to me in a bike:

  • good internal gears - I like to be able to change down when stopped at lights, and the thought of dropping a chain off an external derailleur, while loaded up with kids and/or shopping fills me with dread.
  • aluminium frame - because as well as being lighter to handle, they are also resistant to rust, important to me when I often park my bike on the back porch.
  • an upright riding position – I find this more comfortable, it gave me more space when my son was little and rode in front of me, and I like to be able to make eye contact with drivers, so I know they’ve seen me.
  • good quality – there is nothing more frustrating than equipment that doesn’t work as it should, and I knew that if my bike wasn’t enjoyable to ride, this would result in me riding less often!
  • easy to mount kid seats to – I wanted a step through bike to make it easy to get on and off if I had a kid seat on the front or the back, plus enough room that I didn’t need to ride with my knees out to the side. A carrier strong enough to take a rear seat was a bonus, but not absolutely vital.
  • ability to carry other stuff too – a rear rack to mount panniers, or a basket or rack on the front, so that I could carry some shopping home, my laptop to work, or all the assorted kids stuff that I often cart around.
  • well priced - I didn't want the cheapest bike on the market, but neither did I want the most expensive! It needed to be a good price relative to the quality and features I wanted.
  • PLUS, it needed to look good!! - I wanted something that I liked, and that fit with me and my style!

Not much of a list, right?

There were so many options being made in Europe that met nearly all my criteria, but by the time I added the cost of shipping them here, the price was much higher than I was willing to pay, and so I kept looking.

Lekker bikes, biking with children, nz, cruiser, bike cafe

The discovery of Lekker

And then I discovered Lekker. The Australian based company was started by a Dutch guy, Meindert, who had come to similar conclusions as I had about the bikes available down this end of the world - and had gone ahead and started his own bike company! 

The bikes made by Lekker (which means tasty in Dutch), are great looking, like the classic bikes seen on the streets of cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, but rather than being heavy steel bikes with limited gears, they have light aluminium frames, and use the best components from companies like Shimano, to ensure an easy, low maintenance experience! And best yet, they ticked ALL my boxes in terms of what mattered to me in a bike. In fact, they even went one further - all Lekker bikes come with mounting points for the AXA frame locks that I was already selling, making it super easy to install one of the easiest and most effective forms of bike security!

I went ahead and ordered a couple, for my husband and myself, and was so happy with them when they arrived. They were even better looking in person than I had expected, and when I got them looked over by a bike mechanic I was happy to hear that he thought the quality of build and components was fantastic!

Lekker Bikes on The Urban Cyclist 

I wanted to be able to stock them on my website, so that others in New Zealand could enjoy them too!

In order to be able to offer the complete selection of Lekker bikes, I order them in especially for each customer – this enables me to keep the pricing as tight as possible, as I don’t have to have stacks of money tied up in stock – and I recently put a more efficient shipping system in place, to get them here as quickly as possible!

All in all I really believe that the Lekker bikes are one of the best city bikes currently available on the New Zealand market. Great looks, great quality, and great functionality to help make day to day riding easier.

City bikes, lekker bikes nz, bike in suit, guys bikesThe Lekker range 

Lekker has 2 main parts to their range: their classic bikes Jordaan and Sportief, which are inspired by classic dutch styling; and their commuter bikes, Amsterdam, which are inspired more by the urban style of fixies. Both have the same great quality of build and componentry, but give options to suit your personal preferences.

Jordaan

The Jordaan is a typical practical Dutch style bike. With carriers front and rear it can carry heaps of gear, and is also very well suited to the addition of a child seat - the Bobike seats go brilliantly on these bikes! With a selection of 4 colours in the womens range, and a stylish Matte Black in the men's, this is a great looking bike. It has 7 speeds, in a low maintenance internal Shimano hub, and I must confess it's my personal favourite!

Sportief

The Sportief also has classic dutch beauty, and although it weighs in just 2 kgs less than the Jordaan, it somehow manages to feel a bit zippier. The women's Sportief comes in 4 colours, and has 3 speeds, whereas the Mens version comes in a 7 speed option.

Lekker bikes nz, women's bikes, transport bike, dutch style bike, classic bike, retro bikeAmsterdam Commuter - Standard

The Amsterdam range is a much sportier looking bike, with slick urban styling. The standard range comes with either 3 or 7 speed Shimano Nexus internal hubs, and comes in a range of sizes and colours.

Amsterdam Commuter - Elite

The Elite Amsterdam range is a newer addition to the Lekker brand, and the name is a fitting description. With similar urban styling to the standard Amsterdam range, the Elite offers premium componentry, disc brakes for the best stopping power, and the 3 and 8 speed versions give the option to upgrade to a gates belt drive. The top end of this range is the Elite NuVinci, with the NuVinci hub offering infinitely adjustable gearing - a treat to ride!

All in all I'm loving the Lekker bikes, and get such great feedback from customers who buy them! In fact, a recent customer review on her Jordaan says it perfectly:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐"It’s been a while since I rode a bike and I’d forgotten just how much you see, hear and feel when cycling. I love the sense of sailing along on my Jordaan, it’s light yet feels solid and I love it’s refined and classic styling. The team offer an excellent service - I could not have asked for better." M.R.

Will a Lekker be your next bike too? Check out the range now, and decide which one is right for you!  

Comments

Emma - The Urban Cyclist:

@Lucy Thanks so much for sharing your experience with your E-Jordaan! They are such lovely bikes, but at the moment I’m having trouble finding a really good freight solution – unfortunately a lot of shipping companies are wary of the batteries! I agree that they are a great combination of form AND function!

Sep 11, 2018

Lucy:

I have a Lekker E-Jordaan, and I love it. I first found it mentioned on an Australian Blog, and fell in love with the look. I also had a list of features I wanted in a bike – and it was pretty similar to yours. Even though it ticked the boxes, I was worried that I was putting form over function when I bought it – as it was the colour that caught my eye originally, however, it really does everything I need it to do. I have swapped out the tyres for ones with a decent level of puncture resistance, which unfortunately are not white, but I will keep looking for the perfect white, puncture resistant tyre – unless you find them first!

Sep 11, 2018

Leave a comment