Buying a Dutch Bike - How To Find a Good Bike Shop in Amsterdam
24 June 2013
Thinking about buying a Dutch bike? When your bike is making more noise than a 30 year old lawn mower and everyone jumps for cover as you roll through town, you may need some bike service. Knowing there's a problem is simple; the hard part is choosing a bike shop out of the hundreds found in Amsterdam!
Even in the World's Bike Capitol, Not All Bike Shops Are Equal
If you’ve got a bike and you’d like to get it serviced, repaired, or are in the market for a new or used bike, then you need to get yourself to a good bike shop. Here's how to find a great one, where you will feel happy and understood, and what you should do to get the most out of your relationship with it.
Build a “Relationshop”
Avoid the hassle of looking for a new shop each time you need one, if you are pleased with their services, and cultivate a lasting relationship with a shop you like. Once you find the perfect bike shop, make your love known. Share your find with friends and family and make it a point to stop by the bike shop whenever possible and make them aware you are a long term client. If the bike mechanics go above and beyond, tip them. A great bike shop will go out of their way for loyal customers, often throwing in free labor, small parts or on-the-spot repairs.
The idea is to find a great neighborhood shop that you feel comfortable with, where they can help fix little things without major (or any) extra charges, in exchange for your loyalty. The next time you buy bike lamps, skip the local outdoor market stall or Hema and head their way for the purchase. Of course make sure you give your positive reviews here on InLivin’!
Buying New or Used Bikes
Buying a new bike may seem like the thing to do, especially if you are not from The Netherlands, where the practice of buying used bikes is more common. That said, if you are new to the country and/or your school, job and home, it is probably best for you to buy a used bike first. This way, you can test out your usage and various needs. You may find yourself using the bike to purchase groceries. In this case, a single speed, sturdy bike with a large basket in front may prove handy. Conversely, the supermarket next to your house may mean you only need to use your bike for long commute rides to work every day. In this scenario, a light bike with multiple speeds may be the answer.
If you are looking to buy a used or “tweedehands fiets” [second-hand bike] then you have no further to look than most local bike shops. Of course you could also buy a used bike from an online market or auction based site, but then you miss out on the important test ride available in all local shops. You also miss out on establishing a “relationshop”. :)
Whatever you do, make sure you DON’T buy a bike from someone walking around on the street! Most of the time, these bikes are stolen and you are unwittingly keeping the circle of crime continuing. Here is a great website that lists all stolen bike serial numbers.
Avoiding Bad Bike Shops
Best to stay away from shops with:
- Staff who are rude, arrogant or condescending. Even if you know very little about bikes, there is no excuse for an employee to treat you like you're stupid. Most good mechanics or sales people can even explain complicated things if they are patient and good-willed. If you feel you really know nothing about bikes, bring a friend with a litle bit more understanding with you. Chances are you will be less likely to be ripped off if there are two of you!
- Shoddy or delayed work. Barring unusual circumstances, work should be consistently done right and delivered on time.
Constant unreasonable pushing for parts, equipment or service, even if needed. A little “upselling” is okay, but a good salesperson who can understand your budget will help you work within it. This will assure your happiness and return business.
Choosing the Right Fietswinkel
Here at InLivin’ we hold all bike shops we recommend to a rigorous set of standards. You can be assured that all of the places we represent have quality products and services and are friendly, helpful and honest! Good luck with your bike repair shop quest and please share your findings if you are happy with the service.
Here is a short list of bike shops we came across personally. We can assure you that they are run by friendly, hard working, professional bike lovers. The majority offer new and used bikes, but also great accessories, some offer electric bycicles or more specialist equipment. Click on the names to learn more from the profiles.
Amstel Fietspoint (Amstel)
Brompton Junction (Oud West)
De Fietserij (Oud West)
De Stadsfiets (De Pijp)
Rijwielhandel De Stadsfiets (Oost)
De Vakantiefietser (Jordaan)
Fiets & Zo (De Pijp)
Lohman (Oud West)
Pristine Fixed Gear (Oud West)
Pretorius Tweewielers (Transvaalbuurt)
Rijwiel Service Weesperplein (Centrum)
Rijwielhandel de Snelbinder (Indische Buurt)
Tromm Tweewielers (Scheldebuurt)