amsterdam bikes on a bridge

17 Features of Amsterdam Bikes (On Sale Here!)

If you're looking at Amsterdam bikes, which are also often called Holland bicycles, Dutch Bikes, Netherlands bikes, or even European bicycles, there are a few things you should know other than the fact that they come from a very bike friendly region of the world. First of all, these bikes come in the Oma (Dutch granny bike) and Opa (grandpa bike) styles which are basically step thru frames and diamond frames respectively.

Here are some of the Amsterdam Bikes we offer for sale online:

Our diamond beach cruisers


Next, these bikes are meant for every day commuting while wearing your regular clothes. There are many advantages that an Amsterdam bicycle can provide, and we've detailed these below:

Features of Amsterdam Bikes

Upright Sitting Position
Enclosed Chain Guard
Racks (Front and Back)
Wide (Balloon) Wheels
Range of Gear Options
Curved Handlebars
Seat Saddle
Double Kickstand
Low Instep
Coat Guard
Lighting (Front and Back)
Strong Construction
Energy-Efficient Cycling Style

A day in the life of Amsterdam
The biking in Amsterdam is what makes you happier


amsterdam bike upright seating position


 1. Upright Sitting Position

The upright sitting position is probably the most well-known attribute regarding Amsterdam bikes. The rider will sit in an upright position, with his lower back properly aligned above his hips, and his arms near his torso.

While riding an Amsterdam bike can be strenuous at times, depending on the complexity of the terrain, a rider will appear to be physically relaxed. The upright sitting position is great because it allows the rider to be comfortable, to exercise good control over the bike, and to ride at a consistent speed.

When it comes to speed and acceleration, on any bike, consistency is key to not only building speed, but maintaining it as well.


2. Enclosed Chain Guard

chain guard on holland bike

Chain guards, whether partially- or fully-enclosed, are essential to minimizing the maintenance a rider must perform on their Amsterdam bike. Chains without guards accumulate more gunk in them, since guards act as barriers against dirt, dust, grime, and foreign objects like pebbles and rocks.

Guards also help ensure a more comfortable and clean ride on a Holland bike. Since the guard protects against foreign objects, a branch or rock, for instance, cannot get into the chain and stop it while in motion. While your pants stay clean and don't get oil on them as well.

3. Fenders

Fenders are essential for Amsterdam bikes, especially during the spring, fall, and winter. In the spring and fall, there may be a lot of rainfall. In the winter, snow and ice line the streets. When the ground gets wet, bikes pick up that water and, if a bike does not have full fenders, the rider will get their pants wet.

While Amsterdam bikes are great for casual use, many riders also use their them for professional purposes. It is common to see a rider on an Amsterdam bike commuting to work or traveling to a social engagement. The last thing a rider wants is to arrive at his destination with wet pants.

4. Racks

netherlands bike rear rack

Racks are a great idea for any biker, especially one who rides an Amsterdam bike. The accessories a Dutch bike features depends on its owner. While a bike comes with certain accessories, the owner decides on the current accessories the bike features.

Riders with Dutch bikes tend to need to carry more stuff with them as they bike around, as opposed to a sport biker, like a BMX biker. Wearing a backpack while riding in an upright sitting position can be difficult, as the riders weight distribution shifts back, due to the weight of the backpack. Instead, with front and rear racks, a rider can simply tie down his gear, or use cables to do the same, and ride to his destination carefree.

5. Baskets/Panniers

amsterdam bikes basket

Baskets, or sweet pannier bike bags, like this one from Nantucket Baskets, may seem like direct alternatives to racks, but the uses of baskets/panniers are slightly different (rear basket rely on a rear rack). A rack is good if a rider simply wants to tie down some gear without worrying about the weather. Baskets and panniers, however, sometimes feature covers that are weather-resistant, making them perfect for urban Dutch bike riders.

With even just one basket or pannier, like the awesome Fremonster Flap Pannier below, a rider can enjoy full protection from rain, sleet, or snow, for the enclosure’s contents. Important documents, lunch, tools, and electronics are safe from the weather while biking, without the need to worry about whether they will get rained on, for example. A bike with basket special is great for those who need to carry goods on the trip. Also, check out our women's cruiser bike with basket guide for even more ideas on the right basket for you:)

detours amsterdam bike bag


6. Wide (Balloon) Wheels

holland bicycle balloon tires

Amsterdam bikes are rideable on a variety of different terrains. Each of these terrains varies in terms of complexity and difficulty. When riding this kind of bike, you may find yourself riding on sand, track, asphalt road, cobblestone, and more. In these cases, balloon tires like these awesome Fat Franks from Schwalbe make all the difference in the world.

Wheels on a Amsterdam bike are wider than wheels on other types of bikes, like track bikes, mountain bikes, and city bikes. As such, a rider on a Dutch bike can exercise more control and can bike in more environments. This ability makes a Dutch bike more versatile, and more useful, especially for riders who live in climates with ever-changing temperatures and weather conditions.

7. Range of Gear Options

Some bike riders are religious when it comes to the gear options on their bikes. Some riders prefer single-speed bikes. Others prefer a varying number of gears, depending on how rigorous they want their ride quality to be. See, multiple gears help riders distribute the physicality of riding over a diverse terrain onto many gears. This allows riders to select the best gear for the ride.

Dutch bikes can come in either single-speed or multi-geared options. This makes for one of the cooler Amsterdam bike features, since a rider can customize his bike as he wants it. The best bike ride is one which the rider can exercise complete control over his bike.

8. Curved Handlebars

Curved handlebars allow for more control over the bike while it is in motion. The handlebars curve towards the rider, when he is sitting on his bike. This means that the rider, unlike with racing bikes for instance, will not have to lean forward and stretch to place his hands on the handlebars.

Instead, his hands, and arms will be close to his torso and relaxed, allowing him to exercise more control over the bike while it is in motion.

9. Seat Saddle

amsterdam bike in Holland

One of the hallmarks of Amsterdam Bikes are their saddles, like this vintage Brooks B72 above, which increase riding experience and comfort. Everything about the bike is comfortable, and this includes the seat saddle. Seat saddles on these bikes are more comfortable than saddles on most other bike types and tend to be wider and more cushioned.

Needing to sit in an upright position, riders of Amsterdam bikes need a comfortable seat to enjoy a comfortable ride. The value of these bikes is directly related to their comfortability, which makes comfortable seat saddles a necessity.

10. Double Kickstand

double kickstand on amsterdam bike

Double kickstands are a great feature that many Amsterdam bikes have. Installing a kickstand, especially a double kickstand, will help protect the bike frame, gears, chain, and every other bike accessory that juts out. Without a kickstand, many riders leave their bikes on the ground or leaning on a wall. This is bad for the bike.

With a kickstand, however, the bike can be parked anywhere. With nothing touching the sides of the bike, nothing will scratch the gears, or block the chain, or rub against the paint.

The overall best use of a double kickstand is when you're loading groceries or goods onto the rack, because the bike will stand straight and not fall over like it would with a single kickstand. This makes life a WHOLE lot easier.

11. Low Instep

Some Dutch bike riders are tall. For them, the existence of a low instep is merely a convenience. However, for riders who are not so tall, a low instep can be a wonderful feature. A low instep is a feature on a Dutch bike with a step-through frame, where the horizontal bar that extends from the handlebar post to the seat post on a regular bike will be absent.

This allows riders to “step-through” the frame to mount the bike. The “lowness” of the instep refers to the vertical distance from the ground to the top bar of the frame, which curves on Amsterdam bikes.

12. Coat Guard

amsterdam bikes coat guard


Many people who own Dutch bikes will use them to ride to work. They save money, get exercise, and may even be able to beat traffic! While not all bike types feature coat guards, Amsterdam bikes are famous for the feature. Coat guard or Skirt guards come in make styles like this awesome Vintage Crochet Pattern Bicycle Wheel Skirt Guard & Seat Cover  from ickythecat above.

Coat guards are those metal (and sometimes plastic), covers that extend over the top half of the rear wheel. With a coat guard, your coat will not interact with the wheel spokes. If your bike does not have coat guards, your coat may get tangled in the wheel, causing the bike to stop. If the bike stops suddenly, the rider may fall off. Thanks to coat guards, this scenario is impossible.

13. Lighting (Front and Back)


amsterdam bicycle light

Lighting is incredibly important, especially on Amsterdam bikes. Check out the sweet Busch + Müller Retro N Plus dynamo light above. You can get it here. While other types of bikes are not popular for night-time use, like a mountain bike, Amsterdam bikes are. Since many people use these bikes to commute to work, it is reasonable to assume that a rider will start his commute in the morning before daylight breaks, and ride home when the sun is setting.

In such a circumstance, a front and rear lighting system is paramount, so pedestrians and car drivers can see the rider, and so the rider can see them.

14. Strong Construction

A high-quality Dutch bike will last years, if not decades. The construction quality of a bike reflects its strength and durability. High-quality welds, high-quality steel, and proper maintenance will make your bike last a very long time.

When confronted with the decision to purchase a high-quality bike, which is more expensive, versus a lower-quality bike, which is less expensive, a prudent rider will always choose the high-quality bike, especially when purchasing a Dutch bike. The money one spends correlates to the quality of the bike materials used during construction, and the ability of the bike to last.

15. Energy-Efficient Cycling Style

The efficiency of the bike to navigate varying terrains is another important feature. Dutch bikes are very versatile. It is common to see riders in many adverse environmental conditions, due to their construction. The ease of biking allows the rider to not only ride longer, but faster as well.

A day in the life of Amsterdam


The biking in Amsterdam is what makes you happier

mikes bikes amsterdam bike tours

mikes bikes amsterdam bike tours

Seeing all the Amsterdam bikes some 3 years ago, and taking a bike tour with Mike's Bike Tours Amsterdam (above), really sparked our love for this particular bicycle type. As is the stereotype, the place is loaded with bicycles. There's even an Amsterdam Beer Bike. People get around by bike more then by car. In fact, an astounding 800,000 or 63% of Amsterdammers commute by bicycle daily, compared to Portland's 7%. Off course this isn't an apples to apples comparison as the states are a GIANT country and we're comparing that to one city with a high saturation of cycling. Still, it's interesting to understand that this kind of bicycle commuting is possible and more efficient in high population urban centers.

amsterdam bike rack

We must mention, that with so many bikes theft can be quite common, so it's super important to get a good lock, like this cutting edge TiGr Mini+ below that will lock up both your wheels and is easily stored on the bike:)

tigr mini+ bike lock

It's such a lively experience getting around by bike. Your hair swaying in the wind as you pass the many Amsterdamians (is that a word? No wait it's Amsterdammers!) on your way to get a coffee or see the sights. We definitely recommend it to those who have not been!

The people smiling as you ride by (well not everyone), but Amsterdam is known for "happier" people. Perhaps it's because they are constantly biking around everywhere instead of sitting in cars and ordering fast food (which I'm sure still happens - but not as much).

girls riding Amsterdam bikes

Integrating the bicycle into daily life means that your body will be constantly have an "endorphin party".

When you do any kind of vigorous exercise, the pituitary gland in your brain releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins get down with the receptors in your brain that minimize your perception of pain. They also trigger a positive feeling in the body, like that of morphine.

amsterdam bikes in a cafe square

To make a long story short, biking makes you happy.

Where else are most of us doing intense exercise? For the gym goers get a pass but running up the stairs and walking around doesn't count for most of us folks.

Why did my vivid essay about Amsterdam turn into a health lesson? We feel it's intricate to connect this place where biking is so prevalent to the understanding that using the bicycle as your first mode of transportation, like people uses bikes in Amsterdam, can transform your life. You don't need to be living in Amsterdam to be happier. You just have to leave your car keys on the hinge and take your bike out for that quick run to get milk or rent the latest Wahlberg movie from Redbox.

amsterdam bikes parked

What can you do about it? 

Think about incorporating biking into your daily life. Then actually do it. The other day my girlfriend and I rode our bikes to the nearby store were we loaded up 2 Nantucket Pannier baskets with a weeks' worth of groceries. Not bad. We both work all day and rarely find time enough time for exercise, so combining riding our bikes and getting groceries made perfect sense. If you're thinking aww man that sounds like a lot of work! It wasn't. We biked about 7 blocks to the grocery store, locked up our bikes outside and instead of using shopping bags which are an additional cost and pile up anyway, we used our panniers baskets. After shopping around, we clipped the panniers onto our bikes and rode home. This was both exhilarating and useful.

Sure, not everyone has the ability to bike to a "nearby" store but this concept can be applied to any nearby errand.

What's the catch? 

There is no catch. You're simply adding a more active method of transportation to your life. Think of it this way. If you make even 10% of your errands by bike, your life will change.

People who feel restless as night, suffer from various levels of depression, feel a loss of sex drive for their partner and more are great candidates for adding biking into their life.

These people need to release more endorphins!

Otherwise the average person's day looks like this:

Wake up

Drive to work

Sit in an office

sitting in an office

Get lunch

Drive home

Watch TV


Go to sleep


When you draw it out, it's more obvious that something needs to change. If you want to be happier and healthier that is.

What would we change? 

netherlands bicycle helmet

With all the biking going on in Amsterdam and Holland, it seems helmets, like in the states, are also not very popular. Which is weird when you can ride in style with a sweet head protector like the Tokyo Denim helmet from Yakkay on the right.

You'd think that this would be the opposite especially when you go to Amsterdam and see what a game of frogger the transportation infrastructure is. But, yes, many Dutch could counter this by saying that the reason they don't wear helmets is because they don't fall on their heads.

Or that since they were taught to ride bikes in the 1970’s and 1980’s without helmets or any protection, and that hasn't turned out to be very bad, that is the way they continue to ride today.

This is all fine and dandy, but still it's so much safer to do so and we are totally behind the use of helmets:)

Eric Carriere

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