The commuter culture in New Zealand is huge, but it has nothing on the Dutch cycling culture. Cycling in the Netherlands is a way of life; Amsterdam alone has over 400km of cycle paths. Bikes outnumber residents and they express so much of who the Dutch are: stylish, innovative, free. It stands to reason then that if someone is going to produce a high-quality, stylish commuter bike, it is going to be the Dutch, right? Well, that's what we are going to find out.
Lekker provided us with the Amsterdam 3 Speed Fixie Style to test out to see if it lives up to the tagline, 'designed to conquer metropolises worldwide'. To give you an idea of what Lekker are all about, here is a line from their website that paints a great picture:
'Lekker is a common Dutch word that means beautiful, tasty, cool, stylish, and sexy. Meindert (Lekker creator) wanted these bikes to be LEKKER.'
Born in 2009, Lekker describe themselves as, 'Born in Amsterdam, raised in Australia' with the aim of combining the Dutch cycling heritage with Australian culture. The Amsterdam 3 Speed Fixie is the latest creation from Lekker, designed to be lighter, more robust and practical than previous offerings.
Frame and Fork
The Amsterdam 3 Speed Fixie is relatively light when you stack it up against traditional commuter bikes. The Amsterdam frame and fork are made from aluminium, keeping the total weight of the bike to about 11kg.
The Amsterdam only comes in a 52cm 'small' frame or a 58cm 'medium-large' frame. Lekker suggests the 52cm frame is suitable for those between 160cm - 180cm, and the 58cm frame for those 175cm to 210cm... that's a huge range! All of our testers were over six-foot tall and chose the 58cm frame to test. None of our testers had any issue with the frame size, but those in between a 52cm and 58cm frame might wish Lekker had created a more traditional 'medium' frame size between 54-56cm.
The frame geometry keeps the rider in a very upright position which is perfect for commuting, but it does have a very high bottom bracket creating a high centre of gravity which normally isn't great for handling and balance. Thankfully this bike wasn't built for racing, so that shouldn't be an issue. And the high bottom bracket does come in handy when negotiated speed bumps, curbs, or fallen sticks and branches.
All the bolts are stainless steel, which means they won't corrode and become brown if left out in bad weather, a point that is even more important than normal if you go with the Brushed Aluminium or Matt White colour option.
The Amsterdam series comes in a variety of gearing options for you to choose from. You can select a flip-flop hub that can either be fixed or non-fixed, an automatic 2-speed or 3-speed option.
We had the 3-speed option to test, but an interesting note if you choose the automatic 2-speed option. The Amsterdam Speed 2 Automatic Fixie Series comes equipped with SRAM’s AUTOMATIX two-speed hub and is fully automatic. Based on your speed, the hub will choose the correct gear for you without you having to shift gears... pretty impressive design feature and practical if you commute via undulating terrain.
The 3-speed option uses Shimano Nexus internal gear hub with grip shifters: extraordinarily simple to use and hidden away from water, dirt and grit, the best option for any commuter bike that is going to see it's fair share of dodgy weather. Obviously having an internal gear hub adds an element of difficulty in maintenance of the drivetrain, so this is a bit of a trade-off.
The grip shifting is very simple and intuitive and doesn't take up any extra space on the handlebars, which is great when you consider you will need to add a light, bell, and possibly computer mount or countless other attachments, if that's your thing.
The crankset is equipped with a 46t front chain ring -- which is ideal for commuting -- and three gears that do indeed provide enough range to 'conquer metropolises'. Going up rises of 10% gradient was no worries in the smallest gear, and the largest gear will let you get to about 40kph before you start spinning like crazy.
The crank arm is 170mm, which is great if you intend on wearing your work clothes on your ride, as they won't cause you pant legs to bunch up like a longer crank arm would. However, if you are very tall, you may find the 170mm too short.
The Amsterdam is pretty plain and simple, which was its brief, but it can be retrofitted to suit your needs. A rear carrier can be easily attached to the back of the bike if you want to carry heavier or larger items.
An aluminium fender set is available and has to be a certain purchase if you plan on commuting regularly in all kinds of weather. To give it the proper Dutch feel, you can select a stylish leather saddle in either 'Honey Brown', 'Dark Brown', or 'Black' available with accompanying leather grips in the same colour options.
You can also choose different handlebars to suit your riding style or ideal aesthetic for the bike. Choose from flat bar, bull horn, and road bike handlebars, and once you have, top it off a stylish brass bell or leather saddle bag.
See also: Track your Stolen Bicycle
Brushed Aluminium vs Matt Black Lekker Amsterdam fixie bike
The Amsterdam provides a smooth ride thanks to the Kenda 32c tyres, that also provide a little bit of protection against the usual commuting hazards, like tram tracks. If you haven't ridden with deeper rims before, you might find this takes a bit of getting used to, especially if there are strong crosswinds. However, the weight of the bike and relative low speeds you'll be travelling shouldn't cause any extensive problems with handling - plus, the deeper colour matched rims give the Amsterdam some flair and set off the classic Dutch leather saddle and grippers.
The Tektro aluminium brakes perform better than expected. In the dry they performed very well, even on faster downhill sections that required some heavy braking due to approaching traffic lights. Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to thoroughly test them in the wet, so we couldn't say for sure they would perform just as well, but all signs point to the Amsterdam having more than adequate braking power in all conditions.
All in all, it's an ideal commuter option and retrofitted with rear carrier, can become the perfect town bike. The aesthetic is modern, with clean lines and an almost futuristic look if you choose the Brushed Aluminium option.
Frame: TIG welded Aluminium frame
Fork: TIG welded treadless 700 with fender mounts
Handlebars: Full alloy Lekker rise
Stem: Aluminium, 4 bolt, 90mm
Brake Levers: Tektro Full Aluminium
Brakes: Tektro Aluminium Calipers
Grips: Pro-palm Alloy lock cap
Saddle: Lekker Copper Rivet Saddle
Crankset: 46t, Solid alloy 170 w/ integrated chain guard
Drive Train: KMC Rust Buster
Rear hub: 3 speed internal Shimano Nexus w/ grip shifter
Pedals: VP aluminium platform pedals
Headset: NECO sealed bearing headset and bottom bracket
Rims: 36 Hole Deep-V w/ colour matched stainless steel spokes
Tyres: Kenda high-pressure road tyres 700x32
Frame size available: 52cm – 58cm
Color range: Matt Black, Brushed Aluminium, Deep Blue, Matt White
Lifetime warranty on frames
RRP: from $ 698.00