Batavus Criterium restoration

Moving to Tauranga, we now live an easy ten minutes or so on the bike from the office. I wanted a flat pedal bike that’s more upright than the road bike, and that wouldn’t be out of place on the light gravel paths around here.

Luckily I had this – my father’s old Batavus Criterium. It’s a 531 steel road bike with older Shimano kit. Batavus is a Dutch company that usually makes yer upright town bikes, but also did these road bikes – Google tells me they were high quality builds.

@jackelder @saniac This is my next project, hand me down 531 road bike. Looking for a fixed / free wheel set so I can convert it.

It’s got a fairly laid back geometry and seemed a perfect candidate for flat bars and a general re-jig. It’s well worn but in good shape. Hopefully the sweet purple / green / yellow and white paintjob make it stealth and unappealing to anyone wanting to nick a bike at the supermarket.

Here’s the after:


Dad’s tubular wheel set had to go. They were excellent Weinmanns that rode very smoothly but I’d tried tubulars for city riding before and they’re a real PITA when you get a flat. In came a robust (code for heavy) aluminium wheelset I’d obtained for commuting, keeping the original rear cluster with a spacer, and a set of Panaracer Paselas.


The drop bars were replaced with a no-name flat bar (it can be hard to find a flat bar in road-bike-compatible diameters I discovered). These are a set of Shimano brake levers specifically designed for caliper brakes, they work really well.

As I’m stuck with downtube shifters, I don’t need the combo shifters/brakes. I didn’t bother putting a computer back on, I really like how bare bones it looks.


I got a set of 700x25s as I was a bit unsure how much clearance I’d have, but I could have easily gone to 28s. I reckon I could get a set of proper fenders in there too. And check out that badge!


The original plan for this bike was a fixed gear conversion, and that may still happen, these dropouts look likely to me.


Steel is real. It’s an extremely smooth ride and is working perfectly for the ride to work. I’m delighted, and stoked to get something so nice back in regular use.

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