About a Revital Bike
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
Our bikes have a special story and we hope you become part of it. The story of the Revital Bike begins in The Netherlands where there are more bikes than people. Every year thousands of bikes are abandoned and left in the streets to ultimately become scrap metal. We purchase these once loved bikes from various municipalities, schools and private organizations throughout Holland and hand pick each bike which satisfies our requirements. Each frame is inspected for alignment and damage and if acceptable are then processed in our reconditioning facility. Each bike is disassembled and reusable parts such as the frame, fork, and bag carrier get a huge makeover. Other components such as the crank, rims, and handlebars are also reconditioned (polished) when possible. After they are revitalized we re-assemble them using new, high quality components, to ensure you get the best experience and longevity from your Revital Bike.
How is this possible?
Dutch city bikes went through an industrialization process around the 1950's where companies began producing on a large scale and standards developed in the industry. These standards enabled more companies, such as frame and component suppliers, to also mass produce products. Over the course of the next 4 decades the bike industry flourished in Europe as production standards and quality refined year after year. Typical producers of these bikes, some of which are still in production today, are Gazelle, Union, Batavus, Sparta, Junker, Locomotief and more. The available tools and technology were not as advanced in that time, but they were in no way inferior to today's fast manufacturing practices. The ideals were also different, "imagine a time when a manufacturer designed and built a product that was intended to last the lifetime of it's owner", this was how the Dutch approached the bike market. By using high quality steel, durable specifications, and hand building each bike, they essentially built a forever bike. Of course maintenance would be required and mechanical components would fail over time, but the frame would last forever. Sad to say these ideals and manufacturing practices are long gone in today's bike world. The new mantra is to build it fast, inexpensive and with an operational life of around 5 years (or less).
At Revital Bikes we only source these forever bikes which meet these important criterion. While there are many designs of bikes, we focus on what is known as the Dutch City Bike manufactured between the mid 1960's to the mid 1980's. Traditionally it was a 26" or 28" wheel, adult sizes, male and female configurations (although in Holland they are not gender specific), reverse or hand brakes, 1 or 3 and sometimes 5 or 7 gears, upright and comfortable, and extremely durable (this doe not mean heavy). Holland is on the sea (or if you know much about Dutch history, you could even say 'in' the sea), this means salt and that means rust. Well it didn't take long before the Dutch solved this challenge, high quality stainless steel and a aluminum are impervious to rust. Not everything could be protected from the harsh sea air, but 95% of the bike was designed to endure decades. We restore each bike following these same quality principles, our goal is to revitalize the bike for another lifetime of it's owner.
Why don't the Dutch recondition them?
Well, they do and they don't. Today there are millions of bikes in use and one of the strongest used/secondhand bike markets in the world. However consumers have choices when they buy a bike or are confronted with the expense of maintenance. New bikes (typically made in Asia) are shiny and new and give the appearance of big value for little money, it's easy to choose this option because you know it will be reliable and serve it's purpose, for a few years at least. Used bikes bikes do require maintenance however and at some point the cost of maintaining mechanical components at the end of their life is not economical at some point. Reconditioning the bike is also expensive when compared to new bikes available on the market or a used bike in better condition. So essentially reconditioning a bike on an individual basis does not make sense for most people, that's where Revital Bikes responds to the opportunity to upcycle and reduce waste.