Batavus Criterium 1983


Dirt Disciple
During my regular search for anything interesting vintage bike wise on eBay etc. I managed to find something a bit different. I'd been looking for a second vintage bike to enter the 2020 Eroica Britannia so that one of my sons could ride with me. That event was of course cancelled even before COVID-19!

I found this 1980 Batavus Criterium that had been on eBay for quite a long time but had been badly described and seemed to have very few followers. I’d not seen many Batavus bikes before; even on Retrobike – and not many generally on the internet for that matter! This 1980 racing bike still has the Eindhoven bike shop sticker on it. The bike had been brought over from Romania. From my research the Criterium was a mid-tier racer model with the Professional and Competition above it and the Course and Champion below. I don’t think the Batavus brand was ever imported into the UK. The tubing is nothing fancy being Ishiwata 025. It weighs in at 11kg (24.25lb) with no water bottle, tool roll or pump. I have to confess that I was initially attracted by the colour. Also, having a fairly main stream Raleigh, I wanted something completely different.

The bike is very original and I’ve stripped it down to component level and built it up again. The frame is not in great condition (particularly compared to my 1987 Raleigh) but I hope that I have got the right balance and have not over restored it. New cables, bar tape, tyres, replica chain, saddle etc. The LBL re-trued the wheels.
I’m no expert in road bikes (always ridden MTBs up until very recently) but the Batavus feels nice and compact (compared with my Raleigh) but I did change the seat post and saddle as the original seat post was about 1 inch too short for me, and was killing my knees. The original saddle was impossibly hard! An age-related seat post and a used Turbo saddle resolved the issue. I cut the seat post down to an appropriate size and had to sand the inside of the seat tube to make for a better fit. I’ve swapped the original 5-speed freewheel for a NOS Shimano 14-28 to help with the hills, and enable me to keep up with my 24-year-old son!
The bars have some added padding to help with my hands, as I have a long-term injury.

Another vintage bike rescued and something a bit different. Space prevents me from getting another bike as I have 7 in the garage and shed at the moment. I was contacted by a friend who has been helping to clear a family friend’s garage – there was “an old hand-built Raleigh” in there that they wanted me to have a look at. This turned out to be a very original, one owner from new, 1983 Raleigh Clubman 12 with 531 tubing. It was unfortunately far too small for me.

Many thanks to everyone at Retro Bike for the inspiration and help. This has all been new to me having never actually owned a road bike before! 25+ years spent building and riding Mountain Bikes.


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Dirt Disciple
Many thanks. I really enjoyed doing the restoration. I’m hoping to do the Retro Ronde in Belgium next year so I’m expecting to see a few more Batavus bikes there.