Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hollandia Opa Bike (Made in China)

Hello and Welcome, Once again I am tempted to purchase a "Department Store Bike". The Hollandia bikes style is wonderful but I am sure the quality is everything but. However this is one awesome looking bike! And I would not have to purchase it from Wally Mart. I could even order it from using the Amazon Search on my own blog for a mere 182.19 with free super saver shipping!
Above: I have possible improvements going through my mind already. The vinyl saddle would have to go for sure. And the "brown" grips (their description not mine) I imagine are plastic or pleather. (plastic leather) Cork grips are only 10 bucks and I already have the Shellack. And I just happen to have an extra set or two of block pedals, I am sure one of the sets would be a good fit.
Above: What a profile, absolutely captivating. I can`t find anything in the description that tells me what the chain guard and fenders are made of. I`m not real keen on the idea of plastic chain guards. And nothing listed about the load capacity of the racks. Although the total load capacity is listed at 275 lbs.
Above: The woman's model appears to be right out of the Wizard of Oz. I am not a huge fan of step through frames. But this is a really sweet looking design. Why no luggage rack on the front? From what I have found so far, this model is priced higher than the double horizontal top tube model.
Above: What about the moral issues of buying Chinese products? This is a photo of a Chinese factory with nets allegedly to catch suicidal workers. That is a difficult thing to ignore. By purchasing Chinese products are we endorsing inhumane manufacturing methods? On the other hand, with minimum wages stuck at the same rate in America for longer than I can remember.(Michigan 7.40 per hour) Are these folks expected to fork over big bucks for an American made bicycle? I mean if your knocking down 150 thousand or so a year. Are you gonna tell some poor 7.40 per hour worker He should buy American?
Above: Another issue, one I seldom hear mentioned. What about the pollution caused by the manufacturing practices in China? Are we supporting this way of doing business when we purchase Chinese products?
Above: Can you imagine your morning commute looking like this every morning? This would probably kill me. I am an Asthmatic. Also due to an injury I received in a fall in 2007 I am missing a pretty good chunk of my right lung. So I am not exaggerating when I say living in industrial China would most likely be fatal for me. And I find it impossible to believe that this environment is not fatal to many Chinese people. The key word here being PEOPLE. Do I want to support this?
Above: Yes Chinese products are everywhere? But Mitt Romney has promised He will get tough on China! Why do I have trouble believing that? Click on the picture and read the tag.
Above: Product Description. This comfy, one-size-fits-all, navy blue hat shows you’re a Democrat, with the word ''Democrat'' on the front and the Party’s website on the back. Like all our products, it’s American-Made and union-Printed. Maybe I should be asking myself, What would Barack Obama do?
Above: About the Blogs readers. The posts about the WalMart Thruster Fixed Gear Bike are the most popular (by a huge margin) I have ever written. This makes me ask.. Are these the only "new bikes" many of my readers can afford? If so, is it wrong for me to show them what they can do to improve their department store bikes? This is my dilemma.
Above: UPDATE I am inserting this a few days latter. After doing a little research I have come to the conclusion that rebuilding and upgrading this bike would be too expensive to make it a worth while investment. It appears that the chain guard and fender skirts are plastic. And from what I have read, not very good plastic at that. Also (and I had to read this review twice) the handle bars are welded to the stem. This is something I have seen before, but only on a child's tricycle. Also the saddle is a cheesy looking vinyl p.o.s. that would need a serious upgrade to make this look anything like a real classic. And trying to find, then paint and retro-fit a full metal chain-guard. That sounds like a real costly project in itself. And I would probably have to fabricate the metal skirts. That is if I wanted them at all. And do all this for "from what I have read is" a poorly welded, NOT a lugged frame bicycle. I don't think so. But what really scares me is this.. what about all the "unknowns". If this is how the rest of the bike was built.. What are the headset, hubs, crank and bottom bracket going to look like? I am guessing "not very good". Until I see one of these up close I am not going to risk the money.
Above: Another thought on Chinese made bicycles. I have three bikes that I actually ride. One of them is my Specialized Rock Hopper FS. The Rock Hopper was also Made in China. But it is not a "Department Store Bike" and that seems to make it ok. I have never heard a negative word from anyone about my Rock Hopper. So is it really Chinese bikes people have a problem with? Or is it just "department store Chinese bikes" we have a problem with? Are the workers that build the "better" bikes in China treated better than the workers who build the cheaper bikes? I am guessing probably not. Someone once said "There are 365 ways to look at an Elephant" This seems to apply to the "Made in China" issue as well.
Above: Change of topic. The fork decals decals for the Raleigh Sports have arrived. But as expected the pedals from the UK are going to take a little longer. The weather here has been depressing. Much too cold, way to windy and cloudy all day long. So I have not felt like doing much "bike wise" so far this week. I`ll try to "kick it in gear" as soon as I finish this post.
Above: I have no idea if it looks like the one above. But I heard a rumor that Tim Joe over at "The Trailer Park Cyclist" (Link in the Blogs by Friends and Readers section) recently purchased a Wally Mart bike. From what I have heard it is a Beach Cruiser. No doubt it will be put to good use down there in Fla. I guess now I could make my department store bike purchase and blame it all on T.J. Then I could sleep better at night knowing that I was influenced by one of the better writers on the internet. (He really is an excellent writer) But what kind of person would do something like that? LTMS Seriously I would like to hear your thoughts "pro and con" on the subject of yours truly purchasing the Hollandia Opa bike. And I promise I will wait 24 hours before responding to any negative comments :)
Above: Now that I have the headset and bottom bracket rebuilt I will be moving this project indoors soon. I will do all the nasty stuff out in the shop/garage and do everything else indoors. This will make it much more comfortable for me to work during the colder months ahead. UPDATE: I have taken the L.L. Bean bike in a whole different direction since this photo was taken. I will be doing a blog post about it real soon.. That's about all I have for now. Until next time, Please RIDE SAFELY and Remember to Always... RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!
ATTENTION AMAZON SHOPPERS! You can help Support This Blog by simply shopping on Amazon dot com using the Amazon Search Box located at the Top Right Corner of This Page. It will not effect your cost and I will receive a very small commission. Thanks for your support, Hugh


  1. Hugh,
    I think you made the right decision on the Hollandia. I was tempted to do the same thing. After research, I also found it cost prohibitive. Maybe one will show up on Craigslist or at a garage sale. I do like the classic look of the bike. I have also been keeping a eye out for a Flying Pigeon. They are neat bikes, but do not want to pay shipping. Keep up the good work and enjoy the blog!

    PS, you need to let me know how you reattached the Raleigh head badge on the Sports you rebuilt.


    1. Hey John,
      Sorry about that, I remember you asked that question. First the rivets I found on the e bay. The seller gives directions about drilling out the holes to clear paint. I drilled my holes one size smaller than He recommends. You set the rivets through the badge and just tap them in with a hammer. The heads will spread out when you strike them. I thought there would be some special tool involved, but there isn't. The only hard part is holding the tiny rivets in place. I suggest placing a white towel under your work area. Then if you drop one of the rivets it will not bounce into the unknown. I chose to use a old tack hammer to avoid hitting my fingers. I tried to find the seller on the e bay but could not find him tonight. He is probably on holiday. Hopefully he will be back as I wanted to order some for stock. I hope this helps. Cheers

  2. Very Interesting Post Hugh and a real head-scratcher. Ethics aside from a economic standpoint I think I could find a decent older Raleigh 3 speed for a $100, spend another $100 fixing it up and have a nicer bike than the "Opa" but I can see the appeal of the bike at first glance. I was wondering if your Rock Hopper was made in China or Taiwan? The Ethical issue is more complex and you wonder what the "real" cost of that Opa is when you add up the environmental and personal impact of producing products at this price point. Sigh. Looking forward to your LL bean project.


    PS How do Michiganders feel about Romney's ad saying that the President bankrupted GM...? Funny I could have sworn he bailed them out and saved a ton of jobs.

    1. Hey Ryan,
      Amen, there is a lot to think about when you purchase a bike from China. I was thinking... That is really what the blog is about. Purchasing an old un-restored bike for an affordable price and rebuilding it yourself.
      I hate to say this but there will be another post first. I was doing some bicycle related research about a different bike purchase. Then it hit me, This would make a great blog post. I won't give away any specifics. But it should be finished and posted by the middle of next week. (or sooner)
      I should have not mentioned politics, that was a mistake. But on the subject of Romney's ideas saving the Auto industry? Is He delusional or what? He actually made a killing investing in the parts supply end of the business during Obama's auto company bailouts. That seems to be the way of politics, If the truth doesn't serve your purpose just invent a new one. Cheers

  3. Stay away from those cheap bike-like-objects like the plague!

    You can no longer fight outsourcing. Outsourced manufacturing to China/Taiwan/Turkey is so entrenched that there is no avoiding it. Those countries can and do produce excellent quality bikes. The fact of where they are made does not determine their quality: the company paying for their manufacture does.

    You can however fight against poor working conditions in China, et al. The best way to do that is to make sure that the standard of living rises quickly in those countries.

    1. Hey Everett,
      First, Good to hear from you! How are things in the old neighborhood? I still miss the big city sometimes. Many many years ago my Dad's business was at 9 mile and Woodward. Right on the corner second floor above the drugstore.
      But anyway, I respectfully disagree with you when you state "You can no longer fight outsourcing. Outsourced manufacturing to China/Taiwan/Turkey is so entrenched that there is no avoiding it".
      (That my friend is exactly what "they" want you to think)
      I read an article recently about a trend of companies coming back to The States. One of the reasons given was that "contrary to popular opinion" American factory workers are the most productive in the world. And with wages lower here and hopefully rising in China, it is just more profitable. Another reason given was it is faster here to bring a prototype into production here.
      One day "The sleeping Giant" will wake up again. And when it does Hang On! It's gonna be one hell of a ride!

  4. From a Amazon review " The "dress guards" are rather thin vinyl but with a sturdy metal frame, the full chain guard is of similar construction. I would say that those two parts have been the most compromised by the bikes price point, but they have nothing to do with making the bike go or stop"

    1. Anonymous, Thanks for posting that. Did you happen to see a review that stated the handlebar position was not adjustable because they are welded to the stem? I am still having trouble believing that one is true. Cheers

  5. Replies
    1. Despite all it's short comings, it is easy on the eyes.

  6. "But what kind of person would do a thing like that?" ME! OK, so I used your name in vain all over the place in my "New Bike" post... what do you expect? I live in a trailer park!

    Truth is, Hugh, your Big Box experiment gave me the courage to try it my ownself. I'll be typing up my ride report and review of the experience as soon as I quit riding this monster everyday in a happy (and yet perverse) effort to see what falls off next.

    In fact, since I am making bushels of money plagiarizing your Blog I will probably keep doing it and address these ethical questions at the same time. I already plan to be facing litigation from Walmart after my post so if you want to sue me you might want to hurry.

    To buy or not to buy? Like you, I wouldn't buy that bike unless I could see it in person first. That is the ugly beauty of Walmart: they got the stuff right there in the store. Having said that, my next bike will be a dedicated grocery-getter and that Commie Holy-Opie looks like just the thing.

    I want one.


    1. LTMS.. Hey TJ You can talk about me all you want. (: I did enjoy the post by the way. Do not feel bad, I have a "Super Power" pissed off at me. LTMS (again)
      It is good to hear someone is making money off my blog :) I sure as hell am not.
      I did finally think of a practical use for that bike, Wall art! It would look nice mounted up on the gable above the garage/shop doors.
      About Wally world, They really have us figured out. A little paint and chrome and our common sense goes right out the window.
      I really do not read much. But when the reading mood hits me, your blog is the first place I go. Please Keep up the good work. Cheers

  7. "Above: About the Blogs readers. The posts about the WalMart Thruster Fixed Gear Bike are the most popular (by a huge margin) I have ever written. This makes me ask.. Are these the only "new bikes" many of my readers can afford? If so, is it wrong for me to show them what they can do to improve their department store bikes? This is my dilemma. "....

    The one (Thruster Fixie) that I had was a gift from a family member who meant well (they knew I'm a "bike guy") wife and I raise our 2 kids on disablility benefits (I'm a veteran also) plus her part time job,my riding stable includes a Vassago Bandersnatch that I hand picked every part for,an Xtracycle and an Origin 8 cyclocrosser,plus I just bought a project-bike Origin 8 Scout 29 complete to build up to replace a Jabberwocky that I sold earlier this year....the point? No,BSO's aren't the only bikes that your readers can afford,on our meager income,if we can budget it,almost anyone can. Prioreties ;)

    Excellent and thought provoking post,my friend!

    The DC

    1. Hey Disabled Cyclist,
      First a sincere Thank You for your service to our country.(I am assuming you are an American) I was just thinking after reading your comment, what the #$@& is a BSO? lol.. Big Store Offering? Seriously I was thinking, Thank God we live in a disposable society. All those "at one time expensive bikes" filling the basements and garages of America. Just waiting for people like us to come along.
      I admit I am sometimes temped by the "chrome and paint" of garbage dressed up to look like "real bicycles". But as you said, often it is more a matter of what a persons priorities are than what their financial situation is. I am sometimes skeptical of people who complain about their bike, car or whatever, Who somehow manage to buy a 12 pack and two packs of smokes every day. And then I remember that I was once that guy. I am truly grateful for the positive comment.

  8. Hugh-This article seems to have gotten a rise out of a few of your fans! ;)

    To solve your moral dilemma, 99.9% of ALL bikes come from overseas. Even your Cervelo S5 all carbon whatchamacallits come from China. How do I know? I am always hanging out at the bike shops, and I have worked for a few myself.

    All most people need is just a bicycle. I have seen that the cheaper the bike, the more it is appreciated by it's owner. They can thrash the heck out of them without remorse. Those Thruster fixies have gotten more kids into biking than any high end bike so far.

    I fixing up a Raleigh Tourist DL-1 right now, but I have had thoughts of getting me a Hollandia and just be done with it. I wouldn't judge anyone from wanting to buy one at that price.

    Flying Pigeon dutch style bicycles are also made in China. They are well known, good quality bikes that get alot of compliments.

  9. About the Hollandia ... Since you asked for opinions, I would not recommend the purchase. I like your basic motto, "Rescue, Restore & Recycle", and buying any new bike, regardless of where it is made, goes against that basic premise. I think you will get more bang for the buck buying at resale shops and off Craigs List.

    I have a personal "conspiracy theory" concept of Chinese industrial expansion and the resulting pollution. If someone wanted to kill the maximum number of people and decimate an entire nation due to illness and disease (plus genetic mutations), what better way to do it than have those people kill themselves by poisoning every inch of land they tread on and filling their air with deadly toxins. Something to think about. Are there people that evil who would think to do such a thing? There certainly are, and some of them masquerade as loyal U.S. citizens.

  10. Hugh,

    You're very welcome-I'm glad I founf your blog,I enjoy it :)

    Yep,pure unadulterated American,born and raised in the coal fields/hills of southwestern Virginia,and a veteran of good standing of the US ARMY (1991-1994) :) C-2/13th Infantry Reg

    BSO = Bike Shaped Objects,LOL! I didn't coin that term (and I'm not a bike snob either,there's at least 1 Sears bought Schwinn in the workshop ;) ),I heard it years ago somewhere I cannot recall for the life of me,but always found it amusing,LOL! :p

    I've often given thought to how nice it is that it's relatively easy to find good used bikes on the cheap in need of just a little TLC. Sometimes it's just nice to have something shiney and new,but I also dig a good project bike too ;)

    The DC


Cycling Blog Directory