Beyond the hash cafés, graceful canals, or titillating and depressing red light district, Amsterdam tourist highlights always include dodging a constant stream of bike traffic and, often, contributing to it. Long before bike paths became the norm at cities around the world, the Dutch were masters of urban bike culture. The streets there teem with perfectly synchronized schools of unhelmeted cyclists of every age and size, riding every possible variety of bike. One of the more interesting bike brands there, Vanmoof, is now being offered to stateside customers. Vanmoof bikes are designed with a rather specific customer in mind: The aesthetically inclined urban dweller looking for a smooth ride and a durable frame. And by durable, we mean capable of handling the knee-deep potholes, cab fenders, and other slings and arrows that modern city-living presents. The company's best-selling model, the Vanmoof 3.7, is purpose-built precisely for such conditions.
With its oversize top tube and clean lines, the bike looks like something slightly out of its time (in the best way possible). The fully anodized frame, available in 26 or 28 inches, further emphasizes this uniqueness, as do the integrated, dynamo-powered Philips LED lights. (The Vanmoof 5.7 goes a step further, incorporating an ABUS chain lock into the frame itself.) The 3.7 is equipped with a seven-speed Shimano Nexus internal hub – the entire chain is cloaked in hard black plastic, and changing gears happens almost instantaneously – making it far more versatile than a fixie, but without the maintenance and relative complexity of a full gear set. In short, it's the upmarket commuter bike, built to be used, abused, and admired on a daily basis. [$998; vanmoof.com]