Roetz Bikes Turns Discarded Frames into Beautiful City Bikes

Dutch company Roetz is on a mission to influence the bike industry by building bikes with as little environmental impact as possible.

Written by:
Each Roetz bike comes with information about the individuals behind the assembly and build date of your new bike. Photo by David Niddrie.

Each Roetz bike comes with information about the individuals behind the assembly and build date of your new bike. Photo by David Niddrie.

Dutch company Roetz is on a mission to influence the bike industry by building bikes with as little environmental impact as possible.

The four-year-old company produces about 1,000 bikes per year starting with scavenged classic, steel Dutch frames. “In different countries, cycling is looked at as a sustainable alternative to using a car or bus,” said Mark Groot Wassink of Roetz. “To us, it’s not. It’s just the way you commute. It’s the easiest way. As we don’t see it as a ‘sustainable alternative’ we thought, how can we be a sustainable producer?”

Roetz co-founder Mark Groot Wassink with a model from their step-through collection.

Roetz co-founder Mark Groot Wassink with a model from their step-through collection.

At the workshop, employees disassemble discarded bikes, strip the paint and decals, and inspect the frame to insure it is structurally sound. These frames are then cleaned, painted, and inspected once more before being built into one of three Roetz designs on offer. Almost every bike is slightly different, but fits into their existing collections.

“It would be difficult to get the same kind of frame if we wanted to, but we don’t really need to,” said Wassink. “We are looking for steel frames that are welded well – they might be old Gazelles or Unions. It doesn’t need to be literally the same frame as we make a collection out of them. The coloring, the fenders, branding – that makes it a Roetz bike.”

Available online or at retailers in the Netherlands and surrounding countries, the bikes start at €559 and accessories include beech wooden fenders and chainguards, cork grips, a reclaimed wood crate, and conveyor-belt skirt guard.

“We also value the people that make the bikes,” Wassink said. “We believe that when you buy a bike it feels better to know the person who made the bike.” As such, each Roetz bicycle comes with a tag sharing the name and photo of the builders involved in that particular bike.

Roetz have another lofty goal in sight, to make a 100 percent remanufactured bike. “There is a project we do now in which we have a 70 percent reused, new bike,” said Wassink.

3 Comments

  • Jorge

    I bought a brand new Roetz bike and few weeks later I contacted them informing that there was a problem with the gears – from the beginning – that got worse and they did not provide any assistance. I was told that the guarantee was valid for the frame and other parts. That I should have done a service run (up to 6 weeks after buying) and paid 50 Euros. I regret so much have bought this bike as for the amount I paid I could have had a real top bicycle. I feel that I was scammed.

  • Ted Parkinson

    I have contacted the company, and the bikes are not available in North America. Perhaps a Canadian company could start a similar process here!

    • David Niddrie

      Thanks Ted, I would be interested to see if that was possible! The benefit for Roetz is they have access to 100s of thousands of discarded bikes in the Netherlands each year, the majority being steel frames they can work with. But I bet an enterprising group in Canada could get something rolling on a smaller scale… Cheers, dn.

Autumn Gear Guide

Need motivation now that temps are dropping? Get excited to ride with our guide!

Download Now