Gazelle

Royal Dutch Gazelle is the largest bicycle manufacturer in The Netherlands.  Their bikes are generally well regarded as sturdy, well made transportation bikes, the kind of bikes which are common in the Netherlands but not so much here in the UK.  They got the “Royal” part of their name from Princess Margriet in honour of their centenary in 1992.  In addition to being a constitutional monarchy, with similar dense old cities and having a very similar climate, The Netherlands also has a very similar population density to the UK.  Sadly (for us) they have managed to deal with the issues of transport in a much better way than we have. I have seen a few Gazelles around on my travels:

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This is one of the most impressive kids’ bikes I have seen in Manchester.  Slack geometry, dynamo lights, mudguards, chain-guard, frame-fitting lock and a rear rack.  On a kids bike.  The wheels are 22 inch, which is probably a major pain to get replacement parts for, but like the Twenty next to it, it is probably fine to ride will into adult life with a longer seatpost.

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Woods valves, I’m not the only one. 

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A view from the front.

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Close up of the rear-rack, a nice sight on a bike aimed at the Children’s market.

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There is even a bit of nice detail on the lugs, and a hole for the dynamo wiring .

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This is another Gazelle parked up near work.  Sturmey drum brakes in addition to mudguards, chain-case, dynamo lights, rear rack, frame fitting lock  and a skirt-guard.  All practical accessories for a transport bike, sadly rarely seen.

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It even has Gazelle wheel nuts and a bit of detail on the fork crown.

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Another practical Gazelle bike, this one is similar to my Raleigh Tourist, with slightly steeper geometry but similar components.  The rear rack has a fold-down stand much like a Pashley Roadster

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The rear wheel is a 3 Speed Sturmey Archer affair, with a coaster brake.  Coaster brakes are quite rare in the UK but I found the Kona’s coaster brake very intuitive.

These bikes aren’t for everyone, but it are ideal for the everyday needs of a great number of people.  Considering how much attention my DL-1 gets when it is out, it seems that the bike industry is missing an opportunity here in the UK.

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8 thoughts on “Gazelle

  1. D'ya know, when you commented on one of my posts, that Raleigh Denmark *really* get it, you weren't kidding were you?I thought my Raleigh Grifter was practical with mudguards & propstand lolThe kids bike above is full-on, look at the rack!I've just had a look at Gazelles website – they list just two mtb's & two road bikes. I don't have the patience to count the practical ones they sell.

  2. I'm not sure where the Gazelles I have seen came from, I've never seen them in a shop or on a UK website. Its nice to see some utility bikes around. There's a workcycles Azor Oma at work sometimes too. That would have been imported for Amsterdam. Only Pashley seem to sell bikes like these here. Nice to see a kids bike fitted out with carrying capacity. Maybe a kids Yuba should be next.

  3. Seeing how much Pashley sales have gone up in these last few years I am hopeful more and more people are seeing the benefits and enjoyment of riding 'dutch' bikes, and hopefully the UK market will catch up on a bit more 😉 I mean even an advert of a famous high street bank has now his bank manager arriving on a bike… a bit corny sure, but better than nothing I say… if it helps in changing people's perception :)I have seen two or three Gazellle bikes in Manchester and of course plenty in Holland 😉 they look great, very elegant, but to me always huge!! I wonder if there are any for petite size as me 😉

  4. I think the size is just part of the design. Pashley do the Princess in a 26 inch wheel variety, but most Roadster type bikes use 28 inch wheels which are even larger than the 700Cs you see on most road and city bikes here. This makes the bike look bigger, and they tend to be a bit longer to accommodate the large wheels. It can be a bit off-putting but I don't think it makes them harder to ride if you are a bit petite. I mean, just look at the Yuba

  5. I was at Edinburgh Cycle today and saw a lady ride off with her new Britannia Pashley, I have never seen anyone with such a beamy smile 🙂 it was lovely! Wish more people could see what an effect bikes can have!Talking about frame size… they are all so random!!! I mean I tested everything and anything (I was testing a road/touring bike)… from a 45cm up to a 53cm (I am sure the guy read the label wrong on the last one!!)… then I got asked to try a 17''…. which to me felt like I was riding a child's bike…. arrrgghhhh! I kinda look at the guy as "seriously??" and he was "ok, you're right" (!)… I will stick to good old vintage bikes me thinks! and follow what feels right to me….

  6. I was at Edinburgh Cycle today and saw a lady ride off with her new Britannia PashleyBloody noras, small world & all that lolWas you testing the silver, flat barred bike?The guy who served us, let me take the Roadster out for another spin & was pretty patient – let me keep popping back in to adjust the seat. When I mentioned the Bike to Work scheme though, he commented that "We haven't sold many of these on B2W – they aren't they most practical bike"Yes, "seriously??" LOLTouring bikes are supposed to be pretty comfy to ride – the reason we went in last week was to ask about ordering a Surly LHT, but after riding something so upright, I'm kinda swaying a bit now. As for Wendy, well…she's converted :>)

  7. Heh, odd definition of practical for travelling to work. Racks, mudguards, chainguards and hub gears are all impractical for commuting in the UK. The uprights are the way to go, as long as they have slack angles and especially if you already own a sporty machine. I think a lot of the conventions about frame sizing should be ignored if you can instead have the chance to try these things out.PS I'm afraid won't be at critical mass this time, will try for next time.

  8. Ian!!! What a reeeeeaalllly small world!! 😀 yes it was me, on an apparently 53cm road bike ladies frame ????the chaps at EC are lovely but to me a little clueless, but their enthusiasm beats another well known historical bike shop in the city centre, which no matter how many times I have been in I've always felt uncomfortable, like as if I'd be bothering their time ekkk!I like the chaps at Bycycle Doctor a lot, I take my Pashley to them when I need to and even though I did not buy it from them (mine was a serendipity moment when I saw her and bought her second hand from a lady who just after two months found her too heavy on her knees, but that's another story ;)And the chaps at GBH, equally nice, knowledgeable and friendly.I was telling PB he should get a Gov'nor so we could have His&Her… 😉 but we already represent Built in England well with Pashley and Brompton in our bicycle family 😉 Hope Wendy will have a fab time with her Britannia I love my SP!@Mr.C – I am not going to critical mass either… which is a real shame as I had a lot of fun in May… I will keep my fingers crossed for end of August that work won't come in the way!

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