Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Real Classic: Vintage Gazelle

My heart skipped a beat when I spotted this vintage Gazelle bicycle near Central Square in Cambridge. It was chained to a tree with an enormous lock, so clearly the owner is fond of it.

Judging by the decal designs and the amount of rust on the frame, I would say this Gazelle is from the 1970s. However, the cream Delta Cruiser tires look brand new, and the "O-Lock" on the back wheel looks like a recent addition. I am not sure what is that thing on the stem above the headlight mount - perhaps another lock? And the round black object on the handlebars opposite of the bell perplexes me as well. If you know what these are, please do tell.

The old headbadges were gorgeous; I do wish they'd kept them on the modern bikes!

Fork crown and dynamo for the headlight.

Rear fender with the "cotton-tail" white end and an integrated rear reflector. Love the look of those!

Gazelle was the first bicycle I fell in love with when I discovered the Dutch/transport style bikes. They have been manufacturing bicycles since 1892 and have the status of a “royal” manufacturer, which is why you will sometimes see the brand name written as The Royal Dutch Gazelle. It was wonderful to see this vintage examplar, holding up after decades of use and cross-Continental travel.

23 comments:

  1. That taillight looks more like mid 1960's. That is an integrated taillight and reflector. Very similar to the one that is on my wife's 1966 Columbia Commuter II.

    There was also a post from Amsterdamize showing one on a full sized BSA.

    Not sure about the other things. Still grand to see an older bike still in use.

    Aaron

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  2. Do you mean that specific design, or integrated taillight/reflectors in general? Because some Gazelle models still have them today in the style shown here. I wonder who makes that for them actually; would love to get that for my bike.

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  3. That black thing on the bars is a honky horn :) I wish I could get black ones :( I can only buy wild colorful models [and I can only buy them buy the case...of 50!]

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  4. The black thing on the stem is probably an attachment point. The man who delivers my newspaper has one of those and he says it's for his child seat. Doesn't look very safe but works. No idea what the thing on the handlebar is.
    As for the Gazelle taillight, these are readily available from any bike shop here. Shall I send you one?

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  5. The one on that specific bike is the one I meant.

    Busch+Muller make excellent tail lights as does Spanninga. I have both brands on different bikes. I suspect the one on the old Gazelle you pictured maybe a JOS which is now part of the Spanninga Group.

    The light on the old Gazelle won't meet the current road standards in the EU or the US for a tail light or reflector, but it is still nice to see one that looks to be usable.

    At least 4 of our bikes have the integrated reflector/tail light assembly on them, one being on the Columbia the rest being more modern.

    Aaron

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  6. According to the Gazelle website they currently use the Spanninga tail light.

    I have the Spanninga VectorXS on my city bike and the SPX/XS on my Raleigh Twenty. I also have a B&M 4DLite Plus that is not installed on anything at the moment.

    I love having the lights permanently mounted and ready to go at a moments notice. They come in handy if I lose track of time and forget to head home before dark (something that happens with great regularity)

    Aaron

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  7. Mike - Ah, thank you, that makes sense. I remember reading somewhere that using a horn on a bicycle is illegal in Massachusetts, but I am sure that beautiful bikes are excused. I am surprised that you cannot find black horns, that is too bad.

    Fritz - Thanks so much, I may take you up on that! I will email you about it.

    Aaron - Interesting, very interesting. So does Gazelle make that white part (that is around the light and blends in with the white of the fender) themselves? Because the Spanniga light does not have a white part around it as far as I can tell. Or am I not looking at the right one?

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  8. On the newer bikes it maybe made specially for Gazelle. According to the online catalog it says the tail light is a Gazelle Spanninga.

    On the older bike who knows.

    The one that popped up on Amsterdamize a while back is identical to the one on our Columbia, which isn't suprising seeing how the Columbia was actually built in Holland. I suspect that the lights were an off the shelf model at that time.

    Only down side to having a custom made or bike brand specific light is that parts may be hard to get in the future.

    Aaron

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  9. The thing above the headlamp definitely looks like the mount for my bobike mini. It is a beautiful bike. I have The Tour de Frances that has the same badge and my favorite thing about the bike.

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  10. Beautiful! That would certainly stop me in my tracks. Thanks for posting these pictures for all to enjoy :)

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  11. oh, that is GORGEOUS.

    I love the name honky horn, btw. I am a southern girl at heart.

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  12. @Filigree
    This is a beautiful bike!
    Wouldt like to show you two other Gazelle beautys...

    http://flickr.com/photos/40275249@N04/3830202302/in/photostream/

    http://flickr.com/photos/40275249@N04/3830202710/in/photostream/

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  13. i think i know the owner of that batavus, she lives in cambridgeport. her husband also has an ancient batavus which is his daily driver between cambridgeport and MIT.

    here's a link to my wife's 36 year old dutch bike, a union savoy. it made its way here via its former owner, who had bought it in new a small town in holland. still has the dealer sticker on the back fender.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/atutter/1973UnionSavoy#

    and to my 23 year old dutch bike, also originally purchased in holland:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/atutter/1986UnionUnitas#

    both bikes can be randomly seen around porter, harvard, union and central squares...

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  14. Black honky horn as used on a Berlin rental bike: http://amsterdamize.com/2009/09/27/biking-berlin/ (play the video).

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  15. The black square thing on the handlebar stem is a clamp/bracket for a bobike (poss Yepp) mini child seat, the dutch love them..as do the kids, rated to 12 Kgs. cuddle your kid whilst riding...you can keep an eye on them..

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  16. i have one like that who`s interested`?


    qyux@solo.ee

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  17. What would a bike like that cost if one was a collector?

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  18. I own the Classic Gazelle, some few modifications. My came from Germany, now at Puerto Rico.

    Here the pic:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/9095154@N02/6303474272/in/photostream

    Than You for your article

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  19. I have this bike if any one would like to buy it I will send pics email me at kdfd51@yahoo.com

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  20. I have one from Nottingham England if any one would like to buy it kdfd51@yahoo.com

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  21. Yes, i am interested in how much an old bike like that is worth these days also.

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  22. i have one exactly like the one in the picture. badge is identical also. for saale.

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  23. I have a very similar Mens Model, B/B issues required a replacement to be fitted.

    I cannot for the life of me find out where to buy a treadless 38x70mm B/B. It came witha factory installed (or two-piece press fit plastic cartridge) that had to be broken to be removed.

    If anybody has any experience or knowledge I'd love to find a replacement B/B rather than a new bike.

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