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:
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.
Woods valves, I’m not the only one.
A view from the front.
Close up of the rear-rack, a nice sight on a bike aimed at the Children's market.
There is even a bit of nice detail on the lugs, and a hole for the dynamo wiring .
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.
It even has Gazelle wheel nuts and a bit of detail on the fork crown.
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
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.