Dutch Flyer

Dou you have bikes you feel you neglect? Not by leaving them outside for years, or just wearing them out on daily trips to the rail station, but simply by not giving them the attention they merit? This is the bike which gives me a bad conscience, not least because I haven´t invested much time in its upkeep, so I hope readers will excuse the somewhat shopsoiled state the bike is in.

Some years ago I found it quite by chance. It is a Gazelle Impala made in or about 1982.

GIdttransfer

GIRearhub

It is my size, and it was cheap, as second hand bikes often are in Holland. Not only did I get it because even then those old school Impalas were getting scarce, but I had thought about morphing a slow, sturdy bike into something more racy for some time. I had found a pair of handlebars which must be Gazelle judging from their details but which I had never seen before, and an old French front carrier which would make a great saddle bag support. Only the fitting bike was missing, but that changed when I returned from a meet in Holland and, as it is my habit, went into a cycle dealer´s I had chanced upon on the way.

The loft was choc a block with used bikes, and I had to convince the chap that I really wanted the one furthest away from us. “Geen proefrit“, no trial ride, the man said, “I´m not putting the bike back. I take it out, you buy it.” I didn´t need a proefrit; I knew I wanted the bike regardless of its condition. The frame was straight, I had seen that, and that was sufficient.

GIfull

In a general overview the bike looks rather British, and that was my intention. North Road bars with brake rods, however, are not to be found frequently, especially not when they fit Gazelle measurements and have the typical Gazelle lighting wire exit in the stem.

GIlightwirestem

This is where the rear light cable enters the frame.

GIlightwirefront

Here´s a side view of those great handlebars. And, would you believe it, they are quite comfortable too.

GIhbars

It´s hard enough to miss that you´re looking at a bicycle from the famous Dieren stable, but scrutinizing it more closely reveals a number of still more unmistakable details. It also becomes clear that the bike had had a hard life before I rescued it.

GIkickstand

GIfrontforktransfer

GIseattubetransf28

GIfrontdomednut

GIforkcrowncap

GIbell

GIrearlight

Where´s the animal on the photo above? Well, there is none, but the integrated rear light was another unmistakable feature of higher price point Gazelles, the smaller one depicted here having been introduced in the seventies, if I´m not mistaken.

GIsaddlebsupp

This is the old French front carrier which I turned into a saddle bag support, and it works quite well too. The wayward reflector looks abit out of place, but it sits where the headlight originally would have.

GIpedal

Old pair of pedals I substituted the worn pair with.

GIseatttransfer

Some more nice transfers. I can´t easily put a period to this design, it is typically Gazelle bike and nothing else, really, but difinitively not run of the mill seventies.

GINiphuis

The nice sticker from the original dealer; red, white and blue like the Dutch flag. The shop still exists, albeit with a different phone number. It was not the dealer I bought the bike of.

GIkettingkast

A detail from the fabric chainguard. Not sure if it´s the original one.

GIfronthub

The Gazelle front drum brake hub, taking Sturmey brake shoes, but using annular bearings which definitively is not Sturmey.

GIfrontbrakerod

A brake rod link. I know, I should polish the wonderful chrome properly, but have you even taken a fully equipped Dutch roadster bike to bits, cleaned everything and reassembled it? It takes ages.

GIDynamo

The IKU dynamo. Minute, but lightweight, doesn´t create too much drag and gives good, reliable power. Used to be my favourites in the eighties.

GIbb

Another Gazelle specialty: the “kogellager”, mentioned on a sticker on the seat tube, meaning the bottom bracket bearing uses annular bearings. Hard wearing, once worn easy to change if you know what you´re doing.

GIvalve

Not Gazelle, but a nice touch nevertheless. The rims are stainless, btw.

GIlamp

Lastly, a view onto the cockpit. The headlight was my doing, I just couldn´t resist the old fashioned high/low beam system in the contemporary looking shell. And it´s Dutch, too. Yeah, it´s not straight, I know.

I really must clean it up and ride this beauty more.

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4 Comments

  1. Chicot
    Posted January 8, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi, Just found this site through a google search. You say the bottom bracket is “easy to remove if you know what you’re doing”. Unfortunately, I don’t! I have a Gazelle Chamonix and I’m trying to remove the bottom bracket. How do you remove the circular Gazelle lockring in the bottom bracket photo? Mine seems to be rusted over and there are no grooves to insert a tool into. Any help would be much appreciated!

  2. Posted January 15, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Chicot,
    is your b/b just the same as on my Impala? If it is, you need a special tool for fitting the new b/b bearing after you´ve removed the old one, by sheer force mostly. I think, depending on where you live, it might be a good idea to try and borrow one from a cycle dealer.
    Hope that helped.

  3. Chicot
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the reply. The bottom bracket seems the same but one of the bearings has a chainguard attachment on it while the other is normal. I was told by a Gazelle dealer that I have to hammer the bracket through to remove but no amount of bashing it with a mallet seems to shift it. I think I’ll have to bit the bullet and take it to a bike shop. If I can I’ll replace with something other than a Gazelle bracket as I don’t want all this hassle if I ever have to remove the bracket again.

  4. Posted February 4, 2017 at 9:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hammering – hm. There´s a tool for it, a press. AFAIK it can also be used for fitting the new bearings.

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