I’m not usually a big fan of fades, yet I find this to be both tasteful and sexy. For those not in the know, this Gazelle frame and fork was handcrafted in The Netherlands. There’s some real racing history behind this model and the company, as well as some infamy. (All great drama needs a little infamy, right?) I found some great information here.
I decided to build with parts I had on hand. In particular I had in mind a mixed bag of components that I really like. I’d originally thought to run a Suntour Superbe rear derailleur but it wouldn’t throw eight speeds. Instead I went with Shimano 600 tri-color (RD-6400), which indexes six speeds but I am very successfully running eight speeds in friction mode. I discovered that the securing bolt on the 600 front derailleur I planned to use was stripped, so I’m running a newer Ultegra instead. The shift levers are 600; the brake levers are Exage; the brakes are 105. Stepping away from Shimano, the crankset is a Sugino Mighty Aero 52/42 which uses a 110mm bottom bracket, thus I have both a light crankset and a nice, tight Q-factor. I am very pleased with the shifting of the 11-21 rear: it is like butter! The front shifts equally smoothly. The saddle — a Flite — is a bit more modern than the rest of the bike, but I’m good with that.
The housing is Jagwire and if you look closely you’ll notice that there is an intentional mix of red and white to sort of match what is taking place with the paint scheme of the frame.
Even though I experimented with several different components, this build has come together very, very quickly. In fact, the only snag has been that the payment I sent to the previous owner has somehow gotten delayed or lost in delivery. (Thank you very much, USPS.) So now I have to figure out how to cope with a potentially lost cashier’s check.
I’ve only ridden up and down the street a couple of times so far, barely shifting through the range of gears. (And these are pretty tall gears too.) But tomorrow morning we go out for a real ride.
EDIT: Koninklijke Gazelle NV of Holland has conclusively dated this frame to 1982. I, however, remain a little unconvinced as the paint scheme, graphics, and construction details seem to me to better jibe with 1989 catalog specification. The rear spacing and the serial number, however, seem to be the factors most driving to the fine folks at Gazelle.
I’ve also maligned the USPS for a delivery snafu. Turns out I simply addressed the envelope incorrectly (What? You mean those numbers are actually important???) and caused both the seller and myself some anxious moments. Hats off to the seller, who had the patience and understanding to deal with my dyslexia!