I am new to the cycling world in Adelaide. After about twenty years of not getting on a bicycle, I am looking to buy a "sit up and beg" bike to take my daughter to and from school (It is too far to walk but seems to short a distance to drive.) and to run short shopping errands. I lived in Germany for eight years and used a bicycle as a main means of transport and found it was a great way to get around whilst keeping me pretty fit. Plus, riding a bike really appeals to the environmentalist in me.
I have been looking at a Gazelle Impala but am nervous about the cost. I am willing to make the investment if I am sure that I will love the bike ten years from now. My problem is I am not sure what I should be looking for in a bike, having been out of the biking world for so long. Has anyone out there bought a "sit up and beg bike?" If so, what has your experience been and what qualities were you looking for?
The only other serious contender has been from the Classic Bike Shop, but I am reluctant to buy something that has been made by people not receiving a decent wage for their labour. Can anyone suggest some other bikes I should ride (and where to find them) before making my final decision?
THe Impala is a fine bike, no doubt about it.
Your comment about receiving a decent wage makes me think you may also be interested in the Kona Africa Bike LINK - for every 2 bikes Kona sell they give one away.
I was researching a similar purchase for my Father-In-Law and I thought the Africa Bike would be ideal. The position is good. Built in rack and basket included. SImple breaks and puncture resistant tyres. Only $AUD 799.
In the end the shop he went to sold him a flat bar racer (not as suitable, but what can you do)!
It's only 3 speeds, but they may be enough. You can hire one for free to get an extended no pressure test too - LINK.
Thanks very much, Simon, for both links. I will try to get out to take a ride on the Kona Afrika bike today.
In my opinion I believe you are correct in saying that the Gazelle is an investment. I hear they are fine bikes and I think it would outlast the 10 years you quoted. Quick google reveals it comes with a nexus drivetrain, which i believe should be appropriate for commuting to the school etc, but provide gearing for longer rides of varying terrain.
I;ve noticed both Specialized and Giant are releasing similar bikes to the Dutch style bikes in their latest range, stepthrough frames with single or internal hubs, complete with baskets/fenders etc, built for commuting. Some of these fall well under $1000, I am not sure of the quality, perhaps a step up from the Classic Bike Shop at least.
From what I know of the Gazelle they are a mighty fine bicycle - I would recommend popping into Clarks Cycles on Magill Road - Kevin has a big range of Gazelles in stock and has a no nonsense approach to selling them. He even has the brand new electric model that I took for a ride couple of weeks ago - quite an exciting development!
I have a friend who has one and she loves it, beautifully smooth and integrated bike - complete with lock, racks, pump, mud guard and lights. The thing about the Gazelle is that the quality is uncompromising.
But, that said - you are right in that there are many bikes coming into this category in the bicycle market - at all sorts of price points - some are over priced fashion accessories others good mid-range options - I would say the Gazelle sits somewhere near the top, but with good value for money.
My best advice it to try and ride as many as you can, look at the total package, inclusions and what you would need to buy in addition to the base bike. Main thing is that you feel comfortable with the purchase and the bike fits well and is comfortable to ride.
You may be interested in this discussion that led to my wife buying a Gazelle Chamonix Pure. We've had the bike for a while now and I continue to be impressed by the build quality. I've no doubt one of these would last you ten years with little maintenance. They are after all designed for weather conditions much worse than ours.
There are a couple of things you should be aware of. They are far from being a light weight bike but they ride very smoothly. We found the gearing a little high and the 7 speed hub doesn't cover a huge gear range between 1 and 7. I certainly wouldn't buy one of these if you had steep hills to ride up because of the gearing and weight.
I can't compare it to the new bikes from Specialized or Giant but given you get everything, including lights, rack, side stand, lock and a pump, with the bike I think they are good value.
If you don't mind I'll chime in here. If you do live in a hilly area remember that Gazelle does make bikes with 24+ gears as well like this model - Medeo Plus. This style of bike is a bit lighter and a lot easier on the hills.
1) Not one person, throughout my week long Internet search, had anything bad to say about the bike other than remarking that it had a pretty big price tag, $1700.
2) While I find the vintage look very appealing, comfort won out over looks. As my husband pointed out, if the bike is comfortable and rides well, I am more likely to use it.
3) The people building this bike get a liveable wage and safe working conditions. If I am going to advocate social economic justice, I have to put my money where my mouth is. Many of the bikes I looked at had parts or even the entire bike built in a third world country where the factory workers receive a paltry wage and are (most likely) exposed daily to toxins and unsafe work conditions.
4) Gazelle is a reputable company that has been around a long time, focuses specifically on this type of bike and has a big percentage of the market share in the Netherlands. Chances are, if there is a part I need in the future, I will be able to get it because this company is not going to fold any time soon.
5) The Dutch are picky and have high standards when it comes to engineering. These bikes are well engineered and well made.
6) The Impala has a lot of extras I liked and am willing to pay for: the seat is cushy and has a shock absorber in the stem, 7 speeds instead of three, no pedal brakes, smooth hand breaks, stainless steel rims, a super strong back rack, dynamo light hub, an adjustable head stem and an integrated locking system, all included in the price.
7) Kevin at Clarkes Bikes was really nice, not pushy, and struck me as an ethical guy. I want to support a small business like his. I also feel comfortable that if my Gazelle Impala ever needs repairs, he has the skill to do them to a high standard.
Oh, I forgot to mention a biggie for me - a totally enclosed chain guard and back wheel skirt guard. After riding a bike in Germany for seven years and being able to jump on my bike and ride it no matter what I was wearing, having these features insures I will ride my bike more. Like many Northern European women, I wear a lot of casual skirts, so the totally enclosed chain guard was a huge selling point.
Hi, last month I bought a Gazelle Chamonix Excellent (overseas model - had to wait months for it to come from Holland). It's a 'sit up and beg bike' with 8 internal gears and all the practical things needed for commuting that other posts mention (especially mud guards/fenders on a day like today). I commute to work with it, and am very happy with it. I bought the bike from Clarke Cycles on Magill Rd. One negative was that after a few weeks of riding the chain started making a noise when I pedaled... returned it to the store and discovered the bolt for the rear wheel was loose which caused a cable to shift and come into contact with the chain. Easily fixed though. The eight gears are fine for all the gradients along linear park - no issues there.