Norris, your recollection is correct. Let me add a few factoids. Gazelle was bought by TI in 1971; at that time (Koninklijke! (Royal)) Gazelle employed almost 900 people. At the time of the 77 Champion Mondial about 35 craftsmen worked in the special products workshop, building raceframes.
As for those demon tweaks from Raleigh that you mention, I wouldn't know about that. Maybe in exchange for the tweaks that Jan Legrand gave while building the TI-Raleigh team bikes? I'd like to hear the nitty-gritty about that!
The thing that fascinates me more and more (fortunately it doesn't keep me out me of my sleep) is who built what. Everyone knows a label on a frame that a pro rides does not necessarily mean it was built by that marque. So OK, Jan Legrand build the TI-Raleigh teambikes, and I happen to know who built the hour record bike of Leontien van Moorsel, in spite of the name on the frame. I mentioned the Frisol-Gazelle team in my Champion Mondial post; Luis Ocana was part of that team the last year he rode as pro. The only picture I have of him shows him riding a Razesa, while wearing the Frisol-Gazelle shirt! Does stardom have its privileges? Or is this Razesa in reality a Gazelle Champion Mondial??
While on the subject, does anyone know Jabo bicycles? The name stands for Jasper Bouma. Joop Zoetemelk and Gerben Karstens rode Jabo bikes in his first amateur years. The name has long ago disappeared from the scene so to speak, but mr. Bouma is still around. He is 87 now, and I had the good fortune to have a phone conversation with him, not so long ago. He told me about his career, how he started, when he began his own shop, etc. He must have been a very good framebuilder, worked for Magneet and Joco, before starting his own Jabo marque. But he build for others too: Jan de Reus, Wout Verhoeven, Bontekoe, Jan de Reus, the Batavus team bikes of the 60s, etc., etc. He even built a bike with the Peugeot name on it, and Tiemen Groen rode it (1965, the Dutch amateur team 'Peugeot-Michelin').
I wouldn't know what the secret is behind the ride quality of a Gazelle, or a RIH for that matter, or a Reus. Gazelle always had the reputation of making good criterium bikes: around 1980, we talked about 'Gazelle bracket height'. You could start pedalling earlier in the corner than your competitor with the flashy Colnago!
Freek Faro Rotterdam Netherlands
-----Oorspronkelijk bericht----- Van: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Namens Norris Lockley Verzonden: donderdag 15 september 2005 1:37 Aan: Classicrendezvous@bikelist.org Onderwerp: [CR]1977GazelleChampion Modial frames
I used to know the difference between these two models, but it seems to have slipped from my memory.
What I do recall however is just how well those frames handled. They are
straight-out-of-the-factory machines with few evident refinements, except that possibly the company was owned by the TI Company in England that also owned the Raleigh company.. and maybe Gerald O'Donovan, the design guru at Raleigh pulled a few demon tweaks along the line.
My shop manager signed as a Pro with an English team equipped with the top-of-the-line Reynolds 531 Gazelle frames, with their Bocama lugs and crowns. In the shop we tended to think his bike was a bit of a joke...but he swore that it was probably the best handling bike that he had ever had...not very light, but with incredible road-holding. Before joining me in the shop the rider had been a member of the ACBB-Peugeot team in Paris which at the time was the nursery club for the BP-Peugeot team.. There he road along with his Peugeot Pro frames, a Bespoke-built Columbus SLX frame, complete with the Bespoke "bottleneck" rear stay assembly, beautifully decked out in Peugeot livery. he rode with the likes of Sean Yates, Alan Piper, Robert Miller, Graham Jones.
Unfortunately he crashed one of his Gazelle frames, so I had the pleasure of replacing tubes and was able to see the quality of the mitering etc There was just nothing special at all...it was just very ordinary. We checked out every possible measurement of the frame, but at
55cms C-to-C, it was bog standard design. It wasn't silver-soldered. so the lack of heat imput hadn't worked the trick.
Some years later another top amateur from our region came to the shop with his new...Gazelle. Without any prompting he claimed that it was the
finest handling bike he had ever ridden. Something like 18 years later he still trains on it..but the Gazelle decals are long-gone, to be replaced by the decals of the shop he has opened.
Anybody on the List got the inside track on Gazelle's designs and manufacturing techniques??
Norris Lockley...Settle UK