Gazelle Ultimate

And so it came to pass…  after six & and half years and roughly 20,000 miles the ‘old faithful’ has been exchanged –  I trust its new owner will enjoy it as I did. See the history of my old Specialised here: Bike (pre Sept 2017)

One of the reasons for the upgrade – chain & chain-set wear & maintenance, gear wear and maintenance.
Over the last 6 years, I have discovered that bike commuting 12-20 miles a day takes a large toll on the mechanics of a bike. The condition of our roads and bike paths throws dust, debris and all manner of crud into the mechanisms of a bike. Without regular cleaning and maintenance parts wear. Even with cleaning and maintenance parts wear! The novelty (and cost) of this is ok for some, but I am not naturally a dirty-hands bloke. I have to put a thankful word in, to the lads at City Cycles in Thurmaston – great service always!


So a Gates ‘Belt Drive’.
Gates say “Free yourself from oily, rusty chains… Clean. Smooth. Strong. … last longer than chains, never need grease and are nearly maintenance-free … goodbye to high-maintenance bike chains. Say hello to simplicity and fun.”
We’ll see.


AndHub Gears‘.
The Shimano Alfine 8 speed. Shimano say “a stylish and sophisticated way to enjoy the ultimate urban riding experience”. Reviews are good: “…does an impressive work … you don’t have a problem with its weight … rapid and silent functioning … unpretentious maintenance”
We’ll see.


And theGazelle Ultimate S8‘.
I researched a good selection of belt drive city bikes. The interweb’s got a lot of good things to say. Thanks also to input from friends like 42 Bikes Dave and his research into a ‘Bike For Life’. Ultimately (forgive the pun), I landing on Gazelle, supplied locally by Future Cycles in Leicester.

Time will tell of course, but after a few good runs, I have to say “I am very pleased”! The ride is quiet, smooth and solid. The gears are simply a delight. I wondered if the gears would be enough but no worries there; flat out on the straight and down to near bottom for the few ‘hills’ on my commute (short sharp inclines).

A few tweaks to the delivery from the Netherlands. All thanks to amiable folks at Future Cycles in Leicester.

  • I have retained my old Brooks Flyer saddle. It’s likely a friendly pair of old boots. The saddle that came with the Gazelle was hot and definitely not as comfortable.
  • I have again opted for Marathon tyres, and moved from 32mm to 35mm to take a bit more of the tree-root-hit out of the ride.
  • I have also kept my Jones handlebars and well worn Ergon grips.  The bars are a more classic design that allows the rider to sit up more.

As I have said many times before, my riding style over the years, has changed from:
i. Trying to co-exist with motor traffic, riding a bike with a similar driverly attitude and outlook.
ii. Aiming to be more aware of place and adopting a more contented, mindful way…

Enough for now – just to say thanks again to the folks at Future Cycles in Leicester, and of course to the mensen(?) at Gazelle UK and the Netherlands.

By julesprichards

Anchoring in the shire, with family, friends, coffee and cheese… always looking…