Gazelle Rijwielfabriek

Today in Motorcycle History

Gazelle Motorcycles

Gazelle is a Dutch brand which still exists as one of the largest bicycle manufacturers in the country, producing some 350,000 units annually.

The firm was established in Dieren in 1892 by W. Kölling as an importer of English bicycles, and he then partnered with R. Arentsen, beginning cycle production in 1902. Their first motorcycle appeared in 1903, built by an external supplier.

Motorcycles re-appeared in their catalog in 1931, and by the mid-30s they were fielding 50cc to 250cc machines powered by JLO and Villiers engines. During this period they worked with other manufacturers to produce an electric bicycle. In 1950 their 38.5cc Wingweel appeared, which did not fare well.

In 1952 they decided to use the reliable JLO F-48 engine, followed by the G50 in 1956.

Both these machines were built as a bicycles with engine attachments. In 1954 they built their first real moped, the FP50, followed by the successful G50, both had the typical egg-shaped tank and a swan-neck frame. In the late 1950s Gazelle had a brief flirt with the HMW engine concern.

Until then the general-director J.Breunink had not supported the moped-division ("There are two threats, communists and mopeds" ~ J.Breunink), but in the early 60s, with a new director, Gazelle made a fine effort to dominate the Dutch moped market. They produced a line of touring and sports bikes fitted with already famous Italian FB Minarelli engines. To promote these new bikes they rode from the Gazelle factory in Dieren (Nederland) to the Minarelli factory in Bologna and back (1320 km each way).

Although the performance of the Minarelli exceeded those of the Sachs and ILO units used by their direct competitors Sparta and Batavus, the fact that spare parts were much harder to find worked strongly against them.

The last bike Gazelle produced before the 1964 partnership with Batavus was not surprisingly ILO-engined. It was the sportive-looking, but very heavy 'Impala'. After the fusion Gazelle and Batavus produced almost identical machines differing in little but the badges and colour schemes: Gazelle Isabella and Batavus Conforte; Gazelle Grant and Batavus Whippet; Gazelle GA50 and Batavus Mot'o Mat.

Despite similar pricing, the sporting image of Batavus outsold the more attractively detailed and painted Gazelle.

In 1966 Batavus and Gazelle went their separate ways as a result of personal conflicts between the two families. Left with no moped program and no money, Gazelle was forced to import Cazenave mopeds from France and the Austrian KTM, and after fitting ILO or Sachs engines marketed them with their own badges.

In 1967 Gazelle used a fresh approach; they took over the entire Berini company, which is without a doubt the most famous moped manufacturer in Dutch history. Until 1970 both names were used on different bikes, but all under Gazelle authority.

Most models of this period have an Anker-Laura M48 engine, a Tomos-Gazelle collaboration. The ladies models were the first financially successful mopeds for Gazelle - not only in Nederland, but also in Belgium, Germany and Suriname (a Dutch colony until 1969).

The last model was the GS50 in late 1970, which had a tag "Berini by Gazelle/Tomos".

In 1971, Gazelle was taken over by the English firm Accles & Pollock, a division of Tube Investments, and the company became "Gazelle Rijwielfabriek BV".

In the early seventies the Dutch moped market collapsed leaving few survivors, among them Zundapp and Kreidler.

In 1975 the moped-division of Gazelle died quietly, and they've focused completely on bicycles ever since.

Many thanks to Ralf Bartsch for this report - r.bartsch at - May 2, 2000 (edited May 2021, Nov 2022)

Sources: Ralf Bartsch; de.zxc.wik

Gazelle Models

The Gazelle Grant of 1964 is a rebadged Batavus Whippet.

The 1971 Gazelle moped was most likely a rebranded Berini, built from stock after the Berini factory closed.

The GS50 of late 1970 had a tag "Berini by Gazelle/Tomos"

Gazelle GA50 was a rebadged Batavus Mot'o Mat.

The Impala had a JLO engine and was the last machine to come off the production line before merging with Batavus.

Gazelle Isabella- same as Batavus Conforte

nc-gasperan at
gazelle ?
my father ( also worked for gazelle in the 60's ) drive this moped in the 60's. I'm not shore what model this is.
please can you help.
peter reinders

    Gazelle-Moped-PRe image posted to Comments.

Mon Sep 19 2011
ILO ? Gazelle
Gazelle 3 wheel transporter
I own an ILO engine from 1956, a 197ccm with 3speed forwards and 1 return.
Can you tell me more about this vehicle and engine ?
Thanks already
Groningen NL

Tue Jan 22 2008
tvelsacker at
Gazelle 98cc Villiers motor 1951
Gazelle Gazelle 98cc Villiers motor 1951
Te koop: in redelijke en originele staat, met boekwerk Operating Instructions.
Minimumprice: € 400,00
Ritthem (NL)

August 31, 2000
In your Gazelle section is story of the Gazelle manufactory by my hand, which is illustrated by a picture of my Isabella. This bike was stolen from me 2 weeks ago.

If anyone (probably in Holland or Belgium) offers you this bike, please contact me, maybe we can work something out, or i can at least try to trace back the #$%-person who stole it from me.
Tanx for your help,
R.Bartsch at

Ralf: Hope you find your bike and have it returned to you. Sheldon

November 16, 1999
While browsing trough your site I noticed the absence of "Gazelle" in the Dutch category. I've added one picture, but there are more photo's of this (my) bike at "". [404] This one is not complete, and JLO-engined. I recently bought an Italian 50cc-bike from 1954 (so I'm told) witch is Minarelli-engined. It's a Stella Veneta. I'd never heard of that brand before and never since, so I would be very grateful if someone could verify this for me. -- Greetings, Ralf. -- Rargh90 at

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