Gazelle Cabby brakes. can you improve them?

Just a quick post about Gazelle cabby brakes, i have done a lot of work on Gazelle cabbys, the brakes are fine for the Netherlands but if you have steep hills or tend to ride on the quick side then you might want to stop a bit quicker than the standard brakes allow.

So i was asked the question recently, is it worth upgrading…here is my reply.

Standard brakes on the cabby are designed for the relative flat, the rear brake, an IM30, is too basic for riding anywhere other than the flat, the IM80/1 is a much better brake for the rear and easy to fit. the front brake is ok, and i don’t really think it worth upgrading, it might be the small wheel thing but upgrades are less impressive on the front, worth doing if you have the spare £40 + available but the improvements won’t rock your world. :-).
If you live somewhere hilly, we have converted the front fork to disc brakes and so far so good, a transformation but pricey.
Using low compression brake outer can also make improvements, but careful which brand you use…make sure it still uses a round steel case else it can pop the ferrels, don’t use anything looking like gear cable for the same reason), (Ashima for example, terrible stuff), Sram low compression outer has a good rep but difficult to get hold of..
also lets not use sledge hammer to crack a walnut, just make sure your existing roller brakes are greased, no grease (it can burn out the grease if you do a lot of hard braking) makes the braking snatchy or reduce your braking power, so regrease with special roller brake grease, (£15 a tube, last ages), on the flip side, if you have over greased (if its dripping out the bottom) then use brake cleaner and patience to slowly get the old grease out then start again..
the Gazelle Cabby is a great little bike that’s designed for the home market of the Netherlands, a few tweaks here make the Gazelle cabby the best cargo bike for a new family and the most easy to ride bike of the lot of them imo.
It’s a great price too…£1500ish at time of writing, that’s a lot of bike for a lot of jobs for not that much money in the grand scheme of things.
(these modifications and observations are also valid for other cargo bikes with roller brakes, Really Useful Bikes (RUB) offer these upgrades on all cargo bikes at reduced prices on new bicycle bought from RUB)
happy riding.





10 thoughts on “Gazelle Cabby brakes. can you improve them?

  1. Hello Rob,
    this is a great article as I brought a Cabby from the Netherlands to Sao Paulo, Brazil, a pretty hilly city and have found the brakes to be quite weak going downhill. I am considering an upgrade to IM-80’s before I do something more radical like the nice disc brake option you’ve pictured above.
    I’ve another quick question for you, though: have you ever experienced a wobble in the front wheel? It happens to me usually going a little faster (say 20 km/h) downhill and it makes the whole bike shake like hell, making it hard to control the steering. Have you ever seen this? I have checked the front wheel headset for play, wheel alignment to the front fork, etc. but didn’t notice any problems.
    On the other hand, the steering bar has a little bit of play, do you know if there is any adjustment that could be made there?
    Any input would be highly appreciated! Tks, Rodrigo

    • I’ve not experienced headshaking without a heavy load in the box and riding with very little weight on the almost no hands.
      Check the front headset, check the steering joints, they can get worn, just wiggle the end of the steering rod to easy replacement.
      also check that the nuts are tight on the joints…
      IM80s a big improvement, if you ride fast then disc brake up front gives more confidence..fork seems to take it well, no other fork will fit..
      Im80 on the back gives best improvement for smallest outlay.

      Happy riding Rodrigo

  2. Hi Rob, I’ve a friend in London who is coming to Brazil and is willing to bring me a pair of IM80’s. Do you have them available at the shop? Should I just add it to the shopping cart and finalize the purchase online? Shipping is GBP 3,99 flat and payment has to be made by Paypal, correct? What would be the delivery date in London? Thanks in advance!

    • Yes, We ‘fabricated’ the disc mount and welded it to the original fork…i do not recommend this as a general practice. we have subsequently remade the fork and replaced the original just in case of stress fractures..(its a strong fork though..)

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