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Old 04-13-17, 12:52 AM   #1
junipash
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Workcycles/Azor Model Advice

Hello World,

I developed an obsession with old dutch bikes a few years ago and am looking to buy something with a similar style and utility but, new, great quality and exactly what I want

I'd like to use the bike for: shopping, commuting, light touring, whatever else. I value simplicity and durability over weight.

My research and obsessing has basically brought me to: The Workcycles/Azor Kruisframe and Secret Service models.

I'd like to get any feedback from people who have had these models or similar models from Workcycles as to how they've been over time, what they've liked/disliked and if any of you have done any touring on these bikes.

Thank you...
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Old 04-13-17, 11:56 AM   #2
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It seems you've already found where the great quality and durability comes from these days. Don't know Workcycles very well, but Azor makes really good bikes, and I understand they work for Workcycles too. My impression is that Workcycles is hip, metropolitan, expensive and internationally minded, and Azor is down to earth, countryside, surprising good value for money and waiting for customers to come to them without any serious marketing(which they do in great numbers). Also Azor seems to stumble on very good looking bikes rather than focussing on aesthetics very mych. If I'd buy a new bike it defenitely would be an Azor (a pretty one), but I can imagine that's a bit more complicated in a foreign country where there's no dealer, especially because they are all bespoke.

I don't own one or have owned one, but I know people who do. What they like about is that they don't have to complain about the quality of modern bikes and rant 'they dont build them like that anymore'. They do, they're trouble free and can take a beating. Touring should be fine, but when you're going uphill steeply you might notice they're not light bikes, allthough bike weight is overrated and mechanical resistance will be very low, but varying with the IGH you pick. Kruisframes are typical for pre-war Dutch bikes and are making a comeback the last decade, and are just a bit heavier and more rigid. There are about 40 different types of kruisframes, but the main difference is whether they cross (kruis) tubes make it a step through with more top tube like rigidity, or make a top tube more rigid in the sense that you have to swing your leg over. The extra rigidity makes more of a difference with taller frames, so if you're not very tall it would be mainly for style or for the step through convenience.
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Old 04-13-17, 08:10 PM   #3
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Hi Stadjer!... thanks for the response..

I think Workcycles uses Azor as a frame builder and then puts some specific components on them, builds them up and sells them. From the few youtube videos I've watched showing about Azor's history and their factory, I was very very impressed. I'll investigate my options for ordering directly from them with the options I'm after vs ordering from Workcycles and see which one makes more sense...

In any event I'm really excited to have a "new" dutch bike as my experience with them before was in Indonesia where all of the dutch bikes are very old.. beautiful, but very old. I bought two separate Opafiets style bikes (one a "Magneet" and the other a "Simplex") while living there and on both of them the steering tube snapped while I was riding it!! I think the guy who was selling me the bikes was probably getting broken frames and having them cheaply re-welded.. not a great a guy! But anyway that bad experience still didn't dampen my enthusiasm for dutch bikes!

I'm looking to get front and rear roller brakes and the nexus premium 8 speed IGH.. I reckon that'll be pretty reliable and give me a good wide range to get up most hills.

Thanks again for the feedback.. I think I'll wait a few more weeks and make up my mind which model to go with and work out the ordering process.
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Old 04-13-17, 09:10 PM   #4
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I believe the geometry of the WC Kruis is the same as WC Opafiets. WC can verify this for you. At one time the top tube was necessary for frame stability for larger (male) riders and the Kruis was an option to provide the same stability with a slightly lower effective top tube height — for pastor's garments. Today the top tube or double top tube or kruis is often more tradition than necessity except for really heavy loads. Most males can ride a step-thru or Omafiets with no problems.

The WC SS is slightly more aggressive and stiffer compared to the Opafiets (or Kruis?). My personal preference is an Opafiets or Omafiets over SS but I also know people who prefer the SS.

More: City Bikes | LocalMile

My personal preference is front roller and rear coaster. Partially because I like to be able to brake when my hands are busy otherwise and to avoid any problems with frozen cables which may not be an issue in Oz. My wife prefers front & rear roller because she likes to be able to spin her pedals backwards to get them set to go again at junctions (but her Oma at our cabin is coaster and she never has any problems).

I have a Nexus 8 on one bike and Nuvinci N360 on another. I do prefer the Nuvinci but both work well. Whatever you choose I think you'll be happy with a Workcycles.
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Old 04-14-17, 06:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junipash View Post
Hi Stadjer!... thanks for the response..

I think Workcycles uses Azor as a frame builder and then puts some specific components on them, builds them up and sells them. From the few youtube videos I've watched showing about Azor's history and their factory, I was very very impressed. I'll investigate my options for ordering directly from them with the options I'm after vs ordering from Workcycles and see which one makes more sense...
Probably, appearently they assemble bikes for this French company too. Maybe WC uses better components, but there are some nice frame types on the website.

Quote:
In any event I'm really excited to have a "new" dutch bike as my experience with them before was in Indonesia where all of the dutch bikes are very old.. beautiful, but very old. I bought two separate Opafiets style bikes (one a "Magneet" and the other a "Simplex") while living there and on both of them the steering tube snapped while I was riding it!! I think the guy who was selling me the bikes was probably getting broken frames and having them cheaply re-welded.. not a great a guy! But anyway that bad experience still didn't dampen my enthusiasm for dutch bikes!
Usually Simplex' frames don't break, that was a high end brand, but I understood Fongers are more wanted there because they were imported by the army and got a special tropics treatment by waxing the inside of the frame, so maybe the other brands rusted from the inside.

Quote:
I'm looking to get front and rear roller brakes and the nexus premium 8 speed IGH.. I reckon that'll be pretty reliable and give me a good wide range to get up most hills.

Thanks again for the feedback.. I think I'll wait a few more weeks and make up my mind which model to go with and work out the ordering process.
Maybe it's because of my location, but I can't see https://www.azor.nl/ in English. They aren't short on customers so I wonder if they are happy to let WC handle the individual foreign customers. If you click on 'bekijk folder' you'll get the brochure pdf in Dutch and I could help you with translation issues a bit, but I think the normal procedure is to order a bespoke bike together with the local LBS with an Azor dealership. So you'll probably end up at WC because of logistics, and they do taylormade too. The nexus8 is safe choice, contrary to the nexus3 and nexus7 it's consistently low on mechanical resistance, the other ones vary with individual IGHs and with the 7 the most used middle gears have the highest resistance and with the 3-speed the 3 is very inefficient. Roller brakes are the natural successor to classic Dutch drum brakes and as reliable and mainenance free, with more than enough stopping power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
I believe the geometry of the WC Kruis is the same as WC Opafiets. WC can verify this for you. At one time the top tube was necessary for frame stability for larger (male) riders and the Kruis was an option to provide the same stability with a slightly lower effective top tube height for pastor's garments. Today the top tube or double top tube or kruis is often more tradition than necessity except for really heavy loads. Most males can ride a step-thru or Omafiets with no problems.
I bought one last year for in the city, but I wouldn't like to visit a lot of parishioners in a wide rural area on it. I've got the tallest regular oma frame but it's too wobbly for my 6ft4 to average good speeds. It becomes very inefficient not just because it too small to use the full length of my legs but also too much energy is wasted on flexing the frame at higher speeds, so 20 km/h means way too much sweat for a priest.

It's not entirely clear what a priest bike or a pastor's bike is, some say it's a regular oma with longer cranks, some say it's a tall step through cross frame, but there are also special mades from the 30's like a 71 cm frame size oma. I wouldn't call a high cross frame a priest bike, for the simple reason a priest couldn't get on it decently with a priest's garment. My impression is that the high cross frames from the 30's were mainly a matter of style, just to have something different and show off that it's not just an ordinary bike but a more expensive one. Just like Americans these days want the lightest bikes, the Dutch back then wanted the most rigid bikes, without it making much difference for the ride. There was even one manufacterer that publicly stated there was no technical reason for a cross frame and the diamond was just fine, but due to consumer demand they produced them anyway. Maybe these days with the Dutch beeing much taller, it makes more sense to produce cross frames. Azor's Eiffel tower frames are the most rigid and I like their looks, but they're not old fashioned.
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Old 04-14-17, 06:47 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
Azor's Eiffel tower frames are the most rigid and I like their looks, but they're not old fashioned.
This?

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Old 04-14-17, 07:32 AM   #7
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@CrankyOne: I don't think the rest of that bike suits the frame. But in this one I like it very much.
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Old 04-14-17, 08:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
@CrankyOne: I don't think the rest of that bike suits the frame. But in this one I like it very much.
I noticed that bike while looking through Azor's website and pdf.. very cool looking! That design really makes great sense as well as it's basically a steel truss.. super strong!

Seeing that again reminds me.. while looking through different dutch bike sites I also stumbled across the Pedersen frame style (which I believe was invented by a Dane in England) which looks really interesting.. would love to feel what it's like to ride basically in a sling that can move in corners and what not.. Love it when people think outside of the box a bit with fundamental ideas..
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Old 04-15-17, 07:53 AM   #9
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I noticed that bike while looking through Azor's website and pdf.. very cool looking! That design really makes great sense as well as it's basically a steel truss.. super strong!
Yes, it's extremely rigid for the same weight. It probably works particularly well with fat tyres and steel rims. I like it when a design shows what it's supposed to do, that's what I like about the aesthatics of bikes in general, this one shows it's designed to be strong.

Quote:
Seeing that again reminds me.. while looking through different dutch bike sites I also stumbled across the Pedersen frame style (which I believe was invented by a Dane in England) which looks really interesting.. would love to feel what it's like to ride basically in a sling that can move in corners and what not.. Love it when people think outside of the box a bit with fundamental ideas..
Me too. I like the Pedersen, but not aesthetically. It's designed to go forward, and it does, but visually it 'points' upwards. That's also what I don't like about most cross frames, to me it would look much better if the top tube was truly horizontal, parallel to the road, makes it look like it's about to move forward. That would make the stem very high, but I like that too.

You know the Simplex Zweeffiets? Not my cup of tea but I love the innovation.
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Old 04-15-17, 02:42 PM   #10
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I was planning to get a workcycles Fr8, complete with hydraulic rim brakes, dynamo hub lights, a 500lb-rated rear rack, and a front porter rack, until I got the quote and decided it wasn't time for a nice dutch bike quite yet. I'm looking for something that's good for the road and light trails, upright, and has a decent carrying capacity. Right now, my 1976 schwinn traveller III fills that niche pretty well, other than the road-bike style handlebars that give your back a beating if you ride regularly.

My summer challenge is to take my neighbors old walmart bike (sierra mountain bike w/26" wheels) and turn it into a comfort/weather bike. I'm extending the stem and replacing the generic mountain bike handlebars with more swept back handlebars and an adjustable piece like the ones on Gazelle bicycles. It's got 1 1/2" studded tires, which will be nice in wet/frosty weather and for taking off-road shortcuts to school and work. Both wheels are bent, so I'll have to replace them, which is fine because I'm planning on getting disc brakes and a dynamo hub. The only real issue will be the rack and frame, which I'm worried might snap under any rear cargo over 75 lbs. But hey if I can get it all done under 300$ I'd call it a win for now.

But anyways, when I settle down a little more and figure out more permanent housing, workcycles or azor are the two brands I'll be shopping from for a good family/mixed use quality bike.
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Old 05-12-17, 09:45 AM   #11
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Responding here because I recently got a dutch bike..

I got myself a Gazelle Tour Populair Oma from JCLind in Chicago. I could have got myself a Workcycles from overseas for roughly the same price, the WC are a bit pricey here in the States.

I'm liking the Oma. It's very upright, stable and slow

Hills are of course a problem but it's not too hilly here and it just goes and goes when on flats
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Old 09-03-17, 11:25 PM   #12
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Nothing like an omafiets!

Hello, @junipash!
Sorry I'm late the Dutch bike party, but I'm both the ultimate lurker and I'm working on a English 3-speed rehab at present.

I have owned an Azor Omafiets since 2007. When people ask me what kind of ride she provides, I usually say, "Escalade." Mind you--I've never driven an Escalade, but I've ridden as a passenger in one, and my net impression was that it was totally cush, with a butter-laden suspension.

There are plenty of imitators--at least as far as the form factor goes--but few true replications of the staunch build of a decent omafiets. I chose the Azor for its reputation for being a "one and done" bike for serious Dutch riders. I had considered Gazelles and others like it, but 10 years ago, there weren't limitless people importing them to the U.S. I queried the 2.5 people who did at the time and plunked down the money a bit on faith.

I was looking for that all-around bike that could stand up to the variable conditions of patchy New York streets, the occasional bridge, and hauling home bags of whatnot that are a pain when done on the subway or where taxis are difficult to flag. I was a former roadie who did this sort of thing on an old Bianchi cross, but the allure of a step-through frame and a bike that could handle some hauling kept beckoning.

My Azor is equipped with a Nexus 8, and even at almost 50 lbs, she really flies when provided a minimum of pedaling--big wheels mean effortless momentum! Hub gears and dynamo truly make maintenance a rare necessity; in the 10 years I've had it, I've only replaced an inner tube. Eight gears might seem too much for mostly-flat city riding, but I take the omafiets over bridges to other boroughs and climb hills that comprise the upper part of Manhattan. Trust me--given the size of the bike and the fact that you may be hauling full panniers, you'll be glad you went for 8. It eases the need to get out of the saddle and climb.

Is a real omafiets for everyone? Probably not, but it's a good bike for both pleasure and practical riding. I own a couple of vintage Raleigh Tourists and a Raleigh Twenty that cover city riding and hauling quite well, but they lack the true upright beauty and glide factor of the Azor. It turns heads and elicits questions everywhere I go.

All that said, I've decided to send oma to live in the country, where I've brought her many times. She loves a day out, hauling gear to the beach, or taking on some rolling hills and lush scenery, and I can ride that bike for hours there. One of the Raleighs will be my every day bike in the city. It attracts far less attention, which gives me peace of mind. There aren't too many Azors here, so their shiny, showy selves tempt people to muck with it while tethered on the street--or worse. After I had two acquaintances have their Azors stolen from racks, even in well-trafficked spots, i began thinking about how heartbroken I would be if mine disappeared. Sure--it has an Axa rear wheel lock, and I've spent on cables and chains of all sorts, but I'm done puting something that tempting on a public rack any more; owning a bike you worry about means you'll ride it less simply worrying about where you'll park it at your destination. It's a bit of a drag, but I'd like to keep her the rest of my days.

I hope some of this helps convey my endorsement of the Azor. But if price or rarity puts you off its charms, don't hesitate to give the Gazelles or Workcycles your consideration!
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