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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 10-19-07, 11:28 AM   #351
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There's a store in Ottawa, Canada, that makes their own version of the European city-bike. The Cyclery has been building "Krikes" since 2002 and I bought one in the first year of production (I think about 15 - 20 per year). They equip it with a Nexus 7 spd hub and a Nexus front hub/generator. As well, it came with a chain guard, front and rear fenders, and a rear rack.

If I'm doing basic commuting, running errands, or meeting someone socially, my Krike is the perfect bike. To be able to just climb onboard in normal street clothes and go is great and the ride is really enjoyable.

I agree with the basic thrust of thread, however, and in North America most people, in my opinion, are probably riding the wrong bike. There are a lot of cyclists in Ottawa and the classic city bike isn't uncommon but you see so many people riding either very fat-tired mountain bikes, with no fenders or racks; or high end racing bikes as commuting bikes.

I just returned from a vacation in Paris and the utility cycling there is absolutely amazing.
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Old 10-20-07, 01:03 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by thebikeguy View Post
I have always enjoyed the SturmeyArcher equipped bikes.I presently have 45 of them.......


Suddenly I feel very underprivileged
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Old 10-20-07, 12:08 PM   #353
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Yeah right on and good point! Literally millions of the old school 3 speeds were made, they are completely undervalued. There is no reason why i dedicated person (in almost any locality on a mainland) can't score a nice one for cheap. Even if you add some great new component's to improve things a bit you'd still up spending about a third (at most) of what a new Azor would cost.
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Old 10-21-07, 03:56 AM   #354
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Yeah, some people are Insane! considering what they throw out. As for 10 times the Azor, hang on a second ha ha! Even if you put in stainless steel spokes and rims, a 7 speed Nexus (that is what we sell the most and people seem to digg), Rollerbrake hubs, and pretty much replace everything else with Stainless steel variants as well as change the Bottom Bracket to cotter less and completely renew the drive train, add a bombproof rack etc etc, you would end up with a bike that is getting somewhat close to being as good a bike as an Azor Heavy Duty.

But i wouldn't actually do this myself. I'd just get a decent second hand 3 Speed with a !SA AW! and then replace only those parts as they wore out or as i found them cheap or free. So maybe start with replacing all spokes and a new rim if a couple spokes end up breaking in a row. Then perhaps a year later the BB and cranks if the BB developed slop and play that could not longer be taken out. And so on.

In most urban localities is is rather silly to own a daily bike that is as unusual and attractive and new looking as an Azor. What is the point of having a Utility! bike that one is scared to leave in town even with a beefy lock? I want to ride and use my utility bike lots, not worry about theft or sobbing uncontrollably over it when it gets lifted.

Also i think it only fair to point out that Azor's are very affordable here in their Native Country. Start at 359 and about 700 to 950 euros will get you a top of the line Custom! bike = 7 speeds, rollerbrakes, Hub dynamo, everything as bomb proof as possible, stainless all over. It is only when you add transport, mark ups along the way, some rotten exchange rate and so forth that they end up being very expensive in say the US and Canada.

Although bike theft is prevalent in the Netherlands luckily Azor's don't stand out at all here and are not major targets for thieves.
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Old 10-21-07, 05:19 AM   #355
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I cannot believe that someone was so dull a personality as to throw out that 1955 Sunshine. Great find, and it's nice that it's found a good home where it will be appreciated.
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Old 10-21-07, 07:40 AM   #356
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What v1nce said...

Only problem is with my beater Raleigh is I can't find 26x1-3/8" rims in alloy anymore I continue to ride the old beat up peeling chrome ones (really makes the bike look derelict ) I have a 197? Raleigh Sports Standard that is plug ugly. I bought the bike for $25 in 1982 and it required only minmal maintenance for the 15 years it was used as a commuter. Now it has been cleaned up a bit and returned to use as a "dinghy/lifeboat" in my large work truck. I drive into a town somewhere, park the truck, haul out the bike and go riding around town to see the sights. I also use it in the evenings after work to ride from my motel to restaurants or nearby stores.

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Old 10-21-07, 10:05 AM   #357
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The fact that so many of these bikes have survived into the present day is a testament to how well built they were...

I volunteer at our community bike shop and see more of these kinds of bikes than most and the demand for them is quite high... we're also one of the only shops that actually has the capacity to service them as none of the local shops even stocks parts anymore.

bikeguy - That Sunshine is sweet.
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Old 10-21-07, 11:53 AM   #358
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Originally Posted by thebikeguy View Post
Here's what it would cost for the various Azor models here in Canada(might be comparable in the US).Nothing terribly affordable there if you ask me.You can get alot of bike(s) for that kind of coin.


AZOR BICYCLES

Standard bicycles come with:
3 speeds; front drum brake;
rear coaster brake; side-mount
kickstand. Starting at $999.00
Deluxe bicycles come with:
8 speeds; headlamp runs via silent,
front hub-mounted dynamo; front
and rear roller brakes.
Starting at $1472.00
Bakfiets bicycles bring about:
Smiling faces and happy children!
Starting at $2699.00

...and these are starting prices!
Considering how weak the dollar has become against most major world currencies, including the loonie I suspect it is worse than that. Very seldom do I purchase a brand new bike, I typically look at my LBS used rack, yard sales, thrift shops and flea markets. On my desires for the vintage stuff the best choices have come from fellow BF'ers.

Aaron
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Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 10-21-07, 12:14 PM   #359
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In the past several months I have came across 3 3speed an old roadmaster(AMF), free spirit and an executive(made in W. Germany).The free spirit cost $5 the others $10 each.I think they are cool because nobody wants them so they are safe to lite lock.
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Old 10-21-07, 12:32 PM   #360
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not only did i survive my 4-day tour, i decided to go for my longest-distance ride yesterday to the cheltenham badlands here in ontario:









127 kms in just over 7 hrs ride time with 50 km/h (mostly cross and head)winds to an elevation of 429 meters!

having a good saddle, clipless pedals, and new grips helps a lot.
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Old 10-22-07, 09:06 AM   #361
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Glad people are getting in to these old beasts (again).

About Azor, once again, the prices overseas are steep but that can not be blamed on Azor. I have been to their factory, it is tiny! They employ lots of people with disabilities (i saw a completely blind guy laying tires on rims faster than i ever could!). They are a cool company with heart for bikes, they are not trying to make a killing on any bike, including exports. It is the people and companies that stand between Azor and the customer overseas that are responsible for the prices.

As for the three speeds, if i were to get one as a present for someone getting back into cycling i'd definitely add some great new bits to it to spice it up, Stainless steel handlebars, nicer rims is they could be found, really nice and cushy tires, a New Brooks, touch up the paint some and clean the bike all over, new brake cables (inner and outer) and so forth. Relatively affordable expenditures, massive difference in appeal.
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Old 10-22-07, 10:01 AM   #362
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PS.
Bmike, it might not bee that old, judging by the headset, but that is quite possibly the most beautiful ride I've ever seen in my life. What IS it?
which one?
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Old 10-22-07, 12:33 PM   #363
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This one.
I swear I think I'm in love here.
gotcha. not english and not a 3spd!

my if club racer. read about it here.
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Old 10-22-07, 03:52 PM   #364
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Glad people are getting in to these old beasts (again).

About Azor, once again, the prices overseas are steep but that can not be blamed on Azor. I have been to their factory, it is tiny! They employ lots of people with disabilities (i saw a completely blind guy laying tires on rims faster than i ever could!). They are a cool company with heart for bikes, they are not trying to make a killing on any bike, including exports. It is the people and companies that stand between Azor and the customer overseas that are responsible for the prices.

As for the three speeds, if i were to get one as a present for someone getting back into cycling i'd definitely add some great new bits to it to spice it up, Stainless steel handlebars, nicer rims is they could be found, really nice and cushy tires, a New Brooks, touch up the paint some and clean the bike all over, new brake cables (inner and outer) and so forth. Relatively affordable expenditures, massive difference in appeal.
Hah! We "won" a 1971 Raleigh Colt at the ABCE event in MSP. It is a tweens bike and just my wife's size (17" frame) So far the only upgrade has been a Ladies Brooks B-18 It by far my wife's favorite bike. She has 3 others that fit pretty well, but she always asks for the Raleigh when we go for a ride.

Aaron

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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 10-22-07, 06:17 PM   #365
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Sweet! I just scored a Ross Europa-3 from a guy down the street for $10 a few days ago. I'd been seeing it in his garage when I drove by, then the other day he had it out in the driveway with a sign on it. Everything works and it's super clean. The shifter cable just needs to be adjusted slightly.
How would I find out when it was made? So far I haven't located any numbers on it.
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Old 10-23-07, 02:20 AM   #366
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Sweet! I just scored a Ross Europa-3 from a guy down the street for $10 a few days ago. I'd been seeing it in his garage when I drove by, then the other day he had it out in the driveway with a sign on it. Everything works and it's super clean. The shifter cable just needs to be adjusted slightly.
How would I find out when it was made? So far I haven't located any numbers on it.
What brand is the rear hub? If it is a Sturmey Archer it most likely will have a date code on it. If it has the Shimano there maybe a date code on the inside of the rims. Other than that post a picture and hopefully someone will be able to help date it by the decals.

Aaron
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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
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Old 10-25-07, 03:26 AM   #367
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I upgraded one of my three speeds tonight... she should be able to handle the MUTs as well as the road and now I have to worry about punks jacking my new BMX wheels and tires.



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Old 10-25-07, 11:22 AM   #368
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Okay, after two years of modifications, and hundreds of dollars spent, I finally realized what I was looking for all along. The key was reading this article.

So now I know that I'm looking for a frame with slack geometry (and internally geared hubs, etc.), and I have settled on two choices that I can reasonably buy. Not the price, obviously, but shipping and availability, beyond bidding against bicycle collectors on Ebay (Hope ya enjoy that Royal Scot for nearly $300!).

So what I'm looking at is a Pashley Roadster Sovereign from North Road Bicycle Company, or an Opa as configured and sold by Clever Cycles.

Both are beautiful bikes. Has anyone here rode either one, or both, or actually seen one or the other in person? And can you give your impression?

I'm leaning toward the Pashley for the British cachet, thumb shifter and S/A 5-speed. But the Opa is great too, with dynamo front hub, etc. It's a tough call, it's also a lot of money, and I kinda want to avoid buyer's remorse, ya know?

The only thing that concerns me is the reach on the Pashley. The Azor's stem has barely any reach, so the grips are right up close where I want them, so I can sit up straight. Easy enough to switch out the stem on the Pashley... if you can find a stem with little or no reach that fits. For some reason, nearly all stems these days have oodles of reach. Even if you don't want it. I don't care about wind resistance, I'm not racing, and I need to sit upright.
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Old 10-25-07, 11:53 AM   #369
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Okay, after two years of modifications, and hundreds of dollars spent, I finally realized what I was looking for all along. The key was reading this article.

So now I know that I'm looking for a frame with slack geometry (and internally geared hubs, etc.), and I have settled on two choices that I can reasonably buy.
I came to the same conclusion and bought an Electra Townie. Way less expensive, and I'm pretty happy. Of course, I only ride 10-15 miles at a stretch, so YMMV.
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Old 10-25-07, 12:35 PM   #370
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Wow. For the price of an Azor, you can get an "English" roadster with a handbuilt frame:

http://broadwaybicycleschool.com/mastermodel.html

I used to work near the shop and they used to sell a reconditioned ss or 3sp for $475. Older ubiquitous English frame, like a Raleigh or something, but with all upgraded parts. Looks like they still offer the ss conversion service for the same price.

They offer some other similar style models as well. If I had the cash and were looking for something like an English 3sp, I would definitely go with an ANT bike...
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Old 10-25-07, 04:47 PM   #371
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It must have been really nice/mint to go for that kind of $!!How can you compare a $300 Royal Scot with a $1500+ Pashley,Opa,or ANT?Maybe you can afford to plunk down 1500 big ones for a bike.But I sure can't(at least not one without a motor).I personally would have went for the Royal Scot.But that's just me.
A 'Royal Scot' is a rebadged Raleigh isn't it?
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Old 10-25-07, 10:55 PM   #372
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It must have been really nice/mint to go for that kind of $!!How can you compare a $300 Royal Scot with a $1500+ Pashley,Opa,or ANT?Maybe you can afford to plunk down 1500 big ones for a bike.But I sure can't(at least not one without a motor).I personally would have went for the Royal Scot.But that's just me.
Oh it was absolutely in fantastic shape. Shockingly gorgeous.

How can I compare them? Well, there this old Royal Scot... Whattaya mean-how can I compare them?! I'm comparing them by their frame geometry and general function. Whether or not to pay $300 or $1500, well, I'm sorry you can't afford it. As for myself, I'm saving up. And I didn't get the Royal Scot because I can't afford it this month, the bidding went higher than I was willing to go, for a used bicycle of that type.

The Pashleys & Azors cost a lot. That's a fact. The alternative is to buy an old used Raleigh/Robin Hood/Royal Scott/3-speed roadster clone, if you can find one in your area, or that isn't going to cost you another $100 or more to ship to you.

I can't stress enough how difficult it is to find these bikes around here. Maybe I don't know where to look. But you know, they've become a hot item. And "collectors" are snapping them up, and bidding the nice ones up. So for people like me that just want a nice old bike to ride for transportation, I'd have to pay what a collector is willing to pay. Or do the legwork a collector is willing to do to find one in that condition cheap.

If you're lucky you can pick up a beautiful used (seriously!) bike in your area for a third of what you'd pay for the new Pashley or Azor. And you get what you get. An old bike. Maybe there's no rust in the tubes. Maybe the rear hub will last another 30 years, maybe you'll have to replace it next week. Maybe it'll be complete, maybe you'll have to buy small parts here and there. If you can find them.

This bike for me is not going to be one more bike to throw in the garage and tinker with on weekends. This will be as primary transportation as I can make it. I don't even have a garage, I live in an apartment the size of a hotel room. I don't have room for a collection of vintage bikes. But I do have a need for a low-maintenance, comfortable bike I can ride to work in a suit, and carry my laptop and groceries home on at night.

And while some of my choice is about the retro look, more of it is about riding position and general toughness of the design. I'm also willing to save up and pay for a brand new bike with no need to modify to work the way I want. Besides, there's nothing like that "new bike smell".

But that Royal Scot... well, let's just say, it still hurts, that one getting away. I'll keep looking though, maybe I'll have the luck to find a beautiful old bike at the same time I have enough money to buy it.
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Old 10-26-07, 06:49 AM   #373
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I think that some of the more modern renditions of the Raleigh have the potential to live as long as the Raleighs, but you will have to ferret them out. Everybody remembers the old "English racers" with the 3 speed hubs. And the earlier ones were very well built. But by the late 70's they were becoming very poorly built. They were not inexpensive bikes, a brand new Superbe in 1972 cost around $85-$90 which is over $430 in today's dollars. However in some cases the technology has improved, like brakes and the more than 3 speed multi hubs. To me a custom built to fit me bike with an 8 speed Nexus from someone like A.N.T would be well worth the $1500 or so, with proper care it should last a life time. A normal production run bike should sell for about half that (and they do). My biggest beef with bicycles today are the two camps of "you have to have the lightest, latest and greatest" and the "build it cheap". Neither one of which serves the utility cyclist well at all. I got my hands on a Huffy Ocala a few days ago it is not a high qualtiy bike by any means but it would serve well to get someone a couple of miles from point A to point B in relative comfort, and would be affordable. However the only company that seems to even be addressing the lower end market is Walmart and they are doing it with cheap junk that comes out of the store broken. KHS has a bike that may be a contender if they ever get it to market. It is the KHS Green but I have yet to see one or the pricing on it. Until people in the US stop treating the bicycle as a toy or a high end sporting good product, that is all we are going to get; toys and high end sporting goods.

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Last edited by wahoonc; 10-26-07 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 10-26-07, 11:36 AM   #374
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My main concern with the remakes is that they are riding on the Raleigh reputation's coat tails.Nothing is built as well as it used to be. I don't see why these bikes should be any different.They're relying on people's fondness and recollections of the old style/days.
This is why I'm asking for folks who've actually seen or ridden one in person. Unfortunately, the only way to acquire one is by mail/telephone/web order. I know of no LBS that carries Pashley or Azor, or Batavus, or Monark, or Kronen. So I can only trust the people importing them and selling them. Hell, you can't even get a decent photograph of one online (If/when I get one, I plan to post copious photos on Flickr).

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They look the same as the old ones but are they going to have the same reliability as them? They haven't been around long enough yet to stand the test of time. If you talk to anyone who's had a Raleigh(or one of the many derivitives)95% of them will say that they are almost bullet proof dependable.
Well, steel is steel. Or maybe metallurgy when it comes to manufacturing steel tubes has improved since the golden age of English 3 speeds. Mind you, both Azor & Pashley are hand-built. (whatever that really means). And at the premium price they're asking, they should be providing quality components.

So, yes, it's a lot of money for a bike. But no more than if you were to buy a high-end road or mountain bike. And for the price you're getting brand-new hand-built, lugged steel frames, and quality modern components which follow contemporary standards for which it should be easier to obtain replacement parts. I should never need to buy another bicycle again, unless it gets stolen.

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I can't blame you for wanting one,they are way more comfortable and utilitarian to ride.I think you should be patient and wait for the right one(original)to come your way.You're only going to pay too much if you rush it or want it too badly(I find the same holds true for most things).I hope you find bike you want.The bonus with an original is they hold or even go up in value.TBG
Yeah, I don't see the vintage bike as being that much more of an advantage except in the case of price if you can get one cheap, or collectibility, in terms of "wow that's a cool old Robin Hood!". I was looking forward to riding around on my Royal Scot and affecting a bad Scots accent.
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Old 10-26-07, 12:39 PM   #375
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This is why I'm asking for folks who've actually seen or ridden one in person. Unfortunately, the only way to acquire one is by mail/telephone/web order. I know of no LBS that carries Pashley or Azor, or Batavus, or Monark, or Kronen. So I can only trust the people importing them and selling them. Hell, you can't even get a decent photograph of one online (If/when I get one, I plan to post copious photos on Flickr).



Well, steel is steel. Or maybe metallurgy when it comes to manufacturing steel tubes has improved since the golden age of English 3 speeds. Mind you, both Azor & Pashley are hand-built. (whatever that really means). And at the premium price they're asking, they should be providing quality components.
From what I've researched, Azor is on the premium end of the spectrum, and for the US market they tend to be outfitted with quality components - designed for for substance over style - the style simply comes from their lineage and history. The bikes I've brought in to test (here) have been a pleasure to assemble, ride, and look at. I've handed off several of them to customers and they have been very very happy.

The bikes I've brought in have had Shimano Hexus hubs, 8spd rear, dynamo up front. Basta or B&M lights, stainless steel components for all weather use, mudflaps, fenders, etc...

Pics I took of a Azor Swan Deluxe before I delivered it to a happy customer:






As to this comment:

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Originally Posted by someone
Nothing is built as well as it used to be. I don't see why these bikes should be any different.They're relying on people's fondness and recollections of the old style/days.
While this is true in some cases, the Azor bikes I've had in house are built for durability and all weather use. They are heavy. They ride incredibly well, the craftsmanship is fine, and the components are well done - I'd much prefer the Nexus red band for a rear hub, but these come with the standard, and I much prefer the Shimano hub dyno to the bottle dyno any day. Quieter, and far less drag when running the lights. Add LED tailights with standlight, and update optics and LEDs (sometimes halogens) for the front - and some things are better with progress...

In Azor's case - they make a line of 'modern' bikes. It seems the only thing they update with the classic bikes is the components, lights, and tire technology. Frame manufacturing has probably changed, and steel blends probably as well, along with paint technology... but some things change slowly, and others more quickly.

Compare one of these side by side to an Electra "Amsterdam" and its like looking at a cheap Sony knockoff. Not in the same league - and that can be good or bad depending on where you sit.

Last edited by bmike; 10-26-07 at 12:48 PM.
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