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Dutch Azor Bike - Order and Bike Review

Old 07-05-21, 08:38 AM
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jamesdak 
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Dutch Azor Bike - Order and Bike Review

This is sort of a Jack-Of-All-Trades bike so I decided to post it here vs Commuting or Utility:

For years I used an old AMF Hercules 3 speed for a utility, errand bike for picking up stuff and such around town. It was also too small and about a year or so ago I replaced it with a weird Mars Trekking bike for the same purpose as well as some light gravel riding. Well the Mars was a pain to mount when the milk crate on the rear rack was loaded with groceries and such. Tall top tube, heft of the bike, flopping around when loaded and you leaned it over to get on, etc. So I did some research and decided a Dutch style bike was just what I needed. A little more research showed Azor to be pretty much the best buy these days for an authentic bike built to last generations.

So, I went online and used Azor's bike configurator to build a bike to the specs I wanted. Process was simple and the configurator even gave you a warning if you were selecting incompatible parts. Once I had it sorted out the build specs were sent to the U.S. distributor, Amsterdam Bicycle Company, to confirm and complete the order. Steven there was very helpful with things and provided great customer support through the process. He provided in-depth details of the whole buying and building process as well as shipping. Told me it would take around 10 weeks for the bike to be built and shipped but in actuality it was closer to 8 weeks. They have a set rate of $99 to ship the bike normally. This was the only hiccup. The FEDEX service they normally use was suspended by COVID issues. This came up about a week before the bike shipped and was validated by a check with FEDEX. I should note that the Fedex service was going to be about a 10-14 day shipment. Amsterdam offered to send it via a more expensive carrier called TNT via 4-5 day shipping. They offered to split the increased cost with me. The other option was to wait until Fedex started that original shipping method again. I opted for the TNT option since the split cost wasn't that much more. No in fairness, TNT's tracking totally sucked. The morning of the actual arrival date it showed as all the way across the country from me. But Steven had been keeping an eye on the bike and emailed me to let me know it was actually on the truck for delivery. So I was able to be home and sign for it on the first delivery attempt.

Bike was extremely well packed and came mostly assembled. Amsterdam had also emailed me the shop and owner's manuals on all the components when they notified me the bike was shipping. Everything was firmy secured in the box with the few accessories in another box and inside yet their original boxes. To assemble I had to mount the front fender and wheel, Attach the front brake cable, mount the front light and plug both lights into the dynamo hub, insert the stem/handle bar assemble, insert the seatpost/saddle, and then put on the pedals. Took me maybe 20-30 minutes to get it out of the box, together, and out for a test ride. Everything seemed well lubed but I did open both the headset and the front hub to make sure before I put it together. Unlike the Pashley I bought earlier this year that needed a lot of tuning out of the box, the Azor was spot on. It was quite apparent they had built it up fully and tuned it in before taking parts off to pack and ship it. The even sent a vinyl, zippered pouch the size of a money back with the tools you needed to put it together. Also had a Dunlop to Schrader valve adaptor in the bag, nice touch!

Now the bike...... I went with a step through frame that was basically their Ameland - Ladies models. Wanted it to be easy to mount when loaded. Built with a Shimano Nexus 8 speed IGH with upgraded roller brakes front and back. Full fenders, heavy duty racks front and rear, dynamo front hub, lights that run off the hub, dress guard on the rear wheel, full chainguard, built in wheel lock with an accessory chain that plugs into the lock, front wheel stabilizer, nice fat 28" x 50 tires, matching sprung Brooks Saddle and handlebar grips, and a heavy duty, two-pronged kickstand to keep the bike stable while being loaded. I decided on a British Racing Green type color with brown leather cockpit and those cream colored wheels. The bike configurator allows you to pick custom colors for the frame, rack, fenders, chainguard, etc. Took me awhile to decide on the color and look of the bike. They use a very durable 3-stage powder coat process on all the painted parts that has a reputation for being very durable and rust proof. The hardware and shiny bits are stainless steel to keep them lasting through decades of weather abuse also. I went with an aluminum frame but could have gotten the exact same thing in steel. The bike is beautifully made and arrived with no damage at all. The pictures below do not give justice to the rich gloss of the finish on the frame. Oh, this is no lightweight racing bike. This is one heavy old beast for sure but you don't feel the weight when you ride it. All components worked flawlessly out of the box.

The riding experience is quite different from my road bikes or even the 3-speed Guv'nor Path Racer. You sit upright, chill out, and enjoy the ride. The 8-speed IGH seems to have a decent range of gears that are not too widely spaced. The bike rolls very well and it quite comfortable. I am using different muscles from normal and can tell. It's pretty much a silent ride too, a little tire/drive chain noise but no rattles, squeaks, or creaks from the frame just a luxurious ride. My aluminum front rack is rated for at least 33 lbs, if you opt for the steel one it carries 55 lbs. This rack is mounted to the frame vs the front wheel so it does not effect handling of the bike when loaded. It is also easily installed or removed since it fits into special frame mounted brackets to accommodate this. The rear rack's capacity is at least 88 lbs. They have some options that can carry more.

Anyway, enough coffee induced ranting on, here's some pictures of the bike. I had a plastic milk crate on the front rack now for carrying stuff.


I'm digging the color scheme.

Handgrips are really comfortable

Aged Brooks Saddle

This is the built in lock. It retains the key until to put it into a locked condition. That port in the side accepts the accessory cloth covered chain.

Nice metal badging and full chainguard

I went with a more sublet, old school looking decal set.

Heavy duty rear rack with built in bungee cords

Rear light powered off the front hub.

The other side of the lock and you can see the dress guard better. This will see winter use by me and should keep me dry in the wet stuff.

Hmmm... I need to translate that but I think it's talking about being impact resistant.
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Old 07-05-21, 08:41 AM
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Nice Headbadge

Front light

Upgraded rollerbrake

Upgraded rollerbrake and beefy rear rack supports

All business front ent

Ready to carry a lot of stuff. Good kickstand

Straps seem strong but stretch a good ways

Shimano reliability

8-speed IGH

Gotta have the bell.
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Old 07-05-21, 08:42 AM
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Fat, comfy tires on beefy rims

Dynamo hub

This is how that front rack mounts

The cockpit.
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Old 07-05-21, 09:35 AM
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Looks good! I’d like to have something like that in the stable!

I’ve ridden Dutch bikes— I took a 30 mile round trip on one out of Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans once— and it takes some getting used to riding bolt upright, especially in a head wind, but there are some trips I make which would be ideal for such a machine.

Enjoy it!
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Old 07-05-21, 09:52 AM
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I mean, with the brand name and the dynamo/headlight, you've just gotta name this bike Lightbringer, amiright?
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Old 07-05-21, 07:30 PM
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Took this out for a longer ride today just to see what it was like to do more miles than what it was bought for. So I took it out on the 11 mile evening route I normally do on the Guv'nor. Picked tonight as it was hot but not blazing hot. Also the legs were tired from a 52 mile ride earlier and on top of that a front was moving in with a bunch of wind. So a good test at it's worse, LOL! The route has a short but steep little hill I go over twice. Even on the return leg going up the steeper side into the head wind I had enough gear to go up no real problem. Obviously it's not fast but it is smooth riding and comfortable. Sometime this week I'll load it down pretty good and see how it handles then.
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Old 07-05-21, 07:46 PM
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Very nice bike. It has everything you need and then some.

Thanks for sharing.'
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Old 07-07-21, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post



Hmmm... I need to translate that but I think it's talking about being impact resistant.
Correct, It says impact resistant, x layers powdercoating system, transparant lacquer (paint/coating)3, zinc primer, colour paint.

It's a bit old school, boasting about rust proofing was about the main marketing message of the 30's and 50's Dutch bikes.
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Old 07-07-21, 05:54 PM
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May I suggest a membership in AAA? Gonna need it when you get a flat out on the road. Been there done that.
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Old 07-07-21, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
May I suggest a membership in AAA? Gonna need it when you get a flat out on the road. Been there done that.
LOL, why? Front's simple to remove to fix and the rear only seems complicated.

Of course that said, this is just the utility bike for me these days. Never more than around 3 miles from the house. So I'd probably just walk it back.

I do keep saying I need to put some sealant in the tires of both this one and the Guv'nor but haven't done it. Heck I see maybe one flat every 4-5 thousand miles or riding.

Been carrying AAA since my Miata days with not spare but last time I checked Utah AAA is of no help with a bike.
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Old 07-07-21, 08:22 PM
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Very nice. Might I respectfully suggest that you lose the plastic milk crate ASAP and get a proper basket! Here is mine on a Dutch rack called a Britch. Let's see if I can find the source. Cheers.
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Old 07-08-21, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
LOL, why? Front's simple to remove to fix and the rear only seems complicated.

Of course that said, this is just the utility bike for me these days. Never more than around 3 miles from the house. So I'd probably just walk it back.

I do keep saying I need to put some sealant in the tires of both this one and the Guv'nor but haven't done it. Heck I see maybe one flat every 4-5 thousand miles or riding.

Been carrying AAA since my Miata days with not spare but last time I checked Utah AAA is of no help with a bike.
It's not complicated to patch the rear. Just take the tube out and not the wheel, and take a bit of care it doesn't get stuck on sharp edges when you pull it around to get to the leak. Changing the rear tube or tyre is a bit more work. I don't know these new chaincases, but I'm sure it 's improved on the ones I have to deal with on my vintage bikes. We have chainstasy spreaders here to avoid all that and pull new tyres and tube between the axle and the frame, but that damages aluminium frames. The chaincases were a bit of a pain but mainly because people tried to get them on again neatly after pulling them off indifferently, the trick is to get them off very neatly so nothing gets folded or bent, also not when it's left hanging from the cranck when the wheel is pulled out or put back in. The first time it might be a good idea to be in a patient mood and think twice about every move though. Count the naked threads on both chain tensioners before unscrewing and you know the starting point for final adjustment when the wheel is back in.
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Old 07-08-21, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
It's not complicated to patch the rear. Just take the tube out and not the wheel, and take a bit of care it doesn't get stuck on sharp edges when you pull it around to get to the leak. Changing the rear tube or tyre is a bit more work. I don't know these new chaincases, but I'm sure it 's improved on the ones I have to deal with on my vintage bikes. We have chainstasy spreaders here to avoid all that and pull new tyres and tube between the axle and the frame, but that damages aluminium frames. The chaincases were a bit of a pain but mainly because people tried to get them on again neatly after pulling them off indifferently, the trick is to get them off very neatly so nothing gets folded or bent, also not when it's left hanging from the cranck when the wheel is pulled out or put back in. The first time it might be a good idea to be in a patient mood and think twice about every move though. Count the naked threads on both chain tensioners before unscrewing and you know the starting point for final adjustment when the wheel is back in.
Yep, I was watching videos of that before I made the purchase. I'm more concerned on the Guv'nor than this one as I take the Guv'nor everywhere I do one of my road bikes. I live in a small mountain valley town and more than a mile in any direction takes me out of town and away from any place I'd be riding the Azor too. Flat's just are not a real concern which is why I didn't opt to upgrade to Marathon tires.
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Old 01-21-22, 05:19 PM
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Just to update on this after half a years use. Bike is amazingly useful and versatile. I have flatted the rear but just put in some sealent and it's been fine for months like that. These lights are not that powerful per their stats yet have given more than ample lighting for nighttime rides down to the store and such.

Oh and still running the plastic milk crate. I mean it get's the job done so why not. Don't even like the looks of the metal ones. Now if I find a wooden crate I like that may go on this.

No mechanical issues at all.

Only minor regret is not putting the Marathon tires on this. I'm realizing now just how much broken glass and other crap winds up on the bike path here. I don't encounter that with all my road bikes that I ride on the roads.

The built in wheel lock is awesome. I don't really live in an area where you worry that much about bike theft but being able to pull up by the local store entrance, hop off, lock the wheel, and then stroll into the store is sweet. I think I've only used the accessory chain for the lock once. And it's a real live hefty chain, not some flimsy cable or such.
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Old 01-21-22, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Just to update on this after half a years use. Bike is amazingly useful and versatile. I have flatted the rear but just put in some sealent and it's been fine for months like that. These lights are not that powerful per their stats yet have given more than ample lighting for nighttime rides down to the store and such.

Oh and still running the plastic milk crate. I mean it get's the job done so why not. Don't even like the looks of the metal ones. Now if I find a wooden crate I like that may go on this.

No mechanical issues at all.

Only minor regret is not putting the Marathon tires on this. I'm realizing now just how much broken glass and other crap winds up on the bike path here. I don't encounter that with all my road bikes that I ride on the roads.

The built in wheel lock is awesome. I don't really live in an area where you worry that much about bike theft but being able to pull up by the local store entrance, hop off, lock the wheel, and then stroll into the store is sweet. I think I've only used the accessory chain for the lock once. And it's a real live hefty chain, not some flimsy cable or such.
James, hope you are well. Posting this link for some metal baskets from STP. I bought a couple of them for my Schwinn SS DBX. I have found them to be just the right size, sturdy enough for my purposes. decent looking, IMO. The fabric liner is useless if using them on a bike, but I realized that going in. I have carried, just guessing, 20 lbs. or so in the back, with another 10 or so up front, and think I would be comfortable with 10 to 15 more spread out. I use bungee netting for securing what I am carrying. The baskets are attached to my racks with heavier duty zip ties. I know I could get hardware that would allow easier on and off, but I have no intention of doing that. As you state above, if it works, why not. They interfere not at all with shifting/braking, or my hand positions, and low profile to ease mounting the bike. I spent most of another day, chilly start and them warm up, had all I needed with fluids, fuel, accessories and plenty of room for removing layers and storing them. IIRC, that was 48 mile total ride with a lot of stops.

https://www.sierra.com/s~metal-basket/


After running some errands, a bag of groceries and stopping at the library.
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