Like many high-end recumbent makers, AZUB typically builds your bike to order and gives you lots of choices. This is a good thing so long as you know what you want and don’t find all these decisions intimidating. We’ll lay our your major choices specifying the parts on your AZUB. You don’t have to read all this, we can just listen to your wants, needs, and budget and work up the spec for you.
Top Line and Mainstream Line bikes: Three of the AZUB bikes we offer, the MAX, the Six and the Mini make up AZUB’s “Top Line” series. These bikes have really elegant CNC machined frame parts and represent the all the care AZUB can put into frame building. But if you are on a budget they also make a “Mainstream Line,” which features most of their innovations, the seat adjustability and the arrangement of handlebars and controls, as well as all the choices below, but at about $500 less.
We focus on the Top Line because that is mostly what AZUB exports to the USA. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” as they say, and once someone specs out a European superbike and waits for it to come in, most of them want all the marbles. But still, AZUB makes these models so more Europeans (who have better healthcare but less cash) can afford an AZUB, and you can get all the essentials of what you like about a Top Line AZUB in a Mainstream model, and if you aren’t pushing the bike to its limits you might not even notice the difference.
The Ibis, Apus and Bufo are the Mainstream representations of the MAX, Six, and Mini. The Twin Tandem and Origami bikes don’t have a corresponding mainstream version, nor do any of the trikes.
Now let’s look at components. In short, there is a standard spec on each model for most items, with exception of the transmission. Choosing what level of transmission you want is your first and only essential choice. After that, you can upgrade the folding frame options (if any), rear suspension system, crankset, brakes, tires, and wheels. We’ll go through each of these, though some of these might not apply to all models.
Transmission: This specifies the derailers, internally geared hub (if any), shifters, crankset and cogset. Gearing range is specified as a percentage, showing that the highest gear is xxx% higher than the lowest gear. For example, many basic 24-speed trikes with a 20″ rear wheel have a range from 19 gear inches up to 95 gear inches. That is a 500% gear range. You might not intuitively know what 95 g.i. is, or if it is good enough to keep up with your faster buddies, but if we keep track of that while you do your test rides it will become more clear. In general, the wider the range of gears, the better, with some specialized exceptions for competition bikes.
This list is in price order for models with no other upgrades. (This is from their 2017 price list and might be updated).
- None – You can order just a bare frame without anything except the seat, steering assembly, trike front wheels and suspension parts. This usually isn’t very cost effective unless you already have the parts you want.
- Shimano Claris – A basic, entry-level road bike group with an 8-speed 11-32 tooth cassette, and a basic 30/42/52 tooth road bike triple crankset. 537% gearing range
- Shimano Sora – A better road bike group with a 9-speed 11-34 tooth cassette, and a basic 30/42/52 tooth road bike triple crankset. 571% gearing range
- SRAM DualDrive 24 – An innovative rear hub that combines an easy-shifting 3-speed hub with an 8-speed 11-32 tooth cassette, with a good quality single 45 tooth crankset. 541% range.
- SRAM DualDrive 27 – As above, but with a 9-speed 11-34 tooth cassette, with a good quality single 45 tooth crankset. 575% range.
- Shimano XT – A good quality mountain bike group with a 10-speed 11-36 tooth cassette and a better quality 30/39/52 tooth road bike triple crankset. 604% gearing range.
- Shimano Alfine 11 – An 11-speed internally geared hub paired with a good quality single 45 tooth crankset. 409% range on one shifter. Electronic shifting is available as an option.
- Rohloff Speedhub – An 14-speed hoo-ha oil bath internally geared hub, with the nice 45 tooth crankset. 526% range on one shifter.
- Pinion Drive – A compact and elegant 18-speed gearbox mounted at the crankset, driving a single cog in the rear. Totally insane 636% gearing range on one shifter.
Folding Upgrades – Among their bikes, the Origami folds as a standard option. The Twin Tandem and all trikes come standard with a separable frame (quick disassemble for transport). Folding hinges are an upgrade. The TRIcon and Ti-Fly also have an Extreme Fold option for a more compact fold. The MAX, Six, and Mini bicycles do not fold.
Steering Type – Trikes don’t have steering options, nor does the folding Origami, but all the other bikes have three:
- Overseat steering – The classic recumbent bike steering, with a short handlebar held close to your chest. This is versatile, adjustable, and works well when pedaling through tight turns. This is stock on all the bikes.
- Underseat steering – For this you hold your hands at hip level, just beside the seat. The handlebar attaches under the frame and a linkage connects to the front fork.
- Open Cockpit – This is the newer form of overseat steering, typical on the Bacchetta bikes that we carry. Your elbows are more extended and your hands reach out to a longer curved bar that wraps around your knees. It is more comfortable over the long haul and more aerodynamic, but it inhibits pedaling through tight turns.
Front Fork – This is an option on bikes only. A rigid front fork is standard. A variety of suspension forks are available, particulars depending on front wheel size and the level of sophistication you want
Rear Shock Upgrades – A coil/oil rear shock is standard on rear suspended models. This is an oil-filled piston dampened by a spring which is interchangeable based on rider weight. It is pretty reliable unless an oil seal starts to leak, which is rare but possible. You can upgrade to a Suntour UNAIR LO-R compressed air shock, which you keep pumped up to an appropriate pressure. Air shocks are more trouble but much more adjustable. You can further upgrade to a Fox Float RL, which is a really nice air shock with more adjustability.
Crankset Upgrades – Models with front and rear derailers come standard with a generic 30/42/52 tooth triple crank, using a square taper bottom bracket. You can upgrade to a more modern and lightweight integrated spindle design with either a 30/39/52 set for speed or a 28/36/48 set for touring with a load. These cranks are all 170mm long. They can be shorted to 152mm as an upgrade. A Schlumpf Drive can be installed instead of a crankset from AZUB, but we find it more cost effective to supply the Schlumpf Drive ourselves.
Brake Upgrades – Linear pull rim brakes, or “V-brakes” are standard on bikes. These are typical mountain bike brakes and will stop you well, but over the long haul they can wear out your rim, requiring expensive wheel repairs. Bikes can be upgraded to better linear pull brakes, or to mechanical or hydraulic disk brakes. Trikes come standard with 70mm drum brakes on the front wheels. These are long-wearing brakes that stop well even in wet conditions. They give a soft feeling stop. Trikes can upgrade to stronger 90mm drum brakes, or to disk brakes, which give a more abrupt stop. Mechanical or hydraulic disk brakes are both options on trikes.
Seat Upgrades – Bikes come standard with a composite shell seat, which can be upgraded to carbon fiber to save weight. These have a cushion on top, which can be upgraded to a more supportive Ventisit 3cm thick cushion. Trikes come with mesh seats only. A 2cm Ventisit cushion can be added on top of this.
Tire Upgrades – Bikes come standard with Schwalbe Marathon Racer tires. Trikes come with Schwalbe Tryker tires on 20″ wheels and Marathon Racer on 26″ rear wheels. A vast array of Schwalbe tires are available, depending on your priorities, such as comfort, speed, puncture protection, the type of terrain you plan cross.
Wheelset Upgrades – Lighter wheels, using more narrow rims, are available as a fairly inexpensive upgrade, suitable for more narrow tires only. AZUB also makes a proprietary aluminum wheel design called R.A.W. (Recumbent Aluminum Wheels), available separately or as an upgrade. R.A.W. wheels are light but still suitable for wide tires, and have a striking appearance.
Frame color – Eight stock colors are available, and any RAL color is available as an upgrade. AZUB offers a unique service called Color Shop. Using their standard colors you can do multiple colors on one bike, creating a color scheme. You can stick with a single color, or mix the color with black if you aren’t that daring. Seat frames, or shell seats, can be painted different from the frame. AZUB cargo racks can be painted. You can mix in custom colors for an upcharge, or a matte finish instead of the standard glossy. Some components cannot be painted, and some have limited color choices from their manufacturer, but AZUB above all other suppliers offers you the chance to create a unique vision for your ride.
More! – It doesn’t quit there, but we will. Pedals, shifter options, electric shifting, dynamo hubs, ultra-wide range gearing, and so on, are all options from AZUB, depending on other factors. And there are accessories out the yin-yang for touring, special needs, and comfort. You’ll go cross-eyed trying to read it here. Just come in and talk with us.