Like many high-end recumbent makers, AZUB typically builds your trike 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.
The basic distinctions
AZUB essentially offers three different trikes, distinguished by what level of suspension you want. The T-Tris is unsuspended (no shock absorption), the TriCon is rear suspended (suspension on the rear wheel only), and the Ti-Fly is fully suspended.
There are two other trikes. The Ti-Fly X is a Ti-Fly reconfigured in front to work with larger front wheels, specifically for rugged off-road use. The FAT is a T-Tris redesigned in the rear end and in the front hubs to accommodate extra-wide tires for sand, snow, mud, or other challenges.
The feel of all these trikes are similar in the seat choices and the handling. The rear suspended TriCon and Ti-Fly are more stretched out and not as nimble as the T-Tris, and they weigh more. If you are looking at an electric assist then suspension is likely more worth it, since you’ll be heavier and moving faster, meaning bumps will clatter you around more.
You have your choice in seat height in any of these models. They all come stock with a low seat, but if you want a more casual trike that is easy to get in and out of, you can specify a high seat adapter on any of the trikes.
You also get your choice in rear wheel diameter on all three. A 20 inch wheel is more compact, more nimble, and more foldable. It gives a lower range of gears and is naturally stronger than a larger wheel, especially under hard turning. a 26″ wheel gears higher using most transmission systems. Our rule of thumb is if you are the sort of rider who likes to pedal when going downhill, to see what kind of top speed you can hit, then you’ll want a 26″ rear wheel. A larger rear wheel is also smoother riding, but this only applies to the unsuspended T-Tris. If you want a fast AZUB trike when you probably want a 26″ T-Tris without the high seat adapter. However, AZUB does not optimize for speed. Their designs focus on ruggedness for touring.
All the trike frames will split apart for transport. You can make any into a folding trike by adding in the folding hinge and a few other parts specifically to make the trike easier to disassemble. This is best done at the time of purchase, but any non-folding AZUB trike can be made to fold by getting these parts.
These are your “gears.” The primary questions about transmission are:
- How wide a range of gears do you want? That is, do you want to have both really low gears for climbing and really high gears for speed? A more narrow range of gears can get you one or the other, or something in between.
- Do you want the convenience of internal gearing? Internally gearing lets you shift when stopped and is easier to maintain. All the complicated bits are inside, making them much rugged. However, they cost more than traditional derailer gearing. They usually have a more limited range of gears unless you get really spendy.
Let’s look at our choices as of late 2018.
- 3×9 derailer gearing. This is the typical shifting system you see on most bikes. “Derailers” (often called “derailleurs” if you do Euro-speak) move the chain between different sprockets. It is the least expensive form of transmission and can be set to have a wide range of gears. AZUB offers derailer gearing with either trigger shifters or bar end shifters. We can show you the difference in these shifters when you come by. Bar end shifters cost a little more. In terms of gearing range, a 3×9 speed system gets you about a 525% range, meaning your highest gear is 5.25 times “bigger” than your lowest gear. With a few simple mods we can get this range as high as 670%.
- NuVinci N380 hub. This internally geared hub is continuously variable. There is not a finite number of “speeds.” It has a 380% range and you can dial any ratio in that range. There are no jumps between gears and you never lose torque when shifting. It costs more than derailers and doesn’t have the range, but it is very popular with casual cyclists who don’t plan to attack big hills and like user-friendly feel of a continuously variable transmission. It is difficult to convey the appeal of this, especially when one is used to using gears on a bike. But if you are “gear-phobic” and don’t want to shift gears then you should check out this system. You can widen this gearing range by adding a front derailer, with some restrictions. (Unofficially, we think AZUB offers this option because their sales staff visited us at the 2017 HOT Rally and saw this mounted on Micah’s AZUB Origami.)
- Rohloff Speedhub. There are a lot of internally geared hubs out there, but queen of them all is the Rohloff Speedhub. Not ones for half-measures, this is the only other stock IG hub option that AZUB offers. This 14-speed hub has a 526% gearing range, similar to a derailer system. This is a durable, heavy duty IG hub intended for long-distance touring use.
- Pinion 12- and 18- speed system. The Pinion Drive is an internally geared crankset, meaning the mechanism is all up front, under your pedals. The 12-speed drive has a 600% range and the 18-speed drive has a 636% range, with much finer graduations between gears.
- Drum brakes. These are great brakes for trikes. They are weather sealed and very simple to maintain. They have a soft feel to their stop. This is good on a trike because you two front brakes doing all your stopping, so if a stop is too abrupt then you can lift your rear wheel. We especially recommend the larger, 90mm drum over the standard 70mm drum. It gives better stopping power but still keeps the “soft” feel.
- Mechanical disk brakes. By far the most common trike brake option. Mechanical disk brakes like the excellent Avid BB-7 brake are powerful, user-serviceable, and so common that any mechanic will know their way around them. If you often need to remove your front wheels for transport they are the best choice.
- Hydraulic disk brakes. These are most powered, best modulated (controls of braking power) and lightest brakes you can buy. They require very little service, but if they do need service they require special tools and procedures.
Naturally, they don’t stop there
- Dynamo hubs are an option that let you run your lights and electronics off of pedal power. No more finding a plug to recharge. A great choice for the self-contained outback triker
- AZUB offers many color choices as standard options, or for an extra fee they will paint it however you like. They will even paint different parts (frame, boom, seat, rack, swingarm, etc.) different colors. Nobody else offers this option.
- Three different seat sizes are available, depending on your torso length.
- Tires, pedals, and other parts and accessories can all be specified as you want.
As we said before, the best thing is to tell us what is important to you. Tell us how you see yourself riding. We will work with you to finish out your AZUB trike.