AZOR Carolina, £499, www.dutchbike.co.uk
- By London Cycling Campaign on at 8:35pm 10 May 2011
- Posted in: Bikes
- Tagged with: dutch, azor, bikes, hybrid
The Carolina is about as trad-Dutch as they come. Black is the default option (gloss or matt), with other colours by special arrangement only. It features all the hallmarks of a classic ‘Dutch bike’, from the hefty steel frame, including a substantial rack, to the wide, swept bars and upright riding style.
It also comes with an enclosed drivechain, full mudguards, nylon skirtguard, three-speed Shimano hub gears and hub brakes, making this truly a bike for all seasons. There's even a built-in wheel-lock, with an option to upgrade to a unit with an extension chain.
It’s worth noting that anyone attempting to steal a Carolina would quickly encounter substantial resistance because this is a bike built for sturdiness rather than fleetness of foot. On the road, however, instead of fighting it you find yourself adapting: the saddle is an amazingly soft and capacious Selle model, which invites you to relax onto it, while the seated position is vintage 'sit up and beg'.
The 38mm-wide Schwalbe tyres offer more rolling resistance than skinnier offerings, but they've proved nigh-on bulletproof.
Yes, journeys might take a little longer on the Carolina than on your typical sports hybrid, but they’re also relaxing and reliable. The bike comes in sizes from 45-65cm, with dynamo lighting for £30 extra, plus there’s a cheaper singlespeed option.
PROS Dutch-style features