WINTER COMMUTER BY JIRKA HEBEDA ON AZUB APUS

I use recumbents for everyday commute to work, about 150km per week on average. I go in every kind of weather and in winter I need a bike that can survive not only that, but one that lets me survive too. It has to stay controllable on snow and ice, cope with obstacles, etc. AZUB bikes are ideal for that task.

Contributed by Jirka Hebeda

Considering

For a long time I considered Azub 4 to be the best of Azub ever, even after they replaced it with the “5” and a whole new range of models with sophisticated CNC details. When they released the Apus, I saw it as the new version of the “4”. All the good bits are still there but with all the minor bugs solved. It has a stiffer rear fork with more room for big tyres, a bigger headset, a tougher luggage carrier and so on. The new bike can carry anyone for general riding, but with just 63kg, I can do pretty much anything to it and it asks for more.

Gear

I chose a Meks Carbon fork for its lightness and adjustability. The Avid mechanical disc brakes ensure constant performance in deep snow or mud, the 8-speed chain has been favoured over the 9-speed for its greater durability. The SON hub dynamo provides reliable power supply for the homebuilt high-power LED lights – 2x Cree Q5, throwing about 300 lumens in a narrow beam.

The last customized part is the cranks. I bought some flat robust 175mm long ones and drilled some new holes and threads into them. I’m using the resulting 153mm cranks to test the influence of short cranks on comfort and power. After 1700km it looks like I have got used to them and the speed is back where it used to be with 170mm cranks. I’m still uncertain about having sufficient torque to lift the front wheel in heavy terrain or over city curbs but overall, I like the short cranks.

Now I have switched from tyres with steel spikes to a regular offroad setting. I make a detour on the way home every day to enjoy and practice offroad riding. I’m running out of unexplored single tracks in the area but it is still huge fun.

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