Passing through the workshop the other morning I noticed there were four Massive Rack equipped WorkCycles Fr8’s being serviced, all from different Amsterdam customers. Each were quite unique bikes as well. Electric assist via a hub motor was being installed on the black and froggy green one. The battery will go under a false floor in the wooden crate.
The China green and green bike distributes books (can carries a bulldog) “De Wolleff en de Seve Geitjes” refers to a hilarious book he wrote and illustrated with Sacha Serano. The wolf and the seven goats is twisted version of a Grimm story told in pretty much the roughest possible “Plat Amsterdams” (Amsterdam dialect) language and style. My 8 year old son and I laugh ourselves into tears reading it aloud to each other.
The silver grey one is ridden by a local artist. The parts were actually hot dipped in zinc to galvanize them. It looks awesome and will never rust but it was such a pain in the butt to build it up afterwards that we’ll never, ever do that again.
The black and red Fr8 is just wicked cool. Just about everything on it is black… unless of course it’s red. Its owner also has a nearly identical bike in grey and orange. Just because he loves them.
Anyhow back to the Massive Rack. In principal it was designed for delivery and industrial transport but it’s just super handy so a fair number of them are being used by parents (compact bakfiets), artists, photographers and other small business owners.
The Massive Rack is securely mounted (with six bolts) to the Fr8’s frame. It doesn’t turn with the handlebars and front wheel when you steer so it has almost no influence on steering and handling. It fits either Fr8 Universal or Cross frame and can be combined with other Fr8 accessories such as the front child saddle and advertising board.
Any standard Euronorm 60x40cm crate or box fits perfectly in the Massive Rack and you can either bolt the crate down or secure it with a strap or clips to make it removable. Alternatively you can make a deeper crate to increase the volume. As for a maximum load capacity we’re not really sure. 100kg is absolutely no problem. 150kg won’t break it either but you’ll have to pump the front tire quite hard to steer well.
Maybe the most brilliant part of the Massive Rack is its integrated parking stand. At 65cm wide the bike stands as solidly as a house when parked. To deploy the stand just push it down with you foot and roll the bike back a little. Roll the bike forward and the spring-loaded stand folds up automatically behind the front wheel. It’s far enough from the pedals that you’ll never hit it with your feet and high enough from the ground that it cannot bottom out when cornering.
UPDATE 3 Feb 2016: The WorkCycles Winter Special Edition bikes have been a great success so we’ve decided to continue offering them until the end of February… with some small changes though: The WorkCycles credit offered though January is no longer part of each package. Now it’s just the bikes which are already a great deal as they stand.
For all those patiently waiting for a special deal on a WorkCycles bike we’ve got great news: This winter we’re building supercool, “Special Edition” bikes and selling them for fantastic prices. WorkCycles very rarely has sales or special offers so this is a big deal. Our last special offer was two or three years ago.
Typical WorkCycles though, we’re doing it in our own, slightly twisted way. You wanna deal? Well, then you’ll have to buy one of these Special Edition WorkCycles models. You’ll pay considerably less for the bike than the specifications would normally cost and get a really unique WorkCycles bike.
The colors? Black and bright, froggy green! We think they look awesome and hope you do too. We haven’t actually built all of these bikes yet so for now you’ll have to work with these workshop photos of the Fr8 Straight and your vivid imagination.
You can choose from the following Special Edition Fr8, Gr8 and Kr8 models. All prices are listed with VAT so if you’re ordering from outside the EU you can deduct the VAT (Ex VAT price = price/1.21).
Fr8 Straight This is a very cool variant on our most popular Fr8 build: an NN8D (8 speed with hand brakes) Fr8 with City front carrier and Fr8 long rear carrier. It’s satin black with bright, froggy green rims, fork, Escape Hatch and pedals. This setup would normally set you back €1699 but right now you pay €1549… for you, my friend, special, today!
Fr8 Uber Deluxe Eight gears just not enough for you? You want pavement shredding braking power and a really, really special Fr8? Not content with a Fr8 like your neighbor’s? The Uber Deluxe is the machine for you! Shimano Alfine 11 speed gear hub and Magura hydraulic brakes both reduce friction and provide more range both up- and downhill. City front carrier and Fr8 Long rear carrier. Extra upgrades include a black Brooks B67 saddle, powerful B&M Eyc headlamp with standlight, B&M taillamp with brake light function and Schwalbe AlMotion tires. The Uber Deluxe is also black and green but in a slightly different combination: Fenders, Escape Hatch, fork and pedals are green. Normally all this specialness would cost €2349 but for now it’s just €2099!
Fr8 El Cheapo Your heart is set on a Fr8 but your budget somewhat limited? There’s really nothing “Cheap” about this bike at all; The quality is exactly the same as other WorkCycles. It’s a Fr8 NR3D (3 speed with hand and coaster brake) with City front and Fr8 long rear carrier. Color combo is the same as Fr8 Straight: satin black with bright, froggy green rims, fork, Escape Hatch and pedals. This setup would normally cost €1449 but right now you pay €1299.
Alotta Fr8 Just in case a regular Fr8 with Massive Rack isn’t Heavy Duty enough for you… Alotta Fr8 has special HD rims, Marathon Plus tires, big BMX pedals and a custom fitted wooden crate. It’s also satin black and bright green but more extroverted. The front and rear carriers, rear fender, Escape Hatch and pedals are green. Equipped as NR8D with the tough and handy 8 speed coaster brake hub this happy tank of a bike would normally cost you €1854 but it’s now €1699.
Gr8 Straight Kind of like the Fr8 Straight, only more compact, lighter and well, a Gr8 instead of a Fr8. Thus it’s an NN8D (8 speed with hand brakes), City front carrier and Gr8 rear carrier. It’s satin black with bright, froggy green rims, fork, Escape Hatch and pedals. This bike would normally cost €1674 to build but for now you pay €1525.
Gr8 Uber Deluxe The best just ain’t good enough for you so we’ve devised the Uber Deluxe. Like it’s Fr8 big sister this one has the smooth running and wide range Alfine 11 speed hub. Braking is by powerful Magura hydraulics. City front carrier and Gr8 rear carrier. Extra upgrades include a black Brooks B67 saddle, powerful B&M Eyc headlamp with standlight, and B&M taillamp with brake light function. The Uber Deluxe is also black with the fenders, Escape Hatch, fork and pedals in green. Normally all this specialness would cost you €2224 but for now it’s just €1999.
Gr8 El Cheapo Champagne tastes on a (quality) beer budget? No problem! Quality wise this bike is missing nothing; It’s just a simpler NR3D build with 3 speed and coaster rear brake, City front carrier and Gr8 rear carrier. Color combo is the same as Fr8 Straight: satin black with bright, froggy green rims, fork, Escape Hatch and pedals. This setup would normally cost €1424 but right now you pay €1275.
The Special Edition WorkCycles Kr8 models We’re offering two different Special Edition versions of the Kr8 bakfiets; with and without electric assist. Each comes equipped with a set of special, color-matched accessories. Check these pages for more detailed information about the Kr8:
Kr8 Straight Our most popular Kr8 bakfiets family setup in a one-stop-shopping package and some wicked colors. This is an NN8D Kr8 in satin black with bright green fenders, fork, Escape Hatch and cable tunnel along the steering tube. The box panels are black and the big BMX pedals bright green. The package includes a bright green box cover and a custom black canopy with green rear wall. As if that wasn’t enough we’re adding our super new Ventisit bench cushion for kiddie comfort. This kit would normally have a price tag of €2664 but it’s now €2399.
Kr8 V-8 This Special Edition Kr8 marks the official introduction of midmotor electric assist at WorkCycles. We’ve been building WorkCycles with hub motors for several years and tested various midmotors during 2015. Our choice: The Schachner system from Austria. It’s powerful, smooth and reliable. It reacts very naturally to your pedal input, simply making you feel bizarrely strong. Cheap it is not.
A Shimano 8sp gear hub is not at all happy behind this brute so we’ll be building all Schachner equipped WorkCycles with the infinitely variable NuVinci hub. The combination is uncannily smooth and the NuVinci is very reliable. What goes up must also come down thus the Magura hydraulic rim brakes.
Kr8 V-8 comes in the same color combination and with the same accessory set as Kr8 Straight. All this bakfiets goodness would normally cost (ouch!) €4714. Order it now and get it for €4449.
More info about the Special Edition Sale The prices are valid from 1 January through 31 January 2016 and subject to change if needed. We’ll paint and build these bikes in batches this winter so some patience will be needed; Expect a couple months lead time.
Maybe want the deal but none of the above models fits your needs? Some small exceptions are possible. If you really can’t handle the froggy green we’ll build the bike all black (for the same price), but not another color. A slightly different specification or choice of carriers should be possible (price adjusted as needed). Some changes simply won’t fit our production. Just ask!
The extras: This is WorkCycles credit to be used pretty much as you wish. You can purchase accessories together with the bike, save it to pay for maintenance, give it to somebody as gift certificates or even apply it toward the purchase of another bike. You could even buy several bikes and get one more for free!
The Kr8 handles so sweetly that even a petite mom (160cm, 47kg in this case) can easily ride with a considerable load.
Just a couple weeks ago I wrote about our mighty, new Vrachtfiets. But wait, there’s more news at WorkCycles! The WorkCycles Kr8 bike is finally here and (patting self on shoulder) it’s just fantastic! There will actually be two Kr8’s: The two wheeled version of the Cargobike/Long John type seen here, and a linkage steered three-wheeler (wheels turn, box doesn’t). The Kr8 two-wheeler is now available and the trike will be ready later this year. After ten years of selling our Cargobike (Bakfiets.nl sister bike) the Kr8 represents a considerable evolutionary step on every front; It’s much lighter, steers better, has better ergonomics, a better parking stand, more customizable and it can be packed and shipped more easily. Hundreds of important details like the bench seat and its belts have been improved as well.
Lots of details to be seen here: Flange to split frame for shipment, cables cleanly routed behind a channel…
As with other WorkCycles bikes, the frames and parts are modular. Both Kr8 bike and trike share the same rear end. It’s borrowed from the Fr8 & Gr8, complete with Adaptive Seat Tube which offers great ergonomics to fit practically everybody. Like its siblings the Kr8 will fit riders from somewhat under 160cm to well over 200cm. A huge improvement over our previous Cargobike is the Kr8’s more biomechanically efficient seat tube angle.
Both the Fr8 long rear carrier and Gr8 rear carrier fit on the Kr8. Are you (wo)man enough to ride with this many kids?
Having the Fr8/Gr8 rear end also means that the same rear carriers and accessories fit the Kr8 as well. Two kids on the rear carrier with another four in the box, and one behind the handlebar? Sure, with the Fr8 long rear carrier that’s possible. Can you actually pedal over the bridge like that? No, probably not.
WorkCycles Escape Hatch (removable left fork end) for easy tire changes
Like the Fr8 and Gr8 the Kr8 also gets WorkCycles’ handy Escape Hatch so the rear tire or inner tube can be easily changed without opening the chaincase or having to adjust drivetrain parts. Separable frames and a box that flat-packs mean that Kr8’s can be packed and shipped more cheaply, with less chance of damage. The Kr8 bike fits in two boxes, each somewhat smaller than those we use for city bikes. WorkCycles exports some 75% of its bikes so the shipping factor is critical.
The Kr8 might very well be the worst kept secret in the history of bikes. We’ve actually been working on them for three years. Why the long development period? The challenge is that Workcycles is ambitious yet small, and we had all that other stuff to do the past few years too. WorkCycles begins production of a new model not on the basis of model years or other marketing based criteria, but when it’s really ready to make customers happy. We vowed that each Kr8 version had to be both unique and better than the competitors on practically every level. So we divided the project up into several components and rolled up our sleeves.
Note that this WorkCycles classic bakfiets actually has the same rear frame as the Kr8. We take our modular concept seriously.
The modular chassis elements described above were the most straightforward part of the project. The rear end is actually a refinement of the unit we’ve been using to build our classic bakfietsen with 8sp gearing and hydraulic brakes. Powerful Magura hydraulic brakes are thus an option on Kr8’s too. These cost more than the standard rollerbrakes but they add braking power for hilly terrain, reduce friction and weight, and make it much easier to fit electric assist. Otherwise Kr8’s will be equipped with maintenance-free Shimano IM80 rollerbrakes.
The front frames are entirely new. The two-wheeled Kr8 has a box of the same length as our previous Cargobike Long, the sister of the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike. The steering geometry, though, has been refined to sharpen its handling and reduce the turning radius. We’ve sold so few short Cargobikes in the last years that we don’t see a need to build one, but we’ll add an Extra Long Delivery version if the demand is there. The new Kr8 trike front end is particularly nice. It’s linkage (ackerman) steered so the box remains fixed while the front wheels turn, car style. That endows it with really easy, stable handling and a remarkably low center of gravity. When the parking brake is engaged with a big handle a foot folds down under the front of the box to prevent tipping. The kids can climb all over this bike with impunity.
Choose your own colors from about 200 options in the RAL range.
Developing a bike chassis might actually be easier than a good passenger compartment, especially one that’s safe, light and flat-packs for shipping. After experimenting with several box concepts we settled on a unique tubular frame with thin wooden panels. It’s several kilos lighter than our current wooden box and more damage resistant too. The current WorkCycles/Clarijs cover and canopy fit the two wheeler’s box and new ones will be designed for the trike. It’s even easy to replace or customize the panels. Want a box with clear, Lexan panels? Aluminium, colored plastic, perforated metal…?
The two-wheeler’s parking stand is also a critical feature yet strangely ignored by most manufacturers. After almost fifteen years on the market Maarten van Andel’s Bakfiets.nl Stabilo stand remained the standard (pun intended) by which others are judged, and all have fallen pathetically short. In it’s current form with magnetic latch the Stabilo is quite good. The Kr8 stand had to be at least as good. It also had to be different, both because Workcycles doesn’t imitate and because the old Stabilo wouldn’t fit the Kr8 anyway. After several tries we’ve succeeded here too. The new Kr8 stand is also a super stable four legger but its simpler, welded construction is more robust. It’s no longer necessary to flip the stand up with your foot; Just roll the bike forward and a spring linkage pushes and holds it up.
Yay! A cargobike with easily adjusted harnesses for the kids. The bench has been beefed up too.
As we all know the devil is in the details and there were hundreds of details to work out: routing the cables cleanly, tough and handy benches, trimming weight, engineering the center coupling, making it pretty and actually manufacturable… Just the boxes alone were a big project. The Kr8 two-wheeler is all done and the three-wheeler will follow in a few months. They retain all the goodness of our previous Cargobike yet with improvements throughout:
– The Kr8’s are remarkably light. The two-wheeler is more than 15% lighter than our current Cargobike… and some of the competitors are unspeakably heavy. – The sitting ergonomics, steering geometry and very low center of gravity make them easy and sporty to ride. The Kr8 is a nice bike – Kr8 two-wheeler can be boxed for transport throughout the world. With some more development the trike will be as well. – They look great and can be readily customized with special colors and features.
Needless to say we’re really proud of our new babies. They’re a couple solid evolutionary steps beyond anything else on the market and suitable for a broader range of situations than our previous bikes. The only remaining challenge is to think of better names. Kr8 will stick but how to differentiate the two- and three-wheeled versions? Your suggestions are welcome!
That’s my family and I; a “selfie” in Lego if you will
Each first of January I wish everybody a happy, healthy and productive New Year though I have to come clean that this is my least favorite holidays. To begin with it’s on the wrong day of the year. The Gregorian calendar, and the Julian calendar that preceded it, are based on the relationship of earth and sun, the year changing with the winter solstice. Being here in dark Northern Europe I’m all for celebrating the days getting longer. The solstice, however, is on December 21 ten days before New Years Eve. The day we call December 31 is nothing special. Talk about getting off to a bad start! I also have other, more practical reasons, to dislike New Years but I’ll quit whining for a moment and talk about good stuff.
WorkCycles had a great 2013 and 2014 promises be even better. For the past few years we’ve been busy restructuring to run more efficiently, help our customers better, and just have more fun doing what we do. It was a lot of work but there comes a point in the growth of many firms when the management recognizes that disruptive changes are necessary to iron out quirks that hinder the business. These quirks get built in by the founder (yes that’s me), often an expert in his field but not in running a business (that’s me too). More strangeness gets added organically through the years by the staff the founder assembles. The trick to such a process is not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Many a firm becomes generic and ultimately irrelevant at this stage, after they strip out exactly what made them unique. We’ve been extra vigilant to avoid this because, frankly, I would have stuck with my corporate career had I wanted an easy, boring way to earn a living.
Meanwhile we’re launching not one but THREE really cool new bikes in 2014.The long awaited Workcycles Kr8 cargobike and trike represent big evolutionary leaps for the family utility vehicle (FUV?) world. Hey, FUV, I just made that up and I like it! Anyhow these bikes build on the success of the popular Fr8 and Gr8. The big Vrachtfiets cargo quad marks the start of a new partnership. More about these below but first more boring business lessons since you might not read it if the fun stuff came first.
A random pretty picture I took a few weeks ago. Much nicer to look at than business stuff.
It isn’t sexy marketing to tell the world how you’ve thoroughly analyzed your business and then custom built a Enterprise Resource Planning system to help manage practically every aspect of it. Handy it is though for working faster and more accurately, for streamlining the order process, communication, work flow and bookkeeping, to help employees know what we have, what it costs and where it comes from. We looked at dozens of packages but none fit Workcycles strange needs. We’re a small firm yet we do many different things: R&D, import, export, consumer, B2B and dealer sales, assembly, repair, rentals, even occasionally consulting. Several ERP suppliers politely said “No, we can’t do that.” Mega huge SAP told us “Yes, we can do that!”… but at a price more appropriate for a firm twenty times as big as Workcycles. Once satisfied that we’d figured out what we did and didn’t need we set out to build our own system, based on a time-tested database platform. We were willing to make compromises and reconsider how we do some things but changing the nature of WorkCycles was out of the question; We enjoy doing what we do. Though it’s far from easy, it is unique and has earned us a loyal customer base.
This transformation process has been several years in the making and our home-brewed ERP system is only a part of it. Some changes were less fun. Take, for example, dumping the accountant who’d made a mess of our administration, tediously working with our new accounting firm to reorganize and re-file several years of corporate bookkeeping. As if that wasn’t enough of a time waster the Dutch tax service hassled us every step of the way because they now owed us a huge tax refund. They repeatedly demanded the most bizarre evidence to back up the reinstated administration… nonsensical wild goose chases such as all of the purchase invoices above €500 from this and this and this quarter, but only for these and these types of goods. Each time we dutifully supplied the requested hundreds of pages of info they came back with new demands, making it obvious the tax inspector knew and cared nothing about actually running a business. After half a year of this our case got passed to another inspector who looked it over, approved it and got us paid in short order. What a pain in the ass that was. But we got our money back and together with our new accountants and ERP we’ve completely streamlined our administration process. Word of advice for those starting a business: Learn enough about corporate finance and bookkeeping to structure your company appropriately from the beginning. Choose your accounting firm carefully. Yeah, I see your eyes glazing over, that you just want to make bikes or software or do whatever it is you dig doing. Really though, it’ll eventually mean the difference between running a successful business, plodding along between crises and frustration, and going bankrupt.
Here’s Dylan doing business as usual, trying to ignore the attention.
Meanwhile I think we did a pretty good job of keeping these distractions from disturbing our daily business. There wasn’t much time or energy for developing new products in 2011 and 2012 but our sales remained steady and we kept building our bikes as carefully as ever. Our ever improving organization is not only better internally; it’s reflected in how we treat our customers and ultimately that’s the point. There’s much more to come. Amongst many other functions we’re working on keeping the service histories of customers’ bikes in order to signal certain types of maintenance, to keep track of issues, to see problem patterns and so on.
I dug this old, badly scanned photo of New Year’s residue in the Amsterdam Jordaan streets to show what goes on here. Imagine an entire city setting off so much fireworks that it looks like this everywhere.
That’s enough boring business stuff. Here’s another reason I dislike New Year’s: Spending an entire day hopelessly attempting to calm a crying three year old freaked out by the fireworks. You haven’t experienced New Years in Amsterdam or another European city? The cracking, booming, flashing fireworks begins a day or two early and builds to a deafening war zone in the evening. This is not the organized, pretty fireworks of the American 4th of July. No, this is populist anarchy in explosions being set off everywhere simultaneously. At midnight all hell breaks loose for an hour or so and then it finally begins to subside.
Now that you’ve successfully waded though my holiday rant and exciting tale of business management I can give you the juicy news… New WorkCycles bikes are coming!
One of the first Vrachtfiets Cargos at work delivering groceries in Brussels, BE.
First up is the Vrachtfiets, a really big, heavy-duty cargo hauler on four wheels that can do things pretty much no other bike can. It’s tough like a traditional Dutch bakfiets yet thoroughly modern with an ingenious suspension system and industrial strength electric assist. It’s a robust, highly engineered workhorse that can carry a two cubic meter load. That’s a bigger load than many small delivery vans. Thus the name “Vrachtfiets, Dutch for “Freight Bike”.
At WorkCycles we’d long been considering the possibilities for a big transport bike for businesses and municipalities. The Vrachtfiets guys needed a partner with bike expertise and a way to promote and sell their bike. Add a super efficient, Dutch metalworking firm to build them and the partnership is complete. The first series of production Vrachtfietsen will be available in early 2014 and will be sold in the Amsterdam region in order to follow them closely. Ideally the first bikes will land in the hands of customers who can provide handy feedback and we’ll offer perks in exchange. Later they’ll be sold worldwide.
The Vrachtfiets’ electric assist enormously extends the range and capabilities of a bakfiets. It can climb hills and has hydraulic disk brakes on all four wheels to safely descend them too. Four wheels with suspension make Vrachtfiets super stable and easy to ride.
Vrachtfiets open Pick-Up version.
The Vrachtfiets carries its load behind the rider so it’s much less limited in volume than a classic bakfiets. The standard load platform is a full 200cm long and 100cm wide and low to the ground. Tall loads won’t impair the rider’s vision and the platform remains fixed when turning. We’ll begin with two basic load platforms: the Pick Up (open) and the Cargo (box). Accessories such as a windscreen and a range of modular box options will be added as needed. Like other Workcycles bikes customization is always an option. How can you put Vrachtfietsen to work?
Stay tuned. We’ll be putting up more Vrachtfiets info here and on the WorkCycles site in the coming weeks.
I’ve no good photos of finished Kr8’s yet so here’s are some of our R&D staff in action testing a prototype Kr8’s fun factor.
But wait, there’s more! After three years in the works the WorkCycles Kr8 bakfietsen are finally coming! There are actually two Kr8’s: 1. A highly evolved two wheeled version of the Cargobike/Long John type with a box the same length as our current Cargobike Long. 2. A linkage steered three-wheeler (wheels turn, box doesn’t) with really easy, stable handling. It’s a trike that’s actually pleasant to ride.
Typical WorkCycles, the frames and parts are modular. Both models use the same rear end. It’s borrowed from the Fr8 & Gr8, complete with Adaptive Seat Tube (great ergonomics for everybody) and Escape Hatch (easy tire change). Two-part frames mean that Kr8’s can be packed and shipped more cheaply and with less chance of damage.
The front frames, boxes and parking stands are all new. The boxes are unique, combining a tubular aluminium frame with lightweight wooden panels. They look great, are tough and repairable, and even flat-pack for shipping.
The Kr8 two-wheeler is all done and the first examples will be delivered in February. The three-wheeler will follow a few months later. They retain all the goodness of our current Cargobike yet with improvements throughout:
– The Kr8’s are remarkably light. The two-wheeler is almost 20% lighter than our current Cargobike. The trike is only a little heavier – very light for a three-wheeler. – The sitting ergonomics, steering geometry and very low center of gravity make them easy and sporty to ride. – Kr8 two-wheeler can be boxed for transport throughout the world. Soon the trike will be as well. – They look great and can be readily customized with special colors and features.
Needless to say we’re really proud of our new babies. They’re each a couple solid evolutionary steps beyond anything else on the market and suitable for a broader range of situations than our current bikes.
Oh wait, I almost forgot that stupid thing about New Year’s “resolutions”. Which genius came up with the idea that suddenly, ten days after the winter solstice, you’re supposed to start doing something you didn’t previously do? My humble opinion: If it’s worth doing wouldn’t you already be doing it already?
Bike transport is a constant challenge at Workcycles. People from all over the world mail, call, skype, tweet, facebook, flickr and visit to buy our special bikes but unless they live in the Netherlands actually getting that bike to them can be expensive. Customers are sometimes incredulous at what it costs to ship a utility bike or trike to their home in another country and sometimes respond with something like “But Chain Relaxion will send a crabon racing bike to me for €10.” Perhaps they will but that’s really a horse of a different color. That crabon, Campagimano equipped Pinarosa weighs less than a ciabatta and can be packed, wheels off, in a torsionally stiff, vertically compliant box the size of its compact geometry frame. Further Chain Relaxion ships about a gazillion packages per day so they get enormous discounts from the shipping firms who want them dearly as customers, and really aren’t all that flexible with high-maintenance, low turnover, little customers like Workcycles. (more…)
To be straightforward marketing just isn’t our specialty here at Workcycles. We’re great at developing lovely, handy, durable bikes, adapting them to your needs and keeping them running nicely for as long as possible. Marketing campaigns? Well, we tend to be full of great ideas that never get off the ground because we’re too busy building and selling bikes. Thus, with that as background… we introduce our winter special in the second week of February.
Actually it’s almost just in time considering that the temperature here in Amsterdam hardly dipped below freezing until last week. Then winter appeared with a vengeance bringing record low temperatures and a little snow that’s stuck around for a while already. Saturday morning we got up early with the kids to be amongst the first to enjoy sledding the fresh powder on the steep slopes of the Westerpark and try out some skating on the frozen canals! Yayyy!
Winter does make getting around by bike a little harder, thus our Winter Service Special. In particular water (even just a tiny bit) in the brake and gear cables tends to freeze, locking it in whatever position it was in while parked. You can read all about freezing cables and how to fix them here. Both our Fr8 and Cargobike have been fixed in one gear for a week and the Fr8’s rear brake is frozen solid as well. I’ve no time to fuss with my own bikes but fortunately you needn’t suffer the same inconvenience. Call us to make an appointment and we’ll give your bike a thorough winterizing.
While we’re at it we realized that we’ve accumulated a rather absurd inventory of tires, so they’re all 50% off (as long as we’re installing them). We’ve got possibly the best selection of city bike, transport bike and bakfiets tires on the planet so it’s a killer opportunity to put fresh rubber on your bike too.
In the same spirit we’ve been building nonstandard frames and parts into a collection of cool but somewhat quirky special bikes. Ride home with a great new bike for a great price and help us make space for other stuff. We’ll take photos and put more information online but here are a few examples below: (more…)
This is how stable a Workcycles Fr8 stands on the Massive Rack. Photo by Tom Resink, who also built these bikes.
UPDATE Fall 2015: Over the last few years we’ve built hundreds of bikes with electric assist, mostly Fr8’s and Kr8’s, also a few Gr8’s and classic city bikes. We’ve tried different components and developed a reliable, effective system that we now sell worldwide. These bikes are still individually built and tested in our Amsterdam workshop, thus not yet factory options that can be purchased via WorkCycles dealers. We now ship our E-bikes all over the world though. The development is ongoing and we expect to replace the current front hub motor with a mid motor in early 2016.
About the current electric assist system: The front hub motor is 36V x 225W with 30Nm torque. It is powerful enough to easily ride into Dutch winds and up moderate hills. This system would not be suitable for cranking, for example, a heavily loaded Kr8 up San Francisco hills.
The rear hub gearing with Shimano Nexus 8sp or NuVinci remains unaffected. The brakes are replaced by powerful and reliable Magura hydraulic rim brakes front and rear. The excellent standard B&M LED headlamp and taillights are powered by the motor battery.
Our system is not as sophisticated as the Bosch but it’s effective, smooth, durable and reliable, and (unlike the Bosch) it’s quite “future proof”. Parts can be replaced individually if needed and it won’t be obsoleted and unsupported in a couple years either.
E-Kr8: The 13Ah battery is under the bench in the box. Though slightly less convenient than the battery in the rear carrier it makes the “E” part of the bike almost invisible and the battery is kept warm in the winter by young occupants. A passenger can sit on the rear as well.
E-Fr8/Gr8: The 13Ah battery is custom built into a sturdy wooden crate on the front carrier making the entire system almost invisible. The rear carrier retains its full functionality.
Original artikle, as posted in 2011: Yes, we are asked constantly whether we’ll build a Fr8 or other Workcycles bike with electric assist. The answer is basically yes and no. By no means are we philosophically opposed to the idea of adding a motor to our bikes. We are however very much aware of the many downsides so we generally advise against it unless the need is clear.
For handyman firm Buurtklusser in hilly Nijmegen the need for some help was very obvious. This particular Fr8 will have its Massive Rack frequently loaded up with 100+ kg of cargo and the giant newspaper panniers filled with packages. How would you like to pedal uphill with a total weight of 250kg? In case you’re curious check out their blog at Trapkracht.nl (“Pedal Power”)
Further these bikes will be operated by professionals so we’ve a pretty good chance they’ll be used appropriately and maintained properly. That’s very different from sending special bikes out into the wild with customers who may not have the skills for (or interest in) maintaining them, nor a suitable workshop in the area to turn to when necessary. (more…)
Workcycles rider Matt Ransford sent this photo from Hong Kong. He added that there aren’t many bikes to be seen in Hong Kong but those you see look like they’ve been around for a long time and they all have rod operated brakes. Thanks for passing that along Matt!
This delivery bike, with its big basket type front carrier affixed to the frame is just like old English delivery bikes. This, of course, was way back when it was still commonplace for tradespeople and delivery boys in the UK to move their goods about by bicycle. This connection is no great surprise given that Hong Kong was a British colony until recently. (more…)
Much of the world is now (re)discovering the joy and practicality of cycling for transportation, often blissfully unaware of how it’s been done elsewhere for a century. So, to use an obvious expression, they’re reinventing the wheel with, as a few examples… (more…)
The latest issue of the Vogelvrije Fietser, the magazine of the Dutch cyclists’ union features workbikes, which basically means it features WorkCycles. Those are WorkCycles Fr8’s in use by customer Eurotank on the cover as well as in the two page spread that begins the article.
To translate the first part of the article:
“Everything you dare transport”
Somewhere in Azerbijan on the terrain of a cement factory ride bikes from WorkCycles, a bike builder from Amsterdam. Also in Latvia, Nigeria, Serbia and Finland they do their duties in factory halls.
Where the tough transport bikes land and at which companies, Henry Cutler of Workcycles often doesn’t know. “Purchasing organizations order the bikes from us. Sometimes that organization belongs to a concern and sometimes they’re hired in to purchase stuff.” In any case businesses that need tough bikes know where to find him. Cutler is from the US and nourishes the Dutch bicycle culture and history. So has he put the wind back in the sails of the old fashioned, indestructible bakfiets in Amsterdam. “I’m an American who maintains a Dutch tradition. For the Dutch is the bicycle apparently not so interesting. The bicycle is something to use, such as a pair of shoes or a refrigerator.” (more…)