FAQ: About WorkCycles
When was WorkCycles established?
WorkCycles was founded in 2003 by Henry Cutler. You can read much more about his background and motivations in these pages: Part 1, Part 2. Parts three and four will eventually be added.
Where is WorkCycles based?
WorkCycles has always been in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the world’s city cycling capital. We’re a Dutch company with an English language name reflecting our international audience.
Why are you called “WorkCycles”?
They’re Work-Cycles because that’s what we build: bicycles and tricycles made to perform hard work. Above all our bikes are functional machines. They must also be beautiful and enjoyable to ride because everything should be beautiful and contribute positively to the world.
In case you’re wondering, the name WorkCycles is not a generic term for workbikes or utility bicycles. It’s use began with the inception of this company and it is trademark protected around the world. Please don’t use our name generically. It’s very annoying and we’ll sick vicious dogs on you if you do.
What happened to the “Henry” in “Henry WorkCycles”?
Once upon a time WorkCycles was just Henry, designing and building bikes alone in an industrial space in the Veemarkt in Amsterdam. His bikes were in great demand so Chris came along to help, and then steadily more colleagues joined WorkCycles. Now we’re 8 people (as of April 2009) so we decided it was appropriate to drop “Henry” from the name while formally becoming a B.V. (a corporation, a business construction the Dutch pioneered).
So if it’s now just “WorkCycles” why does the website still say “Henry WorkCycles”?
Because we’ve too busy building, repairing and selling bikes to change it. Our new (Henry-less) website will be online soon but our customers take priority.
Is everything WorkCycles offers shown in the website?
Hardly. Basic explanations of most of our standard bikes and some special bikes we’ve built are shown on our site. We also have other bikes that either haven’t been added to the site yet, or don’t warrant making pages for. For example we always have a selection of custom built, one-off city bikes on display in our Jordaan shop in the Lijnbaansgracht.
Both WorkCycles shops also stock a wide range accessories: carriers, child seats, bags, baskets, crates, bells, saddle covers… Of course we also have components, including many hard to find parts for heavy-duty transport bikes but also normal stuff such as tires, shifters and ball bearings. What you won’t find at WorkCycles are low-quality parts or products we don’t like. We sell products we trust.
Can you send a printed catalog or folder?
No, we have no printed promotional materials nor plans to produce them.
Do I have to be a company to purchase from WorkCycles?
Absolutely not. We sell bikes to individuals, families, small businesses and large corporations alike. We’ll achieve our world domination one bike at a time if necessary.
Can you tell me who uses WorkCycles bikes?
Quite a few celebrity types ride our bikes but it’s not nice to drop names. Our corporate customers include: BP, Concorp, Corus, DHL, Dyka, Novo Nordisk, Europoint, Eurotank, Icova, ISS, NATO, Shell, TNT, UCO, UMC, UPM Kymmene and many others. Beyond that thousands of small business, families and individuals ride WorkCycles bikes.
Do I need an appointment to visit WorkCycles?
No, you’re always welcome to visit either of our shops during normal business hours. If you wish to talk with a specific person or discuss a special project, do please make an appointment.
Why don’t you show all of the prices on your website?
We prefer to discuss your needs personally and then send a price list or quote as appropriate. Just visit one of our shops, call us or send an email to email@example.com.
What languages do you speak at WorkCycles
Most daily business is conducted in Dutch but we’re equally comfortable in English. A number of employees speak German fluently and somewhat fewer speak French. Beyond that we’ll have to use to sign language, sketches and charades.
Why are WorkCycles bikes so expensive?
Now that’s quite an accusation. WorkCycles bikes are actually not expensive for what they are. They simply cost what they have to cost. We insist upon delivering a certain level of function and quality that often costs considerably more than the “not quite good enough” that other manufacturers are content to deliver. These costs are often cumulative. An example is the paintwork of the Fr8, a bike built to endure the harshest conditions. Bikes from most other manufacturers are simply coated with a layer or two of wet paint or powder-coat over bare metal. The Fr8 is first zinc-phosphate treated, then painted on both the inside and outside with anodically applied KTL antirust primer, and then coated with a very tough powdercoat. No factory in Asia will finish bikes this way meaning that these bicycles must be finished and assembled in Europe, unlike most bicycles that are manufactured completely in China or Taiwan.
Just to note, we’re not against manufacture in the Far East. Many excellent recreational bikes come out of both Taiwan and China, often from factories that score well on ethical standards. Some of our own parts and frames come from the Far East, as do those of nearly every other manufacturer. But we can’t get WorkCycles made there as we demand there so we choose to do it locally.
Besides, what is cheap and what is expensive? Is a couple weeks salary too much for a hand made bicycle you can enjoy riding for perhaps 20 or 30 years? Is it a better value to purchase a bike for 30% less but then spend more on maintenance, have it last only a couple years before it’s not worth repairing and never like riding it as much anyway?
Is €700-1000 really beyond one’s means when virtually everybody spends at least that much in car costs each month, or owns a television/stereo/ski equipment etc. that cost just as much but provides far less joy? Our philosophy: Purchase only what you need and will enjoy… but when you do buy something, get good stuff.
How do some companies sell similar looking bikes for so much less money?
Yes, we know that you can buy an “omafiets” for €199 or a “bakfiets” for €599. Those bikes do look similar to ours from a distance but in reality they’re just “silhouettes” of the real thing. They’re not similar in how they ride, function or last. Nor is that company likely to back up your purchase with quality after service. You can also buy a fake Rolex watch or iPhone but you get what you pay for.
Are WorkCycles prices negotiable?
No. If we could sell our bicycles for less and provide the level of service we do while still earning a living wage and not cheating our suppliers we would do so to be more competitive in the marketplace.
We do offer quantity discounts. Please contact us to inquire.
Why do WorkCycles foreign dealers have higher prices than WorkCycles Amsterdam shops?
Actually when you consider the costs of transport and import duties and exchange rates our dealers’ prices are remarkably close to ours.
I don’t live in Amsterdam or near a WorkCycles dealer. How can I purchase your bikes?
Transport within the Netherlands and Belgium is easy and inexpensive. We also regularly ship bicycles throughout Europe but sending a single bicycle can be rather pricey. Sometimes it can be cheaper (and much more fun) to visit Amsterdam for a weekend, pick up your bike and bring it home in the train, car or plane. Transporting larger quantities of bicycles is more economical. We’ve extensive experience with transport and are happy to advise you.
In the United States and several other countries we have dealers. Please contact them to purchase.
Recently it’s become possible to air-freight bicycles all over the world for surprisingly reasonable prices especially if we ship several bicycles at once. Do you want a WorkCycles bike in Brazil, New Zealand or South Africa? Just contact us for a quote.
Can I purchase a bike at WorkCycles in Amsterdam and then bring it back to (insert country here) myself in the plane?
Sure, and that can be a fun way to get your new WorkCycles bike; Order it in advance, pick it up and ride it around the Netherlands during your stay, and then bring it home with you. There are a couple things worth knowing:
How can I pay for the bicycle(s)?
The two WorkCycles shops accept PIN (direct debit card), cash, and credit cards. Direct debit cards must either be part of the Dutch PIN system or connected to Maestro. Please note that there is a 3% fee for payment by either credit card or foreign Maestro PIN card. That’s just to cover the usurious fees of the card processing company.
It is also possible to transfer the payment directly to our bank account, but usually not if you’re in a hurry. The other option is PayPal, which enables payment by credit card, but there will be a fee to do so. Orders that will be shipped outside Amsterdam are normally paid by bank transfer.
How big an order can WorkCycles handle?
That depends on how long you’re willing to wait. We can produce several hundred standard format city/utility bikes within a 8-12 week lead time… but the chance of shortages of some parts (especially frames) increases with the order size. Other models, such as three-wheelers, are produced in smaller numbers. Please contact us to discuss your needs.
How long will I have to wait to get my bicycle(s)?
The delivery time varies with our stock, workload and how special the project is. Some bikes, such as the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike we can almost always deliver out of stock. It’ll just take a few days to finish the bike and install the accessories. We keep a good stock of city bikes as well, at least in common sizes and formats. If we’ve got the parts in stock we can usually deliver the bike within a week or so. If we don’t have the basis chassis in stock it’ll typically take about 6-8 weeks to complete the bike.
Other bikes, such as the classic trikes (bakfietsen) are always made to order and the delivery time is typically 6-10 weeks. Custom work takes longer. Please do not ask us to build a fleet of custom (usually for advertising and promotion) bikes in a couple weeks. It’s not worth the headaches and poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.
What is the warranty on WorkCycles bicycles?
Each WorkCycles bike has a 10 year warranty on the frame, one year on components, none on tires, and what we call the “no BS guarantee”. This means that we understand that your bicycle is your transportation and it has to work properly. If your bike needs repairs as a result of abuse you’ll obviously have to pay for it, but the origins of many problems aren’t clear. Maybe a manufacturer’s defect shows up after the official warranty has expired or one of our normally meticulous mechanics seems to have been sloppy. You’ll get straightforward assessment of the problem, generous benefit of the doubt and a fair compromise if needed. This is one more reason why WorkCycles bikes cost what they do and why our prices are not negotiable. You get what you pay for.
Where are WorkCycles bikes made?
Almost all of our bikes are assembled in one of two factories in the Netherlands. Coating and painting is performed by coaters in Belgium and the Netherlands. Depending on the model bike our frames are made in the Netherlands, Belgium, Taiwan and China. Contrary to what some would like to believe the Taiwanese frames tend to be the highest quality, then the Chinese and then the Dutch and Belgian frames. But really, they’re all good frames.
Like most modern products the components come from all over the world, with a considerable European content. It varies per model but here are some examples…
Some other bicycle manufacturers claim to be entirely “European made”. It is theoretically possible to build a city or utility bicycle entirely from European sourced components but not practical to do so. It would either be extraordinarily expensive or require major compromises in quality and practicality. For example: the only option for the rear hub and brakes would either a 14 speed Rohloff hub with high-end hydraulic rim brakes, or the famously unreliable Velosteel single-speed coaster brake. I’m not aware of any European made drive chains or pedals, Nokian in Finland is the only remaining maker of quality city bike tires in Europe etc etc. In other words those who claim to be 100% European are either building esoteric, high-end bicycles for recreational use… or not being honest.
Why are some WorkCycles bikes so old fashioned?
Old fashioned? We prefer to call them “timeless”, always stylish and sometimes fashionable when the trends happen to drift our way. Some of our frame designs date from a century ago, updated with modern materials and production processes. They’ve been functional and beautiful the entire time and we don’t fix what isn’t broken. Others (such as the Fr8 series) are completely modern but designed with the principle that they should always be good looking. We don’t build bikes that will look ridiculous in a few years.
Regardless they’re all modern bikes equipped with the latest lighting, gearing, braking systems, puncture resistant tires etc. WorkCycles are not retro pieces; they’re modern, practical bikes built to stand the test of time.
What do WorkCycles bikes weigh?
Not an ounce more than they have to. We hate unnecessary material, but there are also much more important considerations when choosing a utility bicycle: confident handling even when loaded, durability, practicality, safety…
Keith Bontrager, a brilliant hands-on engineer who quietly pioneered much of what we take for granted in the mountain bike world once said: “Light, strong, cheap… Pick any two.” Do you want a durable but light workbike that doesn’t compromise on functionality? It’ll probably be too expensive to actually use in the real world. How about a cheap but durable bike? It’ll weigh a ton or be stripped of functionality… or both.
Does WorkCycles repair bicycles?
Yes, we repair all WorkCycles bikes as well as city and transport bikes and trikes from other respected makes. We take great pride in doing top quality work, using good replacement components and treating you with respect. Another shop will probably be willing to do it cheaper, but not as well. If you have a good bike and want to have it maintained properly we’ll do it.
Because our parts stock is limited to city bikes and workbikes we don’t take on racing bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids etc. As a general rule (which frequently gets broken) we don’t repair bikes with derailleur gearing or rim brakes (parts found on recreational bikes for those not familiar with bike terminology).
Can WorkCycles restore my antique bicycle?
That depends on your definition of “restore”. We gladly take on functional repair projects small and large where the focus is on getting/keeping a quality old bike on the road. The repairs will be executed with care and sensitivity but it will not be a restoration in the sense of originality. Parts will be replaced with modern equivalents as necessary and finish work will be simple but effective (i.e. spray can or paint brush). See “Why are you called WorkCycles” above.
How can I become a WorkCycles dealer?
We are expanding our dealer network but a costly mistake working with an unscrupulous importer in the US taught us to be very careful about who we do business with. Do you “get it”, respect what WorkCycles does, and have the means to serve customers well? Then please call or email to to discuss the possibilities further. Henry: henry@@@@@workcycles.com, except with only one @.
How can I get a job at WorkCycles?
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to enhance our little team? Please send your C.V. and any other relevant materials to Henry: henry@@@@@workcycles.com, except without the extra @’s.