FAQ: About WorkCycles

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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 probably never 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. Or to make hard work easier. 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 or spammers or something else terrible 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. In 2008 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).

Is everything WorkCycles offers shown in the website?
Not even close! Basic explanations of our most popular 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. In fact these might well be the world’s best stocked utility bike shops. What you won’t find at WorkCycles are low-quality parts or products we don’t like. We only sell products we use and trust.

Can you send a printed catalog or folder?
No, we have no printed promotional materials nor plans to produce them. We have lots on information in the WorkCycles website, in the pages section of this blog such as this WorkCycles Fr8 Overview, and also many, many photos in Flickr.

Do I have to be a company to purchase from WorkCycles?
Absolutely not. WorkCycles sells bikes to individuals, families, small businesses and large corporations alike. We’ll achieve our world domination one bike at a time if necessary.

Who uses WorkCycles bikes?
Quite a few celebrity types ride our bikes but it’s not nice to drop names. Our enterprise customers include: BP, Concorp, Corus, DHL, Dyka, Novo Nordisk, Europoint, Eurotank, Icova, ISS, NATO, Shell, Stora Enso, TNT, UCO, UMC, UPM Kymmene, and several zoos and attraction parks. 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. Making an appointment in advance is handy though. Then we can be sure somebody will have time to give you the attention you deserve.

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 individually and then send price lists or quotes as appropriate. Just visit one of our shops, call us, or contact us via the “Purchase Information” link found on each WorkCycles product page.

What languages do you speak at WorkCycles
Most daily business is conducted in Dutch but we’re equally comfortable in English. A couple of employees speak German fluently and somewhat fewer speak French. There are two speakers of Hungarian, one of Spanish. If Japanese is really needed we can ask my wife to translate e. Beyond that we’ll have to use to sign language, sketches, charades and Google Translate. We’ll figure it out.

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 an “absolutely good enough” level of function and quality that often costs considerably more than the “not quite good enough” or “price points” that other manufacturers are content with. These costs are often cumulative. An example is WorkCycles’ paintwork, uniquely suitable for bikes built to endure the harshest conditions and performed in-house. Bikes from most other manufacturers are simply coated with a layer or two of wet paint or powder-coat over bare metal. WorkCycles are first extremely well cleansed in a multistep process, zinc-phosphate treated, and then coated with two layers of very tough and elastic 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 manufacturing 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 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?

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 though. 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?
WorkCycles has extensive experience with securely packing shipping bikes all over the world. Transport within the Netherlands and most of Belgium is easy and inexpensive. We also regularly ship bicycles throughout the world for very reasonable prices. If you live in the region it can sometimes be more fun though to visit Amsterdam for a weekend, pick up your bike and bring it home in the train, car or plane.

We quite regularly ship bikes to places you wouldn’t expect: North and South America, Japan, Russia, Israel and the Caribbean are a few recent examples. Most individual bicycles are air freighted via UPS. WorkCycles big Classic Trikes (Bakfietsen) have to be shipped via freight so that’s a little more complicated.

Important note: Shipping regulations make it almost impossible (or at least prohibitively expensive) to send bikes with electric assist abroad. Within Europe is no problem though.

Can I purchase a bike at WorkCycles in Amsterdam and then bring it back to (insert country here) myself in the plane?
Absolutely, and that’s 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:

  • You will have to pay the 21% VAT on the bike in our store.
  • You can claim most of the VAT back at the airport with a cheque we will issue. We can advise you here specifically when you pick the bike(s) up.
  • See below for information about payment.
  • We can pack the bike up for you (for a fee) and help you get a large taxi to get to Schiphol airport.
  • The fee for bringing a boxed bicycle on the plane varies widely between airlines and destinations. Research this before booking and factor it into the purchase price of the tickets.
  • Order your bicycle well in advance to avoid stress and the possibility that it won’t be ready when you arrive. More about lead times below.
  • How long will I have to wait to get my WorkCycles bicycle(s)?
    WorkCycles builds each bike to order for the customer’s needs. That is, we have very little stock of bikes to sell directly. The lead time varies thus with our stock, workload and how special the project is. The typical range is 4-8 weeks. We do plan a pipeline of the most popular bike formats, particularly Fr8’s, Kr8’s and Secret Service, so when all is going smoothly we might still be able to complete a bike within 2-3 weeks.

    Custom work invariably takes longer. Please do not ask us to build a fleet of custom whatever bikes (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.

    Also please just keep in mind that WorkCycles is a small company and despite our best planning and intentions things can occasionally just go wrong. Examples: 1. We recently had to reject an entire batch of rear carriers from the supplier causing a two month delay on dozens of orders. 2. For reasons unexplained our rim supplier had a month delay on THE rim we need for Kr8 V8’s. Both of these are parts made specifically for WorkCycles so we can’t just go buy them elsewhere instead.

    Thankfully since we now have our own ultramodern painting facility in-house the paintwork is no longer a logistical nightmare or bottleneck.

    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.

    Most businesses and European customers ordering remotely simply transfer the payment directly to our bank account.

    We can also process Visa/Mastercard payments online. The fee is 3.5% in this case and we’ll send a link to our secure online payment site.

    The last option is PayPal, which enables payment by credit card, but there will be a 5% fee so we only recommend this for small orders.

    WorkCycles General Terms & Conditions can be found here in English.
    WorkCycles Algemene Voorwaarden kan je hier in het Nederlands vinden.

    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.

    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 wear, abuse or damage 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. Again: You get what you pay for.

    Where are WorkCycles bikes made?
    WorkCycles bikes are all assembled here in the Netherlands. Coating and painting is performed by coaters in the Netherlands. Depending on the model bike our frames are made in the Netherlands, Taiwan and Vietnam. Contrary to what some would like to believe the Taiwanese frames tend to be the highest quality, then the Vietnamese and then the Dutch 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…

  • Netherlands: rims, carriers, saddles, chain-cases, fenders and stays, taillamps, locks
  • Italy: fenders and stays, saddles, brake levers, braking stands
  • Belgium: spokes
  • Germany: crank bearings, parking stands, spokes, headlamps, tail lamps, hydraulic brakes
  • Finland: grips, headlamps
  • Czech Republic: spokes
  • Portugal: cranksets
  • Singapore: hubs, roller-brakes, shifters
  • Taiwan: seat posts, headsets, chains, pedals
  • China: handlebars, stems
  • Indonesia: tires
  • 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 really 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 city bike pedals or drive chains. There are no longer any quality city bike tires made 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 simply 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, Kr8 and Gr8 series) are completely modern but designed with the principle that they should always be good looking. WorkCycles doesn’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 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. Read more about WorkCycles workshops here.

    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. Read more about WorkCycles workshops here.

    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 attitude and means to serve customers well? Then please call or email to to discuss the possibilities further. people at workcycles dot com, except with the appropriate characters inserted.

    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 people at workcycles dot com, except with the appropriate characters inserted.

    Copyright 2008-2017 WorkCycles

    23 Responses to “FAQ: About WorkCycles”

    1. tom d Says:

      i want to get a heavy-duty 36 hole coaster-brake hub– how can i get one of your hubs? part#? exploded view diagram? cost? etc?

    2. henry Says:

      Tom,
      Unfortunately there’s no such thing as a heavy-duty coaster brake hub. Once upon a time there were a couple strong coaster brake hubs available, most notably the Sachs & Fichtel Torpedo but they’ve been out of production for more than 20 years. Now the only decent coaster brake hub is the Shimano and it’s nothing special.

    3. Christo Says:

      Do you plan to offer your bikes in colors besides black?

    4. henry Says:

      Christo,
      Most of our bikes are available in several colors, or can be special ordered in other colors. However WorkCycles city bikes come only in black and we have no plans to change that.

    5. Carol Chua Says:

      I like to purchase one of this bakfiet so I can ferry my two sons to school but I can’t find them in Singapore and to ship it over is too expensive. Do you have any store in Asia?

    6. Donald G Says:

      Can you equip a Transport model with LED lights?

    7. henry Says:

      Donald,
      All of our bikes have been equipped with LED (hub dynamo powered) taillamps for a number of years and a couple months ago we began fitting LED (B&M Lyt) headlamps on the Classic models (Transport, Oma, Opa, Kruis…). Thus newly built bikes get these while some existing stock still have the halogen headlamps. Upon request we can change those.

    8. henry Says:

      Carol,
      No, we don’t yet have a store in Singapore but we are talking to somebody there about opening a Workcycles dealer. Indeed it is expensive to ship a single bakfiets.

    9. Kasia Says:

      Welcome can I get email to You? I am looking for something like a coffe bike and I want to ask about prices…

    10. henry Says:

      Kasia, Just go to the Workcycles site. Our mail address is info at workcycles dot com.

    11. Jim Says:

      Bought my workcycle kruisframe about a year ago in Chicago, just about 2000 miles riding so far and I could not be more happy. Perfect upright position and I wish I could have found this bike 20 years ago, keep up the good work.

    12. Michael Says:

      Is the warranty transferrable, within the first year of ownership, if the second owner has the original receipt?

    13. henry Says:

      Michael,
      We don’t have a hard rule about warranty transfer but I cannot think of any reason why we’d refuse to honor the warranty of a legitimately purchased second hand WorkCycles bike. So I’ll make that a “yes”.

    14. Thomas Valentine Says:

      I saw your coffee bike in London. How much do they cost?.

      Thomas

    15. henry Says:

      Thomas,
      Mail us at info@workcycles.com. I’ll reply with the price sheet.

    16. Fred Says:

      Hi , when dropping by at the shop and buying the standard model and asking for an additional or different color front or back carrier. Will I be able to get the bike home with me that day or do I need to come back a week later. I don’t live in Amsterdam.
      Thanx Fred

    17. henry Says:

      Fred,
      Are you asking whether our lead time to build a bike is zero or one week? Actually almost all of our bikes are built to order with a lead time of 6-8 weeks. Send us a mail or call to discuss.

    18. Santi Says:

      Good Morning,

      My name is Santi Casado, CEO of RiderState, a new mobile game for bike lovers. I thought you might be interested in this new application for Android and iOS, that offers cyclists a geolocation bicycle adventure to conquer every street, every neighborhood and every city in the world.

      To better understand the game, take a look at this vídeo:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh1mBEPPsjY

      RiderState´s vision is to promote the usage of the bicycle while playing, as this is the simplest solution to complex problems: mobility in the cities, the quality of human life, and climate change and its consequences.

      We are running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo platform (goal is $24K) and, at this stage, we ask for your kindly support. helping us to spread our project and bike-friendly philosophy over the World. Campaign finishes Feb. 7.

      Help us visiting the Indiegogo site http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/riderstate-the-social-game-for-bike-users and share within your network. This small contribution makes our dream a bit closer.

      On the other hand, if you have any suggestion, comment or question, please, do not hesitate to contact us back.

      I look forward to hearing from you,

      Santi Casado

      Santiago Casado
      RiderState CEO and Cofounder
      http://www.riderstate.com
      @RiderState

    19. Morgen Says:

      Hi Henry, my cargo bike long, which we purchased from JC Lind last summer, is the best thing ever–I am really curious though, and I can’t find the information anywhere– how much does the bike weigh? I rode it on a 30 mile gravel race in southeast Minnesota yesterday with my two year old daughter. While we were not very competitive, we had a great time and finished in under 3 hours. Thanks for putting such a great product out into the world.

    20. henry Says:

      Morgen,
      The Cargobike itself weighs roughly 43kg, plus accessories, kids, kid stuff, remainders of ice-cream cones on the box floor etc. Averaging over 10mph with child on gravel is impressive! Good work.

      ps: Did you know your name means “tomorrow” or “morning” in Dutch?

    21. Morgen Says:

      Yes… I’ve been hearing “guten morgen, Morgen” for a long time 🙂

      Thanks for the info!

    22. Petra Says:

      Hi there! I’m a Dutchie in California who bought herself a “Dutch Style bike” from a local bike maker in Venice Beach. Although they promised Dutch quality, I find myself having to go for tune-ups every 3 months and getting squeeks and ticking sounds all the time. I use my bike for Everything, work, groceries… I call it my “werkpaard” (work horse) but I can hear it struggling. My bikes in the Netherlands were all almost maintenance free! I’m considering getting a REAL Dutch bike from a dealer in San Fran (6 hours from whom where I live) who sells your bikes but I’m wondering: if I ever need repairs, would I get in trouble with EU vs US sizes? Will US tools work? How difficult would it be to find a fitting inner tire? I get flats and blowouts here all the time and need to be able to just walk in the closest bike repair shop to get it replaced, but if your sizes are different and I’d have to custom order them it would be quite a nuisance. I tried using my good old Dutch air pump on the US tubes and it didn’t fit so I had to buy a new one. How much of a problem is this going to be, you think?

    23. henry Says:

      Hi Petra,
      Yes there’s a huuuuge difference between a “Dutch style bike” and a real one, and then amongst the real ones WorkCycles makes the best of them.

      MDB in SF has been a WorkCycles dealer but I don’t believe they’re currently stocking our bikes. Actually from some reports they may or may not currently be in business. If that doesn’t work out we can also ship a bike from Amsterdam. It’s surprisingly economical.

      You won’t have any problems with our bikes in the USA. The maintenance is minimal, most of the typical wear parts are available there, our dealers stock or can get replacement parts, and we can always ship a package over if needed.

      For the inner tubes, for example, you can choose either the Dutch valves (unknown in the USA) or Schraeder/auto valves.

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