Overview: WorkCycles Kr8 Bakfiets
WorkCycles Kr8 Bakfiets Overview
Note: This page was originally about the WorkCycles Cargobike, the upgraded sister of the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike. After selling, riding, renting and servicing our wonderful Cargobikes for 10 years it was time for a major overhaul. The result of that project is the WorkCycles Kr8. The basic format is the same as the Cargobike Long but the Kr8 is improved in practically every way. We sold both Kr8 and Cargobike for most of 2014 but will continue further with only the Kr8. Much of the general discussion about the Kr8 below is still relevant to the Cargobike too. In fact some of the photos below still even feature WorkCycles Cargobikes.
Also you can find yet more information about the WorkCycles Kr8 on the following pages:
Kr8 Product page in the WorkCycles website
WorkCycles Fr8/Cargobike FAQ, Tips & Tricks page
Introducing the WorkCycles Kr8 blog post
About the WorkCycles Kr8 Bakfiets
The Kr8 is the ideal way to transport kids, groceries, tools or whatever you need around the city. It is equipped to carry kids safely, stay clean and dry in street clothes, to ride in the dark and poor weather, and to live outdoors. Kids sit in front where they can see the sights and you can see and talk with them. They don’t get sprayed from your rear tire like in a trailer. Most Kr8s are used for family transport but many businesses have also proven its value as a heavy-duty transport vehicle as well. A Kr8 is an investment, but it is nonetheless a great value for a practical, comfortable and durable vehicle that will provide many years of reliable service… in all conditions. We’ve sold and used most of the bikes in this category but invariably recommend the Kr8 because it simply makes customers happy.
Why a two-wheeler?
A number of features make the Kr8 a fantastic combination of capacity, stability, convenience and pleasant riding. Most importantly it’s a 2-wheeler. It might look difficult to carry so much without a tricycle, but actually the opposite is true; Bicycles (2-wheelers, that is) simply ride much more naturally and easily. This is why almost everybody begins riding a 2-wheeler as young as possible and never goes back to the tricycle. Tricycles are strange to ride and always remain so. Because they don’t lean through corners the handling is unnatural and tipping is common. For up to 3 kids or about 80kg cargo the Kr8 is simply better for most people than any tricycle. After a couple moments adjustment to the steering characteristics you can’t understand why it ever seemed strange.
The Kr8 carries its load very low which actually makes it feel much lighter and easier to handle with kids, groceries or other cargo aboard than a standard format bicycle (with a much higher center of gravity). To put that more directly you’re far less likely to fall over with your kids, and even in the unlikely event that you do they’ll be low to the ground and surrounded by a tough marine-plywood box with an aluminium frame around it. The steering geometry has been ingeniously developed to provide easy, neutral handling both empty and loaded. This is not the case with all load carrying bicycles so, if possible, definitely test any bike you’re considering, loaded and unloaded. You’ll find enormous differences.
The Four Point Parking Stand
A subtle but key feature of the Kr8 is its super stable and easy to operate parking stand. The bike stands so stably that kids can (and will) climb aboard themselves and play on the bike while parked. It will not fall over. This is incredibly convenient since you can safely load up your Kr8 while parked; kids, bags, buggy, dog and whatever else in the box, roll off the stand and ride. Compare that to the balancing act of getting kids and groceries on and off a standard bicycle with child seats. In any case the Kr8 enables you to carry loads you never could with a standard bicycle: four kids, a baby (or two!) in Maxi-Cosi(s), 80kg of party or picnic supplies…
The parking stand is spring loaded for easy operation. Just push it down with your foot and roll the bike back a little to put it on the stand. Roll the bike forwards and the stand automatically flips up.
A Vehicle for Everyday (and Night) Conditions
Like all WorkCycles bikes the Kr8 is built Dutch-style to handle day-to-day use and abuse. Complete, automatic dynamo lighting with B&M LED headlamp and taillamp mean you’ve powerful lights when it gets dark. The generator is in the front hub where it’s silent, causes no perceptible resistance and is out of harm’s way. The wiring is hidden almost entirely inside the fork, frame and rear fender. The LED lights have a lifespan measured in hundreds of thousands of hours and the taillamp has electronic circuitry to stay on for several minutes when you stop at signals. An even more powerful headlamp with stand light function is optional.
Being a proper Dutch bike, the Kr8 is designed and equipped to be ridden in street clothes, year-round, in all weather conditions. The sitting position is comfortably upright. Stainless steel, full-coverage mudguards and chain case keep you dry and clean.
Shimano’s top of the line IM80 roller brakes with cast cooling fins ensure solid stopping power unaffected by weather. For hilly terrain or riding with particularly heavy loads powerful Magura hydraulic rim brakes are an option.
The Schwalbe Marathon tires have a tightly woven carcass and Kevlar anti-puncture to make flats (and tire replacement) a rarity. An Abus rear wheel lock is included as is a bell. A choice of either the WorkCycles Gr8 or extra long Fr8 rear carriers are optional. For the kids and gear a rain tent with big windows and flat box cover are available.
Further the Kr8 is built to live outside, ready for action. The paint is a tough powdercoat over a super corrosion resistant zinc–based primer. Many of the components and almost all of the hardware are stainless steel. The box is a water-resistant, hard-finished, marine plywood called “betonplex”. The drivetrain is completely enclosed in a chain-case where it stays clean and requires minimal maintenance.
A Bike to Share
Like its sisters, the now famous Fr8 and Gr8, the new Kr8 shares WorkCycles’ special Adaptive Seat Tube geometry. In a nutshell AST enables the bike to properly fit riders from approximately 155cm to over 200cm, simply by adjusting the quick-release seat post. That’s really important for a bike like the Kr8 since it’s often shared by a family or colleagues, or rented/loaned by a shop.
Can I ride it in hilly terrain?
And now a word about hills: The Kr8 rides and functions great but at 35-40 kg with an upright sitting position they’re simply not mountain goats. Making them lighter would mean compromises in durability, practicality or price. A Cargobike is in its element in flat and lightly rolling terrain, though small hills will be fine for a moderately fit and motivated rider. Fitting lower gearing to the 8 speed hub helps, but not loading the bike down so heavily obviously helps much more. For more information about here you can also check out the Cargobike FAQ.
Ahh, but there’s now also the Kr8 V8 with a powerful electric assist motor in the crankset (“mid motor”). With 250W of power running through the NuVinci infinitely variable gearbox the Kr8 V8 is a joy to ride both uphill and longer distances. It’s 13Ah battery unit provides a surprising range. Under typical conditions one can get though even the most strenuous day on a single charge.
Long or Short?
For 10 years we discussed the pros and cons of the Cargobike Long and Short versions with thousands of customers. The overwhelming majority chose the handier Long version. A fair number of those who chose the Short version came back to trade it in for a Long one when child number two joined the family. Considering the very small number of Short Cargobikes WorkCycles sold in the past few years we decided to only build the Kr8 in one size, and it’s approximately the same size as its Long predecessor.
The Kr8 can carry 3 kids in the box with the optional second bench. It also has lots of space for groceries and kid stuff, even with 2 kids on the bench. We offer a Maxi-Cosi holder for the Kr8 that leaves room for kids on the bench. This is critical for a growing family: First baby in Maxi-Cosi, then toddler on bench, then new baby in Maxi-Cosi plus toddler on bench… Keep in mind that it’s very handy to be able to bring friends along.
Warranty and Service
WorkCycles takes a lot of pride in building and finishing our bicycles as thoroughly as possible an we provide warranty and service to match. Our mechanics go through an entire checklist of attention points for each bicycle, often taking 2 to 3 hours. This is always important, but even more so for exported bicycles that cannot easily return for an adjustment or warranty problem.
The frame carries a warranty of 10 years and components 1 year (except tires and a few other wear parts). On bikes purchased from the WorkCycles shops in Amsterdam we provide a generous service contract: one free service, 50% off labor in the six and 12 month services and 20% off all labor for five years from the purchase date. We recommend having the bike serviced at half year intervals to keep your bike running smoothly and avoid (expensive) damage caused by overly worn parts.
I don’t live in Amsterdam. Can I buy a Kr8?
Yes, and there are various ways to do so…
1. WorkCycles has a small but quickly growing network of dealers around the world. If we have a dealer near you it’s best to contact them first.
2. No WorkCycles dealer near you or there is a dealer but they don’t sell the Kr8? No problem; The Kr8 was designed for shipping. The frame splits in half and the box flat-packs. We can ship this bike all over the world. Just contact us for the options sheet and a transportation quote.
Within the Netherlands and regions of Belgium, Germany and even some parts of the UK we can ship the Kr8 economically without boxing it up; Just remove the packing materials and ride.
- NN8D 8 speed with hand brakes front and rear
This is our most popular setup, including Shimano’s smooth, wide-range and trouble-free, Nexus Premium 8 speed internal gear hub. Shimano’s best IM80 rollerbrakes (hand operated) are on each wheel.
- NR8D 8-speed with coaster brake
This is identical to the NN8D version above except with a rear coaster brake (backpedal brake). The coaster brake is familiar to those who’ve grown up with them and handy for doing typically Dutch things while cycling: pushing a child along on their own bike, sending messages on the mobile phone, eating an ice-cream cone etc.
- NNiD Nuvinci CVT with hand brakes
This spec is the same as the NN8D above but has the wonderfully smooth and strong Nuvinci constantly variable hub. instead of having steps between gears ratio of this hub can be set to exactly what you want right now. The total range is 360% vs. the Shimano 8sp hub’s 305% and it’s very strong too. The main downside is the higher cost.
- Magura Hydraulic Rim Brakes
The Shimano rollerbrakes offer nearly zero maintenance and perfectly adequate braking for those riding in mild terrain. There are applications that call for more powerful brakes though: Hilly terrain, very heavy loads and electric assist are a few examples. For these cases we can fit the amazing Magura HS11 hydraulic rim brakes. These are very powerful and as low maintenance as a rim brake can be.
Below are descriptions of the most common Kr8 specific options. Naturally WorkCycles also carries an enormous range of other accessories such as child seats, buggy carriers, panniers and locks. Custom work for special applications is also possible: Please contact us to discuss your needs.
Kr8 color choices
There are two standard colors: satin black or battleship grey. Each season we also paint a handful of unique bikes in our choice of “seasonal colors” but if you still don’t see what you want we can paint the Kr8 in your choice of one or more special RAL colors.
The tent-style canopy protects the kids from rain and cold, and of course kids love sitting inside. The rear panel rolls up for ventilation or to talk with the kids. Its almost all windows and is made in the Netherlands of tough Belgian made Bisonyl truck tarp material to take a beating. We always have a few color options in stock and can order the others, even color combinations are possible.
The cargo cover is a must. It protects the wooden box, prevents people from tossing their trash in the box, and provides some protection for the little things and groceries you want to leave behind while doing errands. The cover has snap closures on the sides so that kids can sit underneath, like in an old open sports car. With a hooded rain jacket this will keep kids dry in a light rain. In fact most families find that they use the Box Cover much more than the Canopy. We always have a variety of covers in stock and can order any color you want.
For those wondering what a “Maxi-Cosi” is… it’s by far the most popular baby carrier in Europe. Most babies lie in the Maxi-Cosi until about 9 months when they begin sitting. Since so many Kr8s are used to carry young families WorkCycles has developed our own Maxi-Cosi bridge that fits in the box of the Kr8. This holder safely carries the Maxi-Cosi so that kids can sit on the bench behind. A Maxi-Cosi can also simply be strapped in the box (without our bridge) but then there’s no leg room for kids to sit behind it.
Twins? Yes, we periodically build twin Maxi-Cosi carriers as well. It’s not a standard item but we do know how to do it.
Toddler support seat on the bench
This is how to carry kids too big for the Maxi Cosi but not quite ready to sit on the bench without additional support (about 9 to 22 months). We begin with a Bobike Mini child seat and modify it to fit on either side of the the Cargobike’s bench. It takes up less than half the width and utilizes the bench’s original harness. Two can even be fitted for twins. We normally perform this operation on a old Bobike Mini brought by the customer, but will do it to new ones if you don’t mind purchasing and cutting up a fresh child seat.
Second child bench
This is a narrower bench with one child harness that is installed forward of the standard bench. It can be pulled out when not in use. Handy both for families with 3 kids and also for bringing little friends along. The second bench is equipped with one harness, though we’ve seen that some customers ride with two kids on this bench (for a total of four in the box). As of October 2014 the Kr8 second bench isn’t yet available. Contact us for availability.
If you live in a place where things get stolen, you’ll want this little cable from saddle to frame. It’s neatly installed and doesn’t interfere with the saddle adjustment but it prevents the saddle and post from being pulled out.
Special freight boxes
95% of Kr8s are purchased for family transport with the standard box, but commercial use sometimes requires a special box. We offer an enclosed box specially designed to carry 60cm wide Euronorm transport crates. It’s made industrial strength from betonoplex and aluminium extrusions.
We can also build custom boxes to suit your business needs. Normally we build a special box rectangular in plan and with vertical sides to fit standard 60 x 40cm transport boxes. Our own boxes are built with panels in a metal frame so that the edges are protected. Slots for tie-downs can be fitted as needed. Freight boxes have no provision for carrying children – that’s what the standard box is for. Please contact us for more details.
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