Yay, WorkCycles COVID-19 Crisis Sell-a-thon (Updated)

March 25th, 2020 by henry

UPDATE: All of these bikes have been sold and our Sell-a-Thon has officially ended. We’re back to business as usual… aside from the COVID-19 precautions of course.

It took a pandemic but Henry’s writing again! Let’s just hope I have more pleasant things to muse about soon! Meanwhile a few of you are going to snag a great deal on a WorkCycles bike.

A worldwide crisis of epic proportions is quickly developing and the future is a big unknown. I’ll spare you the details since it’s pretty much all we talk about these days. To make a long story short WorkCycles will probably be forced to closed for one or more periods soon so maintaining cash flow is more important than having a showroom full of beautiful bicycles.

FYI: We’re still open and busy, obviously with strong measures to protect the health of both staff and customers. Meanwhile my colleagues and I are working at a feverish pace to get our new online platform up and running, putting the finishing touches on several new models, and keep our local customers’ bikes running smoothly.

Of course we’re still taking orders and building new bikes but both for those in a hurry and those looking/needing a bargain we’re selling off many of the showroom, loaner and demo bikes at very attractive prices. Each bike is described below and more information can be found in our website and elsewhere in this blog.

The DEMO/LOAN bikes have all been ridden and show signs of use (a ding in the mudguard, scratched/scuffed paint etc). Mechanically they are all in near perfect condition and will provide many years of reliable, enjoyable transportation. The NEW bikes are simply new bikes in stock.

As always these bikes can be packed and delivered (locally or abroad) though given our current workload our preference is selling and delivering them within the NL and BE.

Purchasing information:
Mail WorkCycles at [email protected]
Call to make appointment if you’re local

Without further ado, here are (most of) the bikes we’re offering deals on. We’ve been adding bikes as they become available:

SOLD ’t Mannetje Filibus- SRAM Automatix NR2D (SECOND HAND)
This unusual and handy cargobike was built by our friendly local colleagues at ’t Mannetje some 20 years ago. It’s been hanging around our shop for ages so we fixed it up as a simple load carrier. It has a (no longer made) Sram automatic 2 speed hub, front roller brake and dynamo powered LED lights. Bonus: The shallow 80x60cm Euronorm crate is a versatile platform. It can either be used on its own or 60x40cm Euronorm crates can be stacked on top.

This bike is mechanically near perfect but FYI it’s brush painted, albeit very nicely. Nonetheless it will serve it’s new boss for many years.

The Filibus costs €666- complete with 6.66 rolls of toilet paper

SOLD Classic Bakfiets, size Large (NEW SHOWROOM MODEL)
A discount on one of these babies? Basically unheard of. This is the real deal, a massive, old skool beast of steel, mahogany, rubber and leather. It’s got a single, fixed gear so you can ride forwards or backwards, and a ginormous drum brake to stop and park. This trike is new but has been in our showroom for a couple years so there are a few paint scuffs. Don’t worry. It’ll still outlast the cockroaches.

Incl VAT: Normally €4977, now €4200
Ex VAT: Normally €4060, now €3471

We built this gorgeous machine to photograph as an example of our new “Fr8 Over the Top” model. In principle it was to be my new daily ride replacing Fr8 “Rusty” I’ve been riding since 2008 but never got around to painting. This is the Fr8 I would ride if I could build it anyhow I please… and that’s exactly what I can do thus the existence of this special bike. Now with a crisis looming it makes more sense to sell it than ride it. I’ve got lots of cool bikes already.

The nerds will recognize the components but for the rest of you…
Drivetrain: Shimano Alfine 11 speed gearing, ProMax BMX crank with 24mm hollow axle and replaceable chainring, KMC EPT coated chain, Hebie Chainglider, Brave sealed bearing aluminium pedals.
Brakes: Magura MT5 eStop hydraulic disks with 4 piston calipers and 180mm rotors.
Other special features: Schwalbe Almotion tires, Supernova headlamp, Brooks Cambium grips, Selle Royal Lookin Relaxed saddle, custom paintwork.

Such a bike should cost somewhat more than €3200 (Ex VAT €2645). Yes, that’s lots of dough for a utility bike but hey great bikes bring joy to your life every day. We’re selling it for €2800 (Ex VAT €2314).

SOLD Fr8 V8 Pendix HHIE Matte Grey w/ Ocean Blue F/R carriers & Fr8 child saddle frame. (NEW)
The Fr8 V8 is the electric assist version of WorkCycles most popular bike with a cult following around the world. It’s phenomenally versatile and can be configured for an infinite array of applications. The motor system from Pendix in Germany is totally silent and remarkably smooth. For hilly areas we now offer other solutions (which aren’t on our outdated site yet) – please mail us.

This bike is equipped with Enviolo N380 infinitely variable transmission and Magura hydraulic rim brakes. It has our City front carrier, Fr8 front child saddle, Fr8 rear carrier and foot/jacket/skirt guards. We’re happy to add additional options such as child seats, bin etc at extra cost.

Note: Unlike the bike in the photos this one has ocean blue carriers!

Incl VAT: Normally €4011, now €3599
Ex VAT: Normally €3315, now €2983
Bikes with electric assist cannot be shipped outside Europe.

SOLD SS Mens 61cm matte black NN8D PU (NEW)
The Secret Service is WorkCycles slightly lighter duty yet still super tough urban utility bike. This one has 8 speeds and roller brakes (hand operated) front and rear. The Brooks B67 saddle and frame fixed front carrier are also included.

It’s no problem to add options such as Brooks leather grips (at extra cost). We can also outfit this bike with the Pendix electric assist system.

Incl VAT: Normally €1333, now €1133
Ex VAT: Normally €1102, now €936

SOLD The Stallion- 61cm Opa frame, matte black, HD Sturmey Archer S1C coaster brake with 90mm drum front brake (NEW)
In between completing orders and maintaining customer bikes we build specials that we just think are cool. This is one of them. If you’re not carrying heavy loads or riding in hilly terrain single speed is wonderful. It’s silent, maintenance free and puts more “flow” in your ride. I personally have more bikes without gears than with them.

FYI: The photos are of a previous Stallion. They’re similar but one for sale has fatter 50mm tires and (also longer) mudguards and a big polished aluminium front drum brake.

Incl VAT: Normally €1300, now €1049
Ex VAT: Normally €1074, now €867

SOLD Kruisframe Step Through- 55cm matte black, NN8D (NEW)
This tough and unique classic city bike is equally suitable for men and women. NN8D = 8sp Nexus internal gear hub, Shimano roller brakes front and rear. Hub dynamo powered LED headlamp and taillamp. Super tough wheels with special rims and 47mm Schwalbe Marathon tires.

It’s no problem to add options such as the frame-fixed front carrier, Brooks leather saddle/grips, child seat etc (at extra cost).

Incl VAT: Normally €1279, now €999. Add €85 for front carrier.
Ex VAT: Normally €1057, now €826. Add €70 for front carrier.

SOLD Omafiets- 55cm matzwart, NR3D (NEW)
This is of course the iconic Dutch bike except ours is built like a velvet lined tank. This one has 3 speeds, coaster brake and front roller brake (hand operated). We could convert it to 8sp with two hand brakes at extra cost.

It’s no problem to add options such as the frame-fixed front carrier, Brooks leather saddle/grips, child seat etc (at extra cost).

Incl VAT: Normally €939, now €749. Add €85 for front carrier.
Ex VAT: Normally €776, now €619. Add €70 for front carrier.

SOLD Secret Service Step-Through- 55cm matte black NN3D, front carrier (NEW)
The Secret Service is WorkCycles slightly lighter duty yet still super tough urban utility bike. This one has 3 speeds and roller brakes (hand operated) front and rear. We could convert it to 8sp with two hand brakes at extra cost.

It’s no problem to add options such as Brooks leather grips, child seat etc (at extra cost).

Incl VAT: Normally €1069, now €934
Ex VAT: Normally €883, now €772

SOLD Kr8- “Stinger”, China Green, NN8D, Gr8 rear carrier (DEMO/LOAN)
The Kr8 is of course WorkCycles 2-wheeled bakfiets (cargobike). It’s easy to ride and super handy and cozy with the kids… or dog(s), or cargo, or photo gear, or tools, or 100 rolls of toilet paper. You get the idea.

Stinger is a nice, old-skool Kr8 with Nexus 8 speed gearing and roller brakes front and rear. No electric assist on this baby. It’s a lovely shade of light green. This bike is in great shape though there is one paint chip in a fairly obvious location.

Of course we can add (kid carrying or otherwise) accessories as needed, at extra cost.We can also outfit this bike with Bafang mid-motor electric assist system.

Cost new €2464, Stinger offered now for €1300

SOLD Gr8- “Sookie”, Black/Red NR3D, Lookin saddle (DEMO/LOAN)
The Gr8 is the “I don’t need to carry 3 kids, 50kg of cargo or whatever” variation of the iconic Fr8. It’s lighter, more nimble yet still highly versatile and sturdy. Sookie is a simple 3sp bike with coaster (backpedal) brake and front hand brake with the City front carrier and Gr8 rear carrier

Cost new €1454, Sookie is offered for €799 (€660 Ex VAT)

SOLD Gr8- “Robocop”, Grijs/Zilver, HH8D (DEMO/LOAN)
The Gr8 is the “I don’t need to carry 3 kids, 50kg of cargo or whatever” variation of the iconic Fr8. It’s lighter, more nimble yet still highly versatile and sturdy. Robocop is a rather deluxe Gr8 with Nexus 8sp gearing and Magura hydraulic rim brakes. It has front and rear carriers.

Cost new €1869, Robocop is offered now for €999 (Ex VAT €826)

SOLD Fr8 V8- “Jester”, black/green, Pendix-NN8D, Fr8 Child Saddle, Fr8 double sitter (DEMO/LOAN)
The Fr8 V8 is the electric assist version of WorkCycles most popular bike with a cult following around the world. It’s phenomenally versatile and can be configured for an infinite array of applications. The motor system is from Pendix in Germany.

Jester is equipped with Nexus 8 speed gearing and roller brakes front and rear. It has our City front carrier, Fr8 front child saddle and Fr8 rear carrier with double sitter setup.

Cost new €3751, Jester is offered now for €1999
Bikes with electric assist cannot be shipped outside Europe.

SOLD Fr8- “Dragonfly”, Ocean Blue/Orange, NN8D, Fr8 child saddle, Fr8 double sitter (DEMO/LOAN)
The Fr8 is WorkCycles most popular bike with a cult following around the world. It’s phenomenally versatile and can be configured for an infinite array of applications.

Dragonfly is equipped with Nexus 8 speed gearing and roller brakes front and rear. It has our City front carrier, Fr8 front child saddle and Fr8 rear carrier with double sitter setup.

Cost new €2101, Dragonfly is offered now for €1099 (Ex VAT €908)

SOLD Fr8- “Incognito”, Matte Grey/Black/Red, NN3D, Fr8 child saddle, Fr8 rear carrier (DEMO/LOAN)
The Fr8 is WorkCycles most popular bike with a cult following around the world. It’s phenomenally versatile and can be configured for an infinite array of applications.

Incognito is a 3 speed bike with roller brakes front and rear. It’s equipped with the City front carrier, Fr8 child saddle and long rear carrier.

Cost new: €1724, Incognito offered now for €899 (Ex VAT €743)

SOLD Gr8- Ocean Blue, HH8D, City front carrier (NEW)
The Gr8 is the “I don’t need to carry 3 kids, 50kg of cargo or whatever” variation of the iconic Fr8. It’s lighter, more nimble yet still highly versatile and sturdy. This particular example is equipped with a Nexus 8sp hub and Magura hydraulic rim brakes. It has our nearly indestructible City front carrier and the rear “bumper”. Want a rear carrier too? We can add that for extra cost.

Incl VAT Normally €1830, now €1449
Ex VAT Normally €1512, now €1198

SOLD Gr8- Grey/Green/Blue, NN8D (NEW)
The Gr8 is the “I don’t need to carry 3 kids, 50kg of cargo or whatever” variation of the iconic Fr8. It’s lighter, more nimble yet still highly versatile and sturdy. This particular example is equipped with a Nexus 8sp hub and Shimano roller brakes. It has our nearly indestructible City front carrier and a rear carrier.

1264/1529 + 99/120 + 37/45
Incl VAT: Normally €1749, now €1399
Ex VAT: Normally €1445, now €1156

SOLD Gr8- Black with Yellow/Orange rims, NN8D (NEW)
The Gr8 is the “I don’t need to carry 3 kids, 50kg of cargo or whatever” variation of the iconic Fr8. It’s lighter, more nimble yet still highly versatile and sturdy. This particularly cheery example is equipped with a Nexus 8sp hub and Shimano roller brakes. It has our nearly indestructible City front carrier and the rear “bumper”. Want a rear carrier too? We can add that for extra cost.

Incl VAT: Normally €1800, now €1440
Ex VAT: Normally €1488, now €1190

That’s it for now. As other loaner bikes return to the shop we might add them to the list. You don’t see what you’re looking for? No problem! We’re happy to build you a new bike too.

Look forward to hearing from you soon!

WorkCycles Fr8 “Massive Rack”

January 15th, 2017 by henry

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.

Winter 2016-17: Reinventing WorkCycles

November 28th, 2016 by henry


This is WorkCycles’ improvised “photo studio” and a good example of how things look behind the scenes here. We’re a small and flexible firm, and everybody who works here (all seven of us!) has to wear various hats. I’m the director but can sometimes be found in the workshop wrenching bikes though more often I’m “testing products” by riding around the city with kids and cargo. Everybody here is obsessed with bikes and cycling. We get around town by bike, obsessively design bikes, tour on bikes, race bikes, collect old bikes, build cool bikes, Facebook and blog about bikes.

Our love of all things bicycle led WorkCycles to spread its efforts over a broad range of activities, far too broad really. Of course we design, build and sell WorkCycles bikes both via our dealers and directly to customers worldwide. But also we’ve… run two (well-loved) shops, rented bikes and bakfietsen (cargo bikes), repaired most any bike or trike that rolled into our shops, sold Frog kids bikes, Micro run-bikes and scooters, kids helmets and all sorts of accessories. Parts for Dutch (cargo) bikes are difficult to find elsewhere so we’ve been shipping them to customers worldwide. Then there’s also the weird stuff like building special heavy-duty wheels for most of the bicycle taxi firms in Amsterdam, repairing nice old ladies’ old E-bikes that nobody else dares to touch, or building special touring bikes for a family that cycled around the world with kids 8, 9, and 10 all on their own bicycles.

Slowly over the past couple years we’ve been focussing our efforts. First we stopped renting bikes and bakfietsen. Of course we still have a small fleet of demo WorkCycles for customers to borrow and test for a few days. Gone is the time and attention consumed by setting up groups of tourists with bikes, getting calls that they lost the keys, got a flat tire, students bickering about the prices, whatever. It was fun when there were just a half dozen bike rental shops in Amsterdam and those who rented bikes tended to be interested in cycling. Now there are hundreds of bike rental places here (even the cigar shop around the corner!) and riding a bike in Amsterdam is just a must-do item on every tourist’s bucket list.

In 2015 we closed our Veemarkt shop in Amsterdam Oost. We’d been considering this step for several years but it was where I started WorkCycles in 2003 so I couldn’t let go of it. Eventually there was just no escaping the fact that our sales were increasingly outside the Netherlands both via the dealers and end-user direct. Currently more than 75% of WorkCycles’ bikes leave the country so running multiple shops in Amsterdam made no sense, neither economically nor organizationally. It was just unfortunate to leave our many customers in the eastern part of Amsterdam without a good local shop for maintenance.

More recently we’ve been turning away most non-WorkCycles bikes from our workshop. There’s less delay for our regular customers and we can maintain a better stock of the parts needed for our own bikes, instead of for every bike in the city. Maintaining WorkCycles bikes is of course also much more predictable for us which enables the workshop to plan more accurately, making everybody happier.

The more we focus the more smoothly our business runs. Each time we forecast that the turnover will suffer but the cost reduction should compensate. In fact the turnover invariably remains constant or even increases. Why? Probably because we have more time and attention to focus on our core business activities.

What’s next? Big changes are ahead but I’ll let you extrapolate and guess for now. There are a few more minor activities to trim away but we’re also going to make some fairly serious changes to how we do business both locally and abroad. Keep posted for more news.

Beldoppen: Why Only Some People Can Be Artists

November 21st, 2016 by henry


Pete Jordan invited me for coffee a couple days ago. Pete is perhaps best known for his 1990’s zine Dishwasher Pete but I know him as another bicycling obsessed Amsterdammer and author of the very thoroughly researched book “In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist“. It’s an absolute must-read for anybody with an interest in the history of urban cycling.


Pete showed me a project he’s been working on for several years and quite frankly I feel a bit stupid for never noticing this phenomenon. It seems there are bicycle bell tops (“beldoppen” in Dutch) pressed into the streets all over the city. Rattling over cobblestones and tram tracks unscrews them from their bells and eventually flings them to the ground. Most beldoppen probably end up in the gutter and get swept up by the street cleaners but some get squished into the asphalt or between cobbles where they remain as part of the road surface. There they remain, sometimes for years, getting driven over by thousands of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Eventually the road gets resurfaced and the beldoppen disappear.


Few people would ever even see the beldoppen. Even fewer, or perhaps precisely ONE person would meticulously record their locations (many hundreds of them) and vital statistics in a database and re-photograph them each year during late May and June. Why May and June you wonder? Well, that’s the only time it’s light early enough to photograph these busy, inner-city locations in daylight but without traffic.


Some beldoppen remain in place so long that the passing traffic eventually wears them down to bell fossils. Only the center, circumference and vague pattern remain. Who would even realize what they were looking at if they spotted one of those?



Pete’s beldoppen project deserves a more public exhibition space though. It’s currently displayed on the walls of his WC. Any gallery curators in the market for a fascinating piece of urban archaeology art?

Time for a Winter Deal: Wicked Special Edition WorkCycles Bikes

December 30th, 2015 by henry

WorkCycles mechanics hard at work

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).

Special Edition WorkCycles Fr8 models
We’re building four different special versions of the heavy duty Fr8 bike this winter, from basic to over the top. Check 0our product pages for much more basic info about the WorkCycles Fr8 series:
Fr8 as City Bike
Fr8 Crossframe as City Bike
Fr8 as Family Bike
Fr8 Crossframe as Dad Bike

…and WorkCycles Fr8 overview page

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.

Here’s more info about the Fr8 Delivery with Massive Rack

WorkCycles Fr8 Straight 2015

Special Edition WorkCycles Gr8 models
We’ve three flavors of Gr8 on the menu: basic, straightforward and no holds barred. More info on the Gr8 can be found here:
WorkCycles Gr8 City Bike
WorkCycles Fr8 and Gr8… What’s the difference?

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.

WorkCycles Fr8 Straight 2015

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:

WorkCycles Kr8 Bakfiets Overview
WorkCycles Kr8 product page

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!

How to order
If you’re local, just come visit us in Amsterdam. The Special Edition bikes will also be available via stocking WorkCycles dealers. Otherwise it’s the standard WorkCycles procedure: You can contact us via the Purchase Information link in the relevant bike page in the WorkCycles website or just email us the following info:

– Full name
– Business name if relevant
– Address
– City, Post code, State or Province if needed
– Country
– Phone number
– Email
– Bike you’re interested in and any specific questions or requests

The Winter Special bikes are available to stocking WorkCycles dealers as well but several important rules apply. Please contact us to discuss.

WorkCycles Hoodies Again!

May 22nd, 2015 by henry

WorkCycles Crossframe hoodie 2

UPDATE 2015-11-30:
OK, it’s finally time to get this back-burner project rolling! We’re sorting out the orders and will have MoreColor print the clothes. Due to popular demand T-shirts and more kids hoodie options have been added. Below I’ve added the full list with prices. Just send a mail with your requests.

Back when WorkCycles was about as much hobby as business I snapped a few photos of a cool bike I’d built for a customer, played around with some Photoshop filters and made a ghostlike image that looked like it’d be cool on a t-shirt or hoodie. My friend Stella (who also created the current WorkCycles logo and graphic style in 2007) cleaned up my amateurish Photochopping and passed it on More Color, our neighbors in the Veemarkt who do really fine, durable silkscreening. They were very popular; For several years we’d have More Color make a fresh batch each autumn. Here below is the original WorkCycles Kruisframe hoodie, modelled by my lovely wife Kyoko.

workcycles-hoodie-sweatshirt 2

Eventually we got a little tired of always making hoodies, T-shirts and shop aprons with the same design. Along came Zeptonn, über hip illustrator and new papa. We wanted some new designs and Zeptonn really needed a WorkCycles bike to carry his freshly delivered, precious cargo around Groningen, bicycle capital of the world. Done deal. We like bartering here at WorkCycles!

workcycles-worm-t-shirts 6

We were super psyched about our funny new hoodies and T-shirts with our very own family of Amsterdammetjes characters. We had LOTS of them made in anticipation of great demand. We wore them proudly. Our kids wore them proudly. Our customers?… Meh. “Do you have any more of the other kind?” they asked, “You know, the ones with the pastoorsfiets, the bike that seems to hover on your chest?” We still dig the Zeptonn kit and we did eventually sell all of them, but man, it took years to do so.

workcycles-tandem-hoodie-kids 5
Is that not just too cute or what?

OK, fine, we’re bike builders not fashion designers. We’re good at designing bikes you love, buy, ride and rave about. Less so when it comes to clothes. I guess I got lucky once.

So now after a couple years’ hiatus it’s high time for more WorkCycles hoodies and aprons. We’ve unfortunately learned that Zeptonn’s worms are just too darn hip for our customers, yet we cannot bear to make more of the originals that everybody keeps asking for. Did I mention yet today how badly we suck at marketing? Probably we could sell the old Kruisframe accessories until the cockroaches take over the earth yet we refuse to do so. Solution to our own self-inflicted problem? Months of fettling and internal strife to create WorkCycles Crossframe Hoodie 2.0!

WorkCycles Fr8 Crossframe hoodie design 2

Introducing our new design. It’s just like the original… only better. Look carefully and you’ll see that the old one was a WorkCycles classic Kruisframe. The new one is a WorkCycles Fr8 Crossframe. Even the graphic design has been refined to help this one to really pop like a sort of neo-retro hologram in your chest.

Above the apron, though of course the new ones will have the new design.

Here’s the thing though; WorkCycles is a little bike company, not a fashion house. We’re just not into maintaining an inventory of clothes in a range of styles, sizes and colors. Displaying them, keeping them clean, folded and organized, helping customers decide which color and size is best… I guess our eyes just glaze over while we stress about the all the bikes to build and ship.

We’re keeping it simple this time. We’ll do a run of hoodie sweatshirts for adults and kids, T-shirts and shop/kitchen aprons. As always the stuff will be nice, heavy, long wearing cotton. Our previous tries with organic cotton have been disappointing; They just weren’t of the same quality as the evil cotton versions. The kids’ hoodies were a hit last time so we’ll do those again too, sizes TBD. The aprons will be, as always, long and heavy-duty, equally handy for protecting your clothes in the workshop, kitchen or behind the summer BBQ. Color options? Everything in black, black or black baby! OK, except for the kiddie hoodies which come in some colors, because they have to.

Most of the run will be sold on a pre-order basis. We’ll print a handful more for stock but if you want one I really recommend the preorder. Once these are sold out I have absolutely no idea when we’ll have more made.

Prices (all Ex VAT):
– Hoodies S-XXL, black, black or black €40
– Kids’ Hoodies size 2-3, navy blue or pink €30
– Kids’ Hoodies size 4-5, black or pink €35
– Kids’ Hoodies size 6-7, black or pink €35
– T-Shirts S-XXL, black, black or black €20
– Aprons, heavy duty black €25

How to Order:
Send a mail to peopleatworkcyclesdotcom. Please include…
– Your name
– Address, City, Postal code, Country
– Phone number (we need it for shipping)
– What you’d like to order in which sizes

Payment can be by PayPal, credit card or bank but please don’t mail any payment info. We’ll reply with the options and a secure link.

We’re happy to ship them anywhere in the world but unfortunately shipping small items outside Europe tends to be too expensive. Maybe you want to purchase a new WorkCycles bike have the hoodie shipped along with it?

Just an 8 Tooth Cog in the Machine

April 4th, 2015 by henry

8t driver (1)

This folks is an 8 tooth cog. These are the tiniest cogs in the bike world and probably in all of machine world too since a gear with only eight teeth is actually a pretty bad idea. The problem is that it’s not really round, it’s basically an octagon so it runs roughly as it’s effective diameter gets bigger and smaller between each tooth. In freestyle BMX though, such tiny cogs are handy because they enable making a useful gear ratio with a tiny chainring… one that won’t get bent in half when a rider smacks it onto a stairway railing or priceless sculpture.

Anyhow at times like this we at WorkCycles feel a little like that little 8 toother: Handy but basically just a minuscule cog in the giant financial machine. A handful of power brokers work the controls and we spin around, trying to do our thing. My understanding of such matters is limited but I read that the powers that be decided it would be good to turn on the presses and print a whole lot more Euro money. Of course the total real value of that money hasn’t actually increased; It’s just been divided into smaller units. In other words printing more money makes whatever money you already have worth less. I suppose the saving grace is that I don’t have any money to lose value.

Oh and then there’s that exchange rate thing, the reason I’m driveling on about this. Now with more, less valuable Euros in the world, a Euro becomes less valuable in comparison to other currencies. In our case the US Dollar is the issue because the parts of the world that make lots of stuff sell their stuff in US Dollars. WorkCycles bikes are NOT made in one of those countries but some of their most expensive parts are: gear and dynamo hubs, rollerbrakes, some frames, cranks, pedals and other smaller components.

eur-usd-exchange- apr-2015

That above is the relationship between the value of a Euro and a Dollar over the last year. One Euro is worth approximately 30% fewer Dollars than a year ago. Alternatively you could say that the roughly 25% of a WorkCycles bike’s contents purchased in Dollars now costs 30% more for us Euro money wielding Dutch folks to purchase. Being a little company competing against giants our profit margins are already pathetic. We wrestle each year with where to set our prices so that our bikes are a good value for end customers, our dealers can earn a living from their margins, and we can pay our own employees and bills. It’s been apparent that considerable price increases would be necessary and and making them suck is not an option we’ll ever entertain. We delayed the inevitable as long as possible and have finally pulled the trigger: As of April 2015 WorkCycles bike prices are increasing approximately 10% instead of the usual yearly increases of a couple percent. We’ll honor quotes with the old prices from March 2015 so if you have one of those in your hands you’ve got about three weeks to to say “YES! and get a great deal”. On bikes sold to dealers our margin is so small that the new prices unfortunately have to apply to all new orders. I’ll be mailing those out shortly.

That was the BAD news. The GOOD news is that WorkCycles bikes are now about 30% cheaper for those of you outside Euroland! We pack and ship our bikes almost everywhere (except when it competes with our active dealers). Here are a few examples of the more exotic or unexpected destinations for WorkCycles bikes in the last year or so: Bahamas, Brazil, Chile, Cyprus, Seychelle, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Romania, Russia, Singapore and Texas. Of course most WorkCycles end up in more predictable locales throughout Europe and North America.

With that out of the way here’s my four year old cutie doing what she loves best: riding her bike.

Amsterdamse Bos Bike Trip 2-2015.13

Just in the Nick of Time!

February 23rd, 2015 by henry

Whether I’ve the time or not, or a burning topic to write about is utterly irrelevant. I just noticed that in four days it’ll be a YEAR since I last added a post to Bakfiets en Meer. Jeetje, I’m sucking at this blog thing. Fortunately the blogging conditions are ideal today; The weather is too miserable for cycling and I’ve got a cold anyway. Here we go, and we’re going to begin with some photos I took at Bike Motion the local “sporty” bike expo in October. I like bike expos. You’re always guaranteed a mix of cool new gear, tons of boring generic stuff and mind blowingly stupid shit. Bike Motion 2014 was no exception.

Even though it’s in utility cycling paradise the Netherlands Bike Motion is a show for the sporty bikes. You see we ride those here too, all kinds of them actually. After riding two kids to school on my WorkCycles Fr8 transportfiets I sometimes go the the local Velodrome to train for my hobby: track racing. I was a decent endurance trackie (the kind of racers that sprinters think are roadies and roadies think are sprinters) when I was younger. I got back into the sport a couple years ago but am just now finally getting my act together to bring in some results.

If the weather’s OK I often spend my Fridays riding through the countryside for five or six hours. One of my favorite routes is through the dunes, sometimes from Bloemendaal aan Zee down to Scheveningen and back through the bulb fields. Other Dutchies go touring, do ride cyclosportives or race BMX, or even ride mountain bikes here. Never mind that there are no mountains. The Dutch are creative and flexible in their thinking.

MTB Wedstrijd Noordwijk 2014 10
This is my son P1, then five, tearing it up on his little 20″ wheeled mountain bike in Noordwijkerhout. Coach Randy is following his motivated student. We learn ’em young here!

Modern mountain bikes, though, leave me cold. I’m sure there were hundreds of them at Bike Motion but I didn’t notice or take pictures of them. I’m still happy with the old skool bike I built back around 1990. Mostly I really dig riding with my son, just getting a kick out the fact that it can actually enjoy trail riding with such a little kid. When the trail is tight he just flies, sliding that teeny bike around like he was born with it on his feet. At 19kg he climbs hills like a scalded cat too. In a few years he’ll kick my ass and badly.

Daedalus-Moots-1990ish 2
Yeah, Old Skool, that’s my mountain bike!

In no particular order here’s some stuff I found worthy of taking pictures of a few months ago:



In the fairly useless but still cool department was this UNDER 2500g fixed gear bike by Carbonreparaties.nl. I hefted it with my very own fingers and felt no reason to doubt the claim. It was bizarrely lacking in mass. Exactly what one does with such a bike isn’t clear but it’s nonetheless neat that somebody built it. It’s in the same category as fully functional model-sized V12 engines and musical performances made with offshore fog horns. Guy stuff.


Moving on toward more useful developments the availability of steadily fatter, high quality road tires is a trend we’re happy to see. The 1990’s was a low point in tiredom with horrible, harsh riding, super skinny 19 and 20mm jobs. Those fortunately disappeared in favor of 23mm as a standard. Like many others in the last couple years I’ve gone from 23mm to 25mm on most of my wheels and would try 27-28mm for rougher conditions. I managed to flat in two of two cyclo sportives last year and believe that at least one of those (a pinch flat while descending at eyeball rattling speed) could have been avoided with a bigger volume tire. I’m riding 25mm Veloflex tires on the road but these 27mm Challenges look a lot more than 2mm bigger. In fact the 25mm Veloflex measures the same as a 23mm Continental and for that matter only 1mm bigger than the 22mm Veloflex Records on my track training wheels (with narrower rims no less). In other words take manufacturer’s size designations with a grain of salt and measure stuff yourself.


Another development WorkCycles has been following are toothed belt drives, with an eye toward them being practical for utility bikes. They offer some advantages over chains but for various reasons just haven’t yet been practical for WorkCycles utility bikes: mainly that they’ve been too expensive, require too much precision and that the belt preload stresses internal gear hubs. Chatting for some time with the fellow at Gates we came to the realization that we were acquaintances from way back when. It was Frank Scurlock who I knew from various bike industry firms in California. It seems Gates is aware of these issues and is busy with a new belt system for 2016 or so that should make the belt practical for bikes like ours. It’ll be more fault tolerant and a wider pitch will enable cheaper cogs and rings (i.e. molded plastic, cast metal etc). The currently available city bike cranks, chains and cogs wear disappointingly quickly, sometimes under hard use within a year for a set. We’re thus curious to see what Gates comes up with.


Gates belt drive: Promising. Mando Footloose “hybrid drive”: Stupid. I’d seen this thing getting blogged up and touted in social media but hadn’t yet seen it in the flesh. Seriously, if this is the future of cycling I’ll just walk. The Mando Footloose is dubbed the first “hybrid” electric bike, meaning that there’s no direct, mechanical connection between the cranks and the rear wheel. Like a diesel locomotive the cranks power a generator which charges a battery. The motor in the rear hub is then powered by the battery. Even using aerospace quality components (which they’re most certainly NOT using) you’d be lucky to achieve much better than 50% efficiency. Compare that to well over 90% for even a dirty chain drive. Even appalling efficiency numbers aside the system removes the feeling of a direct connection between pedaling force and forward motion. Nooooooooooo!

Sure, I understand the potential advantages of a chainless drive system. It’s clean. You could potentially use a folding geometry that wouldn’t be practical with a chain in the way. Well actually I running out of advantages right there. So basically it’s an interesting idea for a folding bike. Why then does is this beast remain enormous when folded and why is it sooooo friggin’ heavy?! I don’t mean “heavy” as in heavier than my 9kg Brompton. I mean “heavy” as in almost impossible to lift at all, and it’s not even cleverly designed to roll along on it’s own wheels when folded.

Why else is the Footloose totally stupid? It’s touted as a practical development yet there’s no provision for carrying anything, no lights and it sports only vestigial fenders. The saddle height is only minimally adjustable. And it’s fuckin’ UGLY!


The Mando’s little pedal mounted kickstand is kinda cute though even that isn’t nearly as convenient as the foot operated one it replaces. Can’t the thing just balance like a Segway?

henry's 1980ish DeRosa

While we’re enjoying being snarky critical let’s talk about De Rosa for a minute. Back in the day when men were men and sheep ran scared De Rosa was one of the most highly regarded Italian race bike builders. Eddy Merckx always rode De Rosas, even when he wasn’t supposed to be riding De Rosas. I rode a De Rosa too for what that’s worth, though mine seemed to be something of a Friday afternoon Chianti job. The geometry is rather strange, the cast seatstay caps have their De Rosa logos upside down and I broke one of the diamond shaped chainstays after only ten years of racing and training. It was and still is pretty though, and it’s for sale in case you’re interested.

They now build boxy carbon frames with the most hideous graphics in the business. I was planning to snark about how De Rosa just sells frames made in the far east but I just did a little last minute research and discovered that they still build all of their frames (even the boxy carbon ones) in their own workshop in Cusano Milanino, Italy. Well takes the wind out of my snarky sails. OK, never mind… good on you De Rosa for maintaining your own Italian production while your competitors sell generics sourced in China. Do please hire a better graphic designer though.

Speaking of local production the craft of custom framebuilding had almost disappeared in the Netherlands. Back in the day (see above) there were hundreds of Dutch frame builders. Hand built steel frames have had something of a revival in the US and to a lesser extent in the UK, Italy and elsewhere. In the NL though there seemed to be no emotion for the craft element of cycling. RIH, the last of the famous builders retired and closed his doors a couple years ago. RIH was legendary for building dozens of world championship winning bikes in their long history and an Amsterdam Jordaan icon. Wim van der Kaaij’s shop was around the corner from WorkCycles. Around the same time that Wim was retiring local interest in hand-built bikes was finally emerging and a number of young Dutch framebuilders were getting started. The bike above is from St. Joris Cycles in Eindhoven who builds really clean looking full custom bikes.

Many cyclists in Amsterdam lamented the loss of RIH though and just couldn’t let this iconic make disappear. There was continuous rumor and speculation of a restart, despite Wim van der Kaaij being in his late 70’s. It really happened though; A number of young Amsterdammers opened a fresh new RIH atelier in Amsterdam Noord, complete with Mr. van der Kaaij building frames and teaching them his admittedly rather archaic framebuilding methods. Their stand at Bike Motion was amongst the most popular, constantly busy. I visited them last summer and I finally learned the origins of the frame of my old winter training bike that I’d bought for 100 guilders in a Groningen 2nd hand shop. It’s a 1960’s era RIH.

Henry's Winter Road Bike 2014 6

Sadly Wim van der Kaaij suddenly passed away in December. R.I.P. Wim; a big chunk of cycling history passes on with you. As for the future of RIH we’re curious to see their next moves. Good luck however you guys choose to go forward!

Introducing the WorkCycles Kr8 bakfiets… Finally!

February 25th, 2014 by henry

WorkCycles-Kr8-Green-Orange 10
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.

WorkCycles-Kr8-Green-Orange 2
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.

Kr8 Groen Oranje LRC 7 kids
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-Kr8-Green-Orange 6
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.

Cafe Brecht Workcycles Bakfiets 1
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.

WorkCycles Kr8 Grijs Blauw
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…?

Kr8 parking stand

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.

WorkCycles-Kr8-Green-Orange 4
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.

WorkCycles Kr8 Ocean Blue Apple Green

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!

WorkCycles 2014: Good Stuff Coming!

January 9th, 2014 by henry

happynewyear-2014 (1)
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.

Prinsengracht one fall morning 1
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.

Dylan "acting" for TV show 5
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.

street of banger waste
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!

vrachtfiets on roof
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.

sinterklaas-intocht-amsterdam-on-workcycles-bakfietsen 2
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?