Worksman Industrial Bicycle- Report
The Worksman Industrial Bike is a heavy cruiser style bicycle made primarily for industrial use. Worksman also sells customized versions as a conventional cruiser bike, although the basic bicycle is the same in either case. See the bike in question here: http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_s.../indbikes.html
From time to time, I have heard comments about the company, but have actually heard very little about their bicycles, and thought a review might be helpful to other people.
First off, why even consider such a bike?
My main point in riding a bike is not to get from point A to point B, as Iím basically riding in a large circle. My point is to get exercise. With this in mind, a lighter, more efficient bike is not that great of a benefit, as I just have to go faster or farther for the same amount of exercise. Add to this that I was having trouble with my cheap mountain bike falling apart under me (I weigh about 270 lbs.) And anything required in the way of maintenance, adjustment, or repairs prevents exercise. I would like to be able to ride in bad weather, so fenders are helpful. So one possibility to achieve my goals was a well-built, sturdy, and simple bicycle with fenders, and that steered me towards the Worksman.
While Worksman offers customized cruisers, the standard industrial bike, model M2600, had the options I wanted at a lower price than the customized versions, so I went with it. The model 2600 has a straight frame instead of a curved frame. Less obvious is that the frame, or at least the seat post measurement on the frame, is slightly larger. The website shows the fenders on the industrial model as black, while on the cruiser model, black fenders are an extra-cost option. However, the bicycle as received has the chrome fenders. Looks okay, but this is a point that needs correcting in the website information.
The bicycle arrived in a large bicycle carton via UPS. One end of the box was somewhat crushed, as though the box had been dropped on its end. From other reading, I find this is not too uncommon in bike shipments in general. In assembling the bicycle, I found a bent bolt on the front fender support, a cracked rear reflector, and several minor dings in the paint on the bike frame itself. While each of these is minor in itself, some better packing would be in order here, especially when selling to individuals as opposed to corporate accounts. Some Styrofoam inserts might help in cushioning things. I replaced the bolt and the reflector at minimal cost, and the dings in the paint are unnoticeable once the bike goes into service.
Can you assemble this bicycle? It is a bit more challenging than the average assembly job from Walmart. Read the instruction sheet for the bicycle (http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_s...trialBikes.PDF) , and if it doesnít make sense to you, consider having someone else assemble it. Instructions are terse and somewhat cryptic. For example, the instructions refer to parts by number, but the illustrations donít show part numbers. Anyway, I got it all figured out and assembled without too much problem.
The bicycle comes with the front fork loose, but with the rear wheel, fender, and chain assembled. Assembly took me a couple of hours, due to having to hunt up wrenches, etc. The hole punched in the front reflector mount was too small, but some quick work with a file fixed that.
One of my concerns was the frame size of the bike. The seat instructions say that at least 3ĹĒ of the seat post should remain in the frame. But the seat post must have been 12Ē long. So you can adjust the seat higher than anyone would ever need it. The size issue is more important with regards to length of the frame, and the handlebars hitting the legs when cycling. The standard handlebar has the swept-back ends, which tends to make this problem worse. Iím about 6í-2Ē, and I think anyone much taller than me would be running out of leg room up front before they had problems with actual height.
The wheels are unlike others you are normally see, with heavier steel rims and heavier spokes. The tires are 26Ēx2.125Ē balloon tires, Worksman brand. Not too long after I got the bike, I had a flat where the tube got pinched between the tire and the rim. Iím not sure if this was an assembly problem or what, as the tires came on the rims with air in them, and I didnĎt dismount them before assembly. Anyway, I replaced that tube and havenít had that problem since. The instructions with the bike recommend 40 psi tire pressure, whereas the tires state 50 psi maximum, and that may make a difference with that problem. The front hub is a large-diameter hub similar to that used for coaster brake hubs, and actually uses a bolt for a front axle. The chain is a wider heavy duty chain, with front sprocket to match, but the rear sprocket is normal width. Chain tension is controlled by two small tensioner screws on the rear forks. While these are handy to use to tighten the chain and straighten the wheel, they also slow down the flat-fixing process. Most, perhaps all, of the hardware on the bike is inch-size hardware, rather than metric, so you may need different wrenches from what youíve been using on bikes.
The frame is steel, heavy as expected. It is made from smaller-diameter tubing than what Iím used to seeing on a bicycle, but presumably heavier wall. It certainly doesnít seem to lack strength. It does not come with lugs for a bottle holder; I mounted one on the handlebars with a u-bolt to hold the battery for my headlight.
When riding the bike, it is immediately obvious that it is geared fairly low. This has plusses and minuses. One of my concerns was how I would fare if I ever got it on any kind of a hill, and I now see that small hills wonĎt be quite the problem I imagined. The problem lies more in making speed on level ground. This bike is available with a 3-speed hub, and I can see that the main advantage of that would be the higher gearing available. I had been riding my mountain bike mainly in high gear, which put me at around 15-18 mph, and was figuring this bike would be somewhat slower. What I find is that I am pedaling faster, but with less resistance, and with less speed. After putting a speedometer on the bike, I find that my speed generally ranges from 12-15 mph. A comfortable pace is about 12 mph; trying to step it up a bit puts me at 14-15 mph, and the fastest I have pedaled it is about 17 mph. My longest trip with the bike so far was 26.5 miles, and average speed there was 12.2 mph. You can actually get a smaller chainring as well, which would make it a tad slower still. But as Iíve been riding the bike, I notice that Iím getting more accustomed to it, more comfortable with it, and even faster. For the bike trails and suburban streets around here, the gearing works fine. Incidentally, on level ground, it would be fairly easy to pull a trailer or quite a bit of weight in panniers, etc.
The front forks have only a moderate amount of sweep, similar to my old mountain bike, meaning the bike doesnít tend to steer itself as much as the older cruiser-style bikes I rode as a kid. With my bike bag and new handlebars, the fork has a tendency to rotate when youíre sitting still.
When new, I noticed some noise where the chain seemed to be occasionally rubbing on the chain guard, but that has mostly quit on its own. Speaking of the chain guard, it is made with a flat face, but as installed at the factory, the face is bowed out considerably. Iím not sure if this is intentional or simply a misfit of the frame mounts versus the holes in the chain guard. There is a squeak coming from the seat that I havenít got worked out yet. While out riding one time, one half of the seat dropped down slightly. Checking this out, it seems the coil spring on that side of the seat had unscrewed itself, and a few turns with a wrench on the bolt protruding down from the spring easily solved the problem.
I have replaced the handlebars (shown in the photo) with a set of straighter bars with about 3Ē drop in the middle, steel handlebars from the local bike shop. The stock handlebars were giving me two problems. The ends sweep back toward the rider, and that makes them worse about hitting your legs as you pedal on a sharp turn. And then I actually had my hand slide forward off one of the grips when sweaty. The new bars work great. I actually shortened them about an inch and a half on either side.
All in all, Iíve been fairly pleased, and think this bike is well on the way to being my fiddle-free heavy-duty cruising machine that I had in mind when I bought it.