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  1. #1
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    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 Im 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 doesnt 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 dont 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 3 of the seat post should remain in the frame. But the seat post must have been 12 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. Im about 6-2, 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 26x2.125 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. Im not sure if this was an assembly problem or what, as the tires came on the rims with air in them, and I didnt dismount them before assembly. Anyway, I replaced that tube and havent 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 youve been using on bikes.

    The frame is steel, heavy as expected. It is made from smaller-diameter tubing than what Im used to seeing on a bicycle, but presumably heavier wall. It certainly doesnt 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 wont 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 Ive been riding the bike, I notice that Im 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 doesnt 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 youre 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. Im 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 havent 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 3 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, Ive 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.

  2. #2
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - ashtabula cranks? 36-spoke wheelset? looks like you'll be doing some heavy duty riding!

    - i looked the Worksman site a year or so ago... i'll have to peruse their consumer offerings... maybe it's just me and some anecdotal evidence locally, but i have been noticing more cyclists in the wild this year over several previous years... i hope this continues - it bodes well for all of us...

    - thanks for the good review!

  3. #3
    Perma-Clyde (51)'s Avatar
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    Initially I looked into a Worksman, but they wouldn't do a custom build.
    http://www.trailerparkboys.org/forum...fault/beer.gif In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria. -Ben Franklin

  4. #4
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Yep, the Worksman is a good, basic, simple and strong bike. You'll likely get 50 years service or more out of it if you take reasonable care of the bike.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.- Fredrick Nietzsche

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  5. #5
    jcm
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    I worked at Boeing for 19 years. They had hundreds of those things in the factory. Bombproof. People guarded them like pit-bulls. They would paint them up individually so a bike could be ID'd from a distance. Some of them had an additional 10lbs of paint on them from multiple thefts. (guilty as charged )

    About the handle bars:

    Wald is the supplier for most, if not all the parts except the wheels and frame. You might consider Wald #8095 Touring Bars (about $16). Actually, they are North Road bars, like the old 3-speeds had. They work perfectly on that bike and give a much better ergo fit for your hands and wrists, and theydon't extend back so far that you hit your knees in turns. I agree that the Cruiser bars are not very functional because of the neccessary angles that you have to use when setting them up. Contributes to slipping, as you say. Better for hanging out the laundry, though.

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Just got back from the White Rock Creek and Lake trail- did 22.5 miles at 13.5 mph there- that's mostly 12 mph going down with a headwind, about 15 mph coming back with a tailwind. For those not familiar with it, that's a paved mostly level bike trail in Dallas, with just a few stop signs along the way. I did pass a fairly fit person...but then again, he was pulling a kid in a trailer into the headwind!

    One other thing I ran into several days back- I bought a Schwinn speedometer at Academy. I didn't notice at the time, but it was the wireless version. But when I went to install it, there was not enough room between the spokes and the fork to fit the wireless unit. I had to return it and get the wired unit like I had on my mountain bike.

    A couple of pictures here of my replacement handlebar. It's not the 8095, and I'm not sure if it's one of the others pictured in the Wald catalog or not- it's similar at least; I think it was $12.95 at the local bike store.




  7. #7
    Perma-Clyde (51)'s Avatar
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    Just curious what the saddle is like. Who is the manufacturer?
    http://www.trailerparkboys.org/forum...fault/beer.gif In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria. -Ben Franklin

  8. #8
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Saddle is okay, don't know who makes it. It shows Worksman on the back, but I don't see any other info or place of origin or anything, and I'm not familiar enough with stuff like this to deduce it from the construction. On my previous mountain bike, I had bought a $20 big cushy saddle from Walmart or Academy, and this saddle is not a lot different from that in comfort. It is a little slicker, so you don't want it pointing downhill. They also have a larger 13" saddle, and I don't know what it is like.

    On the normal bikes that I'm used to (meaning cheap bikes), the seat post is large and then necked down where it goes into the seat. This seat post is the same (small) size all the way, but is heavier-walled tube.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    8 posts and no one mentioned the bike is made in the USA?
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  10. #10
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    8 posts and no one mentioned the bike is made in the USA?
    Right. Plus, all Wald stuff is made in Kentucky.

  11. #11
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Thank you for the report Stephen, I've been looking for a bicycle just like this for my father: simple, classic good looks, and thermonuclear warhead proof rims (you can get 120 count 11g ). I think this bicycle will fit the bill for him just perfectly.

    bau

  12. #12
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DieselDan View Post
    8 posts and no one mentioned the bike is made in the USA?
    Technically, it's made in the USA. More specifically, it's made in Queens, NY which could resemble any of 100 different countries.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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    Quote Originally Posted by (51) View Post
    Initially I looked into a Worksman, but they wouldn't do a custom build.
    How custom did you want? I don't know if they'll deliver a partial bike or put it together with parts they don't deal with, but they let you choose a lot of options they offer.

    I ordered one from the company, it comes needing a good going-over mechanically. Their usual delivery estimate is 30 days, but it took two months for them to deliver it.

    By far, the biggest problem was that the largest frame they offer is only a 20". I bought the bike for a motor kit and thought I could tolerate it because I wouldn't normally be pedaling, but it felt like the handlebars were in my lap. I'm 6'2" and would need a frame around 23" or 24".
    ~

  14. #14
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    You can order all kinds of options, but can't specify custom frame sizes. But I know one poster has mentioned have one of the trikes made with an extra long frame, but that may not work on the bikes due to the geometry.

    I did get mine in a bit less than 30 days.

    An interesting bid here- note that the model being sold is different in several respects from mine, different seat, different fork, etc.-
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-bicycle-...QQcmdZViewItem

  15. #15
    Air
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    Great review, I linked to this in my sig (bike buying).

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    Great review StephenH! It sounds like its a good quality bike, but like Doug5150 said above, it needs a good going-over mechanically when you receive it. I was and still am considering buying a Worksman bicycle. It looks good, its heavy-duty and made in the USA.

    The only thing I was wondering is if you could mount studded Nokian snow tires on those rims. I think it would be an ideal bike for winter riding if you could. Especially with the fenders. You can also order alloy rims with stainless steel spokes. I would also opt for the 3 speed hub. Does anyone know anything about the Retro Springer front fork that they offer? It's quite a monstrosity, but I wonder how it works.

    For you guys having trouble with the long handlebars. Do you think that the optional H3A low rise ATB-style handlebars would work better?

    Last edited by Carl26; 11-03-07 at 10:31 AM.

  17. #17
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    On the studded snow tires- I don't know right offhand why they wouldn't work. The bike comes with 26x2.125" tires. With those tires, there is very little clearance on the sides of the tires, but a reasonable amount of clearance outside. So if the tire was a tad taller, it should work, but no wider.

    On the springer fork, I don't know. When I was a kid, we had an old Schwinn bicycle with a front fork like that. I don't recall it really being a big improvement in the ride, guess it helps some. I didn't figure it was worth the extra money and weight.

  18. #18
    jcm
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    The spring action is too stiff to be of any practical use. I say this by way of experience with other old balloon tire bikes similarly equipped. It's just added weight. By far, most of the suspension on any bike is derived from the tire type and pressure.

    The best handlebars you can get for a Worksman are the Wald #8095. They call them touring bars, but they are true North Road bars. The same bars were on Schwinn 3 and 5 speed bikes as well as almost all English 3-speeds. The present Wald version is wider, at 23", and handles better as a result.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Cool! Wald is located in Maysville, KY, which is only about a 45 minute drive from my house. It looks like they have a lot of neat old-fashioned stuff.

    BTW, I just spent some time at a three-year-old distribution center in New Jersey, adding some additional equipment. They have a bunch of Worksman three-wheelers there, all of which are only as old as the facility (bought new when they opened). Most of them are beat to cr@p! Front brake cables broken, and bent seatposts being the most common ailment that I observed. Also, every one of the bikes has the seat adjusted way too low for comfortable pedalling. I borrowed several of these bikes on various occassions, and most of them seemed to just "slouch" along - kind of like those old beater cars you used to see where the rear axle spring hanger slipped, and they went down the road at a diagonal. Poor bikes!

    When we did this original project three years ago, there were several of us from my company on site for quite some time. It's a big facility, and we figured we'd need some form of transport. A couple of us tried to convince our boss to buy several of these Worksman bikes for the crew to use. Instead, he spent several thousand dollars on a golf cart. It was OK, but if one person was using it (the boss - duh!) everyone else walked. The bikes would have been better.

  20. #20
    jcm
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    Here's what the North Road bars look like on an MTB set up for commuting:
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=2mi4zeg&s=2

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    ditto on workman

    I work at Boeing as well and about to say the same things ... there are hundreds of these workman bicycles.

    When I worked inside the plant, I ended up purchasing an single speed, adding a big wald basket and rode it from the parking lot into the plant everyday. Saved me 20 mintues a day biking instead of walking ...

    Now work in a different building ... traded in the old bike for some bike parts at the LBS.

  22. #22
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    By the way, the "New Old Stock" Worksman bike is back on ebay.

    On being made in USA- I know the tubes, probably the tires, and seat at least are imported. Seat says "Velo" on the underside, has a small inspection-sticker on it with oriental characters.

    I'm getting a noise in the pedal sprocket right now, not sure what it is- kind of a cricket sound on each revelution. Maybe a bearing, maybe the sprocket rubbing on the chain or something. Doesn't seem to be hurting anything, and varies some- maybe actually getting better.

  23. #23
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Sounds like a Bottom Bracket Bearing is a little galled, or perhaps dry. It may be a rough spot in the race that will smooth out with use too. Keep an eye on it
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.- Fredrick Nietzsche

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl26 View Post
    ...Does anyone know anything about the Retro Springer front fork that they offer? It's quite a monstrosity, but I wonder how it works.

    For you guys having trouble with the long handlebars. Do you think that the optional H3A low rise ATB-style handlebars would work better?....
    I don't know about what Worksman is using, but I would bet that the springer forks are imported. Other examples I have seen of such springer forks didn't really work well and weren't very strong at all.

    Regarding the regular Worksman rigid fork--I can tell you that it requires a "BMX" 21mm stem. A regular 22mm 7/8" stem for 1" forks won't fit in it. Shorter-rise handlebars would be a lot less likely to have the problem of rotating in the stem--but with the frame already too small as it was for me, shorter handlebars were not really a solution.
    ~

  25. #25
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    Can you get these in a large frame? I may buy one for a friend who is a pretty big guy.

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