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Old 01-12-12, 07:06 PM   #1
Medic Zero 
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Worksman folder upgrades?

I've been curious about folders for some time and regularly keep an eye on Craigslist in my area for something that might be suitable to me and a deal since I don't have a lot of $ to spend.

Can anyone answer the following about the Worksman 3 speed?

* How hard would it be to upgrade it to more gears? Could I go internal hub like a Nexus on the smaller diameter wheel and just replace the shifter?

* How difficult would it be to add front brakes, and if I went with a different wheel: rear brakes? I can probably wrangle access to a welder for a few beers but am a little concerned about placing the bosses for cantis in just the right spot. Are there other options?

Should I just continue to look for a deal on a different folder? I realize the Worksman is heavy, but I'm a Clyde who is also overweight right now (270 lbs). Even at my fighting weight I'm 210, tough on bikes and Seattle's streets are rough. I'd welcome any recommendations for other folders that might be suitable for a 6'2" guy who likes to ride in an upright posture and carry a load.

I'm intrigued by the idea of rolling smaller wheels in the constant stop and go of my commute through all the lights, stop signs and traffic. I also regularly visit a friend near the airport and would like the option of going multi-modal and taking the light rail without having to stand the entire 40 minute ride holding my heavy converted MTB commuter the whole time.

Many thanks good people!
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Old 01-12-12, 07:19 PM   #2
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Worksman could probably upgrade the bike to the 3 speed / coaster that they offer on the tandem model... my experience with Worksman bicycles has been very good as I own a cargo trike and my friend has a cargo bike and they make some pretty bombproof, albeit heavy frames.

To add front brakes you would either have to get bosses brazed on or swap the fork to one with brake mounts... with what looks like some pretty long reach I'd look to run V brakes for increased stopping power.

Another option would be to buy a Raleigh 20 and upgrade the wheels to alloy and either have v brake mounts added or look at hub brakes which would be a good idea in Seattle... hub brakes are also available for the Worksman and the if the folder was orered with the tandem wheelset you'd have a coaster rear with a 3 speed and a drum brake up front.

Wondering what Worksman would want for the tandem wheel set alone as this would also serve as a nice upgrade to a lot of 20 inch folders like the Raleigh 20.
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Old 01-12-12, 07:23 PM   #3
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My Portland bike is a Raleigh 20 with upgraded wheels and an improved front brake... I will be adding V brake mounts to this bike as well as a few of my other 20's as we have 4 of them and one already has been upgraded to V brakes.

This bike takes a pounding and has been bulletproof... if my brother in law could not kill it (he borrowed it for a few months) it can survive anything.

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Old 01-12-12, 07:25 PM   #4
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Worksman could probably upgrade the bike to the 3 speed / coaster that they offer on the tandem model... my experience with Worksman bicycles has been very good as I own a cargo trike and my friend has a cargo bike and they make some pretty bombproof, albeit heavy frames.

To add front brakes you would either have to get bosses brazed on or swap the fork to one with brake mounts... with what looks like some pretty long reach I'd look to run V brakes for increased stopping power.

Another option would be to buy a Raleigh 20 and upgrade the wheels to alloy and either have v brake mounts added or look at hub brakes which would be a good idea in Seattle... hub brakes are also available for the Worksman and the if the folder was orered with the tandem wheelset you'd have a coaster rear with a 3 speed and a drum brake up front.

Wondering what Worksman would want for the tandem wheel set alone as this would also serve as a nice upgrade to a lot of 20 inch folders like the Raleigh 20.
It is the 3-speed model, the seller just got back to me and says it is still available. Do you (or anyone else?) know of a source for a replacement for fork with brake bosses?

Does (did?) Worksman make a tandem 20" tired bike?!
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Old 01-12-12, 07:44 PM   #5
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It is the 3-speed model, the seller just got back to me and says it is still available. Do you (or anyone else?) know of a source for a replacement for fork with brake bosses?

Does (did?) Worksman make a tandem 20" tired bike?!
Seems to be listed on their website as of 20 minutes ago.

When it comes to 20 inch forks a lot of people like the Sun EZ as a replacement, especially for the R20 which has a very long steerer... a good shop should not charge you more than $70.00 - $80.00 to add brake bosses to the existing fork although this would also warrant a re-paint.

Have also used 20 inch suspension forks but they do impact performance under some conditions and add a good deal of weight.
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Old 01-12-12, 08:10 PM   #6
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Seems to be listed on their website as of 20 minutes ago.

When it comes to 20 inch forks a lot of people like the Sun EZ as a replacement, especially for the R20 which has a very long steerer... a good shop should not charge you more than $70.00 - $80.00 to add brake bosses to the existing fork although this would also warrant a re-paint.

Have also used 20 inch suspension forks but they do impact performance under some conditions and add a good deal of weight.
A 20" suspension fork sounds intriguing. Our road surfaces are quite bad here with near constant vibration and bumps between the uneven seams in the road surface every 5-6 feet, tree roots, potholes, eroded edges of the joints between the slabs etc. How does it affect performance? Are there ones with lock-outs or that you can quickly dial down how much bounce they have?

The bike is light blue so I'd be wanting to repaint it anyway!

Thanks for the info on adding brake bosses (and all the other info too!), I hadn't considered that this was something some of my LBS are probably capable of.
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Old 01-12-12, 08:21 PM   #7
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Drum brakes on small wheels work extremely well. I am just in the process of fitting an old front drum brake and new Sturmey archer XRD5 5 speed with drum brake to my current project bike. The extra cost of drum brakes over a normal geared hub is far outweighed by a lifetime of replacing brake blocks
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Old 01-12-12, 10:56 PM   #8
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Drum brakes on small wheels work extremely well. I am just in the process of fitting an old front drum brake and new Sturmey archer XRD5 5 speed with drum brake to my current project bike. The extra cost of drum brakes over a normal geared hub is far outweighed by a lifetime of replacing brake blocks
Good to know, thanks! I think I had read somewhere that drum brakes were more effective on smaller wheels, but had forgotten it. I think I might try and get the bike. It would be nice to not be constantly replacing pads either, here with the hills, rain, and grit on the rims, plus heavy me - I can burn down a brake pad in very little time. Coincidently a Nexus 7 with a drum brake just showed up on CL as well. Assuming I can lace that into a 20" rim that could make this a feasible ride for Seattle's hilly terrain.
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Old 01-12-12, 11:29 PM   #9
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Good to know, thanks! I think I had read somewhere that drum brakes were more effective on smaller wheels, but had forgotten it. I think I might try and get the bike. It would be nice to not be constantly replacing pads either, here with the hills, rain, and grit on the rims, plus heavy me - I can burn down a brake pad in very little time. Coincidently a Nexus 7 with a drum brake just showed up on CL as well. Assuming I can lace that into a 20" rim that could make this a feasible ride for Seattle's hilly terrain.
The Nexus 7 is, for lack of a better word... crap.

The Alfine 8 is much more solid and less problematic.
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Old 01-12-12, 11:36 PM   #10
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You could always go with a shimano rollerbrake up front to match the nexus.

Seattle streets are gnarly.
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Old 01-13-12, 01:30 AM   #11
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The Nexus 7 is, for lack of a better word... crap.

The Alfine 8 is much more solid and less problematic.
Ah! Thanks SO much! That is a VERY good thing to know!
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Old 01-13-12, 01:32 AM   #12
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You could always go with a shimano rollerbrake up front to match the nexus.

Seattle streets are gnarly.
I'm not familiar with the rollerbrake. I'll have to do some investigating into that.

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Seattle streets are gnarly.
Seriously! It's a wonder I enjoy commuting here. I think one of the things I most enjoy about getting out bike-camping and on mini-tours is that I get to experience roads that aren't either corrugated asphalt or the cement equivalent of rolling over railroad ties - like most of the surfaces I ride on every day are!
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Old 01-13-12, 11:47 AM   #13
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The Nexus 7 is, for lack of a better word... crap.

The Alfine 8 is much more solid and less problematic.
I am sure you have seen more Nexus7 hubs than me but I (we) use them a lot and currently we are using 7 different hubs. Aso had several others on my hands that I passed on to friends. I have done some few repairs but mostly just cleaning and lubing. In the next month I am going to lace up a new Nexus7 for my favourite 20" folder and is also thinking about a dyno/rollerbrake front hub for it. Bulletproof and easy.
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Old 01-13-12, 04:25 PM   #14
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The bike my front drum brake originally came from was a Cresswell fold-it. Even in wet weather the question wasn't whether the bike would stop, more whether you could stop when the bike did. I think drum brakes also look kinda cool too.
Make sure you use good puncture proof tyres as removing the rear wheel when you have hub gears and hub brakes is going to be a nightmare.
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Old 01-13-12, 04:44 PM   #15
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I am sure you have seen more Nexus7 hubs than me but I (we) use them a lot and currently we are using 7 different hubs. Aso had several others on my hands that I passed on to friends. I have done some few repairs but mostly just cleaning and lubing. In the next month I am going to lace up a new Nexus7 for my favourite 20" folder and is also thinking about a dyno/rollerbrake front hub for it. Bulletproof and easy.
The Nexus 7 does not enjoy as good a reputation among cyclists and many mechanics I know... they are a servicing nightmare.

This is not to say that there still are not a bunch of them in use and giving decent service but when you deal with and hear of so many complaints about them you start to develop some strong theories.

Theoretically, Shimano offers the replacement internals and may have improved and rectified some design issues with the Nexus just as they did with the 8 speeds where the earlier hubs had more problems than they should have due to a lack of testing and Shimano does offer good support for the 8 speed Alfine.

I have a dead Nexus 7 in the shop right now and was so looking forward to using it but it only has 2 working speeds and have had friends experience similar problems and some extremely poor performance once the miles started to add up.

Conversely, the 2nd Alfine 8 on my wife's commuter has been bulletproof for many years... the first generation 8 speed died a premature death.
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Old 01-13-12, 09:40 PM   #16
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When considering a hub, know the measurement between the rear dropouts and buy hub accordingly.

I'm a big fan of drum brakes. Any time there's no or poor brake attachment options, and then figuring what brakes will work, maybe to the point of needing bits brazed or welded on, drum brakes are a relatively easy and universal fitment.

Currently running a Sturmey Archer S2C (2sp, coaster brake) paired with a X-FD front drum brake on a Raleigh 20. Love the front drum; more drum brakes in my future.
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Old 01-16-12, 05:14 AM   #17
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I've been toying with the idea of going to a drum brake on the rear of my tourer. It originally had a u-brake mounted underneath ('88 GT Timberline MTB - nice long chainstays), I sliced these off and had a friend weld on canti posts, but I think they aren't quite optimally aligned and so I have really weak braking power (even for a rear brake). I've got a 48 spoke rear hub that came with the mounting point for a drum brake on it...

My question is: where does one find suitable drum brakes these days?
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Old 01-16-12, 01:42 PM   #18
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I've been toying with the idea of going to a drum brake on the rear of my tourer. It originally had a u-brake mounted underneath ('88 GT Timberline MTB - nice long chainstays), I sliced these off and had a friend weld on canti posts, but I think they aren't quite optimally aligned and so I have really weak braking power (even for a rear brake). I've got a 48 spoke rear hub that came with the mounting point for a drum brake on it...

My question is: where does one find suitable drum brakes these days?
What sort of hub? Start looking with the manufakturer of the hub.
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Old 01-16-12, 01:58 PM   #19
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I've been toying with the idea of going to a drum brake on the rear of my tourer. It originally had a u-brake mounted underneath ('88 GT Timberline MTB - nice long chainstays), I sliced these off and had a friend weld on canti posts, but I think they aren't quite optimally aligned and so I have really weak braking power (even for a rear brake). I've got a 48 spoke rear hub that came with the mounting point for a drum brake on it...

My question is: where does one find suitable drum brakes these days?
You'd be looking for either a tandem style Arai drum on ebay (out of production now), or a new wheel built with a drum brake hub. Sturmey Archer makes drum hubs for freewheels, cassettes, and their own IGH versions with drum brakes.

What would be awesome but just won't happen? Drum brake that would bolt on to 6-bolt ISO brake rotor hubs...
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