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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 12-12-08, 03:02 AM   #1
tatfiend 
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Workman Bikes & Trikes

I have just been looking over the Worksman Bicycles web site. A search indicated they have not been discussed here.

In both their industrial bikes and trikes and recreational bikes and trikes they have a number of very practical looking units with cargo hauling accessories.

The "Classic American Cruiser" is available with single speed, 3 speed or 7 speed gear hub as well as with a drum front brake and multiple sizes of front and rear baskets. Most of their bikes claim to be made in the USA!!!!! They also state that they have been in business since 1898.

Three sizes of frames including one step through are offered along with numerous other options and accessories. Wheels are listed as using 11 gauge spokes too so should be ultra strong, stainless spokes on the upgrade wheels. Base prices seem to be very reasonable too. Check out the web site for yourself. One more option for those who want a practical, if probably heavy, utility bike.

http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_s.../cruisers.html

Last edited by tatfiend; 12-12-08 at 04:00 AM. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 12-12-08, 04:03 AM   #2
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Misspelled Worksman in the title. Probably why my search before posting turned up nothing.
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Old 12-12-08, 10:37 AM   #3
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Yes, I've ridden Worksman for 40 yrs where I worked. As a retirement present to myself
I bought a Worksman PAV and pimped it out with many useful changes. Worksman are
not fast but they are VERY reliable and durable to the point of being bulletproof in
everyday utility use.
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 12-12-08, 02:30 PM   #4
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I ride a Worksman bike, and yes, it has been discussed here a good bit. Most recently, I rode the "Duval Delta" with information posted in the Texas forum.

The misspelling of Worksman is not that uncommon. In fact, "Worksman" is a very unusual name, and you can do searches on Ebay or Craigslist using that name alone, and that's usually sufficient to limit it to mostly bikes. But if you search for workman+bicycle, you'll turn up some extra hits.

And now, I think I'll go ride my Worksman some more.


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Old 12-13-08, 03:58 AM   #5
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I've been toying with the idea of buying a worksman frontloader and making it my farmers market "booth". The tandem also looks sweet, but an upright/recumbent hybrid might be required to ensure riding tranquility.
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Old 12-13-08, 08:35 AM   #6
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The Worksman frontloaders show up on Craigslist and Ebay periodically. There is low demand and low supply, and that means pricing can be rather erratic. Usually, they are "Local Pickup Only", which limits demand for them. You may have one for $100 with no bids, while the next one sells for $300. I think I paid $175 for mine. I was probably the only interested buyer (in all of Dallas/ Ft Worth). I think right now, there are two different front loaders on Ebay, not sure where they are located. There is also an ice-cream-trike, but it's priced to be a moneymaker, not a hobby rider. For public roads, I would avoid the solid-tire models.

Also keep an eye out for Husky/ Mercurio cargo tricycles, which are even more rare, but would probably work as well or better. They are imported by Husky in Houston, TX. Grainger handles the Husky line, but I don't think Grainger lists the cargo cycles in their website. They could perhaps special-order them.

I don't know how flat Walla Walla is, but if you have serious hills, keep in mind that either trike has a coaster brake for stopping. Works fine for around town or a factory, but not what you want when you're haulling 500 lbs of potatoes down Loveland Pass.
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Old 12-13-08, 11:59 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
I have just been looking over the Worksman Bicycles web site. A search indicated they have not been discussed here. ...[/URL]
Maybe not in this forum, but they certainly have been discussed on this site.

As someone who has bought one new, let me just say that the Worksmans have advantages and disadvantages. I have related the details elsewhere here already.
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Old 12-15-08, 01:18 PM   #8
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I have no personal experience with them, but they look like good machines; my only problem with them is that they seem to have inadiquate gears and brakes for the hilly terrain around here. But in relatively flat areas they should do well.
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Old 12-15-08, 04:39 PM   #9
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I have no personal experience with them, but they look like good machines; my only problem with them is that they seem to have inadiquate gears and brakes for the hilly terrain around here. But in relatively flat areas they should do well.
No, Worksman do not have brake problems at all. A Worksman bike is the ONLY bike allowed
to decend the steep trail of the Hawaiian mountain.

To wit........
"A Worksman model was formerly sold as the Urban Assault Cycle, the Hum Vee of bikes. A similar style of bike is used in Hawaii for a downhill ride at one of the islands valcanos. The ride is 27 miles long, and the drum brakes are the only brakes that can handle that job."
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 12-15-08, 06:13 PM   #10
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No, Worksman do not have brake problems at all. A Worksman bike is the ONLY bike allowed
to decend the steep trail of the Hawaiian mountain.

To wit........
"A Worksman model was formerly sold as the Urban Assault Cycle, the Hum Vee of bikes. A similar style of bike is used in Hawaii for a downhill ride at one of the islands valcanos. The ride is 27 miles long, and the drum brakes are the only brakes that can handle that job."
Per the Worksman web site the drum brakes are extra cost options, not standard. Personally I consider any bike with only a rear coaster brake, as standard on the Worksman bikes, to be inadequately braked.

I would think that current disc brakes for bikes would be equally as effective as drum brakes.
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Old 12-15-08, 11:57 PM   #11
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No, Worksman do not have brake problems at all. A Worksman bike is the ONLY bike allowed
to decend the steep trail of the Hawaiian mountain."
I do not know Hawai'i. I know West Virginia, nicknamed "the Mountain State." I would not trust anything other than disc brakes on some of our mountainsides.
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Old 12-16-08, 11:32 AM   #12
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Lets not be picking on Worksman drum brakes here! Worksman doesn't sell to the weight weenie
market where disk brakes are, they sell to the industrial market where reliablity is most important of all.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 12-16-08, 11:39 AM   #13
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Lets not be picking on Worksman drum brakes here! Worksman doesn't sell to the weight weenie
market where disk brakes are, they sell to the industrial market where reliablity is most important of all.
And where one generally deals with flat landscapes, or at most rather gentle ramps. I'm not saying that they're not good machines for what they are.
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Old 12-16-08, 12:52 PM   #14
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I've not compared the brakes. But as far as I know, the volcano rides are just long continuous moderate slopes, where any brake that didn't overheat would work. I would think rim brakes or disk brakes would work there as well.

Worksman's primary market is industrial bikes. Generally, factories, chemical plants, and refineries tend to be fairly flat. Under those conditions, you can get a good load on a 100 lb tricycle with a 260# rider, and still stop just fine with a coaster brake (it helps that you're only going 8-10 mph in the first place.)

Coaster brakes are generally fine for how they're used. Most people don't ride single-speeds through major hills due to the uphill problem, and that avoids the downhill issues. Most people riding coaster brake bikes aren't zigzagging through traffic at 20 mph or riding in pace lines, and braking isn't quite as critical for them as it is for some other riders. If you think coaster brakes are inadequate brakes, they probably are inadequate for you, but that doesn't hold true for everyone.

As far as the work bikes in the mountains go, I'm not aware of that many options. The major hub of European workbikes just happens to be a flat country, too. Some of the Pashley and other brand work bikes are available with multi-speed hubs. There was a recent post on the long-john bike that used a mountain bike for the rear end, and that would give you more gearing. I'd be concerned about any normal bike brake if you're using it for double or triple the weight it's intended for on a long downhill.
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Old 12-16-08, 02:20 PM   #15
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And where one generally deals with flat landscapes, or at most rather gentle ramps. I'm not saying that they're not good machines for what they are.
The one I bought, has the front drum brake.
It don't work that well.
My other two bikes have cable-operated disk brakes: 160mm BB5's on one, and 200mm BB7's on the other. Either of the 160mm BB5's give several times the stopping power that the Worksman drum does.

I have tried a few things, and nothing really helped. The pads don't develop much friction, and the brake cable holder and the brake arm are both rather flexy if you squeeze the brake lever even moderately hard. The way I use this bike, emergency stops are not very common; I basically only ride rural roads with low traffic. If I had expected to ride it in urban/suburban traffic much, there's no way I'd have used the drum/coaster brake setup the bike came with.

It'd be very interesting to hear how that Hawaii tour company sets their brakes up. As for resistance to heat damage I don't know nuts about that--but I'd be amazed if they got their brakes to even come close to the stopping power that a "typical" properly adjusted rim V-brake with Kool-stops could give.
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Old 12-16-08, 02:24 PM   #16
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No, Worksman do not have brake problems at all. A Worksman bike is the ONLY bike allowed
to decend the steep trail of the Hawaiian mountain.

To wit........
"A Worksman model was formerly sold as the Urban Assault Cycle, the Hum Vee of bikes. A similar style of bike is used in Hawaii for a downhill ride at one of the islands valcanos. The ride is 27 miles long, and the drum brakes are the only brakes that can handle that job."
I would like to see your source. I did a bit of digging. I found a National Park Service study at http://www.cruiserphil.com/Pdf/NPS-safety-analysis.pdf that is a risk-assessment of bicycle tour operations involving commercially guided bicycle tours within Haleakalš National Park. There is no mention in the PDF of any limitation to a given brand of bike, nor to a given type of brake.

The text you quote above looks to me to be marketing-copy, possibly written by a bicycle tour operator with an eye towards making themselves look good over their choice of equipment. It's one thing for a tour company to decide on one brand of bike, but that does not support your claim that only the one brand is permitted.
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Old 12-16-08, 05:01 PM   #17
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I would like to see your source. I did a bit of digging. I found a National Park Service study at http://www.cruiserphil.com/Pdf/NPS-safety-analysis.pdf that is a risk-assessment of bicycle tour operations involving commercially guided bicycle tours within Haleakalš National Park. There is no mention in the PDF of any limitation to a given brand of bike, nor to a given type of brake.

The text you quote above looks to me to be marketing-copy, possibly written by a bicycle tour operator with an eye towards making themselves look good over their choice of equipment. It's one thing for a tour company to decide on one brand of bike, but that does not support your claim that only the one brand is permitted.
Since we're talking about bike does it really matter enough to you to ask for this? Worksman
seldom gets a fair shake when bikes are talked about since the weight weenies don't like it.

Since you choose not to believe it then so be it. I'm to damn tired to do the leg work you ask
for but I do know what I read.

As a matter of fact why start a p!ssing contest over a link?
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 12-16-08, 07:11 PM   #18
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Since we're talking about bike does it really matter enough to you to ask for this?
You made a highly unusual and interesting assertion. I do think it was fair to ask you to back it up. What you said was intriguing enough that I did, in fact, spend some time googling for a source myself. And I did skim through that 35-page PDF as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Worksman
seldom gets a fair shake when bikes are talked about since the weight weenies don't like it.
Worksman makes some interesting bikes. Only a couple of days ago I was on their site pricing out one of them. I noticed their use of drum brakes. I don't hear of those much in the states, though I understand they are reasonably common in Europe. Your mention of Hawaii got me to thinking about the problem of riding a bike downhill for a long period of time. You'd need good brakes that didn't fade, and that would hold up over the distance. I'm picturing a tourist riding the brake the entire way down. Would drum brakes be better than disc in that situation? Or is Worksman's use of drum brakes more in the interest of lower maintenance?

My own interest in Worksman stems from my interest in a good, solid, utility bike. I want something with a good rack and fender system, that I can use for errands around town. Worksman is appealing from that perspective, though I'm probably going to end up going in a different direction.
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Old 12-16-08, 07:51 PM   #19
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My own interest in Worksman stems from my interest in a good, solid, utility bike. I want something with a good rack and fender system, that I can use for errands around town. Worksman is appealing from that perspective, though I'm probably going to end up going in a different direction.
If it's dependable long lasting simple transportation that's human powered then you'll have to
go far to best a Worksman. These bikes are in use around the world doing some of the toughest
day to day grind type riding for everyone from the military to the Mexican post office.

The are that overbuilt.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 12-16-08, 09:38 PM   #20
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I recently had some private correspondence from someone at the company, and they have some interesting things in the pipeline. I can't be more specific right now, but I think you'll see some interesting products from them in the next year or so.
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Old 12-16-08, 11:50 PM   #21
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I don't know to what extent they stay on top of the bicycling business, but it seems to me that they might be in a good position to bring out a bakfiets, a long john bike, or a low-tech version of the Big Dummy. The demand is not enough for the major bike manufacturers, the imported ones are super-expensive, and it would fit their business pretty well.

They don't currently show pedicabs in their offerings, but a few months ago, there were several used Worksman pedicabs for sale in Arizona. They appeared to be the front-loader trike with a pedicab instead of a platform.
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Old 12-17-08, 04:48 AM   #22
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I don't know to what extent they stay on top of the bicycling business, but it seems to me that they might be in a good position to bring out a bakfiets, a long john bike, or a low-tech version of the Big Dummy. The demand is not enough for the major bike manufacturers, the imported ones are super-expensive, and it would fit their business pretty well.

They don't currently show pedicabs in their offerings, but a few months ago, there were several used Worksman pedicabs for sale in Arizona. They appeared to be the front-loader trike with a pedicab instead of a platform.
I have seen those before FWIW Worksman will custom build anything you want in a utility bike for the right price.

I have ridden many a mile on their bikes in an industrial setting. The last plant I was at had bikes dating from 1978 when the plant opened, these bikes/trikes are left out in the weather year round, the atmosphere at this particular plant is fairly corrosive. I was told by one of the maintenance guys that around 95% of the original fleet was still in use. The 5% missing was due to theft or catastrophic failure (getting run over by an 40 ton piece of equipment) The older ones have better coaster brakes than the new ones appear to. FWIW I had a Huffy POS that I picked up at WM to use on the plant site, it was rusting within less than 2 weeks. The first one only lasted 3 days before the rear brake self destructed. Worksman builds a good, durable bike that with minimal care will last a life time.

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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 12-17-08, 11:23 AM   #23
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I recently had some private correspondence from someone at the company, and they have some interesting things in the pipeline. I can't be more specific right now, but I think you'll see some interesting products from them in the next year or so.
Intriguing!
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Old 12-17-08, 01:44 PM   #24
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Most of the volcano rides have closed down, as people keep getting hit by cars. So the point is moot now anyways.
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Old 12-17-08, 02:33 PM   #25
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In case anyone in the Northeast Ohio area is interested, there is someone selling used (pretty beat up but salvageable) Worksman trikes (rear load), single speed and front drum brakes for $50 or less.

I bought 2 of them with some vague future plan. If anyone is interested I will try to hunt up the ad or the phone number.
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