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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 11-23-12, 03:45 PM   #1
andrewlevitt257
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Front brake on Worksman Low Gravity Cycle Truck

I love the Worksman Low Gravity cycle truck--locally made, low budget, amazing cargo capacity, super-wide parking stand. But the greater stopping power of front brakes are a requirement for me in the city riding I do. What are thoughts on adapting this bike to disc, cantilever, V-brake, or drum brakes on the front? Ordinary caliper brakes are out because the cable will interfere with the frame-mounted front rack, and I anticipate this would be a problem for the other brake types without some careful thought.

On cable routing, I've seen other cycle trucks (e.g., the lovely Huckleberry) that route a disc-brake cable through the steerer, though I can't discern where exactly it exits (at the crown I expect). I've seen a cantilever brake with the cable routed behind the head tube. And it looks like the Workcycle Fr8 is routed with zipties closely along the the headtube and then the fork for a drum brake. I don't favor the drum brakes I've used in the past, which have been weak on stopping power. Likewise, for cantilever and other rim-stop brakes, I prefer alloy rims, so that would involve a wheel swap or rebuild. I think I probably prefer disc brakes for that reason, and have seen fairly easy wheel conversions. Are there pre-made 20" disc-brake wheels?

For attaching the brakes, any thoughts on braze-ons vs. adapting a pre-made fork? The front wheel is 20", and of course the steerer needs to be much longer than that on a BMX. Can I use a folding-bike fork?

Thanks for the help! Bonus points for helping figure out how to wrestle a fully-enclosed chaincase onto the thing.
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Old 11-23-12, 10:34 PM   #2
turbo1889
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Workmans bikes are steel frame bikes as I understand it. Which brings up the question: How good are you at welding and metal work in general? As I see it a disk brake caliper mount could be fabricated from some plate steel and welded to the existing front fork, then a drill with a nice sharp bit to route the cable in and out of the fork steer tube below and above the head tube respectively and all should be good. The main question being if you can do the work yourself or if you need to have someone with a better skill set do it for you. Front disk brake wheel is a non-issue, worst case scenario you will need to pay the LBS to lace a new disk brake front hub into your existing wheel if you can't find a new front wheel ready made to fit your bike with brake disk.
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Old 11-24-12, 09:17 AM   #3
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A drum is hands-down going to be the easiest method, as it's practically bolt-on. You would either need to lace a drum hub into your existing wheel or swap out for a drum wheel. Everything else bolts on.Of course, barring the simple course of action, it would be easier to simply weld tabs for a disc caliper onto the existing fork than to find one with a steerer tube long enough for this purpose.As for cable routing, I find the cable on my Mover to be flexible enough to take a somewhat normal route, without trouble. You shouldn't have any special concerns, so long as you're not letting the front steering flop over frequently.
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Old 11-24-12, 12:05 PM   #4
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+1, drum brakes, Sturmey Archer makes a 70 & a 90mm drum front hub ..
also models that include a hub dynamo for reliable lights.. too..
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Old 11-24-12, 01:31 PM   #5
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ALL of Worksman Low Grav bikes offer a front drum brake as an option.

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

IMO since Worksman uses 11 gage moped spokes that are non standard for bicycles so fitting anything bicycle will be a challenge no one really wants.
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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Old 11-24-12, 10:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
ALL of Worksman Low Grav bikes offer a front drum brake as an option.

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

IMO since Worksman uses 11 gage moped spokes that are non standard for bicycles so fitting anything bicycle will be a challenge no one really wants.
You most certainly have a point there. If workman offers it as an option seems to me the best thing would be to call them and get a price quote for them to send out a front wheel with the drum brake in it and the cable and brake lever and such and then you just do the swap out yourself.

Wow, is all I can say about the 11ga. spokes. I've seen a few heavy duty bike wheels built with 13ga. and 12ga. spokes but 11ga. spokes is really pushing it to the extreme especially since the sturdiest cargo bike wheel I've seen so far was a wheel built with 64 high-tensile stainless 12ga. spokes and I though that was ridiculously over-kill. Not as many spokes on the workman but as I understand it with spoke guage sizes every time you go up one size (and down one guage number) the strength of the spoke doubles so a wheel with 36 high-tensile stainless 11ga. spokes would actually be stronger then a wheel with 64 high-tensile stainless 12ga. spokes.

Last edited by turbo1889; 11-24-12 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 11-25-12, 08:43 AM   #7
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Huh, I hadn't noticed that about the front drum brake option. I'm looking at an ancient used low gravity at the LBS, but it would be simple enough to rebuild the wheel. Oh wait, the crazy spokes... So ordinary hubs won't work with a Worksman wheel? And the stock drum brake is a non-standard bike part? Does Worksman make it themselves? Do they make all their hubs themselves? That's too bad, I was also going to put a 3-speed coaster on this bike.

My experience with drum brakes is that they're better than nothing, but not by much. Anyone have experience with the Worksman drum brake?
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Old 11-25-12, 10:38 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by andrewlevitt257 View Post
Huh, I hadn't noticed that about the front drum brake option. I'm looking at an ancient used low gravity at the LBS, but it would be simple enough to rebuild the wheel. Oh wait, the crazy spokes... So ordinary hubs won't work with a Worksman wheel? And the stock drum brake is a non-standard bike part? Does Worksman make it themselves? Do they make all their hubs themselves? That's too bad, I was also going to put a 3-speed coaster on this bike.

My experience with drum brakes is that they're better than nothing, but not by much. Anyone have experience with the Worksman drum brake?
The Worksman trikes at the last Alcoa plant I was working at only had drum brakes on the front, some of these were loaded to the tune of 700#+. The area was dead flat and they weren't in any hurry.

I use drum/roller brakes on several of my bikes and much prefer them over other available options. My big city bike has the Shimano roller brakes on it and even with a rolling load of close to 300# coming home from the grocery store I have no issues stopping in any weather conditions.

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Old 11-25-12, 10:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by andrewlevitt257 View Post
Huh, I hadn't noticed that about the front drum brake option. I'm looking at an ancient used low gravity at the LBS, but it would be simple enough to rebuild the wheel. Oh wait, the crazy spokes... So ordinary hubs won't work with a Worksman wheel? And the stock drum brake is a non-standard bike part? Does Worksman make it themselves? Do they make all their hubs themselves? That's too bad, I was also going to put a 3-speed coaster on this bike.

My experience with drum brakes is that they're better than nothing, but not by much. Anyone have experience with the Worksman drum brake?
From what you want to do it would be cheaper , and better, in the long run to order a Worksman built to your order, brake,3 speed and all.

Tip: Both my Worksman PAV trike & my Worksman cruiser were shipped directly to my home 99.9% fully assembled which is how Worksman ships all the bikes. I found that if I could get a local business to accept delivery of my bikes I could cut the shipping cost in half or better since truck shipping to a residence is mega expensive.

I find the drum brake to be just fine for urban use. A 3 sp is really nice just be sure and order the smaller front chain ring to keep the gearing easy to pedal.
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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?

Last edited by Nightshade; 11-25-12 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 02-07-13, 10:08 AM   #10
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looked at the huckleberry. qute!
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Old 02-14-13, 11:41 AM   #11
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I have a workman's tryke also.
The one thing ill b changing will b the crank
From stock to a 180mm crank for easier pedaling.
And a softer seat.
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Old 04-08-13, 04:36 PM   #12
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I was also going to put a 3-speed coaster on this bike.
Worksman also makes 3-speed (and maybe 7-speed) IGH coaster rims for their bikes. So you can pick up one of those whole you're at it.
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