Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Workcycles Secret Service

Secret Service Men's Bike, via Clever Cycles

Recently, we received an email from Mike, a reader who wondered why we had not mentioned Workcycles from the Netherlands:

"I have a Workcycles Secret Service, with a front rack, 8-speed Nexus (with gears adjusted to the hilly place I live in), front and back hand-operated roller brakes, double parking stand/steering stabilisor," Mike wrote. "It's great and I think it's the kind of bike you're otherwise interested in."


Workcycles makes beautiful, useful bikes. Workcycles stated mission is to "promote everyday cycling amongst individuals, families and enterprises by supplying the most practical, beautiful and affordable bicycles possible and by providing an unmatched level of service." Yes, that's what we're looking for here at Bikes For The Rest Of Us.

Workcycles are not easy to come by in the United States, and not cheap. You can find them at upscale shops like AdelineAdeline in New York City, Dutch Bike in Chicago and Seattle, and Clever Cycles in Portland. At Clever Cycles, the Secret Service retails for $1600. (you can always justify spending that kind of money on a commuter bike - especially if you get rid of a car).

Here are the specs on the Secret Service:

• Lugged steel frame, oversized tubing, powdercoat
• Heavy Duty 28" wheels with double-walled rims
• 3-speed Shimano hub, R coaster/F roller-brakes
• Forged aluminium crankset
• Brooks leather saddle
• Strong rear carrier, elastic
• Hub dynamo, halogen headlamp, LED taillight w/ standlight
• Zinc- and powder-coated mudguards, coat guards, chain-case
• Rear wheel lock, chromed, brass bell


• Single speed or 8-speed
• Roller-brakes F/R
• Double parking stand, steering stabilisor
• Frame-fixed, removable front carrier
• Frame sizes: 49, 53, 57, 61, 65cmcm

Own a Workcycle? Please leave feedback in the comments.


Joseph E said...

The relatively higher cost of a Workcycles bike is due to high quality components and hand-made frames. All of the bike frames are made in Europe, and are zinc galvanized before being powdercoated. This, as well as the cost of shipping assembled bikes from the Netherlands to North America, leads to higher prices.

Let's Go Ride A Bike reviewed the Azor Oma, which is built by Workcycles:

m e l i g r o s a said...

that's a pretty one. classy

Mountain Bike Helmets said...

This is absolutely a phenomenal secret service men's bike. Even though it's expensive, I'm pretty sure the bike is all worth it. Hope I can get one for myself someday. Thanks for sharing more information about this great bike!

Dottie said...

I have a WorkCycles Oma (very similar to the bike featured here) and she was definitely a solid investment. I'm riding through my third harsh Chicago winter with the Oma and she is a rock-solid beast, a commuter's best friend. :)

Ike said...

I recently got a WorkCycles Fr8. It's a cargo bike, so the look and feel of the bike are a bit different than the Secret Service, Oma, or Opa, but I think the quality of the bike and its components speak very well of the quality one can expect from a Workcycles bike.

Mine has been just fine riding through the snowy New England winter without ever being stored indoors. The chain case, internally geared hub, and roller brakes really don't seem to care about the weather at all, and the fenders and dynamo-powered front and rear lighting help make it easy and comfortable just get on and ride in almost any conditions. The rear wheel lock is also very nice. The ride is the smoothest and most silent I've ever experienced on a bicycle - everything just feels very solid.

I'm extremely happy with my Fr8. I would buy it again (though it should last a lifetime or more) and would certainly recommend a Workcycles bike to anyone who wants to invest in a bike that should last indefinitely.

It's nice to see posts about bikes like the 2011 Raleigh Detour Deluxe too, though, where other manufacturers are experimenting with making good steel bikes with all of the nice, practical, low-maintenance all-weather features and components. I hope it's a trend, because I think it would be a very positive one.

Michael said...


Through winter I've been considering purchasing a Workcycles Kruisframe or Fr8 since I am a rather sizeable guy at 300lbs and just had to purchase a new downhill wheel on my Specialized "comfort bike." Rather than dump more cash into a pseudo-sport bike, I'd rather just invest in what I want. But I live 1500 miles from the closest showroom, so I have to get what info I can online, as it will need be shipped to me if I grab it. My Specialized Expedition is a fun bicycle for what it is, as was my old MTB now handed off to an Americorp volunteer to live out its last days, but I want a tank of a bicycle now for real life commuting in my small town, and later in the next city in which I reside.

That said, can any of you comment on the racks on these? I just sunk money into Ortlieb panniers, but read they will not attach to the rather thick Workcycles rack tubes on the rear racks. Not a deal breaker, but sort of a bummer. Is it possible for over $2000 to get a spec'd rear rack to work with these? Is there a substitute one may order on it? As an American reared in a large college town, I've learned thieves and addicts will steal your stuff first chance, so leaving bulky panniers on the bicycle will not suffice. And if they don't take it, they cut it.

Lastly, I've read these are heavier than lead. Do they have any pick-up? Can they come with the new internal 11 hub from shimano or others I guess? Can they get up any hills or inclines? The low-gearing of my Specialized climbs quite well, and while I would not expect the same on something like this, I'd want some flexibility. I can move the thing with my powerful legs, but there is a limit for all of us, depending on what we expect the bike to do.

Thanks for your reflections on these points or others.

Tom said...

Some Ortlieb panniers will fit up to 16mm diameter racks. Check the specs for your bags or see if you can get bigger hooks. I suspect these are 14 or 16mm diameter on the Fr8.

My Torker Cargo T (copy of Batavus Personal Bike) weighs about 45-50 lbs empty and has a three speed. It tops out at 12mph and isn't great on the hills, but the ride is very relaxed and smooth. I rode the Batavus and knew that's the kind of bike I wanted. See if you can ride a Dutch bike (find one with similar geometry to the Fr8) on a vacation or business trip. Check the dealer list on the websites of Workcycles, Batavus, etc and see if there's a closer dealer. Even a Torker Dealer might have a Cargo T, which has similar geometry and ride as other bikes (but will not be as durable or well appointed as a real Dutch bike).