Workcycles in Amsterdam
WorkCycles was founded in 2003 by Henry Cutler, and is home to many self-confessed ‘bike geeks with grease under their nails’. Over the past twelve years, they have become the renown bakfiets, cargo bike, and hand-built city bicycle specialist that they are today. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, their timeless, top-quality bikes, innovative approach to design, and uncompromising commitment to workshop service have made them world famous.
On a day-to-day basis, they keep themselves busy with several different types of activity:
The design and development of WorkCycles bicycles that extend the capabilities of their riders and make everyday cycling as attractive as possible. Their ever-growing range of bikes is designed in-house and produced by small, quality-oriented manufacturing partners in the Netherlands.
The wholesale distribution of Bakfiets, Monark, Nijland, and of course WorkCycles bikes through international dealers. These bikes can be found all over the globe, always working hard, whatever their application.
The sales and service of professional bikes for businesses and other enterprises. WorkCycles offers everything from indestructible fleet bicycles to uniquely outfitted delivery bikes. Their client list includes countless small and multinational firms, and no order is ever too large or too small.
The running of the two best bike shops in Amsterdam, where anyone and everyone is welcome to drop by for repairs, sales, rentals, and expert advice.
Testing is key to finding the right bike.
The WorkCycles philosophy is not complicated: it is their firm belief that the bicycle is a perfect example of the beautiful minimalism the world should adopt to continue forward. The team works hard to promote everyday cycling amongst individuals, families, and enterprises by supplying the most practical, beautiful, and affordable bicycles possible, and by providing an unparalleled level of service.
Truth be told, without WorkCycles there would be no Flying Dutchman. More than any other factor, it was Henry Cutler and his colleagues in Amsterdam who inspired us to open a Dutch bicycle shop in London. Simply by providing a friendly atmosphere, a beautiful space, and an amazing range of bikes, we saw that independent shops can thrive if they find the right niche. We are truly proud to have them as our supplier, and we continue to enjoy riding their bikes every day.
Now that’s quite an allegation. WorkCycles bikes are actually reasonably priced for what they are; they simply cost what they have to cost. The manufacturers in the Netherlands insist upon delivering an industry-leading level of function and quality that often costs considerably more than the ‘not quite good enough’ standard that other manufacturers are content with. And these costs are cumulative. An example is the paintwork on the in-house bikes that WorkCycles produce (the Kr8, the Fr8, and the Gr8); in every aspect, these bikes are built to endure the harshest conditions. Other manufacturers are typically content to sell bikes with a layer or two of wet paint or powdercoat over bare metal. By contrast, WorkCycles bikes are first zinc-phosphate treated, then painted on both the inside and the outside with anodically applied KTL antirust primer, and then (and only then!) coated with a very tough powdercoat.
No factory in Asia will finish bikes to this standard, meaning that WorkCycles bikes must be finished and assembled in Europe. Now, we have nothing against manufacturing in the Far East; many excellent recreational bikes are made there, often from factories with decent ethical standards. Some of our parts and frames come from the Far East, as do those of most other manufacturers. However, because WorkCycles are made to exacting standard they have to be produced locally.
Besides, what is cheap and what is expensive? Is a few weeks’ salary too much for a handmade bicycle that you can ride and enjoy for maybe 20 or 30 years? Is it value-for-money to purchase a bike for 30% less and then spend more on maintenance and repairs, have it last only a couple of years before it’s not worth repairing, and never really enjoy riding as much anyway?
How much does a car cost to run? To fuel, to maintain, to park? The WorkCycles philosophy is to purchase only what you need and will enjoy… but when you do buy something, get good stuff.
“Good bikes aren’t cheap. Cheap bikes aren’t good”
We are aware that you can buy a ‘Dutch bike’ for £350, or a ‘bakfiets’ for £750. Those bikes do look similar to ours (from a distance), but in reality they are just shadows of the real thing. They are not similar in how they ride, function, or last. Nor is the company likely to support your purchase with quality aftersales service. You can also buy a fake Rolex or iPhone, but you get what you pay for.
There are quite a few famous types who ride WorkCycles bikes, but it’s not polite to namedrop. In terms of industrial clients, though: BP, Concor, Corus, DHL, Dyka, Novo Nordisk, Europoint, Eurotank, Icova, ISS, NATO, Shell, Stora Enso, TNT, UCO, UMC, and several zoos and theme parks. Beyond these big names, there are also countless thousands of small businesses, families, and individuals who ride and enjoy WorkCycles bikes.
We get asked this question quite often, and our reply is always the same: not an ounce more than they have to. These bikes are designed from the tyres up to be ready for a lifetime of hard work, and while weight is kept to a minimum, there are much more important considerations that have to be prioritised when building a utility bicycle: confident handling when loaded, ergonomics, durability, practicality, safety…
Keith Bontrager, a pioneering engineer from the mountain bike world once said: “Light, strong, cheap… pick any two.” Do you want a durable but light utility bike that doesn’t compromise on functionality? It would be astronomically expensive. How about a cheap but durable bike? It’ll weigh a ton or be stripped of functionality… or both.
Of all of the Flying Dutchman’s suppliers, WorkCycles has the longest lead times. Each of their bikes is built to the individual customer’s needs, so they hold very little in the way of stock. Thus, lead times vary depending on how busy they are, the availability of parts, and how special the project is. The typical range is 5-10 weeks, but for some standard configurations of popular bikes this can be as little as 2-3 weeks.
Custom work always takes a bit longer, so please do not ask for a fleet of custom promotional bikes to be completed within a couple of weeks; it’s not worth the hassle on your part, and does not constitute an emergency on theirs.
Please also bear in mind that WorkCycles is a small, independent company, and despite their best efforts and intentions, things can and do go wrong sometimes. Examples: 1. The entire batch of rear carriers that had to be rejected due to quality concerns (causing an 8-week delay on dozens of orders), and 2. The rim manufacturer had an unexpected month-long delay in THE rim that is used on the E-Kr8. Since both of these parts are made specifically for WorkCycles they cannot just buy them elsewhere instead.
Paintwork tends to be the cause of most WorkCycles headaches. Regardless of the supplier (and they’ve worked with plenty!), they have to reject a significant percentage of the powdercoating delivered. With standard and seasonal colours they can usually begin building the bikes from stock parts, but for custom colours there’s nothing that can be done and we just have to wait. Quality is worth waiting for though, so we don’t hold it against them.
Every WorkCycles bike has a 10 year warranty on the frame, one year on components, none on ‘wear parts’ (e.g. tyres), and what they call the ‘no BS guarantee’. This means that they appreciate that your bicycle is your transportation and that it has to work properly. If your bike needs repairs as a result of wear, damage, or abuse, then you’ll obviously have to pay for it, but the origins of some problems aren’t always clear. Maybe a manufacturer’s defect will only show up after the official warranty has expired, or one of WorkCycles’ normally scrupulous mechanics has been sloppy. As a WorkCycles dealer, Flying Dutchman Bikes will also honour the ‘no BS guarantee’; what this means is that you will get straightforward assessment of any problem, generous benefit of the doubt, and a fair compromise if needed. This is one reason why WorkCycles bikes cost what they do and why the prices are non-negotiable: you get what you pay for, and you get a lot for your money.