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Monday, March 21, 2011

Worksman Cycle Truck Updates

Don't let this picture fool you. April is afraid to ride this thing.
After all the extensive coverage about the Raleigh Wayfarer, I haven't talked much about my other recent bicycle acquisition, the Worksman "Cycle Truck." There's two reasons for that: 1)It's meant to be a cargo bike, not a daily commuter, so I don't ride it as often and 2)It was pretty much "ready" when I bought the thing.

But last week I had Oregon Bike Shop do some modifications and updates.  Nothing super major, but some stuff I've either wanted to do or needed to do.
First up, new front tire.  As stated in a prior post, the tire was showing signs of dry rot (which is another reason why I haven't ridden it much), so time for a new one.  I wanted to put white/off-white/cream colored tires on both front and rear because I thought it would look classy and contrast the black of the frame.  However, finding an appropriate white front on in the size 20" x 2.125" was a fool's errand, so I compromised and decided to go for whitewall tires.  Unfortunately the shop couldn't get any whitewall in that size either, so I gave up and just got a plain black one for the front.

Thoroughly. Exciting.
Oh yeah, Jim trued the front wheel.

Onto things that actually worked out...

I got a new front chainring!  I decided to go for a smaller one so it would lower the gearing.  The original ring had 44 teeth, now the new one has 36 teeth.  I've noticed that it is indeed easier to pedal.  I was hoping that it would switch the "main" gear (the gear you would pedal on flat ground) from 2 to 3, giving me an option of two lower gears.  But it seems to be more in the middle of 2 and 3, while not perfect, is a lot better than before.  Going up hills has gotten easier.  But it's still a bear of a bike, no matter what!

The other addition is a new rear light.  I decided against dyno lighting for this bike *so I'm looking at good battery powered options.  Still toying with the front end, but for the rear I got a new Portland Design Works Fenderbot light.  It's a cousin (not brother/sister) to their popular Radbot lights.  It mounts directly to the fender (dur!) with no quick-release, so it is theft-resistant.**  It has a solid and blinky mode. As for the light itself, it's good, though it lacks the throb-strobe option of the Radbot and is not as bright.  (See, cousin! Not brother or sister.)

The only other major thing that needs to be done is a front drum brake wheel.  That's not going to happen any time soon.  But someday...

*To bore you with details, the funky front end doesn't allow for a bottle dynamo and I don't know if it would work for the rear.  Theoretically I could build a new front wheel with a dynohub/drum brake combo that Sturmey-Archer makes, but the front hub and wheel are super-beefy (almost like a motorcycle wheel), so I don't know if the S-A hub would handle it.  Plus, I don't want to sink the money into it.
**Nothing is truly theft-proof, though it would be difficult for a thief to remove the light.


  1. The Nordlicht 2000 is a good quality bottle dynamo which comes with a rubber wheel allowing it to run on the rim of the wheel for reduced drag/wear. You can get bottle dynamo brackets which would allow easy attachment to the seat stays on the back too. This is the solution I have used on my cargo bike; the Yuba Mundo (albeit on the front wheel instead).

  2. Mr. C-Thanks for the info. But unfortunately this bike is a bit complicated. It doesn't have the traditional "flat" rim that a caliper brake bike would have, it has rolled edge rims, so I don't think a dynamo would work on that surface. As for a bottle dynamo mounted to the tire, the tires are smooth-sided, lacking the groove strip that makes them work better. Any thoughts?

  3. The rubber wheel should work fine without the dynamo track, I have used mine on the tyre sidewall of my Fat Franks, which lack a dynamo track on them. Nordlicht do a larger rubber wheel as a replacement part and I'd advise getting this if you buy the dynamo as it will reduce the resistance from the dynamo down to hub-dynamo like levels.

  4. Thanks for more info, the other Mr. C. I'll look into the Nordlicht when I want to make upgrades. The other big problem is where to mount a headlight. I don't want to mount it to the handlebar, so I might have to mount it to the underside of the basket.

  5. Looks like I can find the Nordlicht being sold only in the UK. I know that Velo-Orange sells a Spanninga bottle dynamo, though they've been out of stock.

  6. How much are you looking to spend? David Hembrow's store ships to the US. He sells all sorts of useful stuff too, so if you buy more the economies of scale start to kick in. Perhaps asking your bike riding friends if they want to combine postage?

  7. Thanks for the link.

    To answer "how much I want to spend", right now nothing. As I said in the post, I don't want to sink any money into this bike at this point, for reasons that will become clear this week.

    If anything, I'd probably look into seeing if Clever Cycles could get me the Nordlicht dynamo. I'd rather support a local shop if I can, and they are the Dutch bike specialists of Portland, so I figured they can possibly get it.


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