Which frame size do I need ?
The Gr8 Universal frame has a low instep for convenience but is as suitable for men as for women and comes in one size. It features a proprietary geometry called the “Adaptive Seat Tube” or AST. The handlebar reach and reactionship to the pedals actually vary accordingly with the height of the saddle. To state it simply; the Gr8 Universal frame reliably fits riders from about 150cm to 195cm, ideal for sharing. The Gr8 universal frame seat tube is 2cm shorter than the Fr8 universal frame seat tube.
How much does the bike weigh ?
A Gr8 with roller brakes front & rear and an 8 speed hub weighs around 25 kg. The same bike with a 3 speed hub weighs around 23 kg. The total weight depends on how you build up the bike; 3 speed, 8 speed, Enviolo, front carrier, rear carrier, crate, chain lock, child seats, etc.. The Gr8 is a robust bicycle built with a stiff and strong chromoly frame with heavy duty components, it isn’t meant to be a light bicycle. These weight measurements are actually typical of traditional Dutch transport and city bicycles. Transport bicycles are all about bearing loads, reliability, practicality, comfort and ease of use. These factors are more important than the actual weight of the bike itself. If you are riding over very hilly or even mountainous terrain then weight becomes important, a proper touring bike would be more suited to that kind of terrain.
The Fr8 and the Gr8 look the same, what’s the difference ?
Almost daily we’re asked “What’s the difference between the WorkCycles Fr8 and Gr8?” or “Would a Fr8 or Gr8 be better for my needs?”. They’re certainly fair questions considering that, at least in photos, the two bikes look very similar. The Fr8 (“Freight” or “Vracht”) is the super versatile load carrier. It’s long wheelbase, load specific geometry and extremely heavy duty construction make it ideal for transporting heavy stuff. The Gr8 (“Great” or “Gracht”) is our hyper versatile city bike. Though nearly as tough as big brother Fr8, the Gr8 has a much shorter wheelbase with steering geometry tuned to be much more responsive and fun. It’s 3 kg lighter than the Fr8 which is handy as a personal bike though rather irrelevant as a family or load carrier. The Gr8’s frame ergonomics are also smaller than the Fr8 in both height and length so it fits almost the smallest of adults but will feel smallish for very tall men. The Massive Rack, Fr8 child saddle and double rear kid’s seat options are not compatible with the Gr8.
What are the available colors, can I choose the color ?
After selecting which Gr8 setup suits your needs you can choose which color scheme you would like the bike to come in. It’s also possible to have a custom color that you choose yourself or colored rims. There are extra costs involved in building a special order custom color bike.
What is the build time after ordering ?
Normal build time after ordering is around 8 weeks, it depends somewhat on your order. A standard color Gr8 with roller brakes and a Nexus 8 hub normally takes around 6 - 8 weeks to build. Whereas a Gr8 painted in a custom color with a nameplate would be around 8 - 10 weeks.
I am a larger rider, is this bike suitable for me ?
The cycling industry tends to ignore the fact that there are all kinds of people in the world; small, tall, average, large, thin, at WorkCycles we have all kinds of customers. For many customers buying one of our bikes is the first time they actually have a well fitting comfortable riding bike. The Gr8 seat tube is 2cm shorter than the universal Fr8 seat tube and will fit riders of 150cm to 195cm. We often recommend the Gr8 for shorter riders who would normally need a 45cm traditional frame size. Interestingly, very tall men generally tax their bicycles and parts harder than heavy guys. For the very tall or very heavy rider we build a special ‘Clydesdale’ spec Fr8. A Clydesdale Fr8 comes outfitted with heavy duty rims, SR Torx saddle, reinforced seat post, double seat post clamp and stronger bottom bracket axle. If you are buying a Brooks B67(s) saddle we suggest a maximum rider weight of around 80 kg (for the saddle, not the bike).
What is a frame fixed front carrier ?
One the best bicycle accessories ever invented. Gr8 front and rear carriers are very securely bolted into the frame where they have almost no effect on steering. This frame-mounted, medium-sized, front carrier is extremely handy, basically indestructible and ideal for urban use. Typically a crate, box or basket is mounted on the City carrier and because it is affixed to the frame the load has no influence on the bike’s handling or parking stability.
What is the maximum weight on the carriers ?
Our weight guidelines for the Gr8 are; 40kg on the city carrier and 50kg on the rear carrier.
Can an adult sit on the rear carrier, Dutch style side-saddle ?
For a short ride, it’s ok, a small adult could sit side saddle on the rear carrier. The Gr8 rear carrier isn’t really designed to be used for this kind of thing all day everyday and it would eventually damage the carrier. If you need to routinely carry passengers on the bike then check out our Fr8 bicycle.
What size crate or basket do you recommend for the city carrier ?
Your Gr8 will need to have the front carrier mounted and suitable crates are available in our webshop. WorkCycles’ own MT crate and the ubiquitous Milk crate. The MT crate measures 50 x 30 x 22cm tall with solid walls and a solid base. It has holes for mounting and for water drainage. The perforated Milk crate is a favorite in Amsterdam. Ugly, indestructible, black plastic. It’s 43 x 35 x 27cm tall. Both crates are mounted by means of strong zip ties fastening the crate to the carrier. An additional WorkCycles crate mat functions as an anti-noise mat, locks and groceries don't rattle around anymore. Wooden crates and wicker baskets that have roughly the same dimensions as our crates will also work.
The rear fender seems like it’s not long enough and sometimes mud and water fly up, why is this and can it be fixed ?
When it comes to parking your bike, Amsterdam is crowded. Your bike often ends up sandwiched between other people's bikes. Long fenders are nice however in a city like Amsterdam flimsy rear fender stays have a habit of being damaged or broken by other bikes. The Gr8 was designed as a tough urban bicycle, the rear fender was intentionally made shorter so it wouldn’t need a rear fender stay and therefore be less prone to damage. Some riders experience water and mud flying up, this can be fixed by mounting a rubber mudflap.
Does the bike come with a bell, lights, fenders, kickstand and a lock ?
Absolutely, all WorkCycles bicycles come complete with hub dynamo powered LED lighting front and rear, fenders or as they are also called 'mudguards', a double leg parking stand, a frame mounted rear wheel lock with two numbered keys and bell.
What kind of pedals come with the Gr8 ?
Gr8 bikes normally come with large BMX platform style pedals. Made of steel and hardened plastic with small nobs, these robust pedals are great for comfort and grip. Cycling in sneakers and boots will be fine, they are not suitable for dress shoes with leather soles though. For riders who wear elegant shoes or high heels we offer a more traditional classic city bike pedal with rubber grip.
Can I mount panniers on the back ?
We offer Dutch style panniers from Clarijs. These simple, functional and waterproof panniers are hand made by our friends in Zeeland. They are made from European truck tarp material called Bisonyl. The size L (38 liter) panniers fit the Gr8 nicely and come with an ‘ADR’ anti-theft ring that will let you run a cable or lock through the bridge of the panniers to secure them to your bike. There are plenty of companies making bicycle panniers, too many for us to keep track of. If you want to use your own panniers and already have something in mind, we recommend buying the bike first so you can check if your favored panniers will fit.
Which internally geared hubs do you offer, do you sell the Rohloff hub ?
We currently build Gr8 bikes with three different hubs. The Shimano Nexus 8, which has a wide range (307%) and suits the needs of our riders for most situations. It’s smooth running and tough. The Shimano Nexus 3, which has a moderate range (187%) and is more suited for lightweight cycling, not for heavy cargo. Lastly the Shimano Alfine 11, the Alfine works just like a Nexus 8 but with a much wider range (409%). The Rohloff hub is very nice but has quite a price tag to it. It makes more sense to have a Rohloff hub on a serious touring bicycle.
Which kid’s seats should I get ?
The Fr8, not the Gr8 is our most sold family transport bicycle. We sell complete family bike packages, you can get the bike together with the age specific child seats that you need. As your kids grow or your needs change you can always rebuild your Fr8 or alter the seating arrangements as necessary. The Kr8 bakfiets is also extremely beneficial for families with very young children. For those of you who already own a Gr8 and only need to carry one child, here is our Gr8 child seat guide:
Thule Yepp Mini: for a child of 9 months to around 3 years, seat is available in black
Yepp Mini: for a child of 9 months to 3 years, seat is available in various colors
Urban Iki Mini: for a child of 9 months to around 3 years, seat is available in black
Mini seat with crate on the front carrier
Mini seats like the Yepp are mounted to the bicycle’s handlebar stem. This means the seat (and footrests) turn with the handlebars when you steer the bicycle. Because our frame mounted front carrier and crate do not turn when steering, we need to allow some room for the mini seat footrests to do so. The MT crate child has a section of the rear panel removed so the footrests can turn freely. This is only necessary with a stem mounted mini seat not with the Fr8 child saddle. The additional MT Crate mat functions as an anti-noise mat, locks and groceries don't rattle around anymore.
Qibbel Rear Seat: for a child of 9 months to 6 years, 3 point harness belt, seat is available in dark grey with black cushion.
Qibbel Air: (lighter version of the Qibbel rear seat) for a child of 9 months to 6 years, 3 point harness belt, seat is available in black.
Qibbel Jr: for a child of 4+ years, seat is available in dark grey, we sell the Qibbel Jr complete with a seat belt and WorkCycles’ own strong frame mounted foot pegs
Fr8 Single Seat: 5+ years, complete with backrest, Ventisit cushion and strong frame mounted foot pegs. No seatbelt - as from this age it’s not necessary, the strong foot pegs help with the kid’s sitting safely on the bike.
Foot guards are necessary for the Qibbel Jr and Fr8 Single Seat. The Qibbel Rear Seat and Qibbel Air come with built-in foot guards.
Panniers and kid’s seats ?
The carrier is stiff enough to ride stably with panniers or a child seat. It’s not possible to use our panniers and a rear child seat on the Gr8. If you’d like to combine panniers and a rear child seat or have a double rear seat then get a Fr8 instead of a Gr8.
Can I use the Brooks leather saddle in the rain ?
Brooks traditional leather bicycle saddles are great but need to be looked after. Treat the topside with Proofide every 6-12 months and keep the underside dry. If possible store the bike in a dry place between rides so that the leather can dry out naturally. Use a waterproof saddle cover when the bike is parked outside in bad weather and remove the saddle cover when you ride the bike. Tension the leather when necessary, if the leather is touching the saddle rail it needs to be tightened. We sell a complete saddle care kit, including; waterproof saddle cover, a sachet of Brooks saddle proofide and a leather tensioning tool.
Do the tires have an anti puncture layer ?
The Schwalbe Big Apple is a good all-round balloon city tire with a reflective sidewall strip and an anti-puncture protection belt.
Do you sell winter tires with spikes ?
Yes, we sell the 26” Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires that will fit the Gr8.
After purchasing what kind of maintenance does the bike need ?
The majority of customers rely on their local bike shop for their maintenance needs. A few customers have experience in looking after bikes and have a garage full of tools in order to do so. About a month after purchasing one of our bikes it should be checked over. Maintenance is highly dependent on how much you ride the bike and whether it sleeps in or outdoors. If you are riding your bike everyday in all weather conditions or it lives outdoors than on average it should receive a full tune-up at least once or twice a year. General maintenance guidelines include:
- air in tires
Half year intervals:
- tension chain
- check brakes and gears
- check headsets
- check steering joints
- replace chain
- check/clean contacts for lighting
- lubricate brake cables to avoid freezing
Two year intervals:
- replace rear cog
- open and lubricate rear hub
- replace rear, maybe front tires
- replace some headset parts
If the bike isn't being used so intensively and/or stored indoors you can probably double or even triple these intervals.
Fixing a flat tire
It is usually not at all necessary to replace the inner tube to replace a flat tire. You just put the bike on it's stand, pull the left side of the tire open, patch the tube and put it back together. You can keep patching the tube until there is either no more room for patches or there is another reason to take the wheel out. Then when replacing a tire or opening the hub for service you replace the tube at the same time.
Nexus 8 (and 4, 5 and 7) speed cable adjustment:
Assuming the cable is gliding smoothly and not kinked or anything the adjustment for the Nexus 8 hub is very straightforward.
- make sure that both ends of the cable housing are sitting properly in their respective receptacles at the shifter and hub
- set the shifter to fourth gear
- just to the right of the cog on the rear hub is an indicator with a pair of yellow lines. The two lines should be aligned when in fourth gear.
- if they're not aligned tighten or loosen the barrel adjuster as need
Due you ship replacement parts, like a new chain case ?
Replacement parts for your bike can be purchased in the Parts section of our webshop. If you need help or need a part that isn’t listed in the parts shop please email us. WorkCycles parts are specifically for WorkCycles bicycles.
I have seen photos online of a Gr8 with what appears to be a belt drive, is that correct ?
It’s actually the extra long version of the Hebie Chainglider fitted over a regular bicycle chain. The Chainglider works very well as an alternative to our standard chain case. The extra long version of the Chainglider is available in the parts section of our webshop.
Does it come in an electric assist version ?
The Gr8 is conceived as a robust, all-round, low maintenance, no nonsense bike. We don’t sell an electric assist version.
I bought a Gr8 a few years ago can it still be converted to electric assist ?
We receive lots of questions from customers looking to retrofit their bike with electric assist. So let's start at the start, do you need an e-bike ? what kind of weight are you carrying ? What kind of terrain are you riding ? If it’s short rides on relatively flat terrain you will probably be just fine without electric assist. For long rides with heavy cargo (or children), a company delivery bike or for crossing hilly terrain the electric assist can make all the difference. We recommend having a conversion done by an experienced mechanic. Customers in the Netherlands can have their Gr8 converted at our workshop in Amsterdam. For Gr8 owners around the world, a local bike shop with experience in converting bikes or a bike shop that sells cargo and family bicycles is the best place to have a motor installed. All Gr8 bicycles can be converted to electric assist, however there is more to converting a bike to electric assist than just adding a motor. The majority of Gr8 bicycles around the world have a Nexus 8 hub with roller brakes front and rear. With that in mind here are some guidelines on conversion.
A powerful mid drive motor creates a higher level of torque on the chain. This in turn puts more stress on the hub and can result in poorer gear shifting, depending on which motor you use. If you experience problems in shifting gear as a direct result of upgrading the bike to mid drive electric assist you can always switch from a Nexus 8 to an Enviolo hub. Because of it’s variable transmission design and extreme durability the Enviolo hub is highly suited to mid drive electric assist bicycles. We can ship you a Gr8 rear wheel with an Enviolo hub built in.
Roller Brakes work regardless of weather conditions and are low maintenance. If you are converting to electric assist primarily for the support, not for the added speed and you don’t plan on carrying heavy cargo on children then the roller brakes will most likely be fine. If you are using your Gr8 as a family bike or cargo hauler and you are adding a powerful electric assist motor then you may very well need more braking power than the roller brakes can supply. We sell the parts to convert your Gr8 to disc brakes. Some people add a front disc brake, others convert both front and rear brakes. We like the Magura MT5 hydraulic disc brakes, conversion to Shimano disc brakes is also possible but we just sell the Magura brakes.
There are front wheel motors, rear wheel motors and mid drive (crank assist) motors on the market. One of the advantages of retro fitting a mid drive motor is the simplicity. It lets you keep the front and rear wheels as they are; the hub dynamo in your front wheel the powers your lights and your gears inside the rear hub. Front wheel or rear wheel motors involve more work in rebuilding the bike. The most commonly used conversion kit for the Gr8 is the Bafang BBS02. The battery for the Bafang motor is quite large so you’ll probably need to mount it in a crate on the front carrier.
Installing a mid drive motor means you are altering your current drivetrain, this involves removing the cranks, bottom bracket and chain case. Fr8 bicycles have a 68mm BSA (British) thread bottom bracket. Mid drive systems come with their own cranks and chainrings which are part of the motor. If you install a Bafang BBS02 our regular chain case will no longer fit and you’ll need to mount the extra long version of the Hebie Chainglider. The extra long Chainglider consists of a front part for either 38T, 42T or 44T size chainrings and a rear part for Nexus or Enviolo hubs. The maximum recommended chain width is 9mm. When you use a Chainglider you'll need to lubricate the chain well and clean the inside of the Chainglider from time to time. We recommend Squirt chain lube, which is a paraffin based chain wax.
Do you ship electric assist conversion kits ?
For customers who own a WorkCycles bicycle we can ship bicycle parts worldwide. However e-bike batteries are classed as dangerous goods and are not permitted on passenger aircraft. We rely on passenger aircraft to deliver direct orders to our overseas customers, so we can’t ship ‘conversion kits’. However you will be able to get the motor, battery & other parts locally or online.
Do you also sell Gr8 bicycles secondhand ?
The general answer is no. Every now and then we have one for sale at our retail location in Amsterdam, which we would sell to local customer. We don’t ship secondhand bikes. 99% of the time we don’t have secondhand bicycles for sale. The buying and selling of secondhand WorkCycles bicycles is permitted in our facebook group.