Friday, July 15, 2011

Worksman M2600

I got a new ride! Well, new to me at least. The bike you see above is a Worksman "Urban Assault" model. Substantially the same model is sold today as the M2600. My brother, Dave, generously gifted this one to me. I've been cruising around Queens and Forest Park for the last few days now and having lots of fun doing it. I have a little folding bike that works well enough but its tiny wheels really aren't suited to going anywhere beyond a mile or two and then at low speed. The Worksman has no such limitations.

A little about Worksman. They are currently one of the last bicycle manufacturers located in the US. The company was founded by Morris Worksman in 1896. Unlike many of their peers, they chose to remain in the States. Their products include both bicycles and tricycles which are known for their very strong build. It is common to hear stories of Worksman bikes being used in commercial settings and on factory shop floors for decades at a time. Their whole operation is right here in Queens, NY, not far from where I live. In fact, my brother actually bought this bike at the factory. He talked with the head of the place, Wayne Sosin, and met the folks who built his ride. Pretty cool I think.

The M2600 is no lightweight as bicycles go. I weighed the bike and it came in at 48 lbs. Not staggeringly heavy but hardly svelte either. The frame uses a reinforcement system of raised flanges at the pipe ends (I believe it is called a lugged frame). The frame itself has two upper bars for increased strength and rigidity. The wheels are especially wide for a bicycle and the spokes are also thicker than normal. This particular model uses a three speed gear set. Seven speed and single speed models are also available. The bike also employs full fenders to protect both rider and bike from rain and debris.

When I first got the bike from my brother, I wasn't sure what to expect. Compared to my little folder, the Worksman was a monster. Worse still, the first time I rode it, I didn't realize that the tires were badly under inflated. The bike rolled like a lead bar. After quickly realizing my error, inflating the tires properly, cleaning the bike up and properly oiling the chain with new chain lube, things were very different. The three speed is geared on the low side which makes climbing hills relatively easy. It find no problem to maintain a pretty good clip in second and third gears. This bike uses an old fashioned coaster brake in the rear, the kind you have to reverse the pedals to engage. It works very well but it took a little practice for me to get used to it. Up front, it has a hand operated drum brake. It is engaged like a conventional caliper brake with a handle bar mounted lever but it has no caliper. The brake is built into the front hub. Again, unusual, but it does work nicely.

Now that I have this bike running the way I like, I am very pleased. It is still big and heavy but it feels as solid as a rock. The ride is very smooth and comfortable thanks to those wide wheels and a generously sized seat. Additionally, despite it's weight, the Worksman is surprisingly nimble through the turns and hills of Forest Park where I do most of my riding. It's no racing bike by any stretch but it holds it's own very nicely. I kind of think of this bike as the two wheeled equivalent of a P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft (yes, I'm a history buff too). Big and heavy and yet a very acceptable performer. I feel pretty confident that it will provide me with years of good service.


Blogger Eli said...

How's it working for you 5 years later? I'm thinking about getting one. I've seen one or two people say that if you're above 6' the frame seems a bit small, any thoughts?

6:03 AM  

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