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in their Chicago factory, which meant they could not fabricate the lighter, thinner tubing needed. To keep up with the technology and the trends they had at first ignored, Schwinn increasingly shifted production to Taiwan’s Giant Bicycles, a small company that would eventually eclipse Schwinn.

The coming decades saw all the big American bicycle manufacturers shutter their doors or move production overseas—all except Worksman, who, like Schwinn, had never bothered to re-do their manufacturing process, but whose saving grace was never bothering to try to keep up with the consumer market in the first place. As Weinreb puts it, “If we had gone into 10-speed bikes, if we had gone into kid’s bikes, we would be out of business.”

Worksman took a hit during the recession, but just as American manufacturing has since picked up, so too, has Worksman’s business. Weinreb says they have brought on newer customers like Tesla, and begun fielding replacement orders from older customers who had stopped buying during the recession. They are cagey about how many bikes they produce annually, but co-owner Wayne Sosin told the Wall Street Journal in 2013 they produce upwards of 10,000 bikes a year.

Worksman has survived long enough for the future to come back to them. Their tough, low-maintenance bicycles have become the ride of choice for bikeshare programs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Their bikes are so easily adapted to bikeshare, says Weinreb, that Worksman did not even know they were supplying bikes for Tulsa’s program until a year later, when the program called up asking for replacement parts. Along with these municipal bikeshares, Worksman also provides bikes for a number of campus programs.

With growing interest in public and private bikeshares, Worksman is, for the first time in years, about to roll out a new bicycle purpose-built for the sector. But this new interest in expansion does not mean Worksman is going to abandon its ways. “What we don’t get into is complexity,” says Weinreb. “We’ll never make anything with a derailleur.”


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