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July 16, 2005 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Toronto bike shops...

I'm looking for a bike shop in downtown Toronto...

I live downtown and I used to frequent 'Downtown Cycle' because it was so close to me. In the last ten years I have also shoped at Curbside, The Urbane Cyclist, Duke's, MEC, Dave's Fix My Bike (before he moved), some new store on Harbord (south east corner at Bathurst, maybe called The Bike Joint), and even a couple of Cyclepaths from time to time. None of them impress me...

I am not a gear head! (well, not when it comes to bikes anyway) I don't give a damn about fancy names and shiny finishes. I go shopping, I commute, I exercise on road, and I occasionally ride medium distances for one reason or another. However, I am 260lbs, I carry a lot of heavy loads, and I ride pretty hard in all weather, so I do a lot of damage to my bike.

I am looking for good deals on parts & tools, and staff who can help me find durable parts that fit but understand that I don't care about the latest thing (or generally just understand where I am coming from).

Does this place exist? Can you help me find it?
posted by Chuckles to Shopping (12 answers total)
What kind of bike do you have?

I couldn't stand the staff at Curbside on Bloor -- they're staff were just focussed on upselling me on everything. Urbane Cyclist seems to have all the silly gadgets that commuter-nerds like.

La Bicicletta (near Dufferin & Eglinton) is a high-end roadie shop. Get your hand-built wheels there, go to MEC for the rest. MEC usually has the best prices for parts and tools. Their staff are reasonably helpful, but you have to be competent at doing your own repairs.
posted by randomstriker at 1:15 PM on July 16, 2005

Response by poster: I have some under $500 Raleigh... Inferno maybe... It has been okay, but I had a Raleigh Serengheti before that was much better (stolen :( ). I have broken the single wall back wheel and the plastic pedals already, it has been about 1 year. I just paid $90 for a replacement double wall wheel at Urbane, that didn't seem like a good deal at all...

I agree that MEC seems okay. The best in my list anyway, but I have the impression that they don't have a complete stock of parts.

The thing that gets me most about doing my own repair is that the tools cost a fortune, and they constantly change. I have tools bought for an even older bike that are already out of date 5 years later. I can't justify $20 for a specialized wrench when you have to keep updating them...
posted by Chuckles at 1:38 PM on July 16, 2005

I'm going to rephrase your question for you. Which bike shop has adequate repair capacities, a good enough selection, and no attitude?

The only one I know of is Urbane Cyclist, where they won't try to out-machismo you. Ask for Nancy.
posted by joeclark at 2:38 PM on July 16, 2005

The Cyclepath near Yonge and Eglinton (probably not quite the "downtown" that you're looking for) is fairly nice. The staff were very helpful and even if they don't have what you're looking for exactly, I'm sure they can order it.
posted by purephase at 3:30 PM on July 16, 2005

I hate Duke's and Cyclepath. I recommend the Sports Swap on Yonge b/t Davisville and Eg (across the street from the store purephase is recommending). Not downtown, but the only store I found that was patient with all my questions and had no attitude. I don't know what their tools selection is like.
posted by dobbs at 4:03 PM on July 16, 2005

My wife and I drove past a place called "Cycle Therapy" this afternoon that looked quite colourful from that outside... 1233 Dundas E.

I have no idea if they're any good, but here's their website
posted by lowlife at 5:08 PM on July 16, 2005

Seconding Sports Swap at Yonge & Davisville. My experiences there are that the staff are nice, friendly, knowledgeable and not attitudinal jerks. They also have really good prices (that's where I got my used Specialized Rock Hopper for $160). I like Urbane Cyclist, but prefer Sports Swap.
posted by biscotti at 5:35 PM on July 16, 2005

I haven't been there for a while, but I always found Bikes on Wheels on Augusta to be good. I'm not sure you'll get a "deal" there, but the prices seem fair and they had a good attitude.
posted by transient at 12:29 AM on July 17, 2005

Second vote here for Cyclepath.
The only other one I remember using is "Spokes" on Avenue Rd., north of lawrence. And, that's of course way far north of your desired locale.
But just in case, there's that one too.
posted by Radio7 at 2:17 AM on July 17, 2005

Re: expensive tools

Community Bicycle Network (Queen & Euclid) has Saturday afternoon drop-in workshop space that's really cheap, and I think they have tools you can use there. The program is called Toolworks.

Also, every Thursday evening between 6:30-9pm there's the West End Bike club in the underground parking garage at Dufferin Mall. For a nominal fee ($3?) you can bring your bike and use their tools, etc. They don't have a website, but they are listed on NOW's bike directory.
posted by girlpublisher at 9:11 AM on July 17, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! The advice is going to be helpful even though my dream store isn't really evident yet.

girlpublisher, I found Toolworks while googling when I submitted the question, pretty cool. That West End Bike Club at Dufferin Mall sounds even better, but I'm kind of surprised I've never noticed them there.
posted by Chuckles at 4:51 PM on July 17, 2005

Response by poster: I am about to ask another bike question (Bicycle rear wheel problems), while checking back here first, I noticed a couple of errors.

This was Bikes on Wheels, it was not Urbane Cyclist (I'm very sorry about this error!):
I just paid $90 for a replacement double wall wheel at Urbane (ed.), that didn't seem like a good deal at all.
Bikes on Wheels was also particularly unhelpful with me a couple of months ago - I don't think I will go back.

This was La Carrera Cycles, not The Bike Joint (sorry again):
new store on Harbord (south east corner at Bathurst, maybe called The Bike Joint)
I have since been to The Bike Joint a couple of times, and they seem pretty good.
posted by Chuckles at 5:43 PM on May 17, 2006

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