Bike Shops and Bike Shopping

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As Will mentioned earlier I’ve spent the last week readjusting to riding my bike which has been collecting dust for the last four years. Since some of that time it was sitting outside it needed some work to get back into top riding shape. Living in silverlake I figured that there was some bad ass shop on a backstreet that I just didn’t know about and e-mailed a bunch of people I thought would be in the know. Turns out they weren’t. And Google knew even less. Everyone raves about the Bicycle Kitchen but that’s more of a bring-your-stuff-there-and-fix-it-yourself kind of place and not so much the drop-your-bike-off-and-have-it-fixed or the buy-some-new-parts kind of place which is more what I was looking for. Initially I just needed a tune up, but as I ride more I’m going to have to replace a few components here and there and I really wanted a shop I could trust. Over the past week I’ve spent a lot of time researching and visiting shops and here’s what I’ve discovered:

Budget Bicycles in Eagle Rock: Will recommended this place and I was happy when I found it. The people there seemed pretty nice and I even passed their name on to some other friends who went there right away as well. I initially had them tune up my bike, and then had them replace my shifters, and at this point I don’t think I’d be going back. I was charged $10 more for the tune up in person than I was quoted on the phone, which I initially didn’t care about but after having some problems I had to take it back for kind of bugged me. There were also a lot of loose bolts when I got it back. When I had my shifters replaced they lost my handlebar plugs and told me I never had any to begin with. Now having spent a hour to two cleaning my bike before taking it in I know what was on it and what wasn’t. We’re talking about $1 pieces of plastic so it’s not a big deal but the principal of the thing matters. It also seems more focused on road bikes then mountain bikes which is fine, but when they seemed to keep recommending road bike parts for my mountain bike I was kind of annoyed. The final straw was a shifting problem I had and took back for an adjustment. I was told the problem was not the tune up but a crappy crankset I had that would need to be replaced. I wish they’d mentioned that during the $70 tune up, but oh well. When I asked about replacement options I was shown a crankset that said right on it that it was for roadbikes, and told I could have it at the “deal” price of $90 or so. I declined and looked it up online and saw that most places were selling it for $59. So that place is crossed off my list. They have no website either, so no link.

Hollywood Pro Bicycles: This was the first place I found online and I found it by searching for the brand of my bike, Kona. Their website seemed to have a lot of info but e-mails to them still haven’t been returned and when I called the guy who answered sounded a bit like I was bothering him. I haven’t been there in person yet so it’s entirely possible I caught them at a bad moment. It’s also entirely possible they just suck.

Wheel World: Mack recommended this Culver City shop and I spent a good amount of time on their website. I went there today and the people I talked to were helpful and informative without being sales pitchy. However they have a ton of stuff so it was a bit overwhelming. The prices in the store don’t seem to match up entirely with the prices on the website but it’s only a few dollar difference here and there and I’m sure if you argued the point things would go your way. This shop also seems to have a ton more mountain bike focused stuff so it’s the one I’m leaning towards at the moment. I still haven’t replaced my crappy crank, so unless I find a better option these guys will probably get my business on that one.

16 Replies to “Bike Shops and Bike Shopping”

  1. I’ve been looking to get a new bike of my own, something street but vintagy as well. Maybe hitting up some swapmeets will turn up something good so I can do this midnight riding thing.

  2. Every time I go to Hollywood Pro, the guys there are friendly and enthusiastic. I’ve never caught any attitude there. It’s a small shop, so the selection isn’t huge, but they can probably order anything you need.

  3. Wheel World is the greatest. They’ve helped me find a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub for my ’62 Schwinn, a bike trailer for dragging the kids around, and a new gas-shock for my weird Cannondale Lefty mountainbike fork. They have a great array of stuff, and friendly, just-folks staff. Definitely highly recommended.

    I also like the guys on Western just below Melrose who I’ve dealt with a couple times – can’t remember the name of the place for some reason, but it’s behind a very unassuming storefront.

  4. Just stay away from Glendale’s Bicycleland on Glendale Blvd.

    They are pure evil there. Super duper rude on top of it. They overcharge for repairs and do terrible work. When they re-fix what they should of fixed before, they will charge you again. For the effort to make it right. Then they try to eat your soul. It’s true I tell you!

    So thanks for doing some the leg work I’ve been way too busy to do.

  5. The guys at Hollywood Pro ARE very nice and helpful. I’d highly recommend them. The ownder is a super nice guy and does great business. They even sent me a Christmas card, and it’s not like I made any giant purchases or anything from there, just stop in to get parts or tune-ups every once in a while.

  6. Mack, that shop on Western (between Melrose & Santa Monica) is “Safety Cycle”. They’ve been there practically forever (under different owners); I bought a Raleigh Record there in ’75. They recently did a bunch of work, including a complete tune-up, on Alice’s bike for a very reasonable rate and all is working well, so I’d say that I’d recommend them. I’ll still put in another word for the Bicycle Kitchen, you can get parts there, both new & used, but yes, you should bring some patience and a do-it-yourself attitude.

  7. How about that divey looking little shop on Brand Blvd (on the west side of the street, just north of San Fernando Road)? I think it’s called “The Bicycle Mart”. I’ve never been inside, but perhaps its worth a look.

    “Bicycle Johns” in Burbank on N. Hollywood Way is a good place from what I’ve heard.

  8. Safety Cycle is a great shop. I’d recommend them if you live near western/santa monica

  9. Bicycle John’s in Burbank on Magnolia near Hollywood Way is a schlep from Hollywood but the best bike shop in town.

  10. There are quite a few bicycle shops in Pasadena/Arcadia as well. Depending on what you are looking for, you should check out the following:
    Velo – Pro shop, big drool factor
    Pasadena Cyclery – Trek stuff, good service
    Steve’s Bikes – Nice guy, cheap stuff
    InCycle – Big selection of road and mountain bikes, good service
    Jones Bicycles – Small shop, but nice folks
    The Open Road
    Helen’s – Great staff, and a good mix of mid to high end bikes
    We are also getting a Performance Bicycle on Arroyo, but I’m not sure if it is open yet.

  11. I go to Hollywood Pro (and bought my bike there). It’s a great little shop. Definitely stop by and check them out.

  12. Bicycle John’s in Burbank is the total godhead of bike shops!!!!

    When you enter from the rear parking lot, note all the bikes waiting to get picked up. Plus they have a selection that drops my jaw to the floor. Never had a bad experience there!

    The lead mechanic at I. Martin’s, Maestro is an awesome guy.

    Hollywood Pro is pretty good too but I tend to only hit them up for an emergency. Chris gets overwhelmed with phone calls and walk ins amost everytime if been there. Happens…

    I’d tend to agree with the above mentioned Glendale Bicycleland. My one and only phone call to them ended up in me hanging up in disgust. For that matter, what purpose does Glendale serve?

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