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Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike Shops(21 posts)

Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsBianchiAmber
Feb 26, 2002 6:14 AM
I would like to get some fair opinions about Chicago Bike Shops. Please take the time to rate the following shops with A being the best and F being the worst. Just like grade school.

Higher Gear:

Village Cycle Center:

The Wheel Thing:

Chicagoland Bike:

Lickton's Cycle City:

Village Cycle Sport:


Blazing Saddles:

Bike Source:


Straight Up:

Midwest Cyclery:

Add others if you wish. Just looking for good shops. If you have an opinion or story, please post it after the grade.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike Shopsgregdogg62
Feb 26, 2002 6:33 AM
Higher Gear: nice bikes, a little pricey, caters to the racing crowd. Only been to the one in Chicago Always helped me out when I would try to act like a mechanic. They woul dfix my problems.

Village Cycle Center: only concerned about the lakeshore hybrid crowd. Don't ever go there on a weekend in the spring or summer. It is a mad house

The Wheel Thing: Is this the one in LaGrange?

Village Cycle Sport: Nice shop, good mix of mountain and road etc. Good customer service Owners are nice people, but I may be biased since i used to work there

Spokes: Don't even get me started. Rip-off artist Don't trust those guys.

Blazing Saddles: Nice all around shop

Bike Source: Is this the one that is in Downers Grove on Ogden?

Straight Up: Its in the middle of nowhere, owner caters to racers, but always has a lot of cool stuff. Haven't been there in a couple of years

Where is Midwest cyclery?
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike Shopskerrdog
Feb 26, 2002 6:45 AM
Higher Gear: B, Very helpful clean store. Nice selection of higher end bikes. A little more than I wish to pay.

Village Cycle Center: D- Cluttered store and I didn't get much attention from the sales people when I walked in.

The Wheel Thing: C, At one time their road bikes were down in the basement to where you couldn't see them. They have corrected this, so they get a better grade.

Chicagoland Bike: B Great prices and selection for all riders. More of a mail order bike shop so service hurts the grade a bit. One of the best mechanics in Chicago works here though.

Lickton's Cycle City: B- Not much to look at in this store. Bikes are old that are displayed. They have good mechanics and wheel builders. The owner can be agumentative at times. This is also a mail order bike shop. Prices are the reason for the high grade.

Village Cycle Sport: A, Great staff and owner is super to work with. They really don't have any bikes that I would personally ride (TREK, Cannondale, Raleigh, Klein) but still a very well organized and helpful store.

Spokes: F-This store tops all for unorganization and dirtiness. Their prices are way too high, and the owner seems to think you will "LOVE" everything you look at there. F for lack of constructive opinion when looking at bikes, lack of good service, and prices.

Blazing Saddles: D Prices are high. Shop is flashy but hard to find stuff. Location isn't bicycle friendly to ride too.

Bike Source: C Too expensive for me, but people are very nice in there. C for the prices. Just can't afford to walk in there.

Kozy's: D Not much service when I walked in there.

Straight Up: C More of a Tri Bike store. Didn't meet my needs so never went back. Too far away as well.

Midwest Cyclery: Never been there. Never heard of.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsRayBan
Feb 26, 2002 7:17 AM
Chicagoland has all the high end road stuff you would ever need, if I'm looking for something not normally found in your everyday shop I will head over there.
Blazing Saddles is not as high end as Chicagoland,(they do have a decent selection though)and the guys who work there are real good guys especially the owner Mike Lavery. I've been to spin classes over there and I really enjoyed the company.
Straight Up cyclery has the cool off road stuff and Jack was a pleasure to talk to the few times I had the occasion to do so(once was at a duathlon a few years back and it was fun talking with him.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsEric16
Feb 26, 2002 7:42 AM
I pretty much agree with every up here already (especially the Spokes comments, DO NOT TRUST SAMMY!!) I just wanted to clear up Midwest Cyclery. They're in downtown Wheaton...road bike selection is not huge as they mainly cater to praire path riders (hybrids) but the service is very good and can almost always be done that day or by the next. I use them whenever I need some work done that I don't want to screw up myself and I need it fast.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsAndy M-S
Feb 26, 2002 8:17 AM
Caveat: I don't live in Chicago anymore, but do sometimes go down there for business.

Hyde Park used to have a little shop on 55th st., don't remember the name (probably Hyde Park Bikes). Basic stuff for student beaters--they replaced a wheel for me once in the mid-'80s when someone decided to walk off with the front wheel of my Raleigh.

Two I've been into in Chicago in the last couple of years. The first is a hole-in-the-wall place not far from the original Ann Sather's on Belmont. I don't recall the name, but it looked like a great old greasy repair shop for people who use their bikes a lot. Just think of being able to drop off your bike and pick up a sweet roll at the same time!

Lickton's (of fame) is an odd shop. Not much to look at on the shop floor, but if you want it, chances are they have it. I've dealt with them a lot by phone and e-mail and always been pretty happy. Being in the shop is just like being on the end of the phone line, except you get to see the person you're talking to.

There's a shop (Village?) in a little strip mall in the Schaumberg area, not too far from the Woodfield Mall. I hate it with a passion. The people there didn't seem to know what they were talking about, and I saw them sell a 26"-wheeled MTB to the parents of a 6-year-old for whom it was obviously too big, with the "she'll grow into it" comment. I'd never go back there again.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsRollinFast
Feb 26, 2002 8:41 AM
Higher Gear: They have always been cool about letting me use a tool or too when riding along the north shore in their Highland Park store.

Village Cycle Center: Never purchased from there.

The Wheel Thing: They have good mechanics in there and an increasing in size roadbike department.

Chicagoland Bike: Lots of really cool exotic Italian stuff, and great prices. I like dealing with Ben, who is also a very good mechanic.

Lickton's Cycle City: Not the most flashy of stores, but the prices will make you forget that. Robin is one of the best mechanics in town. Dudley builds the best wheels in Chicago.

Village Cycle Sport: Vince the owner is really cool and cares about his customers. Louis one of the sales reps is always very friendly. It is a nice store with lots to look at. They have something for everyone if your niche is American bicycles.

Spokes: I won't walk into this store anymore. Got into it with Sammy about prices. They are overpriced. Sammy tried selling a bike to a friend of mine and said he would equip it with Ultegra. Upon presenting the bike to my friend, it was equipped with Shimano 600, in which he kept calling Ultegra. This should say it all.

Blazing Saddles: Never purchased from or been in.

Bike Source: Don't know much about this one either.

Kozy's: Don't know much about this one either.

Straight Up: Jeff is a trustworthy sales rep. Like this store, but it is out of my way.

Midwest Cyclery: Don't know much about this store either.

Don't laugh about this one. I know they aren't a very serious bike shop, but Broken Spoke has always been good to me in helping me with build ups and letting me use a tool once in a while.

Even though Arlington Bicycle got off on the wrong foot with me a few years back, they have corrected themselves and have provided me with good service.

I have also been in Stimples in Elmhurst and Mt. Prospect Train and Bike. This isn't a place for serious roadies to waste their time at.

If you like to shop on the net, I like and I have just started doing business with I also have gotten really good and fast service from
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsRollinFast
Feb 26, 2002 9:49 AM
I am replying to my reply because I left someone out. It is hard to find women at bike shops who know what they are talking about and are helpful. Village Cycle Sport in Elk Grove makes the exception to this. Suzanne, who is part time, is always very friendly and helpful. She knows what she is talking about and is a real rider.
Second on Arlington BikeKristin
Feb 26, 2002 10:01 AM
Family owned store with helpful employees. They've always given me quick service and are polite. The markup is kinda high for retail stuff, but I feel that I gain some of that back in those 5 minute repairs they help me with.

Some newbie insights: (I think newbies get a different perspective of shops, than do racers).

Village Cyclesport. Hmmm...mixed review. I did have one bad experience at this shop and left with an impression that they really want to deal with racers or people who are dropping alot of cash. However, I've been back since and have been treated acceptably. Thumbs up to Mike M. Of all the sales people I met while shopping for a road bike, Mike was the most helpful and courtious.

C-Bike. This is a tough call. A lot of racers rank this store highly, and I believe that they are one of the most knowlegable shops in the area...because racers really like them. I put a lot of stock in those opinions when I decided to buy my bike here. For whatever reason, though, I walked away with a bike that arguably doesn't fit me. I tried to address this a couple times with the store, and each time I felt rushed out. When the fit problems still were not resolved, I spoke to the owner and expressed my concern. He became quite upset and defensive. My experience with them has not been great. I personally, will not be going back there.
measuring for a frame at cbikeRollinFast
Feb 26, 2002 11:09 AM
Had a similar experience with C-bike. I walked into C-bike looking to buy one of their frames. I asked the owner to measure me. He told me that he figured I already knew what I wanted. He told me he would just place the order when ready. That wasn't good enough, but instead of arguing with him, I decided to buy the frame elsewhere. I saved over $150 in doing so as well. For the owner of Cbike, yes I had an idea of the size, but all frames are not created equal in size. You lost the sale for yourself on this one. I still think that they are a good shop though. I only deal with certain people in the store, and avoid having to deal with the owner.
Ben Draus is THE man at Cbike (NM)RayBan
Feb 26, 2002 12:56 PM
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike Shopsdonnaturner
Feb 26, 2002 8:47 AM
I have been to a few of these stores. Some are better than others. I under no circumstance would advise anyone of dealing with Spokes.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsShimanoDAman
Feb 26, 2002 9:14 AM
I am listing a bike shop that isn't listed. Turin is a good shop. I however use Chicagoland 9 times out of 10. There are some good shops listed in your list though. There are a couple I haven't heard of too. I wouldn't send my worst enemy into Village Cycle Center (not to be confused with Village Cycle Sport) and Spokes. I don't think either of those two shops really give a damn about their customers. It is all about screwing them and making more and more money. It isn't about for the love of cycling.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsBianchiAmber
Feb 26, 2002 9:43 AM
Higher Gear: B

Village Cycle Center: D

The Wheel Thing: A

Chicagoland Bike: A

Lickton's Cycle City: B

Village Cycle Sport: A

Spokes: F

Blazing Saddles: C

Bike Source: C

Kozy's: D

Straight Up: B

Midwest Cyclery: F
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsBianchiAmber
Feb 26, 2002 1:30 PM
Hey everyone, who would you say is the best and worst of the Chicago area bike shops?
You forgot Alberto's in Winnetka.nmk mand
Feb 26, 2002 2:09 PM
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsShimanoDAman
Feb 26, 2002 2:39 PM
Albertos is a nice shop. How come you didn't give us your .02 with you mentioned it. Their shop is sharp but pricey. I prefer going to Higher Gear rather than Albertos. There is another shop just south of Albertos too on Green Bay. What is the name of that shop? Whatever it is, that store is cluttered, and they put all the roadie stuff on the topfloor.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike Shopsrollo tommassi
Feb 26, 2002 6:32 PM
RRB - two stores, one in Kenilworth on Greenbay, the other on Davis St. in Evanston.
re: Chicago Riders Rate Chicago Bike ShopsBianchiAmber
Feb 27, 2002 4:43 AM
What brands do RRB sell?
$.02k mand
Feb 27, 2002 1:06 PM
Probably becuase I usually don't find an need to go elswhere. They take really good care of me and dial in all the little details. Bike set up and fit is always absolutely perfect. I don't find the prices at Higher Gear cheaper, atleast for me. Like any good lbs, you spend enough money and time there, they'll cut you favors. I wish they had some other high-end brands like Moots.
The Problem With Chicago Bike ShopsShimanoDAman
Feb 27, 2002 4:55 AM
The main problem with "most" bike shops in Chicago is they all sell the same thing. Up until recently it was hard not to find one that sold Schwinn. Even Cbike advertised Schwinn, but of course that was a Chicago name. (they do Treks and Lemond(same thing if you ask me)) Now though, you go into a shop, and you see the same things over and over. There is no variety. All these bike shops cram Trek, Cannondale, and Raleigh down your throat. There are a few out there that don't, but for the most part you are guaranteed to see at least one of these three in every shop you visit. It would be nice to see some variety, and I am not talking Giant and Univega variety. Talking European variety in some of these stores. I am sure some of these shops could take on a Bianchi, Peugeot, Gitane, or Gios without a lot of extra cost. They don't have to go with extravagance like Cbike. I just want to see something different when I walk into a store for the first time.