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NYC Bike Shops - My Experience So Far(5 posts)

NYC Bike Shops - My Experience So FarBrianNYC
Sep 26, 2002 8:06 AM
Following the advice of those who responded to my post asking about NYC bikeshops, I have now visited Sid's, Larry & Jeff's and Conrad's, which are all convenient to home or work (I bought my last bike at Metro 88th & Lex and have not revisited based on post advice and after thinking more about my experience (there were too many kids hanging out at the store and they did kind of make me feel like I was in the way when I was the one buying the bike).

Sid's was very good, got a very comfortable feeling that these guys know what they are doing and that I would be sized properly; also a very professional workshop area which gives you the confidence they know what they are doing.

Larry & Jeff's did not have the same aura as Sid's but they let me test ride four bikes (a Kestrel Talon with 105 components and a Shimano wheel set, a Cannondale CAAD7 R2000 (mix of Ultegra and 105 with Ksyrium wheel set, an aluminum Fuji very similar to the Cannondale, and a steel (Reynolds 653) Bianchi. In fact, they kinda insisted that I ride them and I really appreciated that; eventhough only a few short blocks, I at least got a feeling for how the different materials ride. Not the same feeling of professionalism as Sid's gives, but not bad.

Then I went to Conrad's. When I started talking with the manager John I told him my price point (max of $2000 all in other then shoes and taxes), and he told me they really sell customized bikes and showed me the frames hanging on the ceiling that START at $2000 (Seven, Merlin, Pinarello (spelling?) and that they kit them out from there. (As an aside, there are also the pictures of celebrities on the wall who have bought bikes there, but I do not live with their budgets). However, we talked some more and I asked him what he thought about Look carbon frames, which I knew, from research, should start somewhere a little over $1000 for the "lower end" model, and whether he could kit out a bike with Look's starting frame given my price point and he said they could. Obviously there will be compromises, 105 rather then Ultegra components, etc. But, from my point of view, I would rather have a really good frame that I love made out of the material I want with components that fit my present needs but that I can upgrade in the future if I want to. Assuming they can do it, I will be getting a "custom" bike for the same price as a "stock" bike, that will fit me and my riding style and my budget, and I really like that idea, so I hope they really can do. I just got an excellent feel about Conrad's - that they will MAKE SURE the bike works for me.

So, thank you for all the advice, particularly going out to check out all, or most all, of the local shops to get a feel for them and meeting my needs before deciding where to purchase.

As a closing note, All of the shops I checked out had very helpful and knowledgeable people who were more then willing to spend time talking with me and answering my questions without pressuring me a by a bike then or there or a specific bike (This also goes for Gotham, where they spent time with me on the phone answering my questions and giving suggestions). Given my limited (read none) recent experience buying road bikes I can't speak as to the different prices at the shops on bikes or gear, but for the production bikes at least the prices seemed the same at all shops.
re: NYC Bike Shops - My Experience So FarBlue Crown Jewel
Sep 26, 2002 10:22 AM
My experience with Sid's has been just as good if not better than what you describe. After having put up with mediocre service from an un-named shop in Naussau county, paying $5 for a Dura Ace chain pin from Robert's Bicycles in Bayside, buying a used and leaking (unbeknownst to me) Cyclops trainer from Gotham which the owner (a tall blond guy) insisted was brand new, and getting generally indifferent service at R&A, I went to Sid's.

Can I tell you that Ian spent half an hour with me when I wanted to replace the stem on my old Cannondale? He asked me why I wanted to replace it, as opposed to just selling me the $30 part and letting me go my way.

So I went back to Sid's where the mechanics are top notch and the sales staff is knowledgeable. I bought an IF Crown Jewel from there, I bought my fiancee's Bianchi Milano from there, and I hope to buy the new Bianchi SISS from there as well.

I think that shops like that are rare, and despite the inconvenience of having to drive from Queens to take my bike for service or paying slightly more for parts and accessories, for me it is worth every penny.

There you have it.

Kind regards,
Dimitri
re: NYC Bike Shops - My Experience So FarBrianNYC
Sep 26, 2002 10:39 AM
Experience is the only guide in this. I have none with respect to service or buying parts/bike from any of these stores at the moment, and thus don't know if in the crunch (sale's time) how they treat their customers. I hope my impressions turn out to be correct about Conrad's as well as at least Sid's as an alternative accessories/repair shop.
whats R&H like,pukka
Sep 26, 2002 11:19 AM
i just moved to brooklyn and have passed it a couple of times
whats R&H like,Blue Crown Jewel
Sep 26, 2002 2:41 PM
It is a shop with a very impressive selection of very expensive bicycles, but they are arranged in a rather shoddy manner, and their mechanic works behind a wall so that you cannot see him. They OK in terms of friendliness. I spoke with them a few times when I was looking to get a new bicycle, but I felt as though they were in the business to sell their bicycles, and little else, not much customer interest.

Kind regards,
Dimitri