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best shops in/around Philly(7 posts)

best shops in/around PhillyBergMann
Aug 12, 2003 11:16 PM
I'll be in Bryn Mawr tomorrow, looking to buy some new cycling shoes and test ride bikes at Cycles BiKyle. Does anyone else know of quality bike shops in or around Philly?

I'm looking to test ride some high-end carbon bikes by way of comparison (Colnago, Fondreist, Look, Trek, Giant, etc.), and I also want to test ride Record / Dura Ace bikes back to back. If anyone knows of quality shops that would have a decent selection of high end bikes built up and ready to test ride, please post a couple of suggestions.

I've spent a fair amount of time visiting in Philly and thus know my way around downtown pretty well. Since I'll be coming in from Bryn Mawr, I'll probably limit this trip to visiting shops in the Western burbs and downtown ...

Anyway, appreciate whatever recommendations I can get.
If you're going to BiKyleJL
Aug 13, 2003 4:58 AM
are you sure you're test riding any bikes? He doesn't have many built up bikes because he's big into his own fit system. Lot's of nice frames to look at, but only the only rides I've seen built up were the lower end models he carries. People rave about him and his shop, but I find the whole shop a bit stuck up for my taste.

I know they're a chain, but the BikeLine in Wayne on Lancaster Ave. will let you get a decent test ride on Treks and usually have a few built up. The owner there gave me a good deal when I dealt with them on my 5200. The only Giant dealers I've seen have been BikeLine's (not Wayne) or Performance Bike in Paoli. I'm not too familiar with shops in the city.

Good luck with your "quest".

John
am-Bi-valent about Bi-Kyle: East Coast bike shops are _pathetic_BergMann
Aug 13, 2003 9:40 PM
I just got back from my excursion to Philly. On the whole I "discovered" that the fall is a rotten time to test ride bikes, since everyone who would otherwise have had high end "stock" bikes built up (TCR-0s, Trek 5900s etc.) was out of stock across the board on 2003 models and didn't have 2004 models yet. I called over 20 shops today. No one had _jack_ in terms of Dura-Ace/Record bikes built up and ready to ride.

On the subject of Bi-Kyle, let it suffice to say I am _highly_ am-Bi-valent about their attitude.
To be perfectly fair, there was a guy there who did his best to try and find a fit for my freakish foot. I had driven down there because Vittoria was my last hope for a decent fit in a road shoe. Interestingly enough, he seemed to have developed a totally unique fitting philosophy:
according to him, it didn't really matter if the shoe actually fit in the heel pocket, because if you are riding "correctly" you will only mash down on your pedals -- pulling, apparently, has no place in a proper pedalstroke!!!!!!

While I would at least give this salesguy an A- for effort and the entertainment value of his proffered "expertise," what _floored_ me is that when I told him I was in the market for a new, sky is the limit bike, and expressed interest in test riding one of their Look carbon frames built up with Dura Ace or Record, he basically just shrugged his shoulders and said sorry, they don't do test rides.

This _FLOORED ME_. So I ask him if what this in fact means is that I have to take what they _tell me_ about the stuff they sell on blind faith, shell out my cash, and pray that I actually like it afterward. He just nodded and said "yeah."

I laughed and walked out, never to return.

Sad thing is, this seems to be pretty much par for the course on customer service for even the most "respected" shops here on the eastern seaboard.

I'm a native West-Coaster and ex-shop guy who would _never_ have let a customer walk, who had three to five grand burning a hole in his pocket and just wanted to get a taste of what I had on my shelves.

The lazy little college town of Santa Barbara has more good bike shops than NYC and Philly combined!

I compared my experiences today with a buddy from Portland, Oregon, who recounted buying his Merlin at a shop with friendly, knowledgeable staff, _hundreds_ of amazing frames in stock, and an indoor velodrome to test ride those frames equipped _any_ way you wanted them.

I think the BiKyle folks (and the rest of the East Coast bike retail community) could benefit from a field trip to a _real_ bike shop out west.
am-Bi-valent about Bi-Kyle: East Coast bike shops are _pathetic_JL
Aug 14, 2003 9:07 AM
I've only been in there 3x. The first time was when I was looking for a new ride but I was uneasy about buying on a "fit system" without a test ride. I was getting back into the road scene and was still a newbie on bike buying (not that I'm an expert now). They're really big on Kyle's fittings. As you saw, lot's of frames to lust after but no bikes built up.

Another time, when someone finally paid attention to me (it's not a very big shop as you saw), they did help with my shoe dilemma. The other time I didn't talk to one person. Walked all over the store looking and walked out without anyone asking me if they could help. They were too busy in the shop space jabbering. I'm pretty sure Kyle wasn't there 2 of the 3 times.

Others, like Tarwheel from RBR, give him a thumbs up. Maybe because Kyle knew he was getting a sale over the phone. I'm not sure, but like they say, "Your mileage may vary."

As for Record bikes, I've never seen one built up around here. I did test ride D/A bikes, however, and see them built up more frequently around here. I mix up which stores I go to depending on need/stock availability, but I find the internet easier.

Happy riding.

John
DriveSports near the Art MuseumshrEd
Aug 13, 2003 6:33 AM
DriveSports is an authorized Colnago dealer and generally good people to work with. They are worth a stop if you near the Art Museum.
re: best shops in/around Phillytarwheel
Aug 13, 2003 6:59 AM
I live in NC and bought a frame from BiKyle last winter and was very pleased with their fitting service, handled over the phone and on-line. Next time I buy a frame/bike, I might just drive up to Philly to patronize BiKyle. They have a large selection of quality frames, something that most bike shops can't match. In my case, I was impressed with their fitting expertise, especially considering the transaction was done from afar.
re: best shops in/around Phillymy327vette
Aug 13, 2003 5:30 PM
Breakaway Bikes which I think is on 18th and Sansom St. (near Rittenhouse Square) in Center City usually has a Giant TCR Composite built up when I am in there, so you may want to give them a call to check. They also carry Orbea's so you might be able to get a test ride on one of them if they have one in stock.