Best bike shops in New York City
From high-end racers to ladylike cruisers, we've tracked down the spots to score bikes of all styles (and prices).
Fri Apr 27 2012
RECOMMENDED: Best shops in NYC
- Price band: 4/4
- Critics choice
You'll have to tie a scarf around your neck or hold a bouquet under your arm to feel at home on one of the lovely specimens stocked by this bicycle boutique. Case in point: the elegant commuter bikes by British brand Pashley ($995–$1,750), handmade in Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon for added poetic appeal (as if the swooping lines of the frames and baskets weren't enough). Linus bikes are ideal for beginners, comparatively inexpensive with sturdy frames in bold colors like brick red and navy ($449–$849). Bikes can go up to nearly $3,000. Beauty is pain (for your wallet, at least).
- 147 Reade St, (between Greenwich and Hudson Sts)
Toga Bike Shop and Gotham Bikes
While this 40-plus-year-old business carries all manner of bicycles, it's the road racers and hybrids that are the most popular. Visit the 3,500-square-foot Upper West Side location (Toga Bike Shop; Gotham is the downtown location) for a vast selection, including models like Giant Defy 5 (starting at $700) and Specialized Tarmac ($2,100 and up). The knowledgeable staff aren't paid on commission, so you can be sure they're not foisting a more expensive model on you for personal gain, and every new purchase comes with a lifetime of free repairs.
Toga Bikes, 110 West End Ave at 64th St (212-799-9625, togabikes.com). Mon–Wed, Fri 11am–7pm; Thu 11am–8pm; Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 11am–6pm. • Gotham Bikes, 112 West Broadway between Duane and Reade Sts (212-732-2453, gothambikes.com). Mon–Wed, Fri, Sat 10am–6:30pm; Thu 10am–7:30pm; Sun 10:30am–5pm.
If you'd like to design your dream bike from handlebars to wheels (and even help put it together), this Park Slope workshop will meet your needs. First, sit down with owner Joe Nocella and sketch out your vision. He'll draw up several options (with frames from Surly, Mission, Leader and more), which you'll share in a Google Doc, before narrowing it down to the final design. Once the parts arrive, you're encouraged to put some elbow grease into your ride alongside the shop's mechanics. A single-speed starts at around $900—but the personalized bike is promised to last for years to come. Plus, with free open-to-the-public weekly classes (Thursdays at 7pm) on fixing flats, adjusting brakes and more advanced skills, you may never have to pay for a repair again.
254 Third Ave between President and Union Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (347-457-5760, 718c.com). Mon–Fri 9am–9pm, Sat, Sun 9am–6pm.
The largest bike shop in the city boasts a massive stock (at least 200 fully assembled models at a time), so it's a safe bet it'll have whatever kind of cycle you're looking for. Most popular, however, are the recreational and commuting bikes, from brands like Trek and Specialized ($350–$10,000). The six to eight mechanics in the shop on any given day are on call for speedy repairs, and Park Slopers will soon benefit from a second location, opening in the next few weeks.
- 244 Lafayette St, (between Prince and Spring Sts)
Bike riding benefits the environment, of course, but you can go one step further by purchasing wheels from this nonprofit, which saves an estimated 1,200 bikes a year from the landfill. The 12 mechanics on staff restore the rides to their former glory with the help of the 75 high-school students who come into the shops each year to learn the craft. At the East Village location, expect to find Schwinns and other cruiser bikes between $250 and $350, while you can score hybrids and mountain and road bikes at the Dumbo headquarters for around $300. The staff suggests you call ahead to find out about the current goods; the average 15 options on the floor change constantly.
75 Ave C between 5th and 6th Sts (212-475-1655, recycleabicycle.org). Mon–Sat noon–7pm, Sun noon–5pm. • 35 Pearl St at Plymouth St, Dumbo, Brooklyn (718-858-2972). Mon–Sat noon–7pm.
Gals in thrift-store frocks and guys in preworn boots need a secondhand cycle to match. That's where this quaint East Village consignment shop comes in, with an average of 90 to 100 models to choose from every day, mostly in the $300 range. Schwinns and Raleighs from the '70s and '80s (starting at around $300) are most common, but the shop has been known to feature the odd 1950s gem or high-end Italian track bike from brands such as Bottecchia (up to $900 and up).
- 136 E 3rd St, (between First Ave and Ave A)
Bike Works NYC
The mechanics at this laid-back, 13-year-old shop have a reputation as experts—which may account for the fact that half of the space is used for repairs, leaving room for about 15 two-wheelers on the shop floor. City bikes from brands like Soma and Surly (starting at $720) trend toward fixed-gear, track and touring models. Those looking for custom assembly and repairs on classic bikes (vintage rides from the '60s and '70s have recently graced the shop) should stop searching: Local frame builders often refer cycle enthusiasts to the shop.
Chari & Co NYC
A destination for serious bike fetishists, this hole-in-the-wall haven specializes in Keiren frames, the discarded (but not damaged) models used by professional track racers in Japan (charinco means "bike" in casual Japanese). While there are occasionally complete bikes (starting at $950) in the ever-changing stock, the shop mainly deals with custom creations, including Italian racer frames by Cinelli and French ones by Look (starting at $1,600). If the bikes themselves are too pricey, you might want to check out the collection of first-rate accessories, like Castelli gloves ($40) and sleek Catlike helmets ($275–$280).
175 Stanton St between Attorney and Clinton Sts (212-475-0102, chariandconyc.com). Mon–Sat 11am–7pm, Sun noon–6pm.
This bike garage near the Graham Ave stop on the L train is an ideal clubhouse for Williamsburg and Greenpoint's bike obsessives. With hand-painted windows sporting a 1920s and '30s theme and backpacks hanging from a stuffed deer's head inside, it certainly fits in with the neighborhood's aesthetic. Don't expect to find vintage cruisers, however: This shop is serious about fixed-gear rides, with brands like Charge, Cinelli, Swobo and Surly ($600–$2,000) taking up the floor. The well-curated selection features only about 18 to 24 bikes at a time, allowing space for ample accessories, like Freight Baggage messenger backpacks and shoulder bags ($130–$300) and caps with "BROOKLYN" printed across the bill ($16).
453 Graham Ave between Meeker and Richardson Sts, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (347-689-2299, kingkog.com). Mon–Fri noon–7pm; Sat, Sun noon–6pm.
Stop by this narrow showroom to choose from a wide variety of cycles—a few hundred options at any given time. Costly custom models come courtesy of Somerville-based Independent Fabrication (starting at $4,300) and Italian handcrafters Pegoretti ($2,850 and up). More affordable options include bikes from Scott, Kona, Bianchi, Surly, Civia and Felt (starting at $450), which represent the store's stock of traditional road bikes. If you're really lucky, the staff might serve you a cup of espresso along the barlike counter in the back.
64 Second Ave between 3rd and 4th Sts (212-253-7771, nycvelo.com). Mon–Fri 11am–8pm; Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 11am–6pm.
Red Lantern Bicycles
Both bike and beer lovers will enjoy this hybrid shop, café and bar. A liquor license means customers can sip on PBR ($3), Founders Centennial IPA, Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner and Sixpoint Sweet Action ($5 each) while admiring the shop’s mural of a crimson lantern held aloft by a flame-haired woman. If you’re riding after your visit, grab a coffee ($2.50) made from beans roasted in-house and nosh on a small selection of snacks such as croissants ($2.50) and muffins ($2.75). On the other side of a partition made from old bicycle wheels, peruse a selection of new bikes from brands such as Torker, Xtracycle Radish and Surly ($396–$1,749), converted old-school ten-speeds ($300–$500) and custom-built rides ($400–$900). DIY enthusiasts can take bike-repair classes on Sunday evenings from 7 to 9pm—the first and fifth Sundays of the month focus on general maintenance for beginners ($25), the second on brakes and gears ($40), the third on bearings ($40), and the fourth on wheel truing ($40). Occasional wheel-building tutorials are also offered; check the website for the full schedule, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
345 Myrtle Ave between Adelphi St and Carlton Ave, Fort Greene, Brooklyn (347-889-5338, redlanternbicycles.com). Café-bar: Daily 7am–11pm; bike shop: Daily 9am–9pm.