What's the wheelie, yo?
Where to buy your next bike.
Wed Apr 30 2008
How great to live on the Upper West Side, near Central Park and Champion Bikes. The 11-year-old store carries a small selection of new bikes for sale, mostly Giants, and offers rentals ($6/hour, $40/24hrs). But the main focus of owner Marcos Gratero (himself a serious racer) is repairs. With the help of oldest son José, Gratero has turned Champion into a neighborhood beacon, and it even offers training to local kids. 896 Amsterdam Ave between 103rd and 104th Sts (212-662-2690)
Roy’s Sheepshead Bay Cycle
“Is fitting something you guys do?” my friend asked. “Fitting is something we owe you,” she was told. The New York mantra may be “location, location, location,” but Roy’s—which is in the middle of pretty much nowhere—is all about service, service, service. Sure, the store offers a wide selection of popular brands, including an entire room of hybrids, but it’s the personal touch that sets these guys apart. The staff is knowledgeable and welcoming without being pushy. They carefully fit you and tinker with adjustments before test rides (which take place on residential Ave X). As for my friend, she ended up buying a road bike on the spot: a Specialized Dolce. 2679 Coney Island Ave at Ave X, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn (718-648-1440)
Even though thier prices tend to be high, there’s a reason Toga always shows up in roundups of NYC bike stores: these guys know what they’re doing, whether you’re a serious racer or a weekend warrior. And new bikes come with a lifetime of free brakes and gear tune-ups. Three NYC locations, including snotty Gotham Bikes downtown, mean you’re never far from a store, but the Upper West Side outpost is our favorite—the floor selection is extensive, and you can try bikes on a loop protected from traffic. Visitors can also rent stylish hybrids for $30/24hrs. Warning: Toga turns into a madhouse on sunny weekends. 110 West End Ave at 64th St (212-799-9625, togabikes.com); 1153 First Ave at 63rd St (212-759-0002, togabikes.com); Gotham Bikes, 112 West Broadway between Duane and Reade Sts (212-732-2453, togabikes.com)
Tread Bike Shop
The Cloisters cast their shadows over Tread, a decade-old Inwood store that’s both neighborhoody and a shoppers’ destination. Employees are friendly and shun the up-selling that sometimes plagues Manhattan stores. With about 100 bikes on the floor and three certified fitters on staff, you have a good chance of finding what you want, particularly if you’re looking for a flat-bar road bike, one of Tread’s specialties. 250 Dyckman St between Payson and Seaman Aves (212-544-7055)
The Chelsea branch of the popular Upper East Side store opened in May 2007. While the mountain-bike selection is particularly impressive, the goofball service on a weekend visit was less so. After inquiring about hybrids, we were directed to a rack of Specializeds by the entrance; when asked if the store carried more brands, the sweet but slightly befuddled salesdude answered, “Yes, but I don’t know them as well.” Er, okay then. Still, the store is well stocked, with upwards of 100 models on display, and it offers custom fittings. 151 W 19th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-989-1060); 235 E 34th St between Second and Thirds Aves (212-213-8360)
Andrew Crooks’s three-year-old boutique suits its East Village location: a bit scruffy around the edges (so fixed-gear freaks will deign to enter), but with an air of laid-back sophistication—there’s a lounge if you want to gnaw on a bagel and chat about derailleurs. Forget about big corporate bikes by Trek or Cannondale: NYC Velo carries more refined brands such as Javelin, Surly, Salsa, Ridley and Soma. The store is also equipped with a Calfee sizer to fit you properly. 64 Second Ave between 3rd and 4th Sts (212-253-7771)
Larry & Jeff’s Bicycles, 1400 Third Ave between 79th and 80th Sts (212-794-2929, bicyclesnyc.com)
Spokesman Cycles, 49-04 Vernon Blvd between 49th and 50th Aves, Long Island City (718-435-0450, spokesmancycles.com)
Bike Shop of Staten Island, 4026 Hylan Blvd between Nelson and Wiman Aves (718-948-4184)
Arrow Cycle, 4053 White Plains Rd at 228th St (718-547-2656, arrowcycleinc.com)