The Best Bike Shops
No matter how advanced online retailers get, they’ll never be able to make the camaraderie of a brick-and-mortar bike shop. We pick our favorite spots for buying a new tube, getting a bike fit, or just shooting the breeze over a couple of beers.
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The 10 Best Bike Shops in America
If you’re like us, you spend a lot of time in bike shops: dropping off bikes for service, picking them up, fondling gear, picking the brains of the shop guys.
The best shops have shop techs who will stop what they are doing and take a look if you’re in a crunch. They’ll talk to you like adults and explain things in as simple or detailed terms as you like. They wash your bike every time they service it and check things you don’t even ask them to, such as whether you’re due for a new chain (a catch that can save you hundreds of dollars). They stock amazing products—Enve wheels, Niner bikes, Assos apparel—but have inexpensive options that aren’t a comedown either.
Most of all, they’re places you actually want to go. People come to do a quick task, like buy a tube, and they end up hanging around, swilling beer and chitchatting with the crew. These are the shops we like: impeccable service, solid diverse product, and lots of good vibes.
We surveyed everyone we know in the industry and came up with the following list. These aren’t the only great shops in the U.S., but they’re some of our favorites.
The Best Bike Shops: Fairwheel Bikes, Tucson, Arizona
Best For: High-end bike-tech geekery without the snob factor
Located in Tucson’s University of Arizona district, Fairwheel looks like any other well-stocked college shop on the surface, with a fleet of Specialized and Trek bikes and a troupe of skilled wrenches in the back. What sets it apart is the internet department, which specializes in exotic road bikes and over-the-top custom projects. The shop has built everything from a 6.4-pound road bike reputed to be the world’s lightest to some of the slickest ever Di2 converted mountain bikes. They also deal some of the finest frames on the planet, including Cherubim, Crumpton, and English Cycles. If you have an arcane concept that needs executing and plenty of cash to make it happen, there’s no better place.
The Best Bike Shops: Over The Edge Sports, Sedona, Arizona
Best For: Great trails and good ol’ fashioned service
With slick rock to rival Moab and single track as good as Crested Butte, Sedona might be the most underrated mountain bike destination in the country. And the town’s newest shop, an offshoot of the original OTE that put Fruita, Colorado on the map, keeps up the low-key vibe. The small, friendly staff can make esoterica like bottom bracket compatibility comprehensible to even the rank neophyte, and if the guys are in the shop they don’t turn away customers (even after hours). It’s like the Cheers of bike shops: there’s espresso if you ask, frequently beer in the fridge, a pump track out back, and lots of locals hanging and talking most evenings.
The Best Bike Shops: Above Category Cycling, Mill Valley, California
Best For: Road bike snobs
You won’t find coffee, beer, rentals, or even mountain bikes at Above Category. This North Bay retailer sells only high-end road bikes and accoutrements, and that narrow focus has earned them a reputation as one of the best and most upmarket shops in the country. On offer are only magnificent bikes—think: Baum, Moots, Parlee, Pegoretti, Pinarello—and Above Category provides fitting services as exacting as the rides. The shop employs pro-level mechanics, and out the door, on the wending, verdant asphalt of Marin and Napa, is some of the finest road riding in America. And though it’s all about exclusivity, the knowledgeable staff is helpful and accommodating and never talks down at you.
The Best Bike Shops: Rapha Cycle Club, San Francisco, California
Best For: Cycling fashion, people watching, and a good coffee
Unlike most bike shops, you won’t find any cycles for sale or mechanics to fix them at the Rapha Cycle Club. But this sunny little spot in the Marina District is a favorite gathering for riding forays across the Golden Gate to the empty, winding roads of Marin. There’s pastry and Italian-style coffee,, indoor and outdoor parking for your bike while you relax, bike racing on the tube, and all manner of cycling reading material to muster your psyche, as well as a llounging deck for those clear days. It’s a chic spot, complete with a few purposefully spare racks of pricey Rapha goods. The space is so comfortable that stopovers might be best reserved for après, lest you get sucked in and skip your ride.
The Best Bike Shops: Vecchio’s Bicicletteria, Boulder, Colorado
Best For: Italophiles, connoisseurs, and arcane service issues
If you’re looking for a big-box, do-it-all shop full of the standard issue bike brands, don’t come to Vecchios. This cozy, jam-packed, brick-and-wood boutique is the epitome of discriminating—but what else would you expect on the Republic of Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall? They stock only Moots, Waterford, and Gunnar bikes, but their trio of mechanics have likely never come across a service issue, no matter how obscure, that they can’t resolve. With classic Eddy Merckx bikes on the walls and displays of racing paraphernalia spanning the century, the place feels like something straight out of the Old World, an impression that’s underscored by the dedication to Campagnolo. Just don’t be surprised if they lube your chain with olive oil.
The Best Bike Shops: Red Lantern Bicycles, Brooklyn, New York
Best For: Bomber commuter bikes and easygoing chitchat
In a city that sometimes seems to pride itself on aloofness and snobbery, Red Lantern is a refreshingm hole-in-the-wall type spot that specializes in no-nonsense bikes. Rather than stock a floor full of name-brand bikes, they take what they are brought, from dilapidated Gitanes to hard-working Surlys, and overhaul and restore them into rugged, utilitarian bikes that can take on the city. They also sling great coffee, whip up homemade nut milks and smoothies on the side, and even stock a well-curated list of Brooklyn-brewed beers for the inevitable chit-chat while you wait.
The Best Bike Shops: Angry Catfish, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Best For: North-country welcome and snappy kits and tees
This place wins the award for best logo ever: stylized, livid-looking fish trapped in a hexagon that apparently bears more than a passing resemblance to shop-owner Josh Klauck. But don’t be scared off by the hipster look. Big beards and flannel abound and there’s PBR in the fridge, but there’s also plenty of welcoming faces, both at the coffee bar in the front and the clinically neat workshop in back. On display are swanky bikes from Moots, Lynskey, Niner, Pegoretti, Independent Fabrications, and, of course, the local trifecta of Surly, Salsa, and Foundry. Add in a robust grassroots racing team and some of the best wrenches this side of the Mississippi, and it turns out ACF isn’t that angry at all.
The Best Bike Shops: Velo Cult, Portland, Oregon
Best For: North-country welcome and snappy kits and tees
With nearly as many bike shops as coffee roasters in Portland, it’s tough to pick a favorite, but the newcomer Velo Cult (transplanted to the neighborhood from San Diego a year ago) stands out as a beacon of cycling culture. The shop is known just as much as a gathering place as for the product they sell, a reputation they have embraced with a stage for live bands (built from an old drawbridge), a theater space with frequent cycling screenings, the de rigueur coffee roaster, plenty of picnic table seating, and an open invitation for all cyclists to come and hang. Among the more recent additions: an in-house frame-building studio that showcases two local artisans.
The Best Bike Shops: Poison Spider, Moab, Utah
Best For: Desert know-how and friendly service
You can’t ride in Moab without paying a visit or three to Poison Spider: It’s the source for maps, conditions, and trail beta throughout southeast Utah. If you left your bike at home, it has a massive and well-maintained rental fleet, including premium options like Yeti SBs and Niner RIP 9s. It’s also a top spot for meeting up with other riders—just try and find a day when this place isn’t stuffed with people. The shop is invested in the Moab Trails Alliance, and is heavily involved in the maintenance of existing networks as well as the big expansion in recent years of Moab singletrack, like the brand new Captain Ahab. If you need a shuttle to the Slick Rock Trail, the top of the Whole Enchilada, or pretty much anywhere else, this is your place.
The Best Bike Shops: Old Spokes Home, Burlington, Vermont
Best For: History buffs
Located near the Winooski River in quaint Burlington, Old Spokes Home is as quirky and independent-minded as the state it resides in. The shop sells industrious bikes from the likes of Jamis, Salsa, and Surly (what’s not to like about a place that makes a big deal about the Krampus?), and the emphasis is on plain-talk advice and no-nonsense service. However, the shop’s real attraction is its bike museum, a collection of almost 70 antique bikes from the 1860s to the modern day, including a handful of velocipedes, the earliest bikes every produced, and dozens of big-wheeler penny farthings.