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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-19-05, 07:40 PM   #1
benadrian
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What's your East Bay LBS?

yeah, not totally single/fixed related, but a lot of you here are bay area people, and this is really the only place I ever post.

I'm dying to find a local bike shop (LBS) in the east bay to give my business in exchange for solid service and respect. I enjoy utilitarian cycling. I rarely ride for the sake of riding. I ride because I go places, it makes me feel good to get there under my own power, and riding is the most fun. THat's not to say I never take a recreational ride, but when I do, I do it for the sights and the air rather than the speed or distance.

Here's where I've been:

Alameda BIkes? The main place on park. Nice staff, but not the best selection. Also, not really into what I'm into.

Bent Spoke. I seem to be totally ignored when I there and that I'm bothering them if I ask anything. Once chastised for lookign through the parts bins, which were on the floor, and was encouraged to dig through last time I was there.

Hank and Frank. Great wrenches, expecially the guy I can best describe as a Slayer fan. The owner left me a little cold. It just seems a little impersonal.

Jitensha. I'm in awe when I go in there. THe bikes are gorgeous and the air is oen of passion and craftsmanship. It's like a church of finely built Japanese bicycles. I'm not rich and they just don't cater to what I do, but I respect them immensely.
http://www.jitensha.com/

Missing Link. Nice people all around, and the free bench and tool usage is great. However, I just didn't really connect with the people... Maybe too Berkeley?

Montano Velo. No first hand experience. My pal has gotten both great service and so-so service. Another friend had a set of wheels built there, and he said they were great to him. One again, I dig the wrenches, but it seems kind of uptight when the owner is there.

Maybe I'm missing something...

In SF, I really like Pedal Revolution and the Freewheel north of the panhandle. I guess I want something like that within a short ride from my house!

Thoughts?

Cheers
Ben Adrian
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Old 12-19-05, 07:51 PM   #2
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montano velo is awesome, just watch out for warren... he's an ass, eats babies, and wrecks the forks he said he would lend you...
never had a problem with bent spoke...
also, try recycles on MLK... they seem a little shady at times, but if yer looking for cheap parts they're a good place to look... i've been able to get beaters going for like $10-$20 dollars from there...
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Old 12-19-05, 07:54 PM   #3
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One of the guys who works at montano velo rides at Hellyer and seems like a great guy.

Calls to check in and make sure that the crew is taking care of customers right while he is at the track.

I am looking forward to visiting them.
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Old 12-19-05, 07:56 PM   #4
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also, if yer a member of nobawc you get a 5 or 10% discount at missing link on shattuck...
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Old 12-19-05, 07:59 PM   #5
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My East Bay is on the East Coast !
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Old 12-19-05, 08:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gally99
montano velo is awesome,
yeah, the good experience I saw jim-bob have there was very good. They installed a King on jim-bob's Mikkelsen. He was so impressed with the service that 10 minutes after we left he came back with a tip: a 12 pack of Siera Nevada.

They seem to be the leading contender for my next bit of major bike work.

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Old 12-19-05, 08:08 PM   #7
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Mark at H@F is the man!!! I bet he was the slayer looking dude. It can get busy in there (and all places) but he's one of the best and most consistant wrenches I've found in the bay. I also really like the staff at Mike's bikes in the city...but's you said east bay. Jason at Montelo was very cool, but I'm not sure about the service and turnaround otherwise. (I just bought a chainring and stem there).

Always treat your wrench as a friend, it'll go a long way...
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Old 12-19-05, 08:20 PM   #8
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I second the montano velo rec. They carry awesome stuff and my experiences with all the folks there have been good. They also have a nice fast fixie ride every friday night which I plan to do more often after the new year.

I also highly rec. The Missing Link in berkeley (even though you say it may be too berkeley for you.) Talk to Roger. I'm not sure what days he's working now, but he's a super rockstar and is very knowledgeable on track stuff. His bike is pretty beautiful, too.

ps: Gally99 - are you nobawc? if so, where do you work?
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Old 12-19-05, 08:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gally99
just watch out for warren... he's an ass, eats babies, and wrecks the forks he said he would lend you.
last time I saw Warren, he had given up babies and was eating a salad at Lane Splitters.
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Old 12-19-05, 08:43 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by r-dub
I second the montano velo rec. They carry awesome stuff and my experiences with all the folks there have been good. They also have a nice fast fixie ride every friday night which I plan to do more often after the new year.

I also highly rec. The Missing Link in berkeley (even though you say it may be too berkeley for you.) Talk to Roger. I'm not sure what days he's working now, but he's a super rockstar and is very knowledgeable on track stuff. His bike is pretty beautiful, too.

ps: Gally99 - are you nobawc? if so, where do you work?

gilman street... although only very rarely for the past year and a half or so...


Quote:
Originally Posted by [165]
last time I saw Warren, he had given up babies and was eating a salad at Lane Splitters.
"i can't believe it's not baby dressing"
there's no bones in the fake stuff... that's how he lost all those teeth...
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Old 12-19-05, 09:03 PM   #11
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last time I saw Warren, he had given up babies and was eating a salad at Lane Splitters.
I'm not so sure about warren's new taste in facial hair...I was trying to describe it to an old friend of his and all I could think of was 'face mullet'

...
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Old 12-19-05, 09:07 PM   #12
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Montano Velo gave me money for the SF-LA AIDS ride. Just because. Please give them your business, at least to start.

I have had multiple bad experiences with Missing Link, especially in bringing older bikes with peculiar problems. (In fairness, the wheel they built for me worked well.)
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Old 12-19-05, 09:42 PM   #13
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I'm not so sure about warren's new taste in facial hair...I was trying to describe it to an old friend of his and all I could think of was 'face mullet'

...

damn...and he isn't here to defend himself.

I give Warren mass credit - definitely a cool dude to me. Like everyone else I have met out in CA. Keep it coming!!!
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Old 12-19-05, 09:54 PM   #14
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I second the montano velo rec. They carry awesome stuff and my experiences with all the folks there have been good. They also have a nice fast fixie ride every friday night which I plan to do more often after the new year.

I also highly rec. The Missing Link in berkeley (even though you say it may be too berkeley for you.) Talk to Roger. I'm not sure what days he's working now, but he's a super rockstar and is very knowledgeable on track stuff. His bike is pretty beautiful, too.

ps: Gally99 - are you nobawc? if so, where do you work?
I completely agree. Roger at the Missing Link is very cool. He ordered and built my Steamroller for me. Very nice guy, and knows a ton about fixed gears. There are other cool people there too.
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Old 12-19-05, 10:52 PM   #15
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roger at missing link is awesome, but i kind of hate everyone else there. Especially that short little stick up his a$$ guy... roadie with an attitude. oh, wait i just remembered that really nice guy with the curly hair, don't remember the name, but he was cool too.

warren is awesome, actually the whole Montano Velo crew is awesome and Jason can order aything you want they don't already have. Chip, the store dog is awesome too, he'll play with you and keep you entertained if you have to wait.

and if i didn't already metion it, i really really really really like the Montano guys.

that bastard warren got me all excited about a BB, told me it was the right spindle length, then right after i get to where i am to meet him he tells me its 112.
Warren i'm coming after you!

you guys better be nice to him!!!!!!!!!! He may look all crazy, but he's just a sweet little baby lamb.
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Old 12-19-05, 10:54 PM   #16
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This started out as a short response and ended up as a rant.

here are my thoughts on local shops:

Hank&Frank. I would second the recomendation of Mark V. (the big metal head guy at H&F) as a wheelbuilder and mechanic. In addition to riding and wrenching for years he has a machine shop background and a really good sense of what will and will not work for certain riders. He might not have the roadie/track pedigree of guys at other shops but between riding for years, breaking lots of lousy products (chains, pedals, frames, wheels, lightweight blue/purple anodized everything) and wrenching for a rental/touring fleet the guy has a lot of real world experience. The shop has tons of issues (high turnover, crappy inventory, slow on special orders, lame owner) but I still send friends to H&F because of Mark. Bring him beer and he will take care of your bike.

Missing Link. Some folks swear by them, I like the idea of the co-op and a few years back found James at the link to be very helpful. Some of the staff race and they are generally enthusiastic. But every now and then they are janky. Last week I overheard an employee talking to a customer looking for a shimano ES70 BB. The employee told the guy that shimano didn't make a splined BB called an ES70 and that tell him it must be an ISIS BB. The customer insisted that he needed a splined shimano ES70 at which point the employee offered him first square taper BBs than XTR or ultegra splined (Octalink 1) BBs instead of the appropriate Octalink 2 BB (ES70, ES71, ES50...) The guy clearly said that he had a splined XT shimano crankset but the Employee was looking exhasperated and not really listening to him. I awkwardly (and impolitely.. I really should not have interfered in someone else's shop) pointed out that the LX and XT splined cranksets did not use the same spline as the ultegra/105/dura-ace/xtr, but the dude didn't want to hear it. I left the customer and employee still trying to figure it out. A non bike savy friend of mine once left his mtb (old Santa Cruz Bontrager) at the link after getting hit by a car. They told him they might be able to straighten the frame, but the guy who did that was out of town for a couple of weeks. He agreed to wait, got a call two and a half weeks later telling him to call back to discuss it and another call a week later telling him that the frame was done for but they would forgive his 3 weeks storage charges if he let them have the remaining useable parts. The bontrager thing was a few years ago, but that really sucks. A messenger friend of mine refuses to go there because he says they have attitude with the non-clean cut.

The Left Coast- I had a friend who rides a ridiculously small bike (I think a 46cm), I think she found they are one of the few shops who keep a selection of 650c tries and wheels in stock. I also had them chase and face an old italian frame for me once (Hank and Frank didn't have Italian taps) and they cut me a break on the price and got it back really quick. I ordered a replacement fork for my trek 520 and they got that to me very quickly. I *think* they sell Trek, Lemond, Landshark, and probably something else nice. If you are looking for a nice, classy road-oriented shop they might be it. They are next to a good coffe shop and play OLN in the store during the tour. I remeber seeing a fillmore in the window, but don't recall seeing other track stuff in the store.

The Bent Spoke. Kurt (I think that is his name.. the big dude who does weird long tours) seems very knowledgeable. They do mostly used stuff and can be really helpful if you know what you want and are not put off by asking questions. The prices seem to be all over the place, I once got a couple of used mavic gp4s and an old hub for $10, another time they tried to sell me a NOS, dusty, cones too tight, 7spd cassette mtb wheelset for something insane (I forget the exact number, but remeber it was more than ordering new lx hubs, 217s and spokes.) Some people complain of unfriendly staff and "attitude", I have seen neither. Not for everyone, but if you want someone in a uniform to hold your hand and sell you on mavic and shimano's newest and greatest, go to Mike's Bikes.

Velosport. The classic East Bay road shop. They are kinda far from where I lived, but a few times they have been the only ones with parts I needed (Italian BBs, $30 mismatched used 144 bcd cranks, silca pump head rubber washer.) The owner is an olympian cyclist of the 50s (I think) and has been very helpful to me the few times I have run into him. They are the other great option for smaller riders with 650c and 24" wheel needs. If you want to buy a bunch of expensive non-compatible parts on business cycles and take them to a shop for installation, velosport is probably not for you.

Mike's Bikes. This place may be fine, but I hate them because they are ****s about checking bags at the SF store. I was working as a messenger and flatted in at 8th and howard. I was holding tags so I ran into their new SOMA store to buy a tube at only to have guys yell at me for ignoring the sign to leave my bag at the front desk. This was the middle of the day. There were four employees staring at me, no other customers in the store. I wasn't about to steal ****. All I wanted to do was buy a tube but these guys wanted me to check my bag. I *****ed about it, left and patched my stupid tube. After that I always went to Road Rage when I needed something mid-day. If you are a big ****** and buy everything online, this is the shop to take it to for installation and brag about it to the employees (Although these guys might tolerate it, they are still not impressed. They don't want to hear about the deal you got, your sweet fixie, or how you are going to pimp out your Airborne).

Re-Cycles. Kindy dodgy used bike shop. Some folks love them, but I saw them selling an old steel trek road bike with a wicked buckle on the downtube and matching ripple on the top tube. They wanted over $200 for the built bike. I also saw a trek 2300 with a weld to repair a cracked seat stay, no heat treating. I have had some luck digging through their parts room, but I would not be comfortable sending a non bike savy friend to this shop.

Bay Area Bikes. I don't know much about them, except my friend claims they killed his campagnolo hub trying to remove a seized freewheel and denied it. Anyone know any different?

Wrench Science/Medina. That high end mostly mail order place in West Berkeley? I know nothing about it.

Solano Avenue Cyclery. I know nothing about it.

Cyclesport. Nice road **** in stock, really nice guys in their road club (they used to do killer weeknight rides around the lake) but the shop really isn't my kinda place. Not the cheapest, and a little too spandex for some.

Montano Velo. Nice guys, know their ****, have track parts in stock. Quick with special orders, but they have gotten a couple of wheel orders wrong for folks I know. To their credit they fixed everything quickly, offering discounts and getting things right immediately. They really helped out a friend who urgently needed a wheelset for work. From everything I have heard: good people, good shop.

Jitensha. Not as expensive as it looks. My old roomate (A large messenger, kills bikes and breaks spokes) bought a 36 hole ma3/suzue pro max rear wheel from Hiroshi, and after several months of messenging he crashed it and brought it back to the shop. Hiroshi trued it up while he waited and it has been perfect since. Despite the excellent quality, Hiroshi actually charges less than most shops for wheel builds; I think it was $25 or $30. He has a decent selection of track stuff and has lots of neat, beautiful japanese stuff.

MomoVelo. Or whatever Kai is calling his shop now, I dunno if the guy has a store front these days. I don't have any experience with him but word is if you are really into aesthetics, look this place up. Kai may be the one to channel silly art-school impulses into practical bikes.

Disclaimer: I am a twitchy and unpleasant person. Some bad experiences may be my fault. Who knows. Maybe the guy at the Link just had a two hour discussion with some assclown about the appropriate attire for recumbent-tricycle-tandems (Anyone know Jim Doherty?) and was out of patience/attention span for the day.

It would be nice to get some other opinions. Also, if Kai has a new storefront, what/where is it?
-james

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Old 12-19-05, 10:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Q23
Mark at H@F is the man!!! I bet he was the slayer looking dude. It can get busy in there (and all places) but he's one of the best and most consistant wrenches I've found in the bay. I also really like the staff at Mike's bikes in the city...but's you said east bay. Jason at Montelo was very cool, but I'm not sure about the service and turnaround otherwise. (I just bought a chainring and stem there).

Always treat your wrench as a friend, it'll go a long way...

welcome back. or are you still tearing ass through canadia?
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Old 12-19-05, 11:22 PM   #18
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****.. this sucks. I didn't realize that the ****heads at Bikeforums cut out ****, ****, etc. lame.
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Old 12-19-05, 11:22 PM   #19
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Missing Link. A messenger friend of mine refuses to go there because he says they have attitude with the non-clean cut.
depends on the employee, but i definately have gotten an attitude there, based, as near as i can tell, just from tattoos, piercings, and general dirtiness, which has made me leave the store...
regardless, i still like that shop, if only because most of the cheap/parts bin shops i frequent don't have much in the way of gear... all my arm warmers/gloves/bike socks/etc have come from missing link...




Quote:
Originally Posted by neverwrite
The Bent Spoke. Kurt (I think that is his name.. the big dude who does weird long tours) seems very knowledgeable.
kurt thoroughly knows his ****... he is also one of the most dedicated riders i've met...
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Old 12-19-05, 11:28 PM   #20
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I think there are now officially three "dirty punk kids" at the link. They also all seriously know bikes. The culture there has certainly changed recently. Much less of the road snob vibe and much more general bike helpfullness. I attribute it mostly to roger, but then again, he's one of my favorite folks around...and I think he's coming over for dinner xmas eve!
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Old 12-19-05, 11:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terror_in_pink
roger at missing link is awesome, but i kind of hate everyone else there. Especially that short little stick up his a$$ guy... roadie with an attitude. oh, wait i just remembered that really nice guy with the curly hair, don't remember the name, but he was cool too.

warren is awesome, actually the whole Montano Velo crew is awesome and Jason can order aything you want they don't already have. Chip, the store dog is awesome too, he'll play with you and keep you entertained if you have to wait.

and if i didn't already metion it, i really really really really like the Montano guys.

that bastard warren got me all excited about a BB, told me it was the right spindle length, then right after i get to where i am to meet him he tells me its 112.
Warren i'm coming after you!

you guys better be nice to him!!!!!!!!!! He may look all crazy, but he's just a sweet little baby lamb.
I agree with you. I can't stand that guy you mention. But Mary at the Missing Link is also cool, and knows her stuff. The cool people there will go out of their way for you.
Same with everyone at Montano Velo on Piedmont
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Old 12-19-05, 11:48 PM   #22
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I'm not so sure about warren's new taste in facial hair...I was trying to describe it to an old friend of his and all I could think of was 'face mullet'...
Nearly has coffee come out through nose...
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Old 12-20-05, 12:03 AM   #23
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welcome back. or are you still tearing ass through canadia?
thanks, I'm back, but I'm big fat and lazy. I almost called you tonight to ride, but I fed my large belly instead. Let's ride soon!
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Old 12-20-05, 12:05 AM   #24
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thanks, I'm back, but I'm big fat and lazy. I almost called you tonight to ride, but I fed my large belly instead. Let's ride soon!
word. i got my Ibis Mojo up and running, and planning on hitting joaquin miller wednesday afternoon if it's not too wet, which it probably will be. we should hit the trails though, if you're up for it.
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Old 12-20-05, 12:19 AM   #25
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nice! after the holidaze lets do it. I've been ride pavement more than dirt, though, mostly cause I ride after work.
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