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  1. #1
    Whobie?
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    Calgary Bike Shops?

    Seems to be a few Calgarians around the forum... can anyone recommend a good place to shop for a new mountain bike? I've dealt with a few shops for minor tech stuff, and have bought lots of parts from Bow Cycle, but I'm not sure who really know their stuff (have been unimpressed with a few shops). I'm looking for a bike for my fiancee', so a shop that caters to women or has some women on staff would be a bonus.

  2. #2
    Member
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    I like Mountain Bike City on 17th Ave. They provide great service. Prices are really good too.

  3. #3
    Whobie?
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    Thanks, I'll check them out. I haven't been there before.

  4. #4
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    Bow Cycle, hands down the best shop in town.
    yep.

  5. #5
    Senior Member PsySal's Avatar
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    Some people I know are very fond of Pedal Head. It's in the south, in Avenida Center or nearby, off Macleod Trail. Important to find a good one that is close, hemmm?

  6. #6
    Long haired freak. wethepeople's Avatar
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    Calgary Cycle is supposed to be good for MTB's.

    "the bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began...there was Cowboy Neal at the wheel of a bus to never-ever land."


  7. #7
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wethepeople
    Calgary Cycle is supposed to be good for MTB's.
    +1 for Bow Cycle

    I also like Campione.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  8. #8
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    Tuxedo Source for sports on Center street north.

  9. #9
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    Don't Ask

    Hey,

    The only way to find out is to go to the different shops yourself. Bike Shops, in my opinion, are more personal than underwear. You can see that everyone has an opinion of what is best - no one says anything specific about why their shop is best.

    Calgary is a wacky bike shop town. There are 2 monster shops (Bow and BS). Bow has gotten so big I'm surprised they don't have Safeway style checkouts and blue light specials. How much would you trust the "advice" of a grocery clerk when it comes to your bike. BS - well, visit them and see what customer service isn't.

    So here is the Reader's Digest of the rest:

    Freeride rats like Calgary Cycle because they sell stuff to jump off cliffs with and that seems to be their focus. Derek, the owner is a good guy and means well. Some of the staff are... well they're paid help and don't live up to Derek's standards I'm sure.

    Cyclepath is like a corner convenience store compared to Bow. Same lack-luster knowledge in a wanna-be grocery store.

    Pedal Head - i've heard a few people that like them - no first hand experience though.

    B&P - you can get your skates sharpened while you're there - not exactly the feeling that these guys live to ride, ride to live sorta thing. More like - bikes in the summer, skates in the winter pays the bills.

    Cactus - no one talks about them. If you have an open mind about bike brands they mean well but aren't super "into" bikes.

    Singletrack - once again, some people really like them - worth checking for yourself.

    Ridleys - nice looking store, good brands, i've heard ok things and not so good things.

    Eurotech - heard good things.

    Mountain Bike City - your only alternative to Bow if you're set on Kona or Cannondale but otherwise have heard quite good and bad things.

    To point out how good the scene is in Calgary, I have heard of people (depending on the brand they're after) going to Airdrie, Cochrane or Canmore to avoid Calgary shops. This is also a trick many people use for faster service - Calgary shops are getting a good name for spoiling our short cycling season by requiring 2 weeks+ for service - and half the time, bad service.

    I offer this advice. Visit shops. Find someplace where you can talk to people who ride bikes and appreciate bikes for the same reason you do. Some guys are full of BS, some love certain brands, but someone out there will like stuff for the same reason you do and ride the same sort of terrain you do. That guy is worth something to you - find him, support the shop he works at or owns. I could tell you which shop I like but it isn't important because I found "my guy" for "my riding and bike style" and he may not be "your guy". All I can say is, I don't support mail-order, I leave Calgary when I go bike shopping and I once worked in the bike biz and that is why I am so interested in this topic.

  10. #10
    Senior Member PsySal's Avatar
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    Oh, wait! How could I forget! You should maybe consider the sport swap downtown. Other SS are not so great. I somehow always feel good about them, even though technically they are not a "bike shop".

  11. #11
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by complainerster
    Hey,
    BS - well, visit them and see what customer service isn't.
    Generally speaking the Bike Shop has pretty dismal customer service, but it is the closest LBS to my apt so I do go there occasionally. The last few times I was pleasantly surprised by great service from some of the people there. So it isn't all bad, but I have been in there a few times where I could have waved a hundred dollar bill in the air and been completely ignored for 30mins. Kinda weird when its obviously a profit driven business - you' think they'd want your money...
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  12. #12
    cyclotourist
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    I haven't had a great experience in a Calgary shop since a buddy owned Ridley's back in the 80s.

    I would give a tentative nod to Lifesport, since a friend is working in the repair shop, their turnaround for repairs is quite good, I can't speak to their bike selection or service.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sir Lunch-a-lot's Avatar
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    If you don't mind going out of town, Bike Bros. In Cochrane is pretty good. Granted, I didn't get a lot of work done there (I do most of my own servicing, so I don't know first hand how they are for truing wheels etc), but it's a small shop in a smallish town (I'm amazed by some of the shops in Cochrane), and my experience was great. The town is pretty nice for biking in too (I think the speed limit is 30 km/h). Yeah. I'm a fan. Went to get a larger sprocket for my 3 speed and he actually had one in stock, and with installation the total cost was about 8 bucks. Actually, I'm pretty sure that my summer Camp gets most of their bicycles serviced there for their mountain biking program.

    The one time I brought my entire bike (which is an old steel frame frankenbike) I didn't recieve any of this "Oh, you should get a new bike" Jazz that I hear a lot of bike shops give. I was served rather quickly, and without any objections.

    So, if you want to go, maybe make it a day trip... buy some bike stuff, check out the local shops... have a picnic down by the river... it's a really nice town to go to.

    Anyway... there's my plug. Yeah. I'm done now.
    Pythagorean Theorum: 24 words. Lord's Prayer: 66 words. 10 Commandments: 179 words. Gettysburg Address: 286 words. Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words. U.S. Government Regulations on the Sale of Cabbage: 26,911 words.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik
    Generally speaking the Bike Shop has pretty dismal customer service, but it is the closest LBS to my apt so I do go there occasionally. The last few times I was pleasantly surprised by great service from some of the people there. So it isn't all bad, but I have been in there a few times where I could have waved a hundred dollar bill in the air and been completely ignored for 30mins. Kinda weird when its obviously a profit driven business - you' think they'd want your money...
    The Bike Shop is being driven into the ground, IMO. Kevin acquired it from his mother and while he might know bikes and have connections he knows absolutely nothing about running a shop. His rule of thumb(from what a former employee told me you should be spending no more than 1 min per customer, then he's out the door. I seriously think the only thing keeping them alive is the location, a few loyal customers, and Rocky Mountain. He also wants to keep his employees at a 2 year turnaround, to avoid giving raises.
    I really have to hand it Bow. They have taken the bike shop business to the next level. Where else are you going to get a Kikapu for $649? They also run their own lines(BBC bikes) and treat the staff like gold. There are staff member there that are going on 25 years+. That says something. Brian and the rest of the owners might be cowboy managers, but you can come in on a busy Saturday and still get some great customer service.
    my .02
    yep.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Bikebros's Avatar
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    In my opinion, Bike Bros in Cochrane Rules. That Graham is a handsome devil and Mike, his new full-time guy is knowledgable and good to talk to.

    Just kidding. This is Graham. I own Bike Bros and spend about 60 hours a week at the shop and get out on my mountain, road or bmx bike when I'm not working - this is still a priority for me and it keeps me really excited about bikes.

    I don't want to sound all "advertisy" but I hope those of you who haven't come out to Bike Bros give us a shot. We still absolutely live and love bikes (this is 21 years since my first bike shop job in high school). There are 2 of us here. That means we bend over backwards to get you onto the perfect bike or service the old bike properly. Why? Because if we don't, it is still personal enough around here that we feel a personal sense of duty to serve each customer as if they are friend or family.

    If you're thinking about a new bike, I should mention that I agonize over the bikes I select for the store. I don't just carry all bikes from certain brands. I look at all the specs of every model and only select bikes I consider to be "best buys" - so there are no bad choices to be made here. All we ask is for customers to have an open mind. Tell us what you want your bike to do for you and we'll give you 2 or 3 awesome choices to test-ride. If your heart is set on a certain model from a certain brand, we might be able to help you. If your heart is set on spending your money wisely and ending up on an awesome bike - we're your store.

    see ya,
    Graham.

  16. #16
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    I've lived and ridden in Calgary all my life. Here is my take on the LBS I've dealt with for what its worth.

    BowCycle - I bought my MTB, my SS/Fixie and our Chariot stroller from them. The biggest shop in Calgary for a good reason. A large selection of product, fair prices and fairly good service depending on the sales person. I\You can usully get a deal there. Specialized, Cannondale, Scott, Kona, Merlin, LiteSpeed, Cervelo, Wilier...
    The Bike Shop - I've purchased quite a bit of from them in the past. Good guys in the tech shop. They serviced my roadie and did a fabulous job at a good price. I agree with others though, customer service has degraded over the years. Specialized, Rocky Mountain, Guru, Colnago, No Felt this year
    B & P - This shop is close to my office so I've purchase many accesories from them. Brent, the manager is very knowledgable and has given me good deals and some misc. parts free. Hockey seems to be thier bread and butter but they have knowledgable staff & good techs. They carry mostly Norco & Brodie gravity & freeride bikes but has Trek & some cruisers.
    CyclePath South - Good guys. I had some work done there and they accomodated me in short notice. I've purchased various accessories from them and will contnue to in the future. Trek, Norco, Giant, Evil,
    CyclePath North (Not affiliated with CyclePath South) - I will not do business with them. Very poor customer service. They refused to order a rear shock from OGC for me because "it wasn't worth thier time". I'm serious! Then, another time, the Owner & tech ignored us even though thier shop was empty. When asked for help, the owner sighed and reluctantly came over. (Hockey conversations are more important than customers.) The last time we were there looking for a bike for my wife, they tried passing a 2 year old bike off as current. When called on it they admitted its age but said "it's still a new bike" and wouldn't take anything less than full retail for it.
    EuroTech - Small shop in the N.W. Nice & friendly people but they never seem to have what I need. Jamis, DeRosa, Opus, Marin
    Single Track - Stu & crew probably has the best customer service I've ever had from any shop in Calgary. I bought my wifes MTB from them. The staff bent over backwards to fit her and ensure we were happy. Buddy of mine bought his MTB from them too and had the same excellent service. I try to purchase from them whenever I can but hey are far fom my house/work. Jamis, Opus, Gary Fisher, Diamondback
    Tuxedo - Like B&P, hockey seem to be thier bread and butter. owever thier staff is not knowledgable except for Ryan the Tech. I've only purchased MTB shoes from them but a buddy bought a bike from them. He said that will never go back. Specialized & Giant
    VitaSport - I remember Ed from over 26 years ago. I was 14 at the time he built my first wheel set. A very small roadie shop that is personable & uncommercialized. Ed recently built a wheel for the Falcon last year. DeRosa. Not much stock but Ed will order for you.
    Last edited by Tequila Joe; 04-21-07 at 10:39 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I too have had a hard time in Calgary - Bow cycle definitely is a good place to buy a bike, and it's the only place that will do service for me while I wait - if you can't do this, you dont have my business (how do I get around w/o wheels???), but it seems that their mechanics vary - I haven't had a great experience with things being a bit clunky, not well adjusted and so on.

    I've tried lifecycle and ridley's, but I'm not too impressed - they seem to be more about the selling than the servicing.

    If you have a DIY kind of bent - I like to buy my stuff at MEC and put it together myself - great prices on a lot of gear but no service (I'm no wrench but I can put stuff on my bikes OK).

    That being said - Bow cycle is the only place I've been to where the staff is actually interested in talking about bikes, setups, gear ratios, solving problems and so on - that's where I go first if I have a question.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tequila Joe
    CyclePath North (Not affiliated with CyclePath South) - I will not do business with them. Very poor customer service. They refused to order a rear shock from OGC for me because "it wasn't worth thier time". I'm serious! Then, another time, the Owner & tech ignored us even though thier shop was empty. When asked for help, the owner sighed and reluctantly came over. (Hockey conversations are more important than customers.) The last time we were there looking for a bike for my wife, they tried passing a 2 year old bike off as current. When called on it they admitted its age but said "it's still a new bike" and wouldn't take anything less than full retail for it.
    That's pretty terrible. They obviously don't want to stay in business if they can't get on the horn and order you a shock...and not taking anything other than full pop for a bike is ridiculous...
    yep.

  19. #19
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    Out of curiosity where is Cyclepath North?

  20. #20
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    I wouldn't waste my time going there but its on 32nd Avenue N.E. (If they haven't gone out of business)

  21. #21
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    I've heard through the grapevine that they were done...terrible location for a shop anyways, right in the middle of a busy industrial area, no real riding other than the 2 Km+ to the river pathway
    I'm a firm believer in customer service at any cost. It's a brutal market out there and you have to throw it all on the line to survive these days...
    yep.

  22. #22
    Winter commuting mode Tequila Joe's Avatar
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    If CyclePath North is out of business, it doesn't come as a suprise.

    I agree woith you that location has a lot to do with a succesful business but great customer service is golden. BowCycle is located way out in Bowness away from most of the cities traffic patterns yet they are the largest shop in Calgary.

  23. #23
    cyclotourist
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    A few years ago I was building up my Atlantis. I wanted to buy the parts locally but nobody was interested in sitting down with me for half an hour and picking and choosing components for a touring bike. I went to several stores including Bow and finally gave up and ordered everything online.

    I used to order Brooks saddles through Campione, but last time I tried they didn't call me back for three weeks, by which time I had the saddle from Wallbike.

    At Bow they have tons of mechanics, some are very good, some less good. What I find annoying is that you usually have to book a service appointment weeks in advance. While-you-wait-service, you must be joking!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by skookum
    A few years ago I was building up my Atlantis. I wanted to buy the parts locally but nobody was interested in sitting down with me for half an hour and picking and choosing components for a touring bike. I went to several stores including Bow and finally gave up and ordered everything online.

    I used to order Brooks saddles through Campione, but last time I tried they didn't call me back for three weeks, by which time I had the saddle from Wallbike.

    At Bow they have tons of mechanics, some are very good, some less good. What I find annoying is that you usually have to book a service appointment weeks in advance. While-you-wait-service, you must be joking!
    Well it tough when there are only a few real guys throwing their heart n' soul into doing something that I believe ia a possible career. Why not? guys go into apprenticeships for automotive and heavy duty, why not bicycle mechanics? It however takes a commitment from both the employee and the employer/owner. You have to run a couple thousand bikes through a tech's hands before he really starts getting it. Then you have to train him on the fine details of different brakes, rear der. whatever. And the two-week wait thing is just supply-demand. shops are hurting just like everbody else and it takes a certain type of person to come work in a shop for $14 when he could be driving a truck or something for 20.
    yep.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Throwing in my 2 cents - I had really good service at Sport Swap on 11th Ave (12th? can't recall) downtown. They listened to what I would need the bike to do, then got me set up with one that fit my needs and my height/reach (not actually easy as I have long limbs and a short torso). They also took my old 10-speed to fix up for a bike charity.

    Oh, and I'm a girl (see username ) - there seem to be quite a few women on staff at Sport Swap, including at least 2 in the service/repair end.

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