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  1. #1
    Retro Prairie Girl terraskye's Avatar
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    MEC for bike parts

    Hi there,

    Im a 5 minute bike ride to MEC and they seem to have a lot of affordable things for sale for bikes so I was wondering if there you have a Top 10 things list to buy/not buy from them. Up until now I've just bought none-bike related stuff there and I do have to admit I love that store!


    Thanks in advance
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    Senior Member roadrasher's Avatar
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    Hi, I use the local MEC for most of my "consumables" EG: cables, tubes, lube etc.
    There are some good deals on clothing,tools and parts, but depending on your relationship with your LBS you may get a better deal elsewhere.

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    It totally depends on what kind of cycling you do. MEC caters to an average cyclist. You can buy a reflective vest there for example I like their return policy and the stuff they sell is usually of good quality.
    They have virtually no good sales and you can always find better deals elsewhere (e.g. http://www.probikekit.com/ free shipping to Canada and usually no duty).

    I bought some tools from them, water bottles, a bicycle rack, and a pair of panniers.You can buy clothing there too if you need to try it on but clothing there is never on sale and expensive.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Pig_Chaser's Avatar
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    I think they have good prices on tires. I've bought my last two sets from them. Each time I shopped the net a bit (ebay etc) and couldn't beat their price.

    I also like their accessories like racks and panniers. Good quality for the price.

  5. #5
    Retro Prairie Girl terraskye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pig_Chaser View Post
    I think they have good prices on tires. I've bought my last two sets from them. Each time I shopped the net a bit (ebay etc) and couldn't beat their price.

    I also like their accessories like racks and panniers. Good quality for the price.

    Thanks Your avatar looks familiar..are you also on Live Journal?
    ~Fiona~

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  6. #6
    Resident Seaballer DogsBody's Avatar
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    As mentioned: They are great for the consumables, and the "dongly bits" like flashers, cages, waterbottles etc.
    Their clothing for cyclists is also well-priced.
    It's not the bullet with my name on it that worries me. It's the one that says, "To whom it may concern".

  7. #7
    Clyde
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    Quote Originally Posted by ukie View Post
    It totally depends on what kind of cycling you do. MEC caters to an average cyclist. .
    "Average" is a pretty broad statement and most of us probably fall into this category. However, with the introduction of the full service bike shop they've started carrying some elite gear eg this http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1247162418016 $1100 wheelset.



    I like their return policy and the stuff they sell is usually of good quality.
    I agree. I find that the best thing to do is to read the reviews on the MEC site (you can check these in store too). I've never had any issues with their clothing or gear other than a chain cleaner. Then again I did not read the reviews before I bought the chain cleaner.

    They have virtually no good sales and you can always find better deals elsewhere ......clothing there is never on sale and expensive
    Uh uh. MEC has stuff on sale frequently and in most cases their regular prices are as good as or better than LBS. For example, I paid $45 for Ultra Gatorskins at MEC (their regular price) instead of LBS price $55 - $67. I also picked up a Hydrocycle jacket and Cyclone tights on sale.

  8. #8
    Resident Seaballer DogsBody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subdermis2000 View Post



    Uh uh. MEC has stuff on sale frequently and in most cases their regular prices are as good as or better than LBS. For example, I paid $45 for Ultra Gatorskins at MEC (their regular price) instead of LBS price $55 - $67. I also picked up a Hydrocycle jacket and Cyclone tights on sale.
    This is factual.
    I always monitor the bottom bins at MEC:
    I have seen Mechanic Stands, Park Toolsets, and various other items marked-down because they were missing some small, and easy to replace component.
    It's not the bullet with my name on it that worries me. It's the one that says, "To whom it may concern".

  9. #9
    Custom User Title cowtown_cowboy's Avatar
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    *meh*
    Last edited by cowtown_cowboy; 11-02-09 at 01:26 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    Has anyone bought any tights from them?

    I need some and my wife bought me a GC from MEC.

    I've always used the lycra tights in the past. I find they've been great for the rain. They get wet but stay warm and the comfort from stretching is unparalleled. Other pants tend to pull against the legs and restrict movement.

    A lot of people have a "problem" with the "revealing nature of tights, but I don't. I'm strictly a function over form guy. With that in mind, it looks like MEC sells some tights that might not be quite so "tight" but might still be flexible and warm enough to use through Vancouvers wet winters.

    Anyone use any? Thoughts?
    Last edited by closetbiker; 07-13-09 at 07:56 AM.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  11. #11
    Pro Paper Plane Pilot wunderkind's Avatar
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    I have to admit their prices are cheaper than a typical LBS. I don't know the quality of MEC brand tubes though. $3??? Their chain cleaning device is cheap too. So are the locks. But they don't sell Krypto or OnGuard. Hmm.... Too bad they want me to be a member to purchase.
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  12. #12
    Clyde
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    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker View Post
    Has anyone bought any tights from them?

    I need some and my wife bought me a GC from MEC.

    I've always used the lycra tights in the past. I find they've been great for the rain. They get wet but stay warm and the comfort from stretching is unparalleled. Other pants tend to pull against the legs and restrict movement.

    A lot of people have a "problem" with the "revealing nature of tights, but I don't. I'm strictly a function over form guy. With that in mind, it looks like MEC sells some tights that might not be quite so "tight" but might still be flexible and warm enough to use through Vancouvers wet winters.

    Anyone use any? Thoughts?
    In Winnipeg's spring/summer/fall I wear the cylcone tights when I want to stay dry (http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1247498117756). The seams will leak (since untaped seams are never waterproof) if they get sustained direct spray but are otherwise ok. If I remember my fender I usually get wetter from sweat than rain. When it's cooler (i.e. below 0 C) I wear one of the heavier tights that they sell (the name of which escapes me right now). I can check later which one it is if you want.

  13. #13
    Senior Member closetbiker's Avatar
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    I looked at those but was put off a bit by some of the comments on the web page.

    I was thinking more of the Veluta tights http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...006&amuc=5,339 where some of the comments were more positive.
    "My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything" -Peter Golkin
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  14. #14
    Clyde
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    ^ Follow the instructions from MEC on care and you should not have a problem with the Cyclone tights. I've never had saddle slipperyness isues with them either.

    More things for the list:

    I second the for the bits and bobs that MEC sells but I would think twice about buying a Planet Bike lock or any of their wireless computers. Iím also not a fan of the MEC brand gloves nor their selection of brand name gloves. Those I do shop for at LBSs. However I am going to pick up some paddling gloves for cool weather riding (early spring, late fall, and winter) http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1247755248445
    Last edited by subdermis2000; 07-16-09 at 10:02 AM.

  15. #15
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    My bike, lock and helmet came from my LBS. Pretty much everything else is MEC -- fenders, rack, panniers, lights, bottle + cage, clothing, gloves (cycling + paddling), tubes, tools, etc. I've always been happy with my MEC gear. I've also bought a lot of non-cycling gear, and also been happy with performance/quality -- camping, rock climbing, hiking, etc.

  16. #16
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    MEC is my big favorite bike store. I've been picking up tubes from them for years for $2 each. I usually get quite a few at a time and haven't been there for awhile so could be a few cents more now. A Shimano 5 cog rear sprocket for $8, a pair of fenders for $22 when the lbs wanted $50, etc.

    Good rear view mirrors and lights also cheap. They just have basic things and not frames or wheels or a lot of stuff a bike shop would have but I tend to be a pretty basic guy and they suit me perfectly. They have a pretty good selection of tools too.

    best wishes, lloyd
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  17. #17
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
    MEC is my big favorite bike store. I've been picking up tubes from them for years for $2 each. I usually get quite a few at a time and haven't been there for awhile so could be a few cents more now. A Shimano 5 cog rear sprocket for $8, a pair of fenders for $22 when the lbs wanted $50, etc.

    Good rear view mirrors and lights also cheap. They just have basic things and not frames or wheels or a lot of stuff a bike shop would have but I tend to be a pretty basic guy and they suit me perfectly. They have a pretty good selection of tools too.

    best wishes, lloyd
    They are starting to get in more stuff, they've had wheels for a while, they now even offer Crank Bros Cobalt wheelsets at $1,000 a pop! Still trying to get my head round that.

  18. #18
    Retro Prairie Girl terraskye's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone I did pick up a few things from MEC for my bike and so far I'm pretty satified. They even "lent" me a demo saddle to try out for a few days to see if I liked it before I buy it. I've never even heard of that before so I was pretty impressed.
    ~Fiona~

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  19. #19
    runnin' down a dream edbikebabe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terraskye View Post
    Thanks everyone I did pick up a few things from MEC for my bike and so far I'm pretty satified. They even "lent" me a demo saddle to try out for a few days to see if I liked it before I buy it. I've never even heard of that before so I was pretty impressed.
    Most bike shops will do that - you just have to ask. Either that, or they have a return policy where you can bring it back within 30 days if you don't like it.

  20. #20
    Retro Prairie Girl terraskye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edbikebabe View Post
    Most bike shops will do that - you just have to ask. Either that, or they have a return policy where you can bring it back within 30 days if you don't like it.
    Good to know...an unnamed LBS didn't offer it to me so I just bought a saddle but I was able to return it last night...I'd rather use a demo though because my luck..I'd scratch up a purchased one and not be able to return it
    ~Fiona~

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    Quote Originally Posted by terraskye View Post
    Thanks everyone I did pick up a few things from MEC for my bike and so far I'm pretty satified. They even "lent" me a demo saddle to try out for a few days to see if I liked it before I buy it. I've never even heard of that before so I was pretty impressed.
    MEC has a ridiculously liberal return policy (My wife once returned an 8-month old shirt for a full refund because the material was behaving oddly). Better to let you try out one that's designated as a demo than buy a new one, and return it a week later in un-resaleable condition.

    That said, I encourage returning good items in just slightly outside of resaleable condition, because then I can pick them up at gear swap for stupid-cheap.

  22. #22
    Clyde
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    During the monsoon last Friday I picked up a pair of these http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1249400683999 paddling gloves. A touch warm in the summer but that was outweiged by the huge increase in grip.

  23. #23
    Senior Member bgilchrist's Avatar
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    The benefit to MEC getting into bikes is that perhaps they can attract some of their members who are not cyclists into cycling. Once those members have been attracted into cycling, hopefully they'll switch to an LBS where prices are similar and staff is more well versed.

    I'm an MEC member, but the only thing bike related I buy there (now) is the gallon size jug of degreaser. Anything else, I'll pickup at the LBS. The LBS does more and puts back so much more into the cycling community than MEC does. And when it comes to product knowledge, I don't know about the rest of the MEC locations - but the Winnipeg staff don't know very much at all. They also have a very poor product selection given the climate - at one point they didn't stock any winter cycling gear, but the stocked it at other stores.

    So - degreaser I'll buy there, but not anything else.

    ***edit***

    Just so you don't get the impression that I am an MEC hater - I'm not. I just find that the lack of staff knowledge means that unless you know exactly what you are looking for or have a good level of knowledge yourself, you won't get much help from staff. I'm fine with that, but I worry about people getting into outdoor activities. Case in point - I watched a customer go in and start looking at studded tires for winter riding. In winnipeg, if you are riding winter studded tires aren't really any benefit as we don't get much ice on the streets ( sonw is the problem). I asked where his commute was and he identified a major artery that is plowed to bare concrete. Both he and the store staff were offended/shocked/angry that I would have the audacity to suggest that he doesn't need studs for riding that route. So instead of identifying the customer need - the staff goal was to sell, sell, sell.

    Again - MEC is fine if you have a decent level of product knowledge - I'll get camping/climbing/some clothing there. But I'll support my LBS as much as possible because they put mmore back into the community.
    Last edited by bgilchrist; 08-05-09 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Clarification

  24. #24
    Clyde
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgilchrist View Post
    The benefit to MEC getting into bikes is that perhaps they can attract some of their members who are not cyclists into cycling. Once those members have been attracted into cycling, hopefully they'll switch to an LBS where prices are similar and staff is more well versed.

    I'm an MEC member, but the only thing bike related I buy there (now) is the gallon size jug of degreaser. Anything else, I'll pickup at the LBS. The LBS does more and puts back so much more into the cycling community than MEC does. And when it comes to product knowledge, I don't know about the rest of the MEC locations - but the Winnipeg staff don't know very much at all. They also have a very poor product selection given the climate - at one point they didn't stock any winter cycling gear, but the stocked it at other stores.

    So - degreaser I'll buy there, but not anything else.

    ***edit***

    Just so you don't get the impression that I am an MEC hater - I'm not. I just find that the lack of staff knowledge means that unless you know exactly what you are looking for or have a good level of knowledge yourself, you won't get much help from staff. I'm fine with that, but I worry about people getting into outdoor activities. Case in point - I watched a customer go in and start looking at studded tires for winter riding. In winnipeg, if you are riding winter studded tires aren't really any benefit as we don't get much ice on the streets ( sonw is the problem). I asked where his commute was and he identified a major artery that is plowed to bare concrete. Both he and the store staff were offended/shocked/angry that I would have the audacity to suggest that he doesn't need studs for riding that route. So instead of identifying the customer need - the staff goal was to sell, sell, sell.

    Again - MEC is fine if you have a decent level of product knowledge - I'll get camping/climbing/some clothing there. But I'll support my LBS as much as possible because they put mmore back into the community.
    Thanks for adding your edit - I was about to step up on my soap box and unleash hell in your general direction

    I will, however, respectfully address a couple of your points directly:

    1. MEC getting into bikes - I believe that this is a result of the pro-bike shop responses in a survey that was done of the membership.

    2. MEC staff knowledge - I've run into the open mouthed duh blank look on face response on more than 1 occassion at LBSs. At the Wpg MEC it's hit and miss but the staff will usually look for help from another staffer if they do not know. Plus they are somewhat new to bikes - wait and see.

    3. Studs - While I've quit riding all winter for various reasons I do endorse studs over no studs as I've tried both. For example, last fall my riding season was cut short by the freezing rain that we got last November that coated every single exposed flat surface in the city. If I had had studs that would not have been the case. Also, in "normal" years once you get off the main routes (which a bike should be doing anyways, especially in the winter) most of the secondary roads and regular streets have a mix of snow, ice, and bare concrete for most of the winter. Main routes are also only plowed once the snowfall reaches a certain depth since the last snow clearing. So, in the end, it's really a matter of personal preference/opinion whether studs were the right answer. That does not excuse their reaction though.

    4. Store stock - While agree with you that inventory at times does not meet my immediate need I don't really think it's fair to judge MEC based on stock selection in one store which is not considered by MEC to be a flagship/full catalogue store. On the other hand you can order online and have your order delivered to your local store without paying shipping. I'm currently waiting on a some bibs that I ordered this way.

    5. Giving back - I acknowledge what LBSs do but also recognize that it can happen in many different ways http://www.mec.ca/Main/explore.jsp?F...=1249501680632

  25. #25
    Senior Member bgilchrist's Avatar
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    So, an MEC staffer, huh?


    Quote Originally Posted by subdermis2000 View Post
    2. MEC staff knowledge - I've run into the open mouthed duh blank look on face response on more than 1 occassion at LBSs. At the Wpg MEC it's hit and miss but the staff will usually look for help from another staffer if they do not know. Plus they are somewhat new to bikes - wait and see.
    Yup - you can get that reaction at LBS' too. I find it more common at MEC. And if you know your bike stores, you'll know where to go and who to talk to so you never get that reaction.

    Quote Originally Posted by subdermis2000 View Post
    3. Studs - While I've quit riding all winter for various reasons I do endorse studs over no studs as I've tried both. For example, last fall my riding season was cut short by the freezing rain that we got last November that coated every single exposed flat surface in the city. If I had had studs that would not have been the case. Also, in "normal" years once you get off the main routes (which a bike should be doing anyways, especially in the winter) most of the secondary roads and regular streets have a mix of snow, ice, and bare concrete for most of the winter. Main routes are also only plowed once the snowfall reaches a certain depth since the last snow clearing. So, in the end, it's really a matter of personal preference/opinion whether studs were the right answer. That does not excuse their reaction though.
    Yup - personal choice - but it comes down to being a confidence builder as opposed to having any actual usefulness. That being said I do have a studded front tire that I will ride when I consider it necessary. However, that hasn't been for 2 years. Studded tires add excess weight - there is no need for studs in the middle treads. You only need them in the outer treads as that's where you'll have the slipping.

    Sure - you could ride the studs for the week or two that there is ice on the street, but once the ice gets plowed, and problem is snow then they aren't any benefit.


    Quote Originally Posted by subdermis2000 View Post
    4. Store stock - While agree with you that inventory at times does not meet my immediate need I don't really think it's fair to judge MEC based on stock selection in one store which is not considered by MEC to be a flagship/full catalogue store. On the other hand you can order online and have your order delivered to your local store without paying shipping. I'm currently waiting on a some bibs that I ordered this way.
    That's fine for some items. But when I'm looking to order winter cycling shoes and they don't have stock? They won't bring stock in different sizes for me to try, so I have to buy them first and hope they fit. (if I am going to do that I'll mail order nashbar, it will work out much cheaper). The excuse that it isn't a flagship store is weak at best. They should tailor their stock to activity and climate where the store is located ( hence their miniscule climbing gear selection)

    Quote Originally Posted by subdermis2000 View Post
    5. Giving back - I acknowledge what LBSs do but also recognize that it can happen in many different ways http://www.mec.ca/Main/explore.jsp?F...=1249501680632
    Sure they give back - they actually have given grants to groups I am involved with. But I haven't seen any type of giving back to the local bike community. Trail Maintenance/Building/Running events? If I'm going to support a bike store, the fact that that bike store supports the local cycling community is important. Put a different way - what would be the effect on the local bike community if MEC stopped selling bikes? Miniscule, if any. If one of the other LBS pulled out? Depends on which one, but losing some of them would leave a huge hole in the local cycling community.

    And don't even get me started on the total lack of corporate governance!

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