The Best Bike Shops in Melbourne
Whether you're a fixie rider on training wheels or a regular Cadel, Melbourne has the bike shop for you.
A couple of weeks ago I awoke to find my bike with two flat tyres, one pedal snapped off and a wheel bent so far out of shape that it would no longer rotate. Like The Hangover I had no memory of the night before, only the foggy recollection of a decision to ride to the nearest house party.
The ensuing days saw me scramble around the city trying to find the best deals possible to repair my poor ride, with the resulting list of the best and brightest of the local cycle scene the one beacon of hope to come out of my negligent behaviour. Melbourne is one of the road's most ridable cities and the cycling scene is now at the point where it's difficult not to find a bike shop within 20 metres of wherever you break down. But if proximity isn't a factor, how do you choose? Well, it depends what you're after. Budget, time-frame, professionalism — what do you value? Somewhere in this vast, fantastically flat city of ours there lurks a store that will be just right.
1.Bicycle Recycle, Moorabbin
If you need a solid ride at a flexible price, second-hand is the way to go. Buying old bikes off Gumtree can seem like a good way to keep your pockets from getting too empty, but when you cop a roadie for $70 off a dude on Brunswick St you're begging for your chain to snap mid-pedal and a tasty mouthful of gravel — I speak from experience. Instead, hit up these guys down in the south (it's worth the trip if you're a north sider) whose used bikes are fully serviced and guaranteed to keep your face out of the gutter for a really good price. The best road bike owned by any of my friends came from here and was far cheaper than I'd ever thought feasible. They've got new bikes too — over 300 of them — if you want to shell out for that shiny paint job.
2.Pedal Cyclery, Coburg
A truly boutique store, this one-room shack nestled in an otherwise totally business-devoid strip in Coburg is the most personal and intimate bike repair experience you'll have in Melbourne, guaranteed. This one-man-show is owned by Chris, an affable bloke who'll build you a beautiful bike from scratch if you want that truly unique ride — check out their ridiculously well-designed website for a plethora of beautiful examples. Though these custom rides will run you a few bucks, Chris' repairs/parts prices are extremely reasonable and outdo many of the superstores. The biggest bonus is that he's the kind of guy who'll show you how to change your own tyres, because he's just that cool. Drop in for a chat and learn a whole bunch about your bike.
3. Reid Cycles, Melbourne
Everyone seems to be riding a Reid bike these days. I do. They're just so damn cheap. The Aldi of bike stores, the bikes at Reid's are all home-brand and cheap as chips, whilst the service is quick and efficient. The most affordable new bikes in town come with predictable pitfalls — these aren't the kind of rides that will last a lifetime. But if you want something new that will get you from A to B at a decent clip (plus free servicing) you won't find anything cheaper than this home-grown establishment.
4. Cecil Walker, Melbourne/Fitzroy
Somewhere in between the tiny boutique and the conveyor-belt superstore lies this quirky shop. Adopting an attitude of artisanship, this place prides itself on customer service, promising the highest quality of repairs and etiquette, as well as an online store that will never frustrate by being out of stock or jerking you around on price. They've even got their own sock range, showing serious attention to detail!
5. Samson Cycles, Brunswick
This place's claim to fame is that they have longest opening hours of any bike shop in Australia. From 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, owner/mechanic Ryan knock out repairs at highly competitive prices. Throw in private one-on-one classes after closing time and the occasional after-hours service and you have a picture of possibly the hardest working bike mechanic in the Southern Hemisphere. Being small, in Brunswick and of high reputation, these guys can get a little swamped and take an extra day or two to turn out your repair, but the friendly faces and maximum affordability make it worth it for locals. They also stock super kawaii baby balance bikes, as above.
6. Avanti Plus, Collingwood/Preston/Croydon/Fitzroy/Brunswick and more
If Reid is Aldi, Avanti is Woolworths. A chain of independent stores, each individually owned, this is really your one stop shop for any kind of bike or accessory. Featuring a huge range of products supplemented by a crazy big online section, this cycling juggernaut will definitely get it done for you. If your repair-guy giving you not much more attention than the checkout staff at your local supermarket bothers you, this probably isn't the place for you, but if you're after an in-and-out, comprehensive service/repair/purchase then Avanti is boss.
7. Brighton Cycles, Brighton
They mean business. Seriously. The bikes here are terrifying. This is the kind of bike shop that literally sells Cadel Evans' ride. If you're a cycling nut — I mean the kind of nut who only gets through the working week by thinking about how much closer you'll be to buying that new bike — this is your joint. These guys specialise in both racing bikes and Melbourne's classic Malvern Star. We're talking serious money for serious bikes, serious professionals catering to serious cyclists. Not for the faint-hearted.
8. The Bike Shed, CERES
A little anomaly hiding in CERES environmental park, The Bike Shed “is not a bike shop” according to its website. What it is is a place where you go and learn to repair your own bike. Score an eye-poppingly cheap second hander for around 50 bucks, then hang out with the grizzling old timers who'll point you in the direction of the tools and (cheap) parts you'll need to make it roadworthy. Don't come here expecting them to fix your bike because it won't happen (also don't come if you're adverse to gruff responses — read the website for a perfect example of this place's attitude) but come expecting to learn how to become self-sufficient. Teaching cyclists how to fish, not giving them fish, is this place's mission, so if you're enterprising or so broke that you'll put your own bike together to save cash, then this is the place to hit up.
Image credit: hanneli.com, www.bicyclerecycle.com.au, pedalcyclery.com.au, reidcycles.com.au, cecilwalker.com.au, samsoncycles.com.au, brightoncycles.com.au, thebikeshed.org.au
Published on March 25, 2013 by Zac Millner-Cretney