The Chainlink

So i live in the burbs but ill be heading up this weekend to check out some shops i chitown. So tell me your favorite one, and why.

Thnks

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I had a very bad experience there when my wife was looking at bikes.  She was just getting in to road biking/triathlons and was interested in an entry level road bike that she would feel comfortable with (e.g., interrupter levers were a must if I had any hope of getting her to ride in the city).  The staff was more concerned with pushing high priced bikes at her with, for her, uncomfortable riding positions, rather than listening to what she was interested in and what would be a better fit.

Rich S said:

What specifically about Village Cycle is shady? 

I bought a bike from them a year ago and the sales person was not pushy at all. Answered my questions and didn't once try to steer me in a different direction. I knew what bike I wanted before I walked in the shop so maybe that helped. I haven't gone there for service of any kind however so can't speak on that. 

JM 6.5 said:

A vehement THIRD! I knew (and know) enough to not get taken but their shady staff, and I feel bad for those less knowledgeable.  Stay far far away.

Scott Chillson said:

I second that.

dan brown 4.4 miles said:

also to avoid : Village Cycle Center on Wells in Olde Towne.

gimmicks and some unscrupulous practices (no spell checker here)

DB

To be fair, tri bikes are all about uncomfortable riding positions for maximum areo and legs into the pedals.  More vertical seat tubes pushing saddles further forward, longer top tube to make up for that and a slammed drop bar way down low and tri bars way out front on that.   If you even mentioned  triathlon to a bike salesmen he'd be naturally steering her towards a real tri bike rather than a road bike.   He probably wasn't used to hearing the words "Entry Level Tri Bike"  meaning anything less that 105 or better and radical geometry.   Most bike salesmen either start to salivate or maybe throw up a little in their mouths when they hear the word tri...


JM 6.5 said:

I had a very bad experience there when my wife was looking at bikes.  She was just getting in to road biking/triathlons and was interested in an entry level road bike that she would feel comfortable with (e.g., interrupter levers were a must if I had any hope of getting her to ride in the city).  The staff was more concerned with pushing high priced bikes at her with, for her, uncomfortable riding positions, rather than listening to what she was interested in and what would be a better fit.


I'd say there's a fine line between being bad at sales (not listening to the customer) and being shady. To me this sounds like poor sales. Shady would be more like telling you that a part is worn out when there is still significant life remaining or replacing components on bikes with lower quality than advertised. 

By the way, Cycle Smithy is one of my favorite shops! I like Johnny Sprockets too!  

JM 6.5 said:

I had a very bad experience there when my wife was looking at bikes.  She was just getting in to road biking/triathlons and was interested in an entry level road bike that she would feel comfortable with (e.g., interrupter levers were a must if I had any hope of getting her to ride in the city).  The staff was more concerned with pushing high priced bikes at her with, for her, uncomfortable riding positions, rather than listening to what she was interested in and what would be a better fit.

Rich S said:

What specifically about Village Cycle is shady? 

I bought a bike from them a year ago and the sales person was not pushy at all. Answered my questions and didn't once try to steer me in a different direction. I knew what bike I wanted before I walked in the shop so maybe that helped. I haven't gone there for service of any kind however so can't speak on that. 

You have no idea what you are talking about; a properly fit tri-bike is not going to put the rider in a uncomfortable position.

James BlackHeron said:

To be fair, tri bikes are all about uncomfortable riding positions for maximum areo and legs into the pedals.  More vertical seat tubes pushing saddles further forward, longer top tube to make up for that and a slammed drop bar way down low and tri bars way out front on that.   If you even mentioned  triathlon to a bike salesmen he'd be naturally steering her towards a real tri bike rather than a road bike.   He probably wasn't used to hearing the words "Entry Level Tri Bike"  meaning anything less that 105 or better and radical geometry.   Most bike salesmen either start to salivate or maybe throw up a little in their mouths when they hear the word tri...


JM 6.5 said:

I had a very bad experience there when my wife was looking at bikes.  She was just getting in to road biking/triathlons and was interested in an entry level road bike that she would feel comfortable with (e.g., interrupter levers were a must if I had any hope of getting her to ride in the city).  The staff was more concerned with pushing high priced bikes at her with, for her, uncomfortable riding positions, rather than listening to what she was interested in and what would be a better fit.


+1 on both of these shops. In fact, I'm picking up my bike from JS after work.

Rich S said:

By the way, Cycle Smithy is one of my favorite shops! I like Johnny Sprockets too!  

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I humbly consider myself pretty knowledgeable about bikes and felt like the salesman at Village Cycles saw my wife as a "mark" and tried to push her into a highend TT bike when that's not what she came in the shop looking for.  The salesman probably heard the word triathlon and began foaming at the mouth.  Yet, my wife only wanted an entry level road bike that could work in a sprint triathlon setting.  I have been doing tris for over 6 years now, up to 70.3 Ironmans and placing well in them, and I still don't have a tri specific bike. 

Yes, every salesperson should use their knowledge to assist customers in finding the right bike.  But this went beyond finding the right bike for my wife and into finding the right bike for the salesman and, by implication, the shop.  In my opinion, that is shady.  I was lurking in the background watching the whole thing go down and it left a very bad first impression of the store.

Admittedly, this was one salesman and may not be reflective of Village Cycles as a whole.  However, you only get one chance to make a first impression.  I've been to many of Chicago's "small" LBS - Rapid Transit, Johnny Sprockets, Blue City Cycles, JC Lind, West Town, Heritage, Cycle Smithy, Get a Grip - and "big" LBS - Kozy, Performance, REI - for items over the years. They're all great and they each serve a purpose depending on what you're looking for.  I agree with lots of the opinions people have posted here about those shops being excellent places.  Only Village Cycles sticks out for me.


Rich S said:

I'd say there's a fine line between being bad at sales (not listening to the customer) and being shady. To me this sounds like poor sales. Shady would be more like telling you that a part is worn out when there is still significant life remaining or replacing components on bikes with lower quality than advertised. 

By the way, Cycle Smithy is one of my favorite shops! I like Johnny Sprockets too!  

JM 6.5 said:

I had a very bad experience there when my wife was looking at bikes.  She was just getting in to road biking/triathlons and was interested in an entry level road bike that she would feel comfortable with (e.g., interrupter levers were a must if I had any hope of getting her to ride in the city).  The staff was more concerned with pushing high priced bikes at her with, for her, uncomfortable riding positions, rather than listening to what she was interested in and what would be a better fit.

Rich S said:

What specifically about Village Cycle is shady? 

I bought a bike from them a year ago and the sales person was not pushy at all. Answered my questions and didn't once try to steer me in a different direction. I knew what bike I wanted before I walked in the shop so maybe that helped. I haven't gone there for service of any kind however so can't speak on that. 

Your wife unfortunately was just lumped in with the stereotype the minute you guys mentioned Triathlon at a bike shop.  It happens sometimes.   

I do feel sorry for every bike salesman who has had a rich 1%-er soccer mom park their BWM/Mercedes in their parking lot and want to buy a $4k+ Serotta (that they don't even know how to ride yet) and "all the kit" so they can "start training" for Tris.  I'm not saying this is your wife, but this is certainly a stereotype with some merit in reality to back it up. 

The poor salesman is so conflicted.  On one had he is foaming at the mouth for that big commission.  That must certainly be in the back of his mind -if not at the front of it!

But on the other hand that foam in his mouth might be from throwing up a little bit into it.   He sees some n00b buying a dream bike that only tiny fraction of serious cyclists could ever afford or aspire to. It seems so unfair that there are serious riders and athletes making do with older bikes not tricked out with the top of the line components.  The components on these high-end and even "starter"  tri bikes are so far above the n00b's level or needs, but they so often insist on the very best since they can afford it and it seems to them it will give them the "edge" they need to finish.

This little video sort of sums it up:

"I just spent fifteen thousand dollars yesterday on a bike I cannot ride"

"Ironman training has been linked to many illnesses, like I'mamajordouchebag syndrome and selfabsorbedbitchisitus."


LOL



JM 6.5 said:

 The salesman probably heard the word triathlon and began foaming at the mouth.  

James, take a second re-read what I wrote. My wife DID NOT WANT a tri bike. She wanted an ENTRY LEVEL ROAD BIKE, which would be a starting point for getting her back into biking and try a sprint tri.  That's what she asked to look at.  If you've ever been to a tri, you'll see people out there on mountain bikes giving it a go.  It's great; not everyone wants or needs a TT bike, so why push that on someone who isn't asking for it.  Don't lump her in with your stereotype of weekend warriors looking for a full carbon fiber rig.  That's what the salesman did, and that's why I'll never visit Village Cycles again.

The non sequitur about pulling up in a MB/BMW is indicative of your feeble attempt to build a strawman.

James BlackHeron said:

Your wife unfortunately was just lumped in with the stereotype the minute you guys mentioned Triathlon at a bike shop.  It happens sometimes.   

I do feel sorry for every bike salesman who has had a rich 1%-er soccer mom park their BWM/Mercedes in their parking lot and want to buy a $4k+ Serotta (that they don't even know how to ride yet) and "all the kit" so they can "start training" for Tris.  I'm not saying this is your wife, but this is certainly a stereotype with some merit in reality to back it up. 

The poor salesman is so conflicted.  On one had he is foaming at the mouth for that big commission.  That must certainly be in the back of his mind -if not at the front of it!

But on the other hand that foam in his mouth might be from throwing up a little bit into it.   He sees some n00b buying a dream bike that only tiny fraction of serious cyclists could ever afford or aspire to. It seems so unfair that there are serious riders and athletes making do with older bikes not tricked out with the top of the line components.  The components on these high-end and even "starter"  tri bikes are so far above the n00b's level or needs, but they so often insist on the very best since they can afford it and it seems to them it will give them the "edge" they need to finish.

This little video sort of sums it up:

"I just spent fifteen thousand dollars yesterday on a bike I cannot ride"

"Ironman training has been linked to many illnesses, like I'mamajordouchebag syndrome and selfabsorbedbitchisitus."


LOL



JM 6.5 said:

 The salesman probably heard the word triathlon and began foaming at the mouth.  

Good advise.  You should try it.

JM 6.5 said:

take a second re-read what I wrote. 

I've only had positive experiences with Village Cycle in the five years since I bought a new bike there. Salesman was knowledgeable, gave me some good ideas to think about and gave zero pressure. I've gone back probably a couple dozen times, adding accessories and needing minor tweaks or small parts, most labor done free or a nominal $5 fee. I've always found them to be open to show me what they're doing to learn more about maintenance on my own as well.

Love Roscoe; easily one of the cutest bike shops in the city and just rock star people!

Personally, I'm a big fan of Bike Lane for the simple fact that they're about the only people in town that actually stock BMX parts!

Also, not trying to toot our own horn buuuut...

Turin's re-opened at  4710 N. Damen and we've got some really fun toys to look at and ride.

We've received a run of Alchemy's including a Bronte stainless 'Cross bike, Eros Ti road and an Arion aero carbon road.

We're also really pumped on the samples of SS 'Cross bikes, fixies, 3-speeds and commuting road bikes that we're producing under the Turin banner for the coming year.

And, this weekend is our "Coming Out" party of sorts. With that in mind, we've had some NAHBS bikes sent to exhibit from the likes of Holland, Bruce Gordon, Boo Bikes, 3Rensho, Vincent Rodriguez, Eisentraut and many more!

Swing on by Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We'll have snacks and refreshments. Black Dog Gelato has been kind enough to send over a mess of goodies and we're generally planning on a fun time with our doors open to welcome in the neighborhood as well as the greater cycling community at large!

FYI, the Turin that is opening in the city now is not the one from Evanston re-opening.

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