The Cycle Shoppe
The Cycle Shoppe is the older sibling of Cyclemotive, and has been located in and around Queen and Bathurst for 20 years. Unlike the newer shop which is larger and more diverse in its range of offerings, this is a shop that's specifically focused on commuter and utility cyclists. Had you visited the Cycle Shoppe last riding season or before, its target market would have been a bit more clear, given the tires, rims and parts strewn across the store: this wasn't a place to buy a Tour de France ride.
You still won't find any of these race machines on the sales floor, but the whole place is a hell of a lot prettier after a winter renovation last year. What does that mean for the prospective buyer? Well, there's more bikes on the floor for one. And, it's way easier to find accessories, which in the past required assistance from employees.
These might not be a huge deal to shoppers for whom the bottom line reigns supreme, but I've always liked retail stores that merchandize well. Maybe it's because I spent too much of my youth working in various retail spaces, I don't know. But given that the prices don't seem to have changed, I'll take the new set-up as a good thing.
Although there are a few entry level road bikes and 29er mountain bikes on the floor, the vast majority of bikes at the Cycle Shoppe fall into three categories: commuter, fixed/single speed, and sport hybrids. Brand-wise, the mainstays are Giant, Electra, Biria, Marin and Raleigh. As a more utility-based store, the price point is lower than at Cyclemotive, falling between $360-$1800, with a so-called sweet-spot of $600-$800. Also worthy of note as far as bikes go is the ample selection for women, which has been increased post-renovation.
As you'd expect, the accessory selection — be it racks, fenders, tires or tubes — is well stocked and clearly oriented toward the commuter cyclist with few high-end, super-pricy offerings to be found. There's not much by way of clothing here, but if you're looking for the Bern helmets all the cool-kids are wearing, I'm told the Cycle Shoppe has got the best selection in Toronto.
A final note about service: I've only visited the shop three or four times, but the staff have always been very helpful, even when I've been searching for obscure items like 5mm cassette spacers. There's zero pretentiousness here, and that's a good thing.
Who the store caters to: Commuter, utility cyclists.
Bike price range: $350-$1800, most bikes range between $600-$800.
Service capabilities: Bring bike; they fix
The tune-up: For $49 you get complete external adjustment of the bike (bikes, gears, bolts) and a safety check.