Wheels of Bloor
Wheels of Bloor is where to go if you're a road cyclist looking to buy a dream bike. Although not the only shop in Toronto that carries bikes that cost as much as cars, few stores are so unabashedly narrow in their focus. This ain't the place to buy sub $1000 bikes, but if you're looking for performance road machines, it'd be difficult to find a store that's better stocked or more knowledgeable about their products. While I didn't buy my bike here (thanks to an irresistible deal on Ebay), I have brought it to Wheels for all manner of work over the years, including a full group upgrade (from 105 to Ultegra) after a particularly bad crash wiped out the shifters on my old bike.
For a shop that deals almost exclusively in the high end bracket, the attitude is kept mostly in check, though I have detected a bit of snootiness on a couple occasions. I'd peg this on one or two individuals rather than call it a store-wide vibe. In fact, certain staff members — namely one Peter Adach — have proved both super friendly and helpful over the two or three years I've frequented the store. I bring this up because shops like Wheels can be intimidating places for people just looking to get into road riding, but guys like Peter make the experience as enjoyable as it should be (until you get to the cash register, that is).
Brand wise, Wheels of Bloor carries a wider range than most other stores, regardless of specialty. Here you'll find BMC, Felt, Devinci, Argon 18, Ridley, Colnago, Look, Time and, of course, Cervelo — the bike for which the shop is probably best known. If you're looking for a bike designed by this upscale Canadian company — whether it be an R5, S3 or the wind-dodging P series bikes — Wheels is probably the best place to go in the city. As far as price-point is concerned, you're looking at anywhere from $1000 to $20,000, but the two sweet spots are $2000 for a 105-equipped mid-level set up and $5000-$6000 for a bona fide race machine.
As should be the case, when you purchase a bike here it comes with a thorough fitting. After your position has been determined, the store will swap out components of different sizes (think stems, rear cassettes, handlebars and crank arms) to get the bike as customized as possible. I can't underscore how necessary this is. Despite the deal I got from Ebay on my frame, I ended up forking over $200 to a fit specialist in Milton when my new ride was taking its toll on my back. An in-store fit can help customers to avoid such problems.
Interestingly, Wheels will also do free basic fits for people who don't purchase a bike from them. Although this won't be as thorough a process, they'll nail down your frame size and the fore-aft position of the saddle. I'm sure this strategy is driven by the desire to get prospective customers into the store so that they might make future purchases, but nevertheless it's a valuable service that I'm sure more than a few people could benefit from.
Service at Wheels of Bloor is unsurprisingly tailored around road bikes. Though the mechanics are happy to work on any bike that they have the parts for, my recommendation would be to skip getting tune-ups done here unless you have a pretty decent road bike. It's not that they won't be able to work with low-end or older models so much as the fact that other places will do this for less money. Worthy of note is that bikes purchased from the store come with a three-year service plan, which includes tune-ups and basic maintenance.
The accessory selection isn't huge, but all of the best road-affiliated brands are accounted for, including Shimano, Campagnolo, Mavic, Zipp, Shimano, 3T, Speedplay, Look, Time, Continental...basically all the good stuff. The clothing selection is similarly limited, but features solid brands like Assos, GORE, Hincapie, and Castelli. Oh, and if you need chamois cream, they've got that too (I'll hold back on offering an explanation of what that is for those who've never used it).
Who the store caters to : Performance-oriented road cyclists
Bike price range : $1000-$20,000 (Sweet spot $2000-$5000)
Service capabilities: Specialist in high-end road repairs and maintenance
The tune-up: For $75 you get complete external adjustment of the bike (bikes, gears, bolts) and your wheels properly trued. For $150 , you get a full overhaul in which the bike is stripped, cleaned, lubed and rebuilt.
2nd Location: Wheels of Oakville is a news addition to the family and offers a bigger showroom.