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The top 5 DIY bike repair shops in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / May 14, 2014

DIY bike repair shops TorontoThe top DIY bike repair shops in Toronto are about more than fixing flat tires and tightening headsets. These are community hubs that encourage cycling culture, keep bikes out of landfill, and empower people by demystifying the repair process. It can be intimidating to tinker with one's bike for the first time, especially when it comes to drivetrain adjustment and truing wheels. Thankfully these shops are staffed by experienced mechanics (many of whom are volunteers) who are happy to walk novices through the various facets of bike maintenance.

Here are the top five DIY bike repair shops in Toronto.

See also:

The best bike repair shops in Toronto
The best bike stores in Toronto
The best used bike stores in Toronto

Bike Pirates
This non-profit co-op has called Bloordale home for almost eight years, building a tight-knit community of cycling advocates and volunteers. While the shop offers space for DIY bike repair, the best part is that the volunteers on hand will help walk visitors through the repair and build process when needed. There's also a kitchen and garden used to feed volunteers as well as the community at large. Parts are cheap and stand "rental" is donation-based (but please don't cheap out).

Community Bicycle Network
Around for over 20 years, the CBN has been offering space for DIY bike maintenance longer than anyone else on this list. That pays off when it comes to hunting for hard to find parts for vintage bikes. You can rent a stand for $12 an hour to work on your own or pay $18 per hour for supervised tinkering (recommended). The CBN will also do repairs for you, but the cost obviously skyrockets. The CBN is also a good spot to check out if you're in the market for a used bike.

Bike Sauce
Located at Dundas and Broadview, Bike Sauce is another not for profit volunteer-based DIY repair shop and community hub. The supervised shop area is a great place to learn the basics of bike maintenance and chat cycling or local politics. There's even an extensive reference library with titles that range from the bike-specific to those on the history of Toronto. Used bikes are also offered for sale.

Bike Works
Recently joined by Sweet Pete's at the Brick Works, this is a great place to tune up your bike mid-ride. If you hear a squeak out on the Don Valley trails, head over here and apply some lube. Ditto if you're breaks seem a bit loose. While only open on the weekends, the shop is always buzzing with the swell of folks who stop by the Brick Works.

Bikechain
A go-to spot for University of Toronto students (who can use all the services for free), this DIY repair shop and bike lending hub is also open to the general public on a PWYC basis. The big space in the North Borden Building is stocked with all manner of tools and bike parts, as well as lender bikes for students. Bikechain regularly hosts public workshops and other events. It's best to book an appointment if you're heading in to do repairs.

Photo from the CBN's website

Discussion

12 Comments

who are we fooling? / May 14, 2014 at 08:08 am
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Bike Sauce is a joke! Commie central. Walk in there and you get a lecture about politics. They put a sign out once saying "Volunteers needed". I walked by and wrote underneath it "Communism doesn't pay"
KG replying to a comment from who are we fooling? / May 14, 2014 at 09:13 am
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Damn dude, watch that edge you might cut someone.
Ian replying to a comment from Greg / May 14, 2014 at 09:16 am
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easy they're fella, you can always use the "report an error" button at the bottom of the page. Don't be a looser.
Colin Smillie / May 14, 2014 at 09:35 am
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It's probably worth noting that most of the DIY shops have limited hours. My general rule is Bike Works on the weekend and Bike Pirates during the week...
Mike replying to a comment from Ian / May 14, 2014 at 09:58 am
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looser?
Alain / May 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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I've had a mix of great and not-so-great experiences at Bike Pirates. I love the place on principle, but I've found the harsh demeanour of a couple of their volunteer staff (who are in the minority of their crew, fwiw) hard to deal with.
jimmytwotonne replying to a comment from Alain / May 14, 2014 at 02:23 pm
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I agree with you about Bike Pirates. Too many times I've gone in and have been given serious attitude. Same goes for a few of my friends as well. There's been a few really nice people there but the bad ones have been enough that I do not look forward to going there at all and avoid it whenever necessary.
CB replying to a comment from Alain / May 14, 2014 at 02:53 pm
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I went to Bike Pirates once and was mostly ignored - until I accidentally used a tool wrong. Then one of their volunteers SCREAMED at me at the top of her lungs.
Kate Awesome / May 14, 2014 at 04:59 pm
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I adore Bike Sauce! They are so wonderful.
Bellwoods / May 14, 2014 at 08:20 pm
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Igor kenk's garage!
J replying to a comment from Alain / May 14, 2014 at 08:39 pm
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I stopped volunteering there for that exact reason. It's a shame how a few a-holes really ruin an otherwise great place.
Andre / May 14, 2014 at 09:22 pm
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The only place I have used is CBN for an emergency repair and a workshop. Both times, I was impressed and became a member, which helped with the cost of my bike repair and workshop. Very cool and friendly place. The staff know a lot about bikes and eager to help. When I went to a local bikeshop to see how much it would cost me to have my bike fixed, I was shocked. I went to CBN afterwards and saved quite a bit. Highly recommend this place. They are also very happy to accept donations, which is pretty cool if want recycle.

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