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The top 5 DIY bike repair shops in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / May 14, 2014

=bike repair 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. 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 my picks for the top 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 in Parkdale has built 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 in East Chinatown, 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.

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



who are we fooling? / May 14, 2014 at 08:08 am
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
Damn dude, watch that edge you might cut someone.
Ian replying to a comment from Greg / May 14, 2014 at 09:16 am
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
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
Alain / May 14, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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
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
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
I adore Bike Sauce! They are so wonderful.
J replying to a comment from Alain / May 14, 2014 at 08:39 pm
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
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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Jeff / April 15, 2015 at 06:54 am
I really like the idea of bike pirates, but the one time I went to check it out I was so put off by the shi**y attitudes of the people there i never went back. I'll stick to google to demystify the bike repair process and be diy at home.
John / May 14, 2015 at 05:31 pm
Been to Bike Pirates back in August. Great concept of DIY bike shop but I was turned off by the volunteer staff. In particular was a middle-aged bearded dude who was being a d**che when I asked for help regarding certain parts. Haven't gone back since.
Stacey szmy / August 5, 2015 at 02:55 pm
Currently volunteering at bike sauce and I highly recommend everyone who has been wronged or disappointed by other means of bike shops to go to bike sauce and have your own experience and I am current that you will meet with some of the nicest volunteers and staff. I am thoroughly enjoying my progression and mentoring I am thankful for the invitation of bike sauces business and the back that they give.
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