The Best Custom and Road Bike Shops in Toronto
The best custom and road bike shops in Toronto are like candy stores for spandex-clad roadies who can be spotted in droves riding their $8000 Dura Ace-adorned rides throughout the summer months. With a few notable exceptions, these are typically places that deal exclusively in high end bikes of the type that would be just as at home on Alpe d'Huez as they are flying around local streets. Here you'll find brands like Look, BMC, Cervelo, Argon 18 and Passioni (to name only a few of the top flight manufacturers on offer), but also custom options that allow you to dictate how your bike fits, what components it comes with, and all sorts of other specifications that aren't an option on stock rides.
Speaking of fit, that's another key selling point for stores like this. If you're going to fork out the dough on a Tour de France worthy ride, it better be properly fitted. Fortunately, most of these places offer advanced fit services that should have you riding both quickly and comfortably on the dream bike of your choice.
Here are the best custom and road bike shops in Toronto.
Known for their stock of eye-popping Cervelos, Wheels of Bloor also carries a number of other race-ready machines from companies like Cinelli, Felt, and BMC. With a steady stream of hardcore riders coming in the door, you can trust that the service you'll receive - whether this be fit or repair-related - will suit the cost of the bikes on offer. Watch for blow-outs on wheels and frames in the off-season.
Not a shop known for a hefty stock of high-end bikes, what you will get here is excellent custom options from owner Ed Tsui, who's one of the city's best bike mechanics. While the shop stocks brands like Devinci and Opus, the sky really is the limit here as Tsui will put together almost anything that you want within the confines of the companies that he's working with. Also worthy of note is that Liberty Street Cyclery does excellent wheel builds.
La Bicicletta is one of Toronto's longest standing high end bike shops. The sprawling showroom on Castlefield is filled with the finest that Specialized has to offer as well as harder-to-find brands like Pinarello and Merckx. Do not enter this place if you have money to burn, because you'll find a way to do it. In addition to the bikes themselves, the shop has one of the best stocked clothing sections, complete with a full line-up from Assos and and Rapha. Bonus points for a comprehensive website.
With three locations in the GTA (Leaside, Mississauga and Oakville), Gears is one of the bigger bike retailers around. And though the store focuses as much attention on mountain bikes as it does on those destined for the tarmac, I've always been impressed by the knowledge base of the staff that I've dealt with and the service performed on the bikes that I've brought into the store. Major brands include Specialized, Giant, Cannondale, Felt, Guru, Pinarello, and Stork.
Although I've heard a few people complain about stuck up service at Racer Sportif, that's never been my experience at the place. The Bloor West Village shop (there's also one in Oakville) has a loyal following of enthusiast roadies and racers. If you're looking for bikes from Colnago, Scott, and Time, this should be on your list of places to visit. Keep an eye out for blowout sales. There are deals to be had here.
If you're looking to build a dream bike, but you've always been a fan of steel and/or vintage frames, Hoopdriver is the place for you. While they also carry a few brands like KHS, Opus and Pake, it's their custom builds that will interest those in the market for a high end ride. Owner Martin Neale knows a ton about bikes both new and old, and is a helpful resource when assembling a bike from scratch.
Owner Eon and his crew always seem to have a steal on last year's model hanging from the rafters. I bought my first decent road bike here (a bright red Specialized Allez), which was a great experience on account of the fair price and the expert fitting that came with the bike. Major brands include Specialized, Giant and Scott. Wait until the off season for the best deals.
Vitess is a brand not a store, but as a local bike company trying to make its way in a very competitive marketplace, it's nice to see our readers give a little love with this selection. Vitess offers the ultimate in bespoke bike buying, allowing you to customize your ride from the ground up. It can get pricey - full bespoke builds start at 10K - but why not support a local outfit when dropping the big bucks?
Recently relocated from West Queen West to Sorauren Avenue, Blacksmith specializes in Italian racing steeds and American boutique brands like Independent Fabrication. And the city's road community is better for it. Stock racing bikes from companies like Giant and Specialized are great and all, but they can't really compete in terms of wow-factor with a hand-painted, custom fit Passoni. Speaking of fitting services, for my money, Blacksmith has the best in the city.
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