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Best of Toronto

The Best Custom and Road Bike Shops in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / April 23, 2013

custom road bike shops torontoThe 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.

See also:

The best bike stores in Toronto
The best bike repair shops in Toronto
Directory of Toronto bike stores

Wheels of Bloor

Wheels of Bloor

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. More »

Liberty Street Cyclery

Liberty Street Cyclery

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. More »

La Bicicletta

La Bicicletta

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. More »

Gears

Gears

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. More »

Racer Sportif

Racer Sportif

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. More »

Hoopdriver

Hoopdriver

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. More »

D'Ornellas

D'Ornellas

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. More »

Vitess

Vitess

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? More »

Blacksmith Cycle

Blacksmith Cycle

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. More »

Discussion

31 Comments

Kevin / April 23, 2013 at 04:22 pm
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How is Cycle Solutions not on this list? They're amazing!
apkussma / April 23, 2013 at 04:47 pm
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No love for Chain Reaction? I've found Gears to be somewhat over-rated.
lol replying to a comment from Kevin / April 23, 2013 at 04:47 pm
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Not really... I bought a bike and it was not assembled properly.. the thing came apart on me after 4 days and they would not stand by their product and wanted me to send it back to the maker and would guardentee it would be fixed, complete assses
Salty / April 23, 2013 at 04:48 pm
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The link to Hoopdriver takes you to the Vitess page?
benso / April 23, 2013 at 05:37 pm
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Good list but I would kick off Racer Sportif -- even tho I like the shop very much - and put up Enduro Sport -- Cervelo, Cannondale and Scott all just waiting in one shop -- mmmmmmm
16 los / April 23, 2013 at 05:45 pm
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On what criteria was this top 10 based on La Bicicletta #1 Blacksmith #2 and Wheels of Bloor #3 Just Say'n!!!!

abfg replying to a comment from Kevin / April 23, 2013 at 06:20 pm
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Agreed! The guys at Cycle Solutions are great. Don't know what lol is talking about. Ive never had a problem and ive been going there for years.
ttraveller / April 23, 2013 at 07:27 pm
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Let make sure Sweet Petes on Bloor never gets on to this list. Here's my experience a few weeks ago. I had booked an appointment to bring in my bike for a tuneup. I arrived at 10.50am and the store opens at 11am. It's freezing cold and snowing. I Walk up to the window and 2 staff members are clearly visible inside so I gently knock on the door to get their attention. They both stand there and look at me as if I don't exist.

Then another staff person rides up and they open the door to let her in no problem. I explain that I have an appointment and maybe I could come in and wait. The staff looks straight at me and slams the door in my face. Unfortunately I was halfway in and had to jump back for fear of getting hit. By this time I'm reasonably frustrated and I ask for his name (just in case the owner has any interest.) He slams the door and the other staff gives me the finger.

This bike shop wants to be bankrupt. Let's all do this bike shop a favor and stay away so that they can quickly get their wish.
Ned Flanders / April 23, 2013 at 07:48 pm
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I'm all for cycle solutions not being on this list.
Pete / April 23, 2013 at 09:15 pm
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I agree with Kevin. Have had nothing but positive experiences at Cycle Solutions. Both locations but primarily the Beaches shop.
Also, does the author have a fear of crossing Yonge st? Look at that map!
Dundas West Hipster / April 23, 2013 at 10:26 pm
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Wut? I just want to wear oversized glasses and ride a fixie.
lmao replying to a comment from Ned Flanders / April 23, 2013 at 10:45 pm
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I agree with Ned. Cycle Solutions' beaches location has kiddie bikes sitting out front, and still some of the staff have the nerve to act like bike snobs (a common problem in Toronto's pretentious bike shop scene.) Unless your spending a lot of money there, be prepared to be looked down upon. I felt like asking the shop hipster how much for the pink tricycle out front :))
roadie / April 24, 2013 at 09:09 am
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What is the basis for this ranking blogTO and what does "custom" even mean?
Fit / April 24, 2013 at 09:36 am
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Cycle Solutions is no custom shop. I was shopping for a bike at the Parliment location and there was a French sales guy sitting on his a$$. I asked him for help and he acted like he was doing me a favour. Guess what? Customers pay your salary, fool.

The manager seemed a bit more knowledgeable, but they need to hire better staff if they want to be on any "custom" list. This goes for a lot of wannabee bike shops in TO... Cyclemotive too.

They are all after the big dollars in road bikes, but don't have the expertise or get the concept of customer service. And I mean authentic customer service, not the phony lip service you usually get at these snotty places.
IG / April 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm
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Like stated in an earlier comment... what was the criteria for the ranking?
Moose replying to a comment from apkussma / April 24, 2013 at 01:40 pm
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Gears is most definitely overrated, but I can only speak for the Mississauga/Port Credit. Mostly rude, smug staff and everything is overpriced.
Jace / April 24, 2013 at 09:09 pm
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Wheels is a no brainer, Bicicletta should be second, but how are Dukes and Cyclemotive not even on the list? EspeciaLly considering where they are both located.
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Mark replying to a comment from 16 los / April 25, 2013 at 02:38 pm
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Reader votes.

The commentary on these "best of" articles is often great, but people need to stop being so hung up on relative positions and omissions.
Mark replying to a comment from ttraveller / April 25, 2013 at 02:39 pm
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Sorry to hear about that awful experience at Sweet Pete's. I've never been to the main store but have only had fantastic courteous knowledgable service from their "b-side" location in the Annex.
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Tony / May 3, 2013 at 01:33 am
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Cyclemotive should be on here. They build up some real top notch customs from Argon18, Bianchi, Cinelli, & Wilier. At least top 2 in my opinion alongside Blacksmith. Most of the other shops on this list are overrated anyways.
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ookpik replying to a comment from Ned Flanders / August 25, 2013 at 11:09 am
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Agreed. They seem to be in the same phase as Cyclepath was five years ago: The owners are never there, and the store is staffed and managed by pretentious twits. I guess I'd be bitter too if I was making 12 bucks an hour while selling bikes for 1000+. Nice to see that not everyone who used to work in used record stores is unemployed, though.

Cyclepath wised up after several stores shut down. I went in for a flat fix a month back and what a change. I was expecting a sullen flake in an empty store to tell me it would take overnight for the work to get done. What I encountered was an absolute beehive with about eight staff run off their feet who still remained professional and courteous, and, who, despite the crush of people in their store, fixed my flat in forty minutes.

But hey, if you want to get sneered at by a 34 year old loser, not to mention long waits and incompetent repairs, Cycle Solutions is the store for you.
fidelio / September 7, 2013 at 11:59 pm
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Damn that Sweet Petes for not letting you in when the store was closed. *face palm*
Johnny bike a lot / May 3, 2014 at 01:19 pm
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Where is Mojo cycle?
Cam / May 3, 2014 at 01:21 pm
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I'd like to register one more vote for Cycle Solutions. I've always had great service from the guys there, and I've been going there for years. Sorry to hear some people have had bad experiences but I have nothing but good service there.
Jamie / May 3, 2014 at 01:33 pm
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I've always had a great experience at Cycle Solutions as well there repair shop and knowledgable staff are very helpful BUT as the title of the post is BEST CUSTOM and ROAD BIKE SHOPS not sure if cycle solutions is major stop for high end and custom road bikes.

I ride Mountain bikes and cruisers and cycle solutions is the spot for me, I know they sell road bikes but not sure if they're considered the destination by the spandex crew...
Jensie / May 3, 2014 at 02:13 pm
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How can a Trek Project One dealer not be on this list?

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