La Bicicletta is one of Toronto's most established high-end bike shops, having occupied its spot on Castlefied Avenue for over 15 years. While the store carries a small selection of commuter and mountain bikes, the speciality here is very much road bikes, which make up the vast majority of its stock. You'll also find tri and time trial bikes to cater to local racers, of whom the store enjoys a wide following. Naturally, the fit services are top quality, headed up mostly by Heath, one of the more knowledgeable sales staff.
Aside from the bikes (which I'll get to in a second), one of the main draws to La Bicicletta is its stock of both Assos and Rapha clothing. It's not as difficult to find the Swiss-made Assos line of apparel these days, but it's still confined to speciality stores ( Racer Sportif and Sporting Life Bikes have decent offerings), few of whom offer quite the wide selection you'll find here. The UK-based Rapha, which makes fashionable courier-style clothing, is actually quite rare in Toronto. It's some of the nicest urban cycling wear around, though. My padded Rapha knickers are great for tooling around in the summer when I don't want to don the whole spandex getup.
On the bike side of things, La Bicicletta is yet another Toronto retailer with strong ties to Specialized. No complaints here, as I own one of these, but it's also nice to see more Euro offerings in the form of Bianchi and BMC. Price-wise, the sky is pretty much the limit, but the majority of bikes come in between $3,000 and $5,000. Yup, it's that kinda place, as noted by the silver Volvos and Audis adorned with Thule roof racks in the parking lot.
Wheels and accessories are similarly race-approved. Here you'll find the full range of Zipp offerings, alongside lightweight stuff from Campagnolo, Shimano and Mavic. I buy my Fizik bar tape here and snagged my last Giro helmet on an end-of-summer blowout. One of the things that attracts me to La Bicicletta is that the prices listed online are sometimes a littler lower than what's tagged in the shop. In these instances, they've always honoured the online price for me, which has saved me decent dough in the past. Perhaps I just got lucky, but keep an eye out for this phenomenon.
If you're in the market for a high end bike or wheelset, this is one of the city's better options.
Who the stores caters to: Local racers, spandex enthusiasts, rich folks who like the nicest toys
Bike price range: $1,500 to $10,000+
Service options: Professional service for road and tri bikes
The tuneup: $45 gets you a basic gear and brake adjustment along with an inspection, $90 adds hub and wheel adjustment to the mix, and $250 buys you a full overhaul where the bike is stripped and re-assembled.
Photos by Jesse Milns