Wheelin' & dealin'
These shops offer different spokes for different folks
In the market for a new ride? We'll help you make an informed purchase.
They're shiny, they're pretty and, if assembled correctly at the store, they'll require little to no tinkering to fit specific needs.
What the nationwide chain Performance Bicycle Shop (2720 N Halsted St at Schubert Ave, 773-248-0107; and in Naperville and Northbrook) lacks in selection and street cred, it makes up for in friendliness and perks, like its 90-day price adjustments and free tune-ups for the lifetime of the bike. Here, you'll find more than 200 road bikes (up to $2,000) and hybrids ($200–$500) from Giant, Fuji, Tirreno andSchwinn, plus ample accessories.
The family-owned, Chicago-based Kozy's Cyclery (601 S LaSalle St at Harrison St, 312-360-0020; 1451 W Webster Ave atClybourn Ave, 773-528-2700; 219 W Erie St at Wells St, 312-266-1700; 3712 N Halsted St at Waveland Ave, 773-281-2263) carries road and mountain bikes from Cannondale,Schwinn, Specialized and Giant ($200–$4,000), and cruisers, choppers, recumbents and tandems ($320–$925). While selection is good, customer service is lukewarm. Kozy's can't guarantee a quick in-and-out experience, but its ubiquitous locations put it in the same league, in terms of merchandise volume, as Village Cycle Center (1337 N Wells St at Evergreen Ave, 312-751-2488). Village lays claim to the largest inventory of any bike shop in the nation, with a staggering 10,000 bikes in its stockroom and 300 on display. It's got a big, efficient sales staff to handle the often-chaotic customer traffic. Most sales are comfort and hybrid bikes ($300–$400), and Village will sell older models at a 25 to 40 percent discount. The store doesn't allow outdoor test rides, which turns off some customers, but you have seven days to return a bike for a full refund.
On the Route (3146 N Lincoln Ave between Belmont and Barry Aves, 773-477-5066) is a small neighborhood shop that swaps the big inventory for attentive service. Expect road bikes by Bianchi and Trek ($570–$4,000); mountain bikes by Trek, Marin and Cannondale ($220–$2,500); and Nirve cruisers in trendy Paul Frank and John Deere styles ($250–$450). The repair shop gets high marks, too. Turin (1027 Davis St at Maple Ave, Evanston, 847-864-7660), another independent that shines with good service (it'll adjust parts to fit your frame when you test-drive a bike), offers a sweet selection of new wheels and dependable mechanics.
For specialty models, new bikes are the way to go. Through The Bike Rack (2930 Campton Hills Rd just west of Route 64, St. Charles, 800-711-BIKE), you can buy hard-to-find hand cycles, as well as traditional bicycle models. Rapid Transit Cycle Shop (1900 W North Ave at Wolcott Ave, 773-227-2288) is one of the best stores for recumbents and folding bikes (along with conventional styles), and it's also one of the few that can handle hand-cycle repairs.