Dear PoP – Where’s the best Bike Shop in the city?

Photo by PoPville flickr user sally henny penny

“Dear PoP,

I recently had my silver and navy blue Trek bicycle stolen from the corners of 13th and G Streets, NW. It was the middle of the day and I was only in Au Bon Pain for 20 minutes. Now, I’m bikeless and am faced with two daunting tasks: getting a new bike and figuring out where to purchase it. I do want to get a road bike as it is faster (and sleeker) than my old hybrid bike, but with the dearth of bike shops in DC, I don’t know where to begin. I’ve been to City Bikes in Georgetown, and their repair services are reasonably priced, but their bikes are not. I’d like to know what your readers believe to be the best bicycle value in DC. Would you (and they) be able to help me out?”

I seem to recall there were a lot of fans of Rollin Cycles now located at 1314 14th Street, NW. But I know there are also devotees of Capitol Hill Bikes located at 719 8th Street SE (Barracks Row). What about the one in Adams Morgan? Or the new one on 14th St, NW just north of V?

What’s your favorite bike shop in the city? Most reasonably priced?

91 Comment

  • buy it wholesale on the internet and put it together yourself. you wont get a competing price in the city.

    as for repairs, go to the bike clinic at the mt. pleasant farmer’s market.

    • Yeah, you won’t get a competing price in the city and you’ll never have to worry about repairs because it will sit in a disassembeled heap of parts in the corner of your apartment.

      • I don’t follow…

        Building a bike is incredibly easy. Most or all of the tools you need usually come in the packaging. Believe in yourself! Even if you do a relatively bad job of putting it together, you can bring your new bike to the Mt. Pleasant farmer’s market (free) or any of the stores below ($$$) and have them help you tighten everything.

        After repeatedly seeing bike shops in DC rip people off, I’m really happy I learned to maintain my own bike.

    • The farmer’s market bike clinic will not teach you how to:

      – True a wheel
      – Replace spokes
      – Replace bearings
      – Grease a hub or bottom bracket
      – Replace a cassette
      – Adjust a front derailleur
      – Replace cables
      – Fix a chain or replace a chain

      Should I go on? Sure, buy a bike wholesale, IF you know what you’re doing.

  • Rolling Cycles on 14th – no attitude and good service

    • +1 – I went in not knowing a thing about what I wanted in a bike, and Omar really helped me out. He let me take the bike for a test ride even though I was very shaky and didn’t know how to turn (apparently you can forget how to ride a bike). He’s been awesome everytime I come in for a tune up!

      I think I ended up paying $300 for a Fuji hybrid, helmet, U-lock, lights, fenders, and extra tubes.

    • I’ve tried hard to love this place but they have done some horrible work on my bike. Chain rings / cranks falling off after 5 miles, installing wrong parts that happen to cost twice the estimate, not fixing specific things I asked to have adjusted, asking me if my bike (which was right there) was a mountain bike or a road bike!!!!!! I’ve tried to love them but the quality of work has zero consistency.

  • I know there will be a million opinions about this, but, the best bike shop in DC, imho and that of other cyclists from around the country, is in Damascus.

    All American Bicycle Center
    Damascus, MD

    • FYI. Extremely knowledgeable, honest, friendly and fair, both service and sales. It’s a smaller shop, with seasoned professionals. They will be up front and honest with you, provide the best bike fit around, and they have more than once charged me nothing for minor work on the bike.

  • The Bike Rack has a small selection of good bikes. Their services used to be really good too. However, their more recently hired employees (with the exception of Maggie) have way too much attitude. It also seems that their mechanics either don’t have as much time or don’t pay as much attention to the bikes they are servicing. It is too bad, because it was a truly excellent neighborhood bike shop. A few attiude adjustments and a return to high quality customer service would go a long way to restoring the shop’s reputation.

    If you are looking to go Cadillac-style, take yourself over to Conte’s. Huge selection. Tons of knowledgeable people. And huge prices.

    • If you want to waste your money, go to Conte’s. You can get better service and an equally good bike elsewhere.

    • I’ve been getting my bike tuned up at the Bike Rack for the past three years or so…and while I don’t really care how much attitude the folks working there have, the last tune-up was definitely sub-par…if anything, the shifting was worse *after* the tune-up. That said, I’ll give them one more shot before I try one of the other places on 14th (either Rollin’ or the one on 14th between W and Florida, which has the added feature of being around the corner from Pica Taco).

      Captcha: “l’adultère, evoyce” Um, what?

      • +1. Bike Rack has gone WAY downhill. The sales folks only seem concerned with talking smack with team riders instead of actually letting me buy a water bottle. So I walked out with it. Maybe I’ll pay them if I go back, but I probably won’t go back.

    • The Bike Rack is the worst.

  • Honest question – (don’t hurt me people!) why buy new? There are always bikes on Craigslist.

    • Just bring someone with you who knows something about bikes, so you don’t get shafted by one that needs a ton of work.

    • You may also run into problems if you want someone to work on it down the road. Some shops eschew older stuff. Or, you get confronted when you are unlocking it and someone’s like “hey that’s my bike”

    • Having owned both a used and new bike, I found that over time, my used bike did not save me a significant amount of money. Used vintage bikes (especially the old steel Schwinns, Peugeots, etc.)are very sturdy, but tend to require a lot of work. If you want to upgrade to better, safer parts (my old Schwinn needed new brakes, like whoa), that will set you back a couple hundred bucks here and there.

      New bikes require a much larger initial investment but are easier to maintain, and you don’t have to pour as much money into them to replace beat-up, sometimes unsafe old parts. If you aren’t already really handy with bikes, and you can afford it, I think it’s a good idea to buy new.

  • I agree with the comments about the Bike Rack. I bought my road bike from them and the employees were very helpful. Later interactions have left the impression that elite-level cyclists get better service. Revolution Cycles in Georgetown has great customer service but is not very budget-friendly. Big Wheel Bikes is the opposite and has a number of used bikes. Phoenix Bikes is a cool outfit in the Four Mile Run park that sells rehabbed bikes worked on by local kids. City Bikes in Adams Morgan has a wide range of bikes but some of the employees do not seem very knowledgeable.

    • I don’t think the Bike Rack hides the fact that they cater to a different cycling set. After all, they sponsor a racing team and host 100 dollar a pop custom fittings. If you know what you’re talking about, these guys are bar-none the best mechanics in the city. Perhaps they just aren’t super fond of swapping out your inner tube when some of them have more experience welding frames and building ultra light wheel sets.

      I don’t get why people expect mechanics to be so friendly and helpful. I mean, when was the last time someone working on your car “made you feel comfortable.”

      Caveat: one of the guys that works there is a total dick.

      • if you are unfriendly to your customers then they will go elsewhere…. duh

      • To anon 4:02
        My less-than stellar interactions have been primarily with one of the owners and I like to think I know a decent amount about bikes given I ride 1k miles a year and have done quite a bit of work on my bike. The mechanics have been mostly helpful if not great at acknowledging people waiting at the checkout desk. If the Bike Rack doesn’t want to deal with non-elite racers, maybe it shouldn’t sell sub-$2000 bikes with lifetime minor adjustments.

      • Most, if not the majority, of bike shops sponsor race teams, at least in this area.

  • City Bikes in Adams Morgan is TERRIBLE! Arrogant employees who look down their noses at anyone who has a simple question about bikes. Their customer service is terrible — I have been shut down on two ocassions, once when I asked for help putting air in my tires (no, we cannot assist), and another time when I asked for help putting my lock on my bike. If they want to foster customer loyalty, turning down these kinds of sinple requests is no was to do it. I’ve heard that City Bikes has long had this reputation, and the owner hired some fancy firm to assess the problem. I’ll offer you a solution — fire everyone with a bad attitude.

    • Agreed.

      Once, I was using the air pump outside to fill my tires (which is a great resource to offer free, btw- so, points for that) on a bike that I bought at City Bikes and had work done on there, exclusively. I was having a problem and thought there was something wrong with the pump, so I went inside to ask for help.

      The guy comes out, although begrudgingly, and inserts the pump and explodes my tire. He says that the tube was put on incorrectly and pinched, and of course tells me I can come inside and buy a new one (yay). Funny thing is, I told him that City Bikes put the tube on the tire only a month or so ago, and he was the one who made it explode.

      Guess who still had to pay for the new tube?

      Terrible service, RUDE RUDE RUDE employees. Every time I’ve gone in there, I’ve dreaded it. I’m not an idiot, and I know enough about my bike to keep it up. But then, when your business relies on good customer service, you should be able to serve idiots anyway and not make them feel like one.

      I will never be going back. If I’m going to drop hundreds on a bike and accessories, I at least want someone to treat me like a human being while I’m doing it.

      • Not excusing them,but if you were using their pump,how do you normally air up your tires? I run a free bike clinic,and get alot of people who don’t check their tires until they’re almost flat,or who usually use gas station air(which rarely goes high enough for bike tires). If you’re running your tires too low,it’s very easy for the tube to move around in the tire and get pinched. Again,not backing them,but just saying that I’ve noticed tires seem to be one of the most neglected parts on bikes.

    • If the owner didnt spend most of the last 2 years riding his motorcycle across North and South American, then maybe he would actually figure it out for himself.

  • i’d go with craigs list. but for a shop rec, although it’s outside of the city, i always thought the people at college park bikes were really friendly and helpful, and they have a pretty good selection of used bikes as well.

  • I just bought a single-speed road bike for just under $400 and i’ve seen it listed at almost double. They also have free shipping.

    • Actually, only Bikesdirect sells Bikesdirect bikes (with a few old-stock bikes from other brands that are not marked as being old stock). They even have shadowy eBay entities and strawmen showing higher prices to make you think you’re getting a deal – “60% offf!!!!!111!”

      Their ‘sale price’ is actually the standard price.

      And woe to anyone who tries to warranty something off a BD bike. (Crack a frame and they’ll offer you a discount on a new frame – they won’t replace it)

      A really shady outfit.

      Order online from Performance Bikes or REI or Sierra Trading Post if you really really must, but avoid Bikesdirect.

    • BD is fine if you know how to build and maintain bikes. But don’t count on any customer service from them. Caveat emptor.

  • Performance Bikes in Rockville gives you good prices, good selection, lifetime free tune ups and basic maintenance. And it’s on the Red Line. And near A&J. And Crisp & Juicy.


    good prices (a wide range depending on what you want) and free shipping

  • My favorite bike shop is actually right off of Columbia Pike in Arlington by the Drafthouse/Bob and Ediths. Papillon Cycles ( Even though I live in Near NE, I still go there.

    Bailey (the owner) is a great guy and is extremely helpful and friendly. I have learned a ton about bike repair from him. And he has always been very affordable and fair in all work I have had him do.

    Phoenix Bikes (, also in South Arlington, is a decent place to get a good used bike.

    I know both are not technically in DC, but are close enough to potentially be helpful.

  • To the OP: what’s your budget? Knowing that will determine where to send you to look for a bike; whether you should be looking for something new or used, etc.

    If you’re intent on buying new, this is a good time of year to be looking, since it’s the end of the season and you’ll find lots of end-of-year sales.

    • I’m looking for a road bike, so somewhere b/w $500 and $1000 seems reasonable, especially for a Fuji or a Specialized. I intend on buying new, simply b/c spending $200 on a “cheap bike” now is still $200 for a temporary piece of equipment.

      I love the suggestions… I think I’m also going to check out REI up in Rockville. They have occasional 20% off coupons that are good for the bikes, too. 🙂

      • I’m sure you already thought of this but a shiny, new bike will probably get stolen faster than an old one off of CL. I never use my current bike for errands as I do not want to leave it locked outside given the rash of bike thefts though I am lucky to have a secure place to lock it up at work.

        • True… to be fair, I didn’t have a U-lock. Not that I deserved to have my bike stolen, but I was asking for trouble. A cute French girl told me that outside of Trader Joe’s. I should have listened.

          • FYI,$500-1k will get you a pretty low-end road bike new. Alot of them have aluminum forks,which coupled with DC area roads and skinny/high psi tires make for a terrible ride. For your budget I’d recommend going used on CL or eBay;if you’re not very knowledgeable about bikes have a friend who is(or make friends) help you check them out. Or go with a hybrid. Around town the advantages of a drop bar are pretty mooted since you want to keep your hands near the brakes and can’t ride very far without having to stop(do to lights). Drop bars usually mean brifters which mark up the price compared to flat bar controls so that you’re paying more for the bars/controls and having to skimp on the other components. And around town a flat bar road bike will be every bit as fast as a drop bar road bike,and prolly be versatile to boot(wider tire clearance,able to take racks/fenders).

  • My favorite bike shop is actually right off of Columbia Pike in Arlington by the Drafthouse/Bob and Ediths. Papillon Cycles. Even though I live in Near NE, I still go there.

    Bailey (the owner) is a great guy and is extremely helpful and friendly. I have learned a ton about bike repair from him. And he has always been very affordable and fair in all work I have had him do. Check out the Yelp reviews if you do not believe me.

    Phoenix Bikes, also in South Arlington, is a decent place to get a good used bike.

    I know both are not technically in DC, but are close enough to potentially be helpful.

    Note: Reposted without links to hopefully avoid moderation.

    • I agree with this post. You can get there by metroing to the Pentago and taking one of the many buses that go down Columbia Pike!!

  • If you’re looking for maintenance, I’d look into the Bike House in Petworth. Granted, they’re not going to do it for you, but they’ll help you.

    As far as buying bikes, there are a lot of mechanics in DC that rebuild bikes for ~$250-300. I think they mostly advertise these on Craigslist and by word of mouth.

  • I second the frustration with City Bikes in Adams Morgan; they wanted to keep my bike for a few days just to do a simple tune-up, which isn’t exactly convenient if you’re a bike commuter.

    I also second the recommendation for the Bike House in Petworth It’s run by very easy-going folks who only ask for donations, and they’ll teach you the basic things you can do to maintain your bike better to save you expensive trips to the bike shop.

  • I think that Arrow Cycles out in Hyattsville is the best of DC. Not a huge selection of bikes, but they do great work and don’t overcharge for repairs. I own a bunch of bikes and ride a lot, so I go for the more complex stuff, but they seem best of the shops I’ve gone to.

    DO NOT go to Capitol Hill Bikes. It’s a total disaster since their move.

  • Use Capital Bikeshare. You won’t have to build the bike, buy the bike or worry about the bike. It’s only $50 –

    • +1. This is going to be so excellent.

    • Just be really careful, especially if you have a tendency to have your bikes stolen. Bikeshare charges you the full cost of the bike (close to a grand, if I’m not mistaken) if it’s lost or stolen.

  • Proteus Bicycles in College Park. A great store with lots of character. Very nice staff and a cute cat.

    • I agree with Proteus. I went through the same search last year after my bicycle was stolen and ended up buying from Proteus. They have a good selection and nice staff (free beer at store potlucks!). The store has a long history–I think they even used to build their own bikes. Only problem is its in College Park.

      • They did indeed once build their own bikes. They were once kind of famous for that.

        I’ve tried to go there several times (and it’s a pain to get to) and they’ve always been closed. They’ve got weird hours.

        Consolation prize is you can go for dinner at Ikea’s cafeteria once you’re in the neighborhood.

  • For Cadillac-style service (with the accompanying prices) I would vote for CycleLife in G’Town under the freeway. They do really know their stuff and you know it when you get the bill! I have seen some good deals on sale bikes, but don’t expect much south of MSRP for anything new. If you are a competitive cyclist their bike fitter on staff is about the best in the business for this area (Eric S.) and surprisingly reasonable (I paid more for a bad fit at Conte’s that sent me to CycleLife in the first place).

    I use the Bike Rack for my day-to-day and just shrug off the surly/hipster mechanic attitude. It seems to be par for the course in this area.

  • Dearth of bike shops? Why do DC newbies make stuff like this up and pretend it’s reality? Just because you don’t know something is there, doesn’t mean they don’t exist!

    • it is indeed a strange reality that people conjure. they conclude things before asking the questions.

    • Chill dude… I meant to say “depth” but it was late and my bike was just stolen. Please don’t give us DCites (especially those who have lived here longer than you think) a label due to pretentious and presumptuous comments.

  • I can’t say enough good stuff about Bicycle Station at 14th & W, NW ( I can’t believe no one has mentioned them yet! When I was getting ready for a triathlon I went there and while I spent more than I wanted to on my bike, I spent less than what the bike was worth, if that makes sense. I got a good deal and I love, love my bike. Before buying I didn’t really know anything about bikes (hadn’t rode in years, due to a traumatic accident involving me, a bike and some infected road rash) but the employees there were great — really helpful and friendly. They’ll “tune up” your bike for free. They’ll let you test ride bikes all afternoon. Really down to earth place — you won’t feel intimidated OR like the bike you’re buying was maybe stolen off the back of a truck somewhere.

    • I didn’t even know about this place before reading this comment board earlier today, so stopped by on my way home.

      Cool vibe. Maybe a bit on the hipster-hangout side for me (but hey, that’s the way the neighborhood is going), and maybe a bit slim on the accessory odds n’ ends (though they’ve got plenty of space for more…), but had a nice atmosphere. Though I don’t know who would be interested in sitting at a coffee table in a bike shop (unless it’s got a café like CycleLife)

      And I got in a curiously lengthy conversation with a staff member who wanted to tell me all about his sunglasses and mine…

  • College Park Bikes.

  • Rollin cycles- not high end but will take care of any bike for a good cost and no bs. If I were to send my sister to any shop in DC I would send her to rollin.

    There are some more “high end” shops in dc and some that pretend to be high end. If you treat people like crap you should have the skills to back it up if you don’t have the skills then you should not treat people like crap.

  • Oh yea arrow is great too.

  • What drives me nuts about comments here is the assumption that a new, high quality bicycle can be found for only a hundred bucks. This is totally unreasonable. Most people use a bicycle in lieu of a car, taxi, or public transit. Compare the annual costs of any of those forms of transportation to the cost of a bicycle and you’ll see that 500-1000 dollars isn’t unreasonable. If your budget is only a $100, just go to Walmart or shop Craigslist, but don’t expect any respect when you stroll into a shop and scoff that the work necessary to fix your POS is more than you spent on the whole bike. Individuals that have done some research on what they want, and have realistic expectations with respect to cost, almost always get treated with respect. The best advice for those shopping for bicycles is to establish a budget and ride every bicycle in your size and price range. After you’ve identified the bike that best suits your needs, start calling the shops to see which one has the best price. Lastly, a helmet is something everyone should wear, and can easily be included in negotiations with the shop.

    • Is that pronounced “BUH-kit” or “boo-KAY”?

    • +1, particularly the part about helmets.

    • Well said.

      And I’ve also heard plenty of horror stories about unreasonable customers in bike shops.

      (No, I don’t work in one. Yes, I used to work at Hudson Trails back around the turn of the century, but I sold boots and can say they’re crap.) 🙂

      (Speaking of Hudson Trails, which no one seems to have mentioned – – don’t expect good service but do expect very good end-of-season sales. Reasonable selection at Tenley, good selection in Rockville.)

  • I know a lot of people hate this place, but I have always had good experiences with City Bikes in Adams Morgan; I’ve been going there for about three years now. From their free evening classes to repairs to installing new parts, they have always been helpful and always treated me professionally. They worked on my old beater for a couple of years without snobbery or complaint, never keeping it for more than a few hours. Their work doesn’t come cheap, but I’ve always been really happy with the quality – whenever I’ve had something fixed, it has STAYED fixed.

    I recently upgraded to a new bike, and I went straight to them to buy it. No regrets.

    • +100000

      I have gone to City Bikes in Adams Morgan faithfully for the last 4.5 years and they have never done me wrong. They charge a fair price for labor and parts and when they fix something it really does stay fixed. I purchased a new bike from them and they have been extra friendly about fixing it and talking with me about the repairs, etc, to the point that they steer me away from expensive options to something more affordable and of commensurate quality.

      Their mechanics are great and the wheel they built for me kicks ass. Don’t be afraid of mechanics, but do come into the store having done a little bit of research; it will go a long way.

  • pick the bike you want first, or at least the manufacturer. most local bike shops only carry a few manufacturers.

    I wanted a Giant, so I went to the Bike Rack. I’m a completely bike newb, don’t know crap, take it in for stupid stuff, and have never received anything but friendliness and courtesy and good service. I’ve had to wait in line, but that’s about it.

    Not sure about all the negative Bike Rack comments on here, I’ve not had that experience.

  • I’ll be contrarian here and say The Bike Rack. They’ve kept me happy. Good shop rides too, if you want to use that road bike for a bit more.

    Or if you want really low key, Takoma Bicycle. They’ve also got some used bikes. But it’s mostly hybrids, catering towards a more commuting audience. Some road bikes though. Interestingly, you enter through the repair area. And it’s in a house. Proprietor is cool, if a bit Big Lebowski.

    And who said there was a dearth of bike shops in this city? They’re practically a dime a dozen.

  • The first rule of bike shops is that they all basically suck. You walk in one day and they’re great, and the next time they disappoint, then they keep disappointing, but then another day you’re treated like a king without any pattern. It’s happened to me at The Bike Rack, CycleLife, Georgetown Pro, City Bikes, Capitol Hill, Revolution, Contes, you name it. I get around town.

    That said, the bike shops that sucks the least (a much more fitting ranking) is The Bike Rack and Georgetown Pro. I’d go with whatever you’re closer to and forget the rest.

    • Isn’t that the case with any retail though?

      I’ve had really friendly people at the register at CVS. I’ve also had rude ones.

      Come to think of it, I’ve had functional self-checkout lanes at CVS, and I’ve had non-functional ones.

      I highly recommend the second self-checkout from the left at the 20th & M CVS – it sounds like a cartoon super-villain in a cave because of some problem with the speaker.

    • Bicycle Pro Shop in G-Town has the best wrench in town … hands down. Just ask for Tom … the man is a GOD when it comes to anything about bikes. Don’t let his personality fool you, I trust this man with my best bike and life. Seriously.
      As for making your first time “bigger” purchase; this might not be the best place to go as the prices are high and sometimes you do get an air of superiority. If you come in with a little research under your belt and tell them exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll get the best service in the DC Metro area, hands down. I’ve been to all the shops … multiple times … but Bicycle Pro has always been consistently great.
      I would also recommend Dave at G-Town Revolution, he’s a great wrench too. As for the others in the area (CapHill, Bike Rack, City Bikes, Big Wheel) … I can’t say I’ve been that impressed with the service or prices.
      Spokes, etc. off of King Street in VA is supposedly very good too. A few of my friends really enjoy the service and quality work that comes out of that shop.
      If you’re looking online … is pretty decent too.

  • I have had a fantastic experience at Bicycle Stations (14th and V-ish). I bought a bike there in March, and the guys in the shop encourage me to stop in whenever for adjustments (at no cost), questions, or even a cup of cold water. Great bikes. Excellent, excellent service.

  • Just to rebut the earlier criticism of City Bikes: They were pretty great helping me select a bike and later helping me figure out basic tasks, like putting air in my tires. They also cover any service on the bike (minus labor costs) for the first full year, I think, and I’ve never encountered an unknowledgable salesman there.

  • I’ve tried every bike store and keep ending back at Revolution in Georgetown. I like the staff, they’re friendly, I’ve never felt pushed into a sale, or talked down to, and they carry a ton of bikes. The prices seem to be higher but, at least for me, the ease makes up for it. Another selling point for me is they have a ton of female employees, it makes for a lot less male dominated environment.

    To jump on the anti Bike Rack wagon: I spoke with one of the mechanics at a ride and promised to give it a try. I was generally impressed with him and his knowledge but when I went in I experienced the same attitude and disdain everyone else has. The work was fine, but I won’t be going back. With so many bike shops in the area I don’t see the need to stay with a place that doesn’t want my business.

  • Bike Rack is good if…
    (1) you come to the store at a time when everyone else isn’t coming to the store;
    (2) you ride a ton and need service on it several times a month (’cause if you do put in a lot of miles, that’s what’s going to happen);
    (3) you take the time to learn the mechanics’ names and throw a little cash in the tip jar;
    (4) you realize that many bike problems are complicated and sometimes take multiple visits to fix (that also is how just how it is).

    If you develop a relationship with the shop, they’ll take care of you in a big way–even if you aren’t a team racer. I’m betting the shop takes care of team racers because they tip well and take the time to develop relationships with the mechanics.

  • I had a great experience at Capitol Hill Bikes. I just stopped in to take a look one day and spotted the bike of my dreams — a Jamis commuter. I shopped around and even tried a few other bikes out, but couldn’t get over the bike or find a better price for it. The service was good (if a bit pretentious, but just roll with it — that’s part of bike shop culture) and all service for the first year is free.

    Last time I stopped by (to get a fender adjusted) there were some beers on ice, and I had a great time chatting with the mechanics in back while they worked.

  • The Bike Shop/ District Hardware in Foggy Bottom!
    I have only gone for repairs, but have found them to be helpful, have fair prices, and you can pick up your other hardware goods while you are there. I’ve been there several times first thing in the morning, and they fix me up so I can get to work on time.

  • I’ve been to a lot of them, and I hate them all except Bicycle Stations. I called around and their service rate is a lot lower than anyone in the NW. I also enjoyed talking with the mechanic, there was a distinct lack of smugness among the people working there. That’s the number one thing I look for in any shop, and Bicycle Stations (14 & V) is the only place I’ve found it in DC.

  • +1 Papillion. I went there after I got douchy treatment from another shop. They had some used bikes there at the time.

  • There is not a single good bike shop in the city. Rollin is cheap and OK but sometimes incompetent. The new one at 14th and W is definitely incompetent — I had to teach one of the guys how to use a basic bike tool. The Bike Rack is insanely overpriced. Don’t even get me started on City Bikes, perfect example of what happens when a specialty store is owned by people who don’t care about the activity. That stupid hardware store shop on 24th only gets by because GW kids don’t know they’re getting ripped off. The Georgetown Twins each suck in their own way, and Big Wheel isn’t much better. Cap Hill has obviously had some problems, we’ll see if things get better over there.

    Ironically you can get to some good shops if you have a car. I’ve never been to Papillon but it sounds like it has its fans, and Silver Cycles on Georgia just north of where 16th comes in is awesome.

    • Actually, I use the bike shop at 24th & L.

      They are OK, and at least have decent prices on simple repairs. (I can’t speak to more complex problems, as I tend to do work myself…) They are always nice & reasonable. Usually quick as well.

      No bike shop is going to match prices on parts from an internet only shop with a warehouse on cheap land.

      As far as bike shops go, remember: If you make it easier for them, it should cost you less. I have vauge recollections of having a wheel trued at CityBikes (so long ago that the memory does not count.): It was about 50% less because I walked in with just the wheel, instead of having it on the bike.

  • i had a small high-end shop off the W&OD save my ass when Rollin screwed up my bike, Bonzai it’s not the kind of place i would buy a bike but the do good repair work.

  • As a shop owner I am always interested in what people have to say about my shop and the various bike shops in DC. If nothing else it is an education in the responses to the shops and the people in those shops from a variety of people in our community.

    At my shop we take these comments and reviews seriously and we learn from them. We are a fairly new shop in the city and I am the first to say that we dont know it all when it comes to retail. We also realize that we will never satisfy all of the people all of the time.

    So I thank all of your readers who take the time to educate their neighborhood businesses through this and other forums. I would also like to say to each person reading my reply, please stop by The Bike Rack and experience our shop for yourself, I am confident that you will be satisfied.

    • Chuck,

      Thanks for piping up, but I’ll never be satisfied paying 50% above MSRP for small parts, which is about what you’ve charged me every time I come in there needing something under $100. I don’t mind having to occasionally explain to your employees random things like what a half link is or show them the holes in the Park ruler that you use to measure loose bearings — I know it’s virtually impossible to hire good mechanics since most of them can make more money with their technical skills elsewhere.

      I do mind getting ripped off because you know that anyone buying parts at a B&M store needs them urgently and has to pay what you’re asking. You’d make a lot of money off of me if I could walk in there with a list of QBP part numbers and get you to special order them and sell them to me at list, and I’d be a happy customer because I’d get them faster than when I order them “online” (actually from a B&M shop in another city with fair pricing).

      I understand you’re more interested in slinging BMCs than making $20 or $30 off of me when I need parts or tools, but please remember that guys like me are the ones telling their non-biker friends which shops to go to and drop that easy money on complete bikes. You know that gray surly with the cruiser bars you guys have had in there forever? I talked my friend out of that bike even though she was totally in love with it because I was steamed about what you charged me for an 8 speed chain. I ended up building her something similar myself, and you can bet your bottom dollar I didn’t buy any of the parts from you.

      Sorry about the rant, but your shop has more potential than just about any other one in the city, but you make it impossible for me to shop there as a bike enthusiast even though I ride by it twice a day.

  • Try the new spot, BikeSpace, on the corner of 5th and I. They know their stuff and are very friendly.

  • Dear “my captcha is my credit”

    Thank you for your response. We actually no longer carry BMC bikes as we are actually expanding our Giant Bicycle line of commuter and urban bikes. In addition, we have done extensive comparing of our parts prices with other DC shops and found The Bike Rack to be very competitive in pricing. For example, we have the second lowest price on tubes in DC and we are lower than most in what we charge for tune ups. I would encourage you, or anyone for that matter to come to me in person with any concerns or complaints as I always listen and take what anyone says to heart…Chuck

  • For example bike rack does not have second lowest tube prices. or the third lowest.

  • I’ve actually bought bikes from most of the shops in the city(my fleet is pretty rediculous). Most tend to be hit-or-miss depending on who is working and how busy they are. I do like Georgetown Pro(+1 for Tom) and G’town Revolutions,I’m also a fan of REI Rockville and Greenbelt as well as HTO in Rockville and Tenley. Only shops I tell folks to avoid are the Big Wheels locations(have had issues with two of them) and Spoke Etc in Alexandria.

    FYI,there are free bike clinics on Sat’s from 10-1 at the following locations:
    Mt Pleasant & Lamont NW
    14th & U NW
    Wisc & 35 NW
    1st & R NW

    And there’s the floowing info for local co-ops:

    Phoenix Bikes is located near both the W&OD trail and Four Mile Run Trail.
    It’s located inside Barcroft Park. The park’s street address is 4200 S.
    Four Mile Run Drive. Park in the main lot of Barcroft Park, walk to the
    street, turn right on the Four Mile Run sidewalk, and walk several hundred
    feet. The shop is located on your right, behind yet another park building
    and next to the tennis courts. If you pass the tennis courts and see Woofs
    Doggy Daycare Center, you’ve walked too far.

    Hours for bike repairs (and sales) are Friday 3-7:30pm and Saturday
    10am – 2:30pm.

    Mount Rainier Bicycle Co-op

    3601 Bunker Hill Road
    Mt Rainier, MD 20712
    [email protected]

    vélocity bicycle cooperative

    204 South Union St
    Alexandria, VA 22314

    Bike House DC

    Qualia Coffee – Around the Back
    3917 Georgia Ave., NW at Shepherd Street
    2 blocks north of Petworth green/yellow line Metro stop
    Buses #70/71/62/60
    Saturdays 12 – 3 PM

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