Ten of the world’s coolest bike shops: 2018 edition
Times have never been tougher for bricks-and-mortar bike shops. Online retailers have made it nigh on impossible for physical retailers to compete on price and many local bike shops have closed down as a result. But LBSs will never truly disappear, and that’s undoubtedly a positive. A good bike shop offers more than just a place to buy a bike or accessories — it can be a community hub, a place to meet and ride with like-minded folks.
Back in 2013 we published two articles (part 1, part 2) looking at some of the coolest bike shops on the planet. Five years on, we figured it was time to shine a light on some more of the world’s best bike shops.
We had some ideas of which shops to include, of course, but we also wanted to cast a wider net. So we asked you via Twitter and Facebook which shops you thought should be included in our list. We received more than 120 recommendations. Thank you to everyone that helped us out!
Alright folks: Coolest bike shops in the world. Go.
We wrote about this a few years back but it's time for an update. Which LBSs do we absolutely need to know about?
— CyclingTips (@cyclingtips) August 24, 2018
There’s nothing scientific about the list you see below. “Coolest” is clearly subjective, but in our book, each of the shops below deserves its place on the list. They’ve got there through a combination of your recommendations and our perspective on what we like to see in a bike shop.
What are we looking for in a bike shop? Well, it needs to have more than just a workshop and bikes for sale. It needs to have a strong community feel to it — it needs to offer something extra, whether that be a cafe, a community outreach program, or something else to set it apart.
It also needs to be cool. It needs to have that something special that makes us want to visit. Yes, most of the shops in this list are high-end, boutique-style LBSs — that’s just the style that appeals to us. But really, any bike shop that continues to survive, let alone thrive in the modern climate gets a thumbs up from us!
Before we get to the list, we wanted to give a shout-out to the shops we covered in previous editions that earned more mentions again from our readers:
So, without further ado, here are another 10 of the world’s best bike shops.
Steel Vintage Bikes
Location: Berlin, Germany
Who doesn’t love a beautiful, well-restored, steel frame? The guys at Steel Vintage Bikes do some terrific work and they have a reputation around the world for their attention to detail. Every vintage bike they buy is vetted for authenticity and then equipped with components that honour the era they were first ridden in. Sir Bradley Wiggins is among their customers.
Here’s how they describe their business:
Many of our bikes are collectors pieces, but we believe EVERY bike is a unique work of art. As such, we only use the best couriers and packaging methods to ship worldwide. Our reputation speaks for itself as we have delivered over 2500 bikes around the globe.
Our cycle café is our soul. Much of what we do is over email and phone, but our café, located in the Berlin neighborhood of Mitte, gives us the chance to meet and hang out with our cycling family.
Whether talking about our latest 2 wheeled adventure or debating the best caffeine delivery vehicle (we think it’s espresso), our café and showroom displays a selection from more than 300 classic, vintage, and modern steel bicycles & frames. Stop in for a coffee and say hello!
One on One Bicycle Studio
Location: Minneapolis, USA
One on One Bicycle Studio claims to be the “premier bicycle coffee bar in the Twin Cities”, and we haven’t found any reason to dispute that. With a love for all things bikes and coffee, One on One brings the two together “to get you rolling and keep you fuelled up and ready to rock!” With a strong local following and a playful attitude, there’s a lot to like about One on One.
Here’s how they describe themselves:
When the pros and the companies that sponsored them came to town, we showed them what cycling culture was all about. Our riders never won the races, but we did win the hearts and minds of the pros, and the bicycle industry people that support them.
We know how to throw an after-race party for 300 people and not get busted by the police. We know how to get certain un-named pros back to their hotel or to the airport after a hard night.
People saw that we had more fun and less talk, and they liked that. We showed them that you don’t need a mountain or an ocean to ride a bicycle and have fun. Bicycles are freedom, get some.
The Service Course
Location: Girona, Spain
The Service Course is a stunningly beautiful space, right in the heart of Girona, owned by former pro Christian Meier and his wife Amber. They know what makes a good bike shop, and a good bike shop Service Course certainly is. In addition to all the regular offerings, Service Course also runs a bunch of guided tours and rides. If you’re in Girona, be sure to also check out the Meiers’ cafes too: La Fabrica and Espresso Mafia.
Here’s The Service Course in the Meiers’ words:
A clear vision from [Christian’s] years in the world’s top echelon of the sport, The Service Course is everything he experienced while on the world’s best cycling teams. Along with their passion for the small details and emphasis on luxury, Christian and Amber are ready to give you a world class cycling experience.
Along with La Fabrica and Espresso Mafia, Girona will feel like your second home while you experience a trip that will leave you planning your next visit before you even catch the plane home.
Location: Lucca, Italy
While Girona is currently the place to be if you’re a pro cyclist, Lucca has been attracting pros for decades. Nestled in the famous Italian region of Tuscany, with beautiful hills all around, it’s a cyclist’s dream. And a great cycling town needs a great bike shop.
Chrono was one of the shops that was most mentioned when we asked for recommendations for this article. As one reviewer wrote on Chrono’s Facebook page: “Chrono Bikes is the best bike shop in the best city in Italy. End of discussion.”
The shop itself is modest inside, so too is the way the owners describe it:
The shop is located in the historical center of Lucca. We handle the best brands of bikes, we take care of the sale, after-sales and maintenance. We also deal with BikeFix to create your custom bike.
We specialise in bike racing, mountain bikes, Hybrid bikes and bikes for every day.
Location: Santa Rosa, USA
“Bikes. Beer. Coffee. Not necessarily in that order.” That’s what you see when you open the Trail House website and it’s an accurate summation of what this dynamic bike shop/cafe/bar has to offer. But that’s not all — trivia nights, bingo nights, yoga sessions — this is a true community hub for Santa Rosa locals.
Here’s more from the Trail House website:
We’re no strangers to Sonoma County. We’ve combed its front country and its tucked-back corners since we were kids, most often on two wheels.
We came to love our home and the community that filled it in ways we never thought possible. But, outside of the bike saddle, we could never find a hook on which to hang that affection.
No more. Now that camaraderie/filial piety/romance/whatever that we found on two wheels has a place to live, grow, and be shared. We call it Trail House.
Location: Seattle, USA
The folks at Metier claim to run “Seattle’s premiere bicycle shop” and, judging by the responses to our initial call-outs, there are many of you that agree with that sentiment. Far from just a simple retail space, Metier also includes a cafe, a bar and a large and versatile space that’s used for training sessions, gym work, yoga classes and more. Metier even hosts music gigs.
As several readers told us, one of the coolest things about this space is the chalkboard at the bar where you can pay drinks forward, buying beverages for a friend for their next visit.
Here’s how the Metier website describes the store:
We offer a wide range of bicycles, accessories and performance services to meet the needs of the cycling community — from the beginner, to the commuter, to the seasoned expert. Our café serves simple food with healthy ingredients and features some of the finest coffee and beer in the land. Our training space has everything you need for indoor riding and cross training including locker rooms with awesome showers.
Welcome to bicycle culture redefined. Godspeed the rider!
Location: Princeton, USA
You read that right — Kopp’s was founded way back in 1891, making it the oldest continually running bike shop in America and the second oldest in the world (after Pearson Cycles in the UK). A shop that’s been running for that long is clearly doing something right. Sure, it mightn’t be the flashiest place in the world but the clutter is part of its charm.
Here’s how the shop’s owner describes the space:
Some of my favorite memories of the shop are when people have stopped by to get a hard-to-find part or just to check in. Albert Einstein to Brooke Shields are just another day at the store. Eddy Merckx, John Howard, Artie Greenberg, Reg Grimsal just to name a very few. Greg Lemond and his dad would come by for the big races in New Jersey when he was a junior. My dad and his would go to the back to talk while we hung out front.
One time a few of us were standing near the door and the editor of our club magazine came in. During the casual BS he noticed the Avocet jersey Greg was wearing and asked where he was from. Nevada was the reply and the editor asks “you must know Greg Lemond”, everyone shifted a foot and he sheepishly said “I am Greg Lemond”. Stuff like that happened all the time.
The Cub House
Location: San Marino, USA
When the folks at Team Dream opened the doors of the Cub House in 2015, they insisted it wasn’t a bike shop. Indeed, the brand’s Instagram handle is still @itsnotabikeshop. What was originally meant to be a six-month popup shop grew into something much bigger — “a local spot for cyclists to hang out and buy cycling product they’ve only seen prior on the internet.”
Now in a new location, this still isn’t your traditional bike shop — it’s a fun and quirky space for the cycling community to gather, a hub for weekend rides, and much more.
Here’s what the guys at Team Dream say about The Cub House and their brand:
Cycling is serious enough already, so there is no need to cast ourselves in the same light. It’s ok to talk about watts per kilo, but it’s also good to talk about watts per Cheeto (that’s how many watts you can hold while eating flaming hot Cheetos). We also understand that performance-based goals like Strava are relevant, but so is Pizza Strava #pizzastrava (how many King of the Pepperonis do you have?)
We believe above all else that riding bikes is fun and more people should do it. Team Dream is a team for everyone. Now let’s get out there and chase some sunsets … #teamdreamsunsetchasingteam!
Wolfi’s Bike Shop
Location: Dubai, UAE
Dubai isn’t exactly known as a cycling destination but the team at Wolfi’s Bike Shop are doing their best to make the city as cycling friendly as possible. Headed up by German expat Wolfgang Hohmann, Wolfi’s styles itself as the “Middle East Cycling Candy Store”. The team don’t just run a good-looking store with some premium brands, they have put together a great guide to riding in Dubai plus they’re working hard to grow the cycling community in the Middle East.
Here’s a quote from the shop’s website:
Along with our great products and services, since 2002 we are actively involved in growing and supporting the cycling fraternity in the Middle East / GCC region. We recently established our Distribution company WBS Sport Equipment Trading in order to support other dealers around the region to grow cycling to new levels.
We are very proud to see how cycling in the Middle East Region has developed in this time and how thousands of people enjoy every day to ride their bikes on the amazing facilities like Al Qudra and Nad Al Sheba Cycling Track/Park as well as Yas Marina F1 Circuit, the Al Wathba Cycle Track or Dubai Autodrome.
bike dress / Monaco Velo Club
Location: Munich, Germany
We love the aesthethic of bike dress and Monaco Velo Club. Located side-by-side, the former is a boutique cycling clothing brand while the latter is a charming little cafe with a focus on gelati. Here’s what they have to say for themselves:
In 2011 bikedress opened a new store in Munich at Ohlmüllerstraße 7. On over 200 square meters, a cycling clothing experience was created without compromise. A unique and comprehensive selection of exclusive brands for Munich leaves nothing to be desired for discerning cyclists.
We founded the Monaco Velo Club to share the passion for the most beautiful sport in the world with like-minded people. Together with friends, we want to experience this indescribable feeling in the saddle and that’s why the Monaco Velo Club and the accompanying café serve as Munich’s long-awaited home for cycling.
What shops have we missed? Leave your recommendations below and we’ll check them out for the next installment!