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  1. #1
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    Norcal bike shops that closed

    Inspired by the Endless Cycles thread.

    What did you like about them? Photos?

    What did they do for the area and the community? What bikes shops that are still open should local folks flock to and support.
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  2. #2
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    Off Ramp on El Camino in Palo Alto just closed the doors. Never really went in there much, but they did have a huge stock of parts and tools.
    The only easy day was yesterday.

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    Passion Trail Bike. They revitalized waterdog and part of the back side. Service was always top notch, and walk ins were most often welcome. All the demo rides and the Wednesday night ride. Their biggest short fall was their weird location. I sort of imagine them to be up the road on El Camino where California Sport is.

    Another good one was Calmar on El Camino in Santa Clara. Good mechanics, price wasn't always the best. But I can say that about Passion also. Also appreciated all the demo events. They did missed one where Santa Cruz showed up way late and alot of people left. But it was convenient for anyone living in north San Jose and dont like the attitude at Sun.

    Tread Bike in campbell was the third. They are still open, but at a different location at a much smaller scale. Good mechanics also. Great demo event. I think they are now online for the most part, which is truly what passion and Calmar should have expanded into when they were doing well.

    Bottom line, local shops just can't stock the large volume and variations required to stay competitive in price and in selection. Perhaps a consolidated warehouse shared between a few shops is the better idea to stay alive. Isn't this what Mikes Bike and Performance Bike are doing?

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    Sun is in a bad location now. I took my Mach 6 there a few weeks ago as I needed some quick adjustments. The " crowd " outside of the place on a Wednesday afternoon telling me I had a really nice bike was nerve racking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Off Ramp on El Camino in Palo Alto just closed the doors. Never really went in there much, but they did have a huge stock of parts and tools.
    Sad to hear. Got my first bike (Diamondback BMX) and first mountain bike (Specialized P2) there. I kind of expect that whole stretch of (blighted, frankly) El Camino to be bought up by the developers that did San Antonio and just turned in to more luxury condos and restaurants.

  6. #6
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    Wheelsmith in Palo Alto. I remember reading the back of bicycling magazine and seeing there ads for wheels in the early/mid 80's. Fast forward 12 years and my dad got a job in the bay area I had moved to Burlingame with them. I remember going into the store a bit awestruck. They had tons of memorabilia from all the big races and lots of European bikes bikes that I had just seen in pictures. I bought my 1st mtn bike from them, a 90 or 91 rockhopper, fully rigid and awesome that I rode all thru Huddart and wunderlich park before the trail were closed...

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    Quote Originally Posted by akdmx View Post
    Sad to hear. Got my first bike (Diamondback BMX) and first mountain bike (Specialized P2) there. I kind of expect that whole stretch of (blighted, frankly) El Camino to be bought up by the developers that did San Antonio and just turned in to more luxury condos and restaurants.
    Technically Mountain View not Palo Alto, but they are still open in Santa Clara! Yeah, that stretch of El Camino is ripe for development.
    The only easy day was yesterday.

  8. #8
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    Mad Cat Bikes in Sacramento.

    Was such a great shop!

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    So sometime earlier this year (April?) I was shopping for two new bikes. one for me and one for my son. I walked into Tread at 10:30 am on a weekday morning and was promptly given a rude greeting and kicked out of the store because "It's winter hours and we don't open till 11am" Wtf kind of service is that? first of all the door was unlocked and the sign said open 10a-6pm. pathetic.

    Anyway I ended up buying a Tallboy ($2500) and a a 5010 ($2500) from Mikes in Los Gatos. They treated me well and their service dept continues to do so.

    Other shops visited were summit bikes (san jose and los gatos)- not as good sales service I felt.

    Mikes in Willow Glen always seems to be super busy so the sale ppl don't have as much time to spend with you.

    Trail Head: nice service but their inventory was too high end for me since this was a first bike and I had no idea what I wanted.

    moral is consistent good service is key because you never know if the guy coming in is spending $5 or $5k.

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    Who remembers Bike Pro in the North Bay? Santa Rosa I think. I remember reading through MTB Action and looking at the smallest print possible for all the parts they sold. I made a road trip there once in the mid 90's and I was a kid in a candy store with all the high end stuff on display.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by redmr2_man View Post
    Mad Cat Bikes in Sacramento.

    Was such a great shop!
    +1 Mad Cat was a great shop

    Adventure Mountain Bikes in Rancho Cordova was a great shop in the late 80's

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wakejunky View Post
    Who remembers Bike Pro in the North Bay? Santa Rosa I think. I remember reading through MTB Action and looking at the smallest print possible for all the parts they sold. I made a road trip there once in the mid 90's and I was a kid in a candy store with all the high end stuff on display.
    Well, that was a LONG time ago. They published the Blue Book which was the bible for bling parts a the heyday of bike aftermarket upgrades.
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    I think Tread may have gone under. Drove by there last week and their space on Winchester Ave. was vacant. I used to go down to them when they were located on Campbell Ave. and they were generally very helpful. I think when they moved, most of the older employees left the shop. it's a shame, but I still have Trailhead just down the road and they are pretty helpful, when not super busy.

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    Rodebike was the closest shop to me when I was a kid, and I'd stop by on the way home from school sometimes to look and snag some brochures. Cool bike I vaguely remember there was a Panasonic PICS bike with carbon tubes in steel lugs.

    Velomeister in Los Gatos was the shop I most frequently stopped at. They warrantied a Trek fork for me without charge, even though I bought the bike elsewhere.

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    Remember the Start to Finish chain and the Supergo branch in Mtn View?
    If you can't play, display.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobster Mike View Post
    I think Tread may have gone under. Drove by there last week and their space on Winchester Ave. was vacant. I used to go down to them when they were located on Campbell Ave. and they were generally very helpful. I think when they moved, most of the older employees left the shop. it's a shame, but I still have Trailhead just down the road and they are pretty helpful, when not super busy.
    Nope, net yet. I did close the retail business to focus on service. I'm at a new location on McGlincy Lane in Campbell. Ford @ Tread

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    Tread Bike in campbell was the third. They are still open, but at a different location at a much smaller scale. Good mechanics also. Great demo event. I think they are now online for the most part, which is truly what passion and Calmar should have expanded into when they were doing well.
    Thanks for the mention. I'm focusing on service now rather than retail. After owning a shop for 9 years I realized that I really don't enjoy selling bikes and would rather rather spend my time wrenching. I have some drop in hours and can do appointments as well. Ford @ Tread

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    Quote Originally Posted by kilosjmech View Post
    Thanks for the mention. I'm focusing on service now rather than retail. After owning a shop for 9 years I realized that I really don't enjoy selling bikes and would rather rather spend my time wrenching. I have some drop in hours and can do appointments as well. Ford @ Tread
    Sounds like a smart move. Lot less capital invested in inventory and high end bikes will always need servicing. I have had my bike worked on by your shop a few times and always been satisfied with turnaround time, quality and price.

  19. #19
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    Loved Supergo! Was there one in SoCal like Irvine maybe? I stopped in one to pick up some stuff I ordered on my way to San Juan.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by wakejunky View Post
    Who remembers Bike Pro in the North Bay? Santa Rosa I think. I remember reading through MTB Action and looking at the smallest print possible for all the parts they sold. I made a road trip there once in the mid 90's and I was a kid in a candy store with all the high end stuff on display.
    I remember Bike Pro...they had a small test track with a rather large jump on it...I think it’s a propane shop now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kabayan View Post
    Remember the Start to Finish chain and the Supergo branch in Mtn View?
    I remember Supergo in SoCal...that’s where I bought my first Intense frame.

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    Bike Nook was a road shop but they did great work and wheel building for any. Tons of frames hanging from ceiling. Had more Della Santa frames than anybody. Len and crew were class acts.

    Bike Pro-Just like they said a kid in a candy store and then we would go to Ibis to build our bike.

    Gianni Cyclery Sp? Occidental Mike was a killer mechanic. Great way to get a Salsa, Ibis or Bruce Gordon. Ring of Fire and Northpole cross brings back fond memories

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    I bought a Turner Burner frame from Supergo in spring 2005. Not long after that Performance bought them and changed the El Camino store.

    I bought a Polar HRM from Pro Bike ~1995. Drove down from Sacramento to check them out, but remember being a little put off that you had to pay for their catalog. It was like a J Peterman catalog with walls of text. I think the owner was on a forum (or maybe rec.bikes) years later lamenting about the store/catalog.

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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    I remember Supergo in SoCal...that’s where I bought my first Intense frame.
    SuperGo - I remember walking into the original Santa Monica store and seeing a whole rack of Klein Pinnacles in some great colors. Also walked in there one time and they had XTR deraillers for $30, not just a few, they had literally a barrel full of them. I bought my first Intense in there 20 years ago as well.

    BikePro - that website continues on to this day as a ghost ship of vintage bike part listings.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dchester View Post
    Loved Supergo! Was there one in SoCal like Irvine maybe? I stopped in one to pick up some stuff I ordered on my way to San Juan.
    How could i have forgotten supergo....great place

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post
    Passion Trail Bike. They revitalized waterdog and part of the back side. Service was always top notch, and walk ins were most often welcome. All the demo rides and the Wednesday night ride. Their biggest short fall was their weird location.
    Yes, I really miss Passion Trail Bicycles (Hi Charles!). It demonstrated that exceptional service and good word-of-mouth can often overcome a crappy location :-)

  27. #27
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    Ok, here are a few from the south bay:

    Spectrum cycles in Milpitas; also believe they had a location off of Saratoga, and possibly a 3rd somewhere else. Later, the Milpitas location (off of Landess) became Big C bicycles, after the owner Chris something or other.

    Reed's bike/sport shop off of Alum Rock. One of the largest (if not the largest) Santa Cruz dealers at the time, when SC started making bikes. Think Tazmon then Heckler. Also sold Specialized, Kestrel, Mongoose, Schwinn, Trek, Outland VPP, Paramount, and Nishiki. Guns, bikes, fishing and tennis did well financially, other departments did not. Family owned. Alum rock location is now a Goodwill, but the gun shop still exists, along with an indoor range, in Santa Clara. The long time head mechanic, Sun, now runs Sun bike shop, which was in Milpitas, now also off of Alum Rock, though closer to 680 than Reed's.

    Britton's bikes off of Almaden Expressway.

    -D

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    Kinda crushing to hear so many shops are gone. Where does it end; guess the Jensen's/Chainreaction/Amazon's win. Damn it!
    My go to is TrailHead..for everything even though I know I could save a few bucks here/there. They support a lot of the local scene where as the onliners do not at all! Hopefully the local makers like IBIS, Santa Cruz, FOX and Spesh get that they should give TH and other local shops who are surviving a better/equal deal to the bigger movers but that is not the way the world works - sighhh.

    Surprising nobody mentioned Shaw's in Santa Clara...maybe they were roadbike only?

    Britton's, Calmar, Velomiester all really cool old school bike shops.

    Anyone remember original Western Mountaineering of 2nd street...off topic but same era of cool sports shops.

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    with all these shops closing, any recommendations of the best shops/mechanics for service on the Peninsula/South Bay?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    Kinda crushing to hear so many shops are gone. Where does it end; guess the Jensen's/Chainreaction/Amazon's win. Damn it!
    My go to is TrailHead..for everything even though I know I could save a few bucks here/there. They support a lot of the local scene where as the onliners do not at all! Hopefully the local makers like IBIS, Santa Cruz, FOX and Spesh get that they should give TH and other local shops who are surviving a better/equal deal to the bigger movers but that is not the way the world works - sighhh.

    Surprising nobody mentioned Shaw's in Santa Clara...maybe they were roadbike only?

    Britton's, Calmar, Velomiester all really cool old school bike shops.

    Anyone remember original Western Mountaineering of 2nd street...off topic but same era of cool sports shops.
    Good call on Shaw's. My first road bike (Fuso) came from there. Terry was a bit of a curmudgeon, but he had a good heart. Not too long before they closed, I was able to find a NOS 8 speed Dura Ace freehub body there, which was cool.

    RE: Western Mountaineering - Only remember the similar store that was in Town and Country Village (now the monstrosity known as Santana Row)

    -D

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    @Trailrider1 you are in luck, go to Trail Head Cyclery. Some of the best service, real repair, parts, spoke threader, actual riders, kids bikes, big bikes, demo bikes, knowledge...has it all @ at Camden/Union....wont disappoint.

    Yeah Terry Shaw was definitely an old salty kind of guy but would get really into it if got past that cause he knew his stuff. Remember the little black spring clip that was in the middle of an old school roadbike wheel hub? He was the only person who finally answered that for me; guy had a lot of experience. He then gave me his oiler from when he raced, still have it in the parts bin.
    WM was @ 2nd St where it joins 1st in a old brick bld. The place had big open beams, big skylights, creaky old wide stairs to 2nd floor with gear top to bottom. They made/sold all their own down gear there and would restuff and sew up an old sleeping bag with new feather down for noth'n.

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    I got a couple. First: Mr E's in Aptos. It was one of those crazy, disorganized shops, but the owner, Eric, was a super nice guy, supported all those badass local kids - many of whom went on to become our local Redbull Stars (McCalls, etc), current local shop owners (Sean from EpiCenter), and he tried to support the local park efforts including the Polo Field jump park. He loved racing, and often dominated as an expert DHer (I knew I had no shot when I'd see him at a race :-)). Second: Willow Glen bike shop / Los Gatos bike shop (briefly on Blossom Hill). I think they are still in business as Los Gatos Bike shop located in Willow Glen? (to add to the confusion...). PTB was the most pivotal in my mind though. Ford, I'm glad to hear you are still going!

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    Los Gatos Bikes sadly has closed as well. There was a shop called Campus Bikes located at Meridian and Branham about 20 years ago that I recall.

    I still have my Trek that I bought at Brittons although I never ride it, will probably drop it off at Good Karma one of these days. There used to be a little road specific shop called Bici Bike in south San Jose. I think they’re gone as well.

    Chain Reaction just closed their Los Altos store but the Redwood City location is still open.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rider95124 View Post
    Los Gatos Bikes sadly has closed as well. There was a shop called Campus Bikes located at Meridian and Branham about 20 years ago that I recall.

    I still have my Trek that I bought at Brittons although I never ride it, will probably drop it off at Good Karma one of these days. There used to be a little road specific shop called Bici Bike in south San Jose. I think they’re gone as well.

    Chain Reaction just closed their Los Altos store but the Redwood City location is still open.
    Heard about Chain Reaction in Los Altos closing. That is crazy!

    Slough's is still open... when he wants to... at least.

    Cupertino Bike Shop is still open but they're out there now in lower rent and less populated area. Haven't been in since they moved.

    Passion Trail Bikes is the big gaping hole. Store was cool in a hidden area. But they really had a presence in the bike and trail community out there. Heard Charles is now in Scotts Valley.
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    Oops, I meant Britton's earlier, not Rodebike, as the bike shop I often stopped at on the way home from school earlier. It's been so long since I thought about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel~ View Post
    Good call on Shaw's. My first road bike (Fuso) came from there. Terry was a bit of a curmudgeon, but he had a good heart.
    Well kind of...

    Herhold: Remembering a cycling legend who awaits a new heart – The Mercury News
    Santa Clara man lives on with donated heart from Hayward man, meets his family – The Mercury News

    Does anyone know what happened with Terry (or Jerry)? I'd hear he was still teaching @ Hellyer a few years later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xcandrew View Post
    Oops, I meant Britton's earlier, not Rodebike, as the bike shop I often stopped at on the way home from school earlier. It's been so long since I thought about it.
    My first mountain bike was a Schwinn Mesa Runner that I bought at Brittons when I was in 8th grade in 1983! very few other kids had a mountain bike back then.

    that was however the last bike I ever bought until this summer!

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    Back in the 70’s there were 2 shops in Los Gatos. One was Lindy’s on Union. The other was in the same strip mall as Los Gatos Bikes was at Harwood and Blossom Hill. I think it was called the Bike Hub but not sure. There weren’t actual “mountain bikes” back then, but we would modify what we had to ride in the dirt. There was vacant land in the area with trails to ride. One of the better spots was what we called the quarry. It’s all townhomes now but back then we’d share those trails with the kids on motorcycles. My first mountain bike came from Velomeister. After that, my go-to shop was Crossroads with the exception of one bike that came from Reed’s and a custom from Sycip. When Crossroads closed I felt kind of lost until Eric from Crossroads opened Willow Glen Bicycles. I was loyal to him through his move to Los Gatos and until he closed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommybees View Post
    Anyone remember original Western Mountaineering of 2nd street...off topic but same era of cool sports shops.
    I worked there! In 1985-86 while I was at SJSU. Great place. It was on 1st street, by the way, before they moved to Town and Country (after my time, to try to better compete with REI).

    BTW, Gary still operates the manufacturing arm of WM, making sleeping bags in SJ as they have since the 70's. I still have and love my UltraLite from the 80's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by infotekt View Post
    My first mountain bike was a Schwinn Mesa Runner that I bought at Brittons when I was in 8th grade in 1983! very few other kids had a mountain bike back then.

    that was however the last bike I ever bought until this summer!
    Maybe we went to the same high school? I graduated from Leland in '87.

  41. #41
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    RIP Crescent Cyclery... best safety bike I ever bought

    Norcal bike shops that closed-crescent-cyclery.jpg

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    I worked at Octopus bikes in Walnut Creek sometime around 92/93 while in high school. No idea when they closed. Anyone? I remember one day I was working in their offsite warehouse building bikes, and was told to take this weird roadie frame over to the shop (I didn't know much about road bikes or what it was). The owner told me to take the shop truck and just set it in the seat next to me with the seat belt holding it, but the truck was a POS that the brakes barely worked on, and I said let me take it in my car. We got into an argument about it (me being a snot nosed teen) and I'm pretty sure I was let go after that. The frame was an orange vintage Eddy Merckx.

  43. #43
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    Great posts so far guys? Need some photos and logos.

    I hear that song:

    "To all the shops
    i loved, before..."

    by Iglesias


    Another sad thing about this 'new economy' is all those teens and young folks who will never have the opportunity to work at a bike shop. It seemed like such a great breeding ground for industry folks, athletes and stoked riders.

    That and everything that some bike shops did for the community.

    Props to Trailhead Bike Shops for keeping it going. They say they're opening a new shop in Cupertino next year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmtb View Post
    Well kind of...

    Herhold: Remembering a cycling legend who awaits a new heart – The Mercury News
    Santa Clara man lives on with donated heart from Hayward man, meets his family – The Mercury News

    Does anyone know what happened with Terry (or Jerry)? I'd hear he was still teaching @ Hellyer a few years later.
    Interesting choice of words, ha! Good to see that he's apparently doing well.

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    I worked at Crossroads in Los Gatos on my summers off from college years ago - it was the kind of shop people just liked to hang out in. If I showed up on a weekend home from college in the winter short on cash they'd let me jump in and work a few hours. It was really a great shop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SierraOutsider View Post
    I worked at Crossroads in Los Gatos on my summers off from college years ago - it was the kind of shop people just liked to hang out in. If I showed up on a weekend home from college in the winter short on cash they'd let me jump in and work a few hours. It was really a great shop.
    Hunter!!!!

    I wonder what all these ex-bike shop owners/managers are doing now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Hunter!!!!

    I wonder what all these ex-bike shop owners/managers are doing now.
    Yep - this thread got me wondering the same thing.

  48. #48
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    I collected some logos and storefront photos. Memory lane!Norcal bike shops that closed-0d332da-1-.png

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    IPA will save America

  49. #49
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    Interbike is collapsing because of Vegas, expense, timing etc. But at the heart of the problem is the bike shops are going out of business. What's happening in Norcal is happening around the country as well.

    Very tough problem.
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    The business model is not changing relative to the consumers and the internet business.

    Bike stores bitch, consumers bitch, manufacturers add seller limitations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    The business model is not changing relative to the consumers and the internet business.

    Bike stores bitch, consumers bitch, manufacturers add seller limitations.
    Whuuut?? It's monday so it's hard to follow.
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  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Whuuut?? It's monday so it's hard to follow.
    Just saying that bike shops are based on the old foot traffic, and loyalty model, so it seems.

    Consumers, however, are in the internet world.

    Businesses that need a certain amount of income to pay leases, salaries, etc. can't expect to stay open if they have larger real estate and are completely reliant on an existing customer base. The base is probably dwindling, and new traffic coming through is a lower probability compared to the internet growth.

    Businesses (and just had an argument/discussion about this elsewhere) want people to pay full MSRP because "it keeps the doors open." Consumers want the bro deal, and hate the overpriced bikes and parts these days. Standard pricing models won't really bring new customers in the door.

    Given that, the business model needs to evolve. Even places like grocery stores will evolve, Whole Foods, etc. will have a different take, and will probably be successful when my local neighborhood has seen about 6 different markets in the same 2 locations in 10 years. Amazon, for all it's pros and cons, will continue to grow. K-mart, Walmart, etc. will decline. They haven't evolved to keep pace with the consumers changing patterns and demands.

    The bike industry, instead of evolving, is bitching to manufacturers like SRAM and Shimano. SRAM put in their agreements so places from the UK can't sell to the US, for example, for consumers to avoid the VAT outside of the UK (which leads to lower costs). Asia is probably in their sights too. Shimano hasn't followed suit yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't.

    So...something's gotta give. Currently, it's the bike shops that are closing up. It's capitalism 101. It'll probably hit a steady state, but it seems every now and then I hear about a former mechanic or employee opening a shop. I have to wonder why. It's a losing proposition in this day and age unless you can really offer something, that another shop across town, doesn't...and I don't mean product.

    There is one shop that I heard of (I can't remember where, or what the name of the shop is) that is offering internet or "chinese carbon" frames with custom parts that can be ordered and built up. It's somewhat like a direct to consumer model, but with the shop doing the mechanical work, and building around that. Low inventory, internet sales, with local mechanics. That seems like a good start, IMO.

    Edit: It's OT for the thread. It's me bitching, I guess.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland View Post
    Just saying that bike shops are based on the old foot traffic, and loyalty model, so it seems.

    Consumers, however, are in the internet world.

    Businesses that need a certain amount of income to pay leases, salaries, etc. can't expect to stay open if they have larger real estate and are completely reliant on an existing customer base. The base is probably dwindling, and new traffic coming through is a lower probability compared to the internet growth.

    Businesses (and just had an argument/discussion about this elsewhere) want people to pay full MSRP because "it keeps the doors open." Consumers want the bro deal, and hate the overpriced bikes and parts these days. Standard pricing models won't really bring new customers in the door.

    Given that, the business model needs to evolve. Even places like grocery stores will evolve, Whole Foods, etc. will have a different take, and will probably be successful when my local neighborhood has seen about 6 different markets in the same 2 locations in 10 years. Amazon, for all it's pros and cons, will continue to grow. K-mart, Walmart, etc. will decline. They haven't evolved to keep pace with the consumers changing patterns and demands.

    The bike industry, instead of evolving, is bitching to manufacturers like SRAM and Shimano. SRAM put in their agreements so places from the UK can't sell to the US, for example, for consumers to avoid the VAT outside of the UK (which leads to lower costs). Asia is probably in their sights too. Shimano hasn't followed suit yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't.

    So...something's gotta give. Currently, it's the bike shops that are closing up. It's capitalism 101. It'll probably hit a steady state, but it seems every now and then I hear about a former mechanic or employee opening a shop. I have to wonder why. It's a losing proposition in this day and age unless you can really offer something, that another shop across town, doesn't...and I don't mean product.

    There is one shop that I heard of (I can't remember where, or what the name of the shop is) that is offering internet or "chinese carbon" frames with custom parts that can be ordered and built up. It's somewhat like a direct to consumer model, but with the shop doing the mechanical work, and building around that. Low inventory, internet sales, with local mechanics. That seems like a good start, IMO.

    Edit: It's OT for the thread. It's me bitching, I guess.
    See? I'm glad I asked. You're making good points there.

    Who's doing it right int he bike retail world? Manufacturer world. Everybody seems to be observing and waiting on the sidelines trying to evolve and survive.

    One model many seem to be aiming for is Apple and the Apple Stores. They seem to thrive... and mostly at full retail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbmtb View Post
    Well kind of...

    Herhold: Remembering a cycling legend who awaits a new heart – The Mercury News
    Santa Clara man lives on with donated heart from Hayward man, meets his family – The Mercury News

    Does anyone know what happened with Terry (or Jerry)? I'd hear he was still teaching @ Hellyer a few years later.
    Terry might be at Bicycle Outfitter.

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    Concept Cyclery in Morgan Hill Closed up a few years ago.

    Sunshine bikes closed their Morgan Hill location early this year. They moved all their stuff to the remaining Gilroy Location.

    We do have a new shop , Bike Therapy, down by the Running Shop and Hops. They sell Specialized and Ibis, not sure whatelse. It's been nice to have a shop back in town. And there's a plus that it's next to the best beer spot around.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    See? I'm glad I asked. You're making good points there.

    Who's doing it right int he bike retail world? Manufacturer world. Everybody seems to be observing and waiting on the sidelines trying to evolve and survive.

    One model many seem to be aiming for is Apple and the Apple Stores. They seem to thrive... and mostly at full retail.
    I don't know if anyone is doing it right. The Apple model won't work for bikes.

    I also don't know if there is a "right" at this point. All I know is, what was, will not work any more.

    I don't know about manufacturers, you're tapped into that side, what does it look like? From my POV, it looks like the local brands like Santa Cruz, Ibis, etc. are doing well. From what I can tell, so are others like Yeti and possibly Pivot.

    Does Santa Cruz require going through a bike shop, or can you buy directly from their HQ?

    I'm not really sure where the LBS is headed or needs to be headed. I threw out a suggestion, such as being a build shop, intermediary, and ditching things like gels, clothing, etc. to drop shop space. That would be like a "garage" for cars, but those go out of business too (so many).

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    My opinion is that LBS's will need to move towards a "repair only" model. Selling bikes and parts is not the way forward. One of the problems as I see it, is it is very difficult for a shop to carry numerous high end brands like in the eighties and nineties........where customers would come from far and wide to drool over all the offerings. Internet shopping, internet reviews, and online publications have removed that aspect of needing a shop to see whats hot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocop View Post
    My opinion is that LBS's will need to move towards a "repair only" model. Selling bikes and parts is not the way forward. One of the problems as I see it, is it is very difficult for a shop to carry numerous high end brands like in the eighties and nineties........where customers would come from far and wide to drool over all the offerings. Internet shopping, internet reviews, and online publications have removed that aspect of needing a shop to see whats hot.
    I agree with this, and Holland has great points as well. The state of retail has really changed in many industries, not just the bike industry. Then you have big box.

    The tough part for shops to compete with regards to "stocking bikes" is the discounting by online, primarily this time of the year or when a new "color" is introduced, etc.. Santa Cruz in Competitive Cyclist (right now) and Yeti in Jenson USA are two examples - bikes 30%+ off in many cases. This doesn't paint a pretty picture in terms of retail support...https://www.competitivecyclist.com/santa-cruz-bicycles If you were a bike shop, would you go heavy in stocking bikes when stuff like this happens - free shipping and no sales tax from Utah? Smart shops I would think pick and stock brands where this doesn't happen. Specialized/Trek/Giant have no "drop the pants pricing" but require a pre-season - which is an entirely different thread topic.

    If you were a dealer bringing that same bike/frame in the month May or June you've not only paid for that frame maybe 60 days later (if you are lucky and have good credit) or you're inventory carrying cost heading into the slow season isn't looking so great right about now if you prepaid.

    Many established bike shops are buying up Velofix and Beeline franchises in their area. I can see this as being an advantage, combined with a retail store front and selling more commodity based brands and offerings like Specialized, Trek, and Giant - brands that have a mix of everything. $800 bikes, pumps, helmets, etc. for the convenience types of purchases. The big three listed above are gobbling up shops who can't pay their bills it seems.

    I worked a dealer back in 1989-1993, #4 Specialized dealer in the country even one year. The owner was printing money with three locations. They are now down to one location and fighting to stay open it seems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post

    I worked a dealer back in 1989-1993, #4 Specialized dealer in the country even one year. The owner was printing money with three locations. They are now down to one location and fighting to stay open it seems.
    Whether you are at the top of your game or the bottom, it's the same decision, what to do next. Nothing lasts forever.
    The only easy day was yesterday.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Whether you are at the top of your game or the bottom, it's the same decision, what to do next. Nothing lasts forever.
    True, true. What’s happened to the retail and bike retail though is more than just ebb and flow of markets and competition. It’s more like a slash burn reduction.

    They’re predicting the same for the b2b middleman marketplace.
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    Actually, I think the bike brands are the ones that need to be concerned about the shrinking number of shops. If there’s no LBS to sell Specialized and Treks entry level and kids bikes you are missing the opportunity to gain a potential customer for life. If your first bike is some poorly built Huffy or Magna you probably will not find cycling fun enough to upgrade to a better bike. I know Trek has started buying shops that are closing in order to maintain a dealer presence in those cities.

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    As a small business owner in Silicon Valley, I know what the LBS is going through. Rents through the roof, difficult to find people to work for wages the business can afford. And when was the last time you walked into a bike shop and were able to leave with a bike? That for me is the biggest problem for the LBS. It is impossible for them to carry enough inventory of high end bikes etc. In some cases it can take weeks or months to get the bike you want. I ordered a bike for my wife in August and it still has not arrived. Maybe that wait will change her urge to ride and buy a bike. Also when needing parts, a lot of the time the shop needs to go online to order the parts. So lots of delays for service. I'm not sure how they can survive unless they have a really succesful service model for the shop. Look at Tread Bikes here in Campbell. They recently closed the retail shop and are now a Service shop, with limited hours. I support my LBS as much as I can and have bought several bikes from them, but sometimes the turnover with staff and the "bike shop attitude" can be a turn off to go there.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smilerz View Post
    As a small business owner in Silicon Valley, I know what the LBS is going through. Rents through the roof, difficult to find people to work for wages the business can afford. And when was the last time you walked into a bike shop and were able to leave with a bike? That for me is the biggest problem for the LBS. It is impossible for them to carry enough inventory of high end bikes etc. In some cases it can take weeks or months to get the bike you want. I ordered a bike for my wife in August and it still has not arrived. Maybe that wait will change her urge to ride and buy a bike. Also when needing parts, a lot of the time the shop needs to go online to order the parts. So lots of delays for service. I'm not sure how they can survive unless they have a really succesful service model for the shop. Look at Tread Bikes here in Campbell. They recently closed the retail shop and are now a Service shop, with limited hours. I support my LBS as much as I can and have bought several bikes from them, but sometimes the turnover with staff and the "bike shop attitude" can be a turn off to go there.
    Very good insight Smilerz.

    The bike shop too is under attack from all sides. Wrenching on modern bikes is an intense skill and few of those workers can afford to live here. Folks rely on kids in transition or folks with passion who live with parents or friends but must move on eventually. Those folks also love to ride and that's hard to do on weekends when working at a shop. The 'discount' keeps em hooked but only for so long til they have their dream rig or connections.

    There's also YT and Canyon, Fezzari phenomenon. These are bikes that are consumer direct and 30+% cheaper. They have good bikes and branding now and have a good shopping experience. Soon, ALL brands will have a direct selling arm.

    There's the massive decline of road biking too. We blame Lance and texting drivers.

    Then there's ebikes. It seems those are the only bike shops opening now. And global brands like Trek, Specialized are only seeing growth in their ebike divisions. It has saved them from big lay-offs with roadbike declines. So them and bike shops have to play in that arena just to hold the line.

    Mobile bike shops too like BeeLine and Velofix are serving the market better.
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  64. #64
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    Low cost mobile carbon repair will be a much need service in the future.
    The only easy day was yesterday.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Very good insight Smilerz.

    The bike shop too is under attack from all sides. Wrenching on modern bikes is an intense skill and few of those workers can afford to live here. Folks rely on kids in transition or folks with passion who live with parents or friends but must move on eventually. Those folks also love to ride and that's hard to do on weekends when working at a shop. The 'discount' keeps em hooked but only for so long til they have their dream rig or connections.

    There's also YT and Canyon, Fezzari phenomenon. These are bikes that are consumer direct and 30+% cheaper. They have good bikes and branding now and have a good shopping experience. Soon, ALL brands will have a direct selling arm.

    There's the massive decline of road biking too. We blame Lance and texting drivers.

    Then there's ebikes. It seems those are the only bike shops opening now. And global brands like Trek, Specialized are only seeing growth in their ebike divisions. It has saved them from big lay-offs with roadbike declines. So them and bike shops have to play in that arena just to hold the line.

    Mobile bike shops too like BeeLine and Velofix are serving the market better.
    Super good insight FC.......You are spot on with all of that. I am able to work as a tech and wheelbuilder because I am retired, get a pension, and luckily, own a home. I recently left my longtime shop as it was purchased or "taken over" by Trek due to high incurred debt owed them by the former owner. Trek has a business model in which they force dealers to carry stock in obscene amounts.......think bike models in full size runs, lousy kit, saddles, bar tape, stems, bars, wheels, tires, etc. Most of this stuff is not geographically optimal. It may work in a strip mall in Indiana, where all anyone knows is Trek, but for a deeply rooted cycling location like the Bay Area, the stuff is just not wanted, and you can't sell it. This puts the owner deeply in debt after the first damn season. I really disliked the way they ran things, and have moved to a much smaller service oriented shop. This industry is in deep, deep, trouble.

  66. #66
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    Beeline's partnership with Summit. Gamechanger/Coffinnail?

    Am I wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by xcandrew View Post
    Maybe we went to the same high school? I graduated from Leland in '87.
    Yeah I graduated Leland in 88.

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    What about Santa Cruz selling in Backcountry? Is that material? Do they lose shop business due to it?

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    Pacific Bicycle in San Francisco Closed last year. Service was awesome sadly there gone.
    Off Ramp where bought my 1st mountain bike Giant Yukon 2008.

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    Got to add a shout out to The Missing Link in Berkeley (my LBS), Jim Hill's a great guy and they have a small work area where you can use a bike stand and some tools, that brings people in and then they might buy a little somethin on the way out. I'm a VRC biker (think brazed early Lobsters, Salsa's, Potts), so I'm not much help to the bike industry in general, but like any customer service based business, it's a lot about employee attitudes and quality of service. When I was at UCSC in the 90's The Bicycle Trip was just awesome, left much drool there back then when I couldn't afford much...cheers and it's us that can in some part keep these LBS's open.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by 08_Yukon hard tail View Post
    Pacific Bicycle in San Francisco Closed last year. Service was awesome sadly there gone.
    Off Ramp where bought my 1st mountain bike Giant Yukon 2008.
    Ian @ Summit bought up a ton of equipment when Dave finally shut down and Darcy is now down in the Summit Santa Clara store. I still hear from Chris every so often, chat w Simone all the time via FB, haven't seen Mike or the others in forever. I was kind of sad to hear that the location I helped transition into from the Sutter location when Dave downsized ended up just closing versus relocating again. As for me, I had a chance to do mobile repair but found a more "profitable" solution. I still wrench, build bikes, wheels, etc. but I have a "regular" job. Anything bike I take on is by contract or private repair only. I find it less stressful and the big customers and accounts I have are far happier. Hell, I even do some community bike stuff. Just finished up builds for donations as well as resurrecting a bike for a real nice Marine I know.
    Last edited by Obi; 1 Week Ago at 05:01 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSocko View Post
    Sun is in a bad location now. I took my Mach 6 there a few weeks ago as I needed some quick adjustments. The " crowd " outside of the place on a Wednesday afternoon telling me I had a really nice bike was nerve racking.
    Sun Bike shop is awesome! Been going there since the early 2000's when they were first located off Landess, then off Main St. in Milpitas. The original owner, who worked at Reed's sport shop, even sold me my first mtb back in '95. The current owners are very nice...and knowledgeable. They're also the full time mechanics!

    They have since relocated to a strip mall off Alum Rock Ave. in East San Jose. The only good thing about their current location is that it's 3 miles from me. But man, I have to agree....it's a bad spot for such a great bike shop.

    Norcal bike shops that closed-sun-bike-shop.jpg

    In the above photo, the bike shop is located at the red arrow. Those unsavory characters MrSocko mentioned, like to hang out and smoke weed next door (blue arrow). And there have been a couple of shootings in that strip mall....in fact, in 2015 a man was killed outside the Sports Club (green arrow)

    The bike shop owners are Vietnamese....and many of the businesses in the strip mall are Vietnamese owned and operated, so I understand why they chose to relocate there. I have always felt safe visiting that bike shop though, but sometimes I do wish they would move to a nicer part of town.

  73. #73
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    ^It all comes down to cost of business for Sun. Retail rents and other issues pushed him around. For a while I thought the S Main location would work, even as cramped as it was.

    For those looking for Boester, he's still around and focusing on a different set of priorities. Last I heard he was helping out Black Sheep Adventures and working on his own business.

  74. #74
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    How hard is it to answer a few questions, take money, and build a bike? The answer is impossible for some bike shops. They don't care about satisfying a full MSRP paying customer and would seemingly rather mope about how business is down and their life is hard due to online competition.

    I had to go up to Breakaway Bikes in Santa Rosa to get my 2018 Rocky Mountain Slayer. That's a four hour round trip for me (2 hours up, 2 hours back). I had to wait a few weeks for the build, but I was okay with it. ABSOLUTELY NONE of the Rocky Mountain dealers near me in the South Bay, San Francisco, East Bay, etc. responded to my requests.

    The Path in Tustin was great and responded to my questions, but they wouldn't sell me a Slayer "online" and they wanted me to fly down to pay in person! I really, really wanted the bike, but that was a bit much (how could that work having The Path be my LBS?).

    Unfortunately, I don't think this experience is unique to Rocky Mountain. Bike manufacturers need to provide online sales because most of their dealers don't care about selling bikes from my experience. Rocky Mountain needs to give their customers a way of ordering the bike they want without having to beg and plead for dealers to take their money. I'm fully capable for wrenching on my own bike if I have to build it myself (I had to learn after bad experiences at various bike shops). Just don't make me hostage to a dealer that won't take my money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smilerz View Post
    As a small business owner in Silicon Valley, I know what the LBS is going through. Rents through the roof, difficult to find people to work for wages the business can afford. And when was the last time you walked into a bike shop and were able to leave with a bike? That for me is the biggest problem for the LBS. It is impossible for them to carry enough inventory of high end bikes etc. In some cases it can take weeks or months to get the bike you want. I ordered a bike for my wife in August and it still has not arrived. Maybe that wait will change her urge to ride and buy a bike. Also when needing parts, a lot of the time the shop needs to go online to order the parts. So lots of delays for service. I'm not sure how they can survive unless they have a really succesful service model for the shop. Look at Tread Bikes here in Campbell. They recently closed the retail shop and are now a Service shop, with limited hours. I support my LBS as much as I can and have bought several bikes from them, but sometimes the turnover with staff and the "bike shop attitude" can be a turn off to go there.

  75. #75
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    Business is hard, if you just rest on your laurels and do what you've always done, someone will inevitably come along that can do what you do cheaper, faster, more efficiently, etc. To remain in business, many have to constantly reinvent themselves, seek out new markets, invent new markets, and so on. The exceptions are those that are so far into a niche that they are completely isolated, and far more businesses probably think they are this than is the reality. For a bike shop, it means doing things like having inventory stock online so people can check it without wasting time on the phone, shop rides to get into the community, sponsoring and organizing local races, if even grass-roots type stuff, sponsoring school riding teams, having shop BBQs-maybe following group rides, having clinics to help people maintain their bikes, providing trail information other than by word-of-mouth, sponsor a pump track or even build one next to the shop, sponsor and organize trail-work days, they have to bring in products that people want and will pay for, and so on. A shop doesn't have to do all of these specifically, but they need to do stuff like this. If they don't have any interest in their own future, it's hard to feel sad for them. Business is hard.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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