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  1. #1
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    CT Bike Shops for upgrades?

    What up peeps? Long time reader first time poster. I usually don't cause much action on here but figured I could use some help.

    I picked up my first full susser back in September, a 2011 Giant Trance X3, and I'm loving it so far. It replaced my previous hardtail Giant and there's no looking back.

    Now that winter is upon us and the riding is getting more infrequent with the weather out here, I've had a lot of time to research upgrades and cosmetic fixes. It turns out most of the items I'm looking at are hard to find at the LBS' around me. I'm in Danbury by the way, and work down in Southport. I've stopped in to most shops in the area and a few in New York and can't seem to find anything other than the usual "big three" branded components, Bontrager and the like.

    I'd like to look at some flat pedals, wider bars, shorter stem, bash guard, etc. I'd like to look at some stuff from Easton, Spank, Funn, Diety, and companies like those. I want to feel the items in person and not just look on my computer screen anymore. I'd hate to purchase some eye candy and end up not liking it when I do get to test it out.

    So, help me out. Does anyone have any recommendations in CT for me?

  2. #2
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    Hate to say it, but good luck. Last year I needed a headset, I called every shop (5) within a 45 minute drive (I live in Tolland), not one had any in stock. I'm not talking King, I mean ANY headset.

    If you find a stocking shop post up, I'd love to go there.

  3. #3
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    yeah jisch, that seems to be the feeling I'm getting. Sure would be nice if there was a legit parts shop like an old school skate shop, but for bikes. Somewhere to actually feel and see the product.

  4. #4
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    Some friends own a bike shop and they tell me they can't carry much stock and still be profitable. Its all about the family bikes and high end road bikes. Everything else is a gamble on whether it will sell.

  5. #5
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    i hear ya. a guy i work with fixes bikes on the side, mostly road and track bikes. he says the same thing. can't carry too much inventory around here. especially in the "off seasons".

  6. #6
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    AJ at Down Cycles near Blue Mt in Peekskill, NY usual has some nice MTB components hangin around. SmartCycles in Norwalk can also have some neat stuff from time to time. Other than that, try to get out on a group ride or two and see what others are using or feel free to ask here. Lou at Briarcliff Bikes (on the way to Blue), is a carbon specialist and has had some nice stuff in stock in the past, but the other two are more reliable on that front.

    Pedal, Bars, Bash, Stem are pretty straight forward though, figure out what you think will work or what you want to try research feedback here on MTBR (half of this sport is for us gear geeks trying new things and tweaking/fiddling with set up) and find lowest price on line or flea bay.

    Also, try to make group rides or see if you can schedule a group ride. i.e. get something a huntington once the weather is nice and see who shows up with what or just hang out at the Blue Mt. lot in Peekskill once the weather is nice and you'll see tons of riders there as its one of the best trail systems around and people don't usually mind talking about their set ups.

    Also - shameless plug - FC NEMBA is hosting an MTB Movie Premiere at Ridgefield playhouse at 4pm on Sunday (1/29). There'll be folks to chat about bike stuff there and a special function at the Ridgefield Bicycle Co. for pre-purchase ticket holders at 3pm with some discounts and they might have some stuff they're looking to move. Check fcnemba.org for details.

  7. #7
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    thanks for the input friar. i've been doing plenty of researching and browsing and reading. now it's time to pull the trigger. i pretty much have everything narrowed down between 2 items of each category. i'll definitely check out the shops you mentioned. my cousin loves smart cycles in norwalk, that's where she got her santa cruz, and has nothing but nice things to say about the owner. i checked their site a few weeks ago, but guess i'll have to stop over on the way home one of these days.

    never been to blue mountain, only read about it recently, i'll def have to get there and check out down cycles. i've been riding huntington the last couple years, it's by far my favorite park around (that i've been to).

  8. #8
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    +1 for smart cycles-try to go during the week especially if you want to sit around and bullsh*t about bike stuff -sometimes weekends can get busy with families etc..

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by prinaldi View Post
    +1 for smart cycles-try to go during the week especially if you want to sit around and bullsh*t about bike stuff -sometimes weekends can get busy with families etc..
    think i'm gonna stop in today or tomorrow actually, and have a peek around.

  10. #10
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    Bikers edge in bristol is two floors, lotta stuff
    "Hillbilly in a corporate world"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by calvinator View Post
    Bikers edge in bristol is two floors, lotta stuff
    Two floors, nice.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollar1211 View Post
    Two floors, nice.
    Top floor is all bikes. They're in the same boat as all the other shops - don't carry a shitload of options, but they'll talk to you about them.

    I would recommend Pedal Power - they have a shop in Middletown and one in Vernon (I can't post links yet, still need 3 more posts (WTF is up with that?) - PedalPowerct dot com.

    Same story - They don't carry a ton of options, but they can tell you about pretty much anything you ask about, and can order pretty much anything. Their entire staff actually rides, and they are all very knowledgeable.

    I don't work there, but I am a customer.

  13. #13
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    X2 for Pedal Power

  14. #14
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    Pedal Power is a great shop - the owners are really nice and there are some great people who work there. Its nice to see a professional place where stuff is displayed well and people actually know something about bikes.

    That said, they don't carry much inventory on parts. I think to be successful you have to be careful about not having stuff sit around in the store.

    I couldn't afford to ride the bikes and parts that I do if I didn't get deals on the internet. The prices on parts in bike shops are incredible. I just had to buy a chain for my wife's bike - it was either buy the chain at the LBS or not ride. I didn't leave the store feeling good about my purchase, I felt like I got raped, I guess that's the price of convenience. I paid over $70 for a chain I can get on line for $40.

    John

  15. #15
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    sounds like i'll have to hit up pedal power one day. it's over an hour away, but i guess i'll bring the bike and find some local trails while i'm out there.

  16. #16
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    I usually do my research at MTBR, etc and then by online, you can always find a good youtube vid on installation or just post up a question on the forums (crankfire, bikerag, mtbr, etc)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfrancefort View Post
    I usually do my research at MTBR, etc and then by online, you can always find a good youtube vid on installation or just post up a question on the forums (crankfire, bikerag, mtbr, etc)
    that's what i've been doing, lots of research, and looking at pretty pictures and reviews. i have everything narrowed down. like i said previously, just want to actually hold the items in my hand. there's nothing more real than that. i see that's not really really possible in today's internet age with overhead and all, so i'll take my chances. thanks everyone.

  18. #18
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    I can definitely recommend Pedal Power as well. I drive an hour to get to either location. I can't stand the local shop in my area, Benidorm, because the kids who work there seem to either be paid by commision or just really bad at talking about bikes in a non-sales oriented manner. I always felt like I was being steered towards something that was wrong for me, or having to sit through a lecture on a bunch of marketing lingo that was littered with mis-used technical jargon.
    I'm always pretty relaxed at Pedal Power, and so are the employees, and that makes a world of difference to me.

  19. #19
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    Thanks Rich, I'm definitely gonna take a ride to one some day soon. Actually just ordered some bars and a stem of chain reaction, but i'm still in the market for some other goodies.

  20. #20
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    I choose my upgrades through research. First & foremost I see what other riders in my area are using. I ride mostly Huntington, Troutbrook & Wilton Woods. Every time I'm out I check out what other riders are sporting. If I'm intrigued by something I ask how they like it. This has helped me immensely over the years, especially with tires. Keep checking the FC NEMBA site to see when the next ride is. This way you will have a chance to see lots of bikes. Someone is bound to appeal to your needs & style.

    The MTBR reviews (man that sounds repetitive) are real good too, but keep in mind where the reviewer lives. What works well in sand & stone might now work out all that well in our rock gardens & roots.

    As far as LBS, I really like Power Pedal, but its too far out of the way for every day. Outdoor sports in Wilton might not have all of the latest & greatest in accessories, but what they do have is top notch. New bikes on the other hand are a different story. Seems you can spend as much as you want on a bike there. They also do great work in the way of maintenance. Don't have any qualms about installing any goodies you get online either. These guys know Cannondales inside & out.

    Good luck. I'm actually off to the "Wood" right now

  21. #21
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    thanks oleman. is outdoor sports the one on 7 near the 95 ramp? i pass through wilton on the way home, maybe i'll stop in. guess i could google them.

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    Outdoor is on route 7 about 2 mi north of Super 7 and about 1mi south of the route 33 merge

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by OleMan Glade View Post
    Outdoor is on route 7 about 2 mi north of Super 7 and about 1mi south of the route 33 merge
    yup, i know exactly where it is. gonna stop in tonight since they're open later until 8 and snoop around.

  24. #24
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    Check out newington bike. Lots of parts
    Can you say Full XO #22.68 salsa moto rapido

  25. #25
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    Newington Bike and Zanes in Branford have always been good for me.

  26. #26
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    Thanks for some more input guys. I checked out Outdoor Sports, Trek in Southport, and Smart Cycles in Westport. All were your basic bike shops, only carrying or selling parts branded with the cycles they sell. Either Specialized, Bontrager (Trek), or Pro (Shimano). Outdoor Sports had a little more selection, but more so if you ride a road bike.

    I ended up getting a bar and stem from Chain Reaction Cycles and some HTI pedals off ebay.

    I still need to get to Pedal Power though.

  27. #27
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    Cutting Edge in Berlin is pretty good for parts. My last trip there they had a stack of the new Kronolog post in the display case. Thankfully I didn't have the $ for it that day. The more I read, the more it sounds like a typical crank brothers part. All form, no function. Anyhew, they are a little more gravity oriented (as CT goes) and have parts to support it. Craig, the owner, is cool as sh!t too. It started out as a skate/snowboard shop and has that chill vibe.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeepdude66 View Post
    Newington Bike and Zanes in Branford have always been good for me.
    Just as long as you don't upgrade tires. They do have a very nice selection of $70+/each S-works tires!! Seriously.

    Thanks to them, and to all the great smaller local shops having gone out of business, I buy online and wrench myself.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Managuense View Post
    Just as long as you don't upgrade tires. They do have a very nice selection of $70+/each S-works tires!! Seriously.

    Thanks to them, and to all the great smaller local shops having gone out of business, I buy online and wrench myself.
    Funny, I had a very similar experience at Newington - I live about 1/2 mile from that store, so it's a no brainer to go there for last minute stuff (tubes, Gu, patch kits).

    I was getting ready for a road ride, and needed a spare tube. Went in, told the kid what I needed. She goes into the back room, and comes out, hands me a box. I thank her, and go to pay.

    The guy at the register says 'That'll be $45.' With a straight face. I asked him if he was sure. He checked, and said yes.

    I said 'for a 700x23 tube?'
    He said 'yeah, it's a special tube, lighter than usual.'

    I asked if they had any regular tubes, and he said 'No'

    I said 'thanks', and left. Drove the 5 miles to REI, and got two tubes for less than $15.

    I despise Newington Bike.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by murbike View Post
    Funny, I had a very similar experience at Newington - I live about 1/2 mile from that store, so it's a no brainer to go there for last minute stuff (tubes, Gu, patch kits).

    I was getting ready for a road ride, and needed a spare tube. Went in, told the kid what I needed. She goes into the back room, and comes out, hands me a box. I thank her, and go to pay.

    The guy at the register says 'That'll be $45.' With a straight face. I asked him if he was sure. He checked, and said yes.

    I said 'for a 700x23 tube?'
    He said 'yeah, it's a special tube, lighter than usual.'

    I asked if they had any regular tubes, and he said 'No'

    I said 'thanks', and left. Drove the 5 miles to REI, and got two tubes for less than $15.

    I despise Newington Bike.
    ...and it will shave 1/2 bike length off your next Alpe d'Huez time trial.

    Seriously, I have no problem paying high retail at the LBS, but being force fed last year's world cup team equipment (as the only option) is pi$$ poor business.

  31. #31
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    I am shocked to read something negative about Benidorm in Canton. I loved that shop when I lived nearby. Everyone in the shop rode a lot, and I felt that their opinions were very valid. I highly recommend that shop and wish there was an equivalent in Phoenix.

  32. #32
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    Come by Ridgefield Bicycle Company if you live/ride in northern Fairfield CT. We've got some killer brands (Giant, Felt, Pivot, BMC), carry loads of parts and place parts order multiple times per week, so even if we don't have what you need in stock, we can usually have it in a day or two. I am the service manager there and do my best to keep us well stocked. We also do a bunch of group rides every week and are putting on a Pivot demo day on the 7th of June.

  33. #33
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    I'm NOT shocked to read anything negative on Benidorm; I was about to post something myself. I have lots of issues with bike shops and have yet to really find one I like. Most are too corporate-y for me but the biggest killer is too bike snob-ish. Since I'm a poor recent college graduate who only loves bikes and doesn't have $1000s to spend on them I'm not worth much time to some shops.

    Sorry I can't really recommend much but I would stay away from Benidorm if you don't like bike snobs (besides its small).

  34. #34
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    Cutting Edge in Berlin is a nice shop. Santa Cruz, Transition etc. In reality I order most everything.

  35. #35
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    Damn, thats interesting about Newington bike. I was there a few weeks ago and didnt have any issues with them. They were actually really helpful and I ended up talking to the one guy for almost an hour about everything from mtn biking to wake boarding and snowboarding. Good to know other ppls experience though.

  36. #36
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    I really like Berlin Bike as a shop in general. However, they seem to stock all the basics but not a lot in the way of upgrades. For upgrades and more hardcore bike stuff the Cutting Edge just down the road from them is the place. They stock different tires from all manufacturers, E13 chain tensioners, stems, bars, seats, wheels, etc....all right there. It seems a lot of shops dont even know about this kind of stuff but cutting edge is up to speed and stocks a lot of "upgrade" components right in the shop.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollar1211 View Post
    What up peeps? Long time reader first time poster. I usually don't cause much action on here but figured I could use some help.

    I picked up my first full susser back in September, a 2011 Giant Trance X3, and I'm loving it so far. It replaced my previous hardtail Giant and there's no looking back.

    Now that winter is upon us and the riding is getting more infrequent with the weather out here, I've had a lot of time to research upgrades and cosmetic fixes. It turns out most of the items I'm looking at are hard to find at the LBS' around me. I'm in Danbury by the way, and work down in Southport. I've stopped in to most shops in the area and a few in New York and can't seem to find anything other than the usual "big three" branded components, Bontrager and the like.

    I'd like to look at some flat pedals, wider bars, shorter stem, bash guard, etc. I'd like to look at some stuff from Easton, Spank, Funn, Diety, and companies like those. I want to feel the items in person and not just look on my computer screen anymore. I'd hate to purchase some eye candy and end up not liking it when I do get to test it out.

    So, help me out. Does anyone have any recommendations in CT for me?
    Hey hey! I'm also in Danbury - didn't expect to find another Danburian here.
    Bike Express in town is a good place, and they usually aren't too pricey in repairs, especially if you've bought a bike from them (they offer a few discounts ). Bethel Cycle is OK, but they're on the more expensive side and don't seem to take much interest in you unless you're somebody famous wearing spandex, or so I've heard.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceboxsteve View Post
    I'm NOT shocked to read anything negative on Benidorm; I was about to post something myself. I have lots of issues with bike shops and have yet to really find one I like. Most are too corporate-y for me but the biggest killer is too bike snob-ish. Since I'm a poor recent college graduate who only loves bikes and doesn't have $1000s to spend on them I'm not worth much time to some shops.

    Sorry I can't really recommend much but I would stay away from Benidorm if you don't like bike snobs (besides its small).
    I went to Benidorm looking for a hard tail. Everytime I asked a question they hard to open a catalog and point!!! Was not impressed. Went to Bikers Edge in Avon and it was 100% better. Rolled out with a new Trek.......

  39. #39
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    +1 for Bike Express in Danbury.

  40. #40
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    Plus one for Ridgefield Bicycle. Lots of great info and parts. Also they are moving to a Brand new location, much larger. Try the group rides they are awsome.

  41. #41
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    If you're in southern CT, Cycle Center of Stamford. In central CT, Benidorm in Canton.

  42. #42
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    Sunshine Cycle in Colchester for a small shop always gets some of each year's hot **** bikes, that most shops won't stock e.g. Enduro EVO, SX Trail, Demo, P, Stumpies, etc.. Excellent mechanics and knowledge around bikes that ride on dirt!
    For sampling a nice array of bikes and hardware, Nembafest at Burke/Kingdom Trails. It's a great weekend of riding and lots of demos and companies showing their wares

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