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  1. #1
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    Bike fitting in Toronto?

    Anyone know a good place to get a proper bike fit done in Toronto (or even a little further afield if needed)? I've been suffering from low back pain to varying degrees for a few years, and despite an intensive regime of stretching / core strengthening, it's getting worse. I'm fine on my road and 'cross bikes, even for 4-5 hour rides, but 2-3 hours on either of my MTBs, and my back starts to cramp, which then spreads into the hip/glute/upper leg areas. Despite doing more training miles this year, it is getting worse not better. I figure a proper bike fit can't hurt, might help. Note - I am working on getting in to see a doctor, but last time (2 years ago) they found nothing wrong and were of limited use.

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    I don't know about Toronto, but Impala of Richmond Hill (May and Yonge St, just North of Hillcrest Mall) has a Specialized BG fitter. Ask for Joey. I haven't done it myself, but thinking about it.

    Supposedly there's a RETUL fitter at SpinKicks in Vaughan (Rutherford and Creditstone Rd, West of Keele St), but I haven't visited them to check.

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    Chain Reaction has a Specialized BG fitter as well. La Bicicletta also has a couple of guys that do fittings. They did one for me a few years back when I bought my first road bike. I was happy with their service and level of attention.
    I had/have an IT band/quad issue that my GP and specialist did little about and could not really resolve. I went to a great physiotherapist in Mississauga with my MRI results and he did a way more thorough assessment and with a few weeks of therapy, I got way better. A sports specific clinic might be able to help.

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    I hear Duke's is getting a new bike fit system.

    At Gears, you can pay a lot of money for a bike fit, but it looks like it's focused mostly on road bikes.

    Most decent bike stores will do some sort of fit for you, but it'll often be considered opinion... But I totally agree that a properly-fitting bike makes all the difference. Good luck!

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  6. #6
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    Dukes. No question.
    Strava made me do it....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    Dukes. No question.
    Good luck with that...why not just go to The Tire?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cools View Post
    Supposedly there's a RETUL fitter at SpinKicks in Vaughan (Rutherford and Creditstone Rd, West of Keele St), but I haven't visited them to check.
    That RETUL system is really neat (although quite spendy). They use motion capture to do a fully dynamic fit. I got a whole demo at the bike show.
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    RETUL makes a lot of sense, as they measure your entire body position over the entire pedal stroke. It also looks at fit from an "out of plane" standpoint. For example, a lot of older cyclist's knees "kick-out" sideways during a part of the pedal cycle. RETUL would look at that.

    Dukes has recently added the GURU bike fitting system.

    The person who wrote "Dukes, no question" is obliged to say that.

    I'd go with RETUL. I had an experience with my first coach who was just getting into that. I ended up with shims under my right cleat, my saddle skewed and my handlebars slightly offset to one side and skewed.

    If you're putting in a lot of miles on a road bike, a precise bike fit can save injury.

    I would never put this kind of effort into a mountain bike fit. You're moving around so much on the bike, a precise fit isn't as important (I'm talking about mm difference).

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    Thanks everyone for the input - I'll talk to a few of the mentioned shops and get a road fitting done, then translate the saddle-pedal position over to the MTB. Even though I'm not having back problems on the road bike, it can't hurt. The more I think about this, the more I agree with sputnikcdn - for the MTB, there's significantly less advantage in an extensive fit process due to the constant position changes while riding off road. Hopefully medical advice and some physiotherapy will help on that front...

  11. #11
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    Bike fitting in Toronto?

    Quote Originally Posted by sputnikcdn View Post
    The person who wrote "Dukes, no question" is obliged to say that.
    Nobody is obligated to say anything on here. He could have chosen to not say anything.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikingnerd View Post
    Thanks everyone for the input - I'll talk to a few of the mentioned shops and get a road fitting done, then translate the saddle-pedal position over to the MTB. Even though I'm not having back problems on the road bike, it can't hurt. The more I think about this, the more I agree with sputnikcdn - for the MTB, there's significantly less advantage in an extensive fit process due to the constant position changes while riding off road. Hopefully medical advice and some physiotherapy will help on that front...
    It's true that precise fitting for road, where you tend to be in one position for a long time is crucial. But it won't be the same as your fit for a mountain bike (e.g. translating saddle and pedal position over may not be appropriate). I would still go to a shop that knows their business and ask for an informal fit. They might have suggestions that help. A more upright position, perhaps? (I find riding more upright, as modern mountain bikes do, is more fun.) A coach might also have some suggestions about how you ride (e.g. do you stand to climb? hunch and pedal? etc.). I also second the suggestion to talk to a sports doc and/or physiotherapist; normal docs won't have a clue how to help, other than suggesting some sit ups.

  13. #13
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    If you've had your road bike properly fit, you can apply the geometry to your mountain bike using the concepts of "stack and reach".

    Stack & Reach Primer: Chapter One - Slowtwitch.com

    Back pain can be caused by weak core strength, tight hamstrings... even poorly positioned levers! It can be a mystery, and millimetres can make a difference.

    Did you check the tilt of your saddle? Even taking into account padding?

    Re: obligations.... having chosen to say something, I believe that particular individual felt obliged to support his sponsor. I spoke up because, knowing both fit systems, I believe one is better than the other. That's what a public forum is for.

    While I am a former member of that team, and I certainly have some issues there, Dukes has been, and continues to be, my primary LBS, for over 20 years.

    On a public forum I believe biased, or incorrect advice should be called out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdgirl View Post
    It's true that precise fitting for road, where you tend to be in one position for a long time is crucial. But it won't be the same as your fit for a mountain bike (e.g. translating saddle and pedal position over may not be appropriate). I would still go to a shop that knows their business and ask for an informal fit. They might have suggestions that help. A more upright position, perhaps? (I find riding more upright, as modern mountain bikes do, is more fun.) A coach might also have some suggestions about how you ride (e.g. do you stand to climb? hunch and pedal? etc.). I also second the suggestion to talk to a sports doc and/or physiotherapist; normal docs won't have a clue how to help, other than suggesting some sit ups.
    Agree with pretty much all of this - a sports medicine clinic visit is pending. I've played around with position quite a bit, and thought I'd found something that worked well, including 4-5 hour mtb rides in recent years. For some reason, this year I am suffering from an increasing amount of low back pain riding off-road, and the only thing that has changed is that I am running gears and front suspension, rather than a rigid singlespeed (all the fit parameters are the same as on the rigid SS).

    Quote Originally Posted by sputnikcdn View Post
    Back pain can be caused by weak core strength, tight hamstrings... even poorly positioned levers! It can be a mystery, and millimetres can make a difference.

    Did you check the tilt of your saddle? Even taking into account padding?
    Core strength has been a real focal point in training for me over the last few years, as has stretching, but I do have ridiculously tight hamstrings (confirmed by my yoga instructors). Not sure why this would cause MTB specific problems though... Saddle is as level as I can get it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnikcdn View Post
    Re: obligations.... having chosen to say something, I believe that particular individual felt obliged to support his sponsor. I spoke up because, knowing both fit systems, I believe one is better than the other. That's what a public forum is for.

    While I am a former member of that team, and I certainly have some issues there, Dukes has been, and continues to be, my primary LBS, for over 20 years.

    On a public forum I believe biased, or incorrect advice should be called out.
    Opinion vs. bias would be very difficult to sort out, no? If the criteria for posting was that content was limited only to 100% verifiable facts, we could probably delete 99.9% of posts on the entire site including yours. You're welcome to disagree with other posters and provide contrary opinions, but the manner in which you do so to be part of this little Eastern Canada subforum "ecosystem" is important.

  16. #16
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    Fair enough, but please, what did I do wrong?

    "Dukes. No question." is poor advice. I know the person, he's a great guy and I have a lot of respect for him, but his answer did not help the original poster.

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    Bike fitting in Toronto?

    Quote Originally Posted by sputnikcdn View Post
    Fair enough, but please, what did I do wrong?

    "Dukes. No question." is poor advice. I know the person, he's a great guy and I have a lot of respect for him, but his answer did not help the original poster.
    It's equally valid as JM01's post immediately above his. Nobody batted an eye at that. Unglued was called out because of specific knowledge of his affiliation, which isn't (or wasn't) readily apparent in this thread. Does JM Have any relationship to WOB? Does it even matter?



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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnikcdn View Post
    Fair enough, but please, what did I do wrong?

    "Dukes. No question." is poor advice. I know the person, he's a great guy and I have a lot of respect for him, but his answer did not help the original poster.
    Better to take this to PMs. Check your inbox when you have an opportunity please.

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    I'm not sure what you're getting at. I didn't understand JM01's post, thinking he was comparing Dukes to Canadian Tire. I didn't think anyone would believe that, so I ignored it as a troll post.

    Affiliation or relationships don't have to matter. Just because Unglued is sponsored by Dukes does not necessarily mean that any positive reviews they get from him are biased. On the contrary, in certain circumstances, his reviews may have more merit, as he's a trustworthy guy and would have actually used whatever he's reviewing.

    In this particular case, I believe he made a mistake. No big deal. In fact, it's because of his excellent reputation that I felt a need to comment. Unglued's post is far more likely to be heeded than JM01's. Had he simply stated, "I'm supported by Dukes. Use them. No question.", I wouldn't have said anything.

    And we're not discussing facts, but opinions.

  20. #20
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    In the interest of full disclosure, I guess I should probably mention that I'm friends with the guy that sold and set up the RETUL system at Spin Kicks. Regardless, I still think it's cool.
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  21. #21
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    There is a place in Dundas called the Speed Shop, I think. While comfort is not their focus their knowledge base is pretty impressive. I'd certainly talk to them.

    Also, in my own experience as a lower back pain sufferer, I found walking good for my back. I have a pretty stationary job and ride my bike alot and I believe that walking complimented my cycling fitness. When I walk the dog for a good 90 minutes my back is always looser the next day!
    "I love being on a bike. It helps me feel free. I get it from my dad", by Guillaume Blanchet

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    Back to what the OP had asked. I had a patient that was turning into a National Level Racer (mtn bike), his coach I believe was stationed out of Hardwood Hills. I know he had his bikes fit up there and was very pleased. I have no idea what system they used but I do know the results he had because of the fit, which were all positive. Might be worth a call to see what they have up there as well. And no, I have no affiliation with them at all.

    As for medical advice with regards to your back, I am not giving you any medical advice there either. What I will suggest is if you do go to a physio or sports med doctor be sure they understand how much you ride and the type of riding you do. Seeing someone that has no clue is somewhat pointless if they do not understand what you are doing to cause the issues you are having.

    In the past with the serious cyclists I have treated is I get them to bring in their bikes and trainer in and I watch them on the bike. I've done this with swimmers (I go to the pool) and some runners (I will go run with them), golfers I get them to bring in a club and I watch them swing... (you get the idea...). Explaining it verbally is one thing, but having someone actually see it and then understand can be entirely different.
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    My disclosure.. I have a back problem as well (blown L5 disk - S1 issues)
    The OP mentions that the only change was going gear/HT from rigid SS - if you go back on the SS (as a test) get back pain? Maybe there has been a body mechanics change (injury or degeneration) over the off season and the bike change is a coincidence.
    To the OP again - perhaps your riding style has changed - with the SS you spend more time out of the saddle and on the HT your on the saddle more?

  24. #24
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    I would say it even if I wasn't obliged. I was fitted there prior to becoming a Lapdog.
    Strava made me do it....

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnikcdn View Post
    It. Unglued's post is far more likely to be heeded than JM01's. Had he simply stated, "I'm supported by Dukes. Use them. No question.", I wouldn't have said anything.

    And we're not discussing facts, but opinions.

    And by the way, I'm supported by Dukes. Use them. No question. They made me faster and more comfortable on my road bike. After I was fitted on my bike by another store that is mentioned on this thread.

    And yes, that's subjective, but so is everything else on this forum by it's very nature. Sorry if I misled anyone, but frankly I would not be supported by Dukes if I did not feel comfortable endorsing them.

    Hopefully, despite inadvertently setting off a minor sh!tstorm on this thread, my comments have been of minor assistance to the OP.

    And spnkcdn, check your strava...I'm gaining on you on my dukes-fitted bike :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by db9 View Post
    My disclosure.. I have a back problem as well (blown L5 disk - S1 issues)
    The OP mentions that the only change was going gear/HT from rigid SS - if you go back on the SS (as a test) get back pain? Maybe there has been a body mechanics change (injury or degeneration) over the off season and the bike change is a coincidence.
    To the OP again - perhaps your riding style has changed - with the SS you spend more time out of the saddle and on the HT your on the saddle more?
    Yeah, I wondered that myself, so I took the SS out for a ride - no improvement, although much fun was had regardless! It is possible that something happened over the winter to aggravate any pre-existing condition, as I did a fair amount of skiing and snowboarding. As indicated in my original post, I have had low level back pain for years with no apparent medical origin, so something could have been pushed too far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by osteo View Post
    As for medical advice with regards to your back, I am not giving you any medical advice there either. What I will suggest is if you do go to a physio or sports med doctor be sure they understand how much you ride and the type of riding you do. Seeing someone that has no clue is somewhat pointless if they do not understand what you are doing to cause the issues you are having.
    That is absolutely the plan. It is hard to tell how well a doctor understands the sports basis for the problem until I see them, but I won't be seeking treatment from anyone who doesn't have a good grasp of cycling related stresses and injuries.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikingnerd View Post
    Yeah, I wondered that myself, so I took the SS out for a ride - no improvement, although much fun was had regardless! It is possible that something happened over the winter to aggravate any pre-existing condition, as I did a fair amount of skiing and snowboarding. As indicated in my original post, I have had low level back pain for years with no apparent medical origin, so something could have been pushed too far.
    Have you done all the other things that might resolve this issue - ie core strengthening, physio etc etc etc. I have a core routine which has been of great assistance to me, and which I would be more than happy to share with you. I should mention I also ride rigid SS. pm me for details if you are interested.
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    The other possibility is that you're just getting old. And as they say, if it hurts, don't do it! (kidding, of course)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerdgirl View Post
    The other possibility is that you're just getting old. And as they say, if it hurts, don't do it! (kidding, of course)
    Lol. Definitely getting older and creakier! It would take much more crippling problems to keep me off the bike though.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikingnerd View Post
    Yeah, I wondered that myself, so I took the SS out for a ride - no improvement, although much fun was had regardless! It is possible that something happened over the winter to aggravate any pre-existing condition, as I did a fair amount of skiing and snowboarding. As indicated in my original post, I have had low level back pain for years with no apparent medical origin, so something could have been pushed too far.
    I can relate.. I teach Skiing in the winter (what a dumb statement) and even though I try to be careful it's amazing how easy it is to tweak something and have it linger.

    Re Medical .. I found that while my GP understands my desire to be active, and is helpful in this regard.. I searched out Chiropractic and Physio care that had a knowledge of sports but not ignoring my GP. My original GP had ordered X-rays (this is 10 years before the disk went but I was having S1 issues) and the comment was nothing, however the fine print said signs of degeneration - so if I hadn't championed for myself I would have never known. My current medical support group include doctors who are former Jr Hockey players, cyclists and skiers.

    I have over the years migrated from a HT to HT with suspension seat post to FS. Even on my road bike I have a USE post just to take the edge off. It is the price I have decided is OK to stay riding - though I don't ride as much as I'd want and certainly at a different pace.

  32. #32
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    La Bicicletta is more of a roadie store but I'm sure they can set you up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    Dukes. No question.
    To your rep comment...I posted facts. To repeat, listening to their commission based sales reps dis their "rich" customers and treat them with contempt for paying "full bore" for high end bikes "that they fell off of when they tried a test ride" tells me that they take their money but laugh at them behind their backs.

    I can't support a store, even if it's "well established, that treats their customers like crap.

    Happy?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biggie View Post
    There is a place in Dundas called the Speed Shop, I think. While comfort is not their focus their knowledge base is pretty impressive. I'd certainly talk to them.
    The Dundas Speed Shop is run by a couple of young guys who are the mechanics for the national mtb team. I visited their shop (which happens to be above Cafe Domestique-- must stop for a coffee here) and they have a pretty sweet setup. The bike fitting is high-tech using probes computer etc. It's not free, I believe they go for about $200, but a significant portion of this goes into offering free bike fitting for members of the National Youth Development Program I believe--a good cause in my books.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM01 View Post
    To your rep comment...I posted facts. To repeat, listening to their commission based sales reps dis their "rich" customers and treat them with contempt for paying "full bore" for high end bikes "that they fell off of when they tried a test ride" tells me that they take their money but laugh at them behind their backs.

    I can't support a store, even if it's "well established, that treats their customers like crap.

    Happy?
    So next time post that. You're entitled to your opinion. You might consider articulating it more clearly.

    All I can say is that your experience definitely doesn't sound like anyone at Dukes that I know and I expect that if Michael, the general manager, were to hear about this, it would be addressed promptly. We'll have to agree to disagree about the store but if a store treated me like that I would take my business elsewhere

    But this thread isn't about slamming this store or that store, or calling people out on private messages. It is about helping the OP get fitted on his bike. Eyes on the ball please...
    Strava made me do it....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unglued View Post
    So next time post that. You're entitled to your opinion. You might consider articulating it more clearly.

    All I can say is that your experience definitely doesn't sound like anyone at Dukes that I know and I expect that if Michael, the general manager, were to hear about this, it would be addressed promptly. We'll have to agree to disagree about the store but if a store treated me like that I would take my business elsewhere

    But this thread isn't about slamming this store or that store, or calling people out on private messages. It is about helping the OP get fitted on his bike. Eyes on the ball please...
    Now I don't understand...positive recommendations are OK, but negative feedback is not? You recommended Duke's, I countered with some personal feedback. Why don't you understand the meaning of discussion?

    Michael IS the problem, totally focused of sales, insisting his sales guys meet their goals. Gary is OK, but after spending over $13,000 at Duke's, I'm ticked that the sales people laugh at me after I leave the store, so just some feedback.

    Also, please read the threads before accusing posters of not providing details...

    Happy trails.

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    If you've had a bad experience at Dukes, you'd be better off contacting Gary or Michael directly. I'm sure they'd rather address your concerns than read about them on a public forum.

    It doesn't help anyone to slag a bike shop based on a single bad experience. They are run by people, who make mistakes. I'm sure we've all had bad experiences at any number of bike shops.

    Better to make recommendations based on long term experience with a particular shop or employee. Now, if you've experienced bad service over the long term, and if you've given them a chance to improve and they haven't, the store is fair game and should be slagged.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnikcdn View Post
    If you've had a bad experience at Dukes, you'd be better off contacting Gary or Michael directly. I'm sure they'd rather address your concerns than read about them on a public forum.

    It doesn't help anyone to slag a bike shop based on a single bad experience. They are run by people, who make mistakes. I'm sure we've all had bad experiences at any number of bike shops.

    Better to make recommendations based on long term experience with a particular shop or employee. Now, if you've experienced bad service over the long term, and if you've given them a chance to improve and they haven't, the store is fair game and should be slagged.
    So you're saying that it's OK to recommend a store, tell everyone that it's the best, yet it's not OK to say the opposite?...Weird.

    My relationship with Duke's goes back to the 60's, I always thought them to be the best. However it appears that a culture of arrogance and customer disrespect became entrenched shortly before the fire and was evident at their temporary location.

    Be that as it may...Gary should ensure that his managers insist that their staff not discuss personal stuff in front of his customers. I thought it funny what they said about their "stupid" customers until I looked in the mirror. There's no way I can buy another stupid expensive bike there and not recall what they think. Like a dead fish, a company's rot starts at the head and spreads downward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by limba View Post
    La Bicicletta is more of a roadie store but I'm sure they can set you up.
    Cyclemotive (the Bathurst location) is a good option...

    Cyclemotive | The Cycle Shoppe | Downtown Toronto Bike Shop | Argon18, Bianchi, Biria, Cinelli, Felt, Giant, Marin, Raleigh USA, Scott, Vanmoof, Wilier

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM01 View Post
    Now I don't understand...positive recommendations are OK, but negative feedback is not? You recommended Duke's, I countered with some personal feedback. Why don't you understand the meaning of discussion?

    Michael IS the problem, totally focused of sales, insisting his sales guys meet their goals. Gary is OK, but after spending over $13,000 at Duke's, I'm ticked that the sales people laugh at me after I leave the store, so just some feedback.

    Also, please read the threads before accusing posters of not providing details...

    Happy trails.
    I had shitty service at Duke's once and never went back. It was from one of the older guys with the mullet who I think is one of the owners or at least a high up manager.

    Chain Reaction and Sporting Life both do bike fits with the Specialized BG system and I've never walked out of either place because of rudeness or crappy service.

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    Nice!

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