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  1. #1
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    Philly bike shops

    Hi All

    I'm fairly new to Philadelphia and I am looking to start mountain biking. I was wondering: is there a bike shop in the area that caters to mountain bikers? or one that has a good demo policy? I'm happy to drive a bit if it gives me a chance to compare a few bikes.

    Given my price range (~$800-1500, some flexibility) I'm looking to find a good entry level ht. I'm pretty much a noob on mountain bikes but I love technical single track on dirt bikes, so I'm guessing that is what I'll like most on a mountain bike.

    Also, are there any shops that rent decent mountain bikes in the area?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I don't know of any bike shops that rent decent mountain bikes, there are some that rent crappy mtb's but I don't think they're worth mentioning.
    Several shops in the area cater to mountain bikes and have staff with considerable expertise, it all depends on the brands you're looking for.
    My favorite shops include:
    Wissahickon Cyclery. Great knowledge base and excellent service. Ed, the lead mech there, knows the trails at Wissahickon and Belmont, probably better than anyone. They carry Jamis & Trek iirc and are the home to local frame builder Engin.

    Bell's Bike Shop. These guys have probably the best selection of parts in stock of anywhere in the city and great prices. The mechanics are pretty good, but only the owner rides mountain bikes, the rest of the staff don't know a whole lot. Their fitting services are top notch though. They carry Pivot, Colnago and Redline and 9:Zero:7 Fatbikes.

    Community Bikes & Boards. Transition & Rocky Mountain bikes, cold PBR in the fridge in the basement. Community does a lot of support for Launch Bike Park.

    Breakaway Bikes: Felt, Scott, Trek, & Fuji. The staff are pretty knowledgeable about mountain bikes and some of them are really fast riders. Don't be afraid of the tattoos and beards, they're actually pretty nice guys.

    Keswick: Specialized, Cannondale & Niner. Keswick does a fair amount of outreach and support for mountain biking and cyclocross. I haven't done any business with them, but have done demoes that they supported. I've been passed by a number of riders wearing Keswick jerseys, if that means anything.

    Out in the suburbs, my favorite shop is High Road Cycles in Wayne (they also have a location in Doylestown). They're more road oriented, but a number of the staff also ride mountain bikes. Excellent mechanic and they're all stand-up people there. They carry Specialized & Trek.

    There are a number of other shops, but I don't have any experience with them; I'll let others chime in.

    As far as demos go, there aren't many shops with a dedicated demo fleet, although some shops may have one or two. your best bet may be to check out the Demo Schedules on individual brand websites. As far as local trails, if you like technical, we have plenty of options for that here in Illadelph. Both Belmont & Wissahickon offer different flavors of technical treats. The Wiss, which is largely regarded as philly's crown jewel, has loads of rocks & gnar, punctuated by lung-busting climbs with flow sections sprinkled about. The Mt Airy side is more about rocky gnar and sufferfest climbs, while the Roxborough side has a somewhat more flowing character, with plenty of roots and tech to catch you off guard if you're not paying attention.
    Belmont, on the other hand, offers it's own unique twist on tech. The trails are quite tight and twisty with a seemingly inordinate amount of logs to overcome. The climbs are not nearly as numerous or long as at Wissahickon, but many are nonetheless tricky, with logs, roots and boulders to overcome as you're spinning your way up. If you should happen to fall, Belmont's soil is soft and loamy compared to Wissahickon, but chances are, you most likely just crashes in a patch of poison ivy! I should note that neither Wissahickon nor Belmont offer any amenities for beginning riders, these are, by and large, trails for experienced intermediate to expert riders.

    The other trail in the City, Pennypack Park, is much more forgiving to new riders, as are the trails at White Clay st. park in DE, and most of the trails over in New Jersey, which are largely maintained by JORBA and are IMBA Certified trail systems. Once a month at Kresson Trails, in Cherry Hill, they offer a Mountain Bike Skills Seminar, followed by an all levels group ride. Check out Meetup.com for details about this and a ton of other group riding opportunities throughout the metro area.
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  3. #3
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    Go check out Community Bikes and Boards on 4th St right near South Street. Super chill and relaxed atmosphere, welcoming. I know right now they have some brand new Rocky Mountain Altitudes that they are demoing out. They are also a Transition dealer and those bikes are some of the best on the market right now
    bike = good

  4. #4
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    Fuji, SE, and Breezer are having a demo day this Saturday from 10-3 at Valley Green Inn in the Wissahickon.

    The Bikeline in Newark, Delaware rents mountain bikes.
    Newark - bikeline.com

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    Keswick in Glenside is my local store and that is where I bought my bike last year. Their service has been very good and they work hard to get my bike repaired quick when necessary. Get to know the owner and the service manager, they are good guys. I have seen some of the mechanics out riding in the Wiss too, which is also a good sign. They let me demo a specialized when my bike was out of commission for no charge too, which was awesome. The only thing I would tag them on is it doesn't seem like they keep a ton of spare parts in stock for a high end mountain bike so I have started keeping some spares onhand of things that break a lot. In any case, I would recommend these guys for sure. They usually have a couple bikes that they will rent/demo(usually specialized).

    I have also had good experience with Wissahickon. It is a tiny shop, but their mechanics seem very competent and work pretty fast.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the advice! I am starting shopping this afternoon with some of the center city shops and then will continue over the weekend. With any luck I'll be out there walking my new bike up a hill sometime next week!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannmer View Post
    Fuji, SE, and Breezer are having a demo day this Saturday from 10-3 at Valley Green Inn in the Wissahickon.

    The Bikeline in Newark, Delaware rents mountain bikes.
    Newark - bikeline.com
    do you have more info on this? I'm looking to get my girl out and riding and I've never rode the Wiss myself, she needs a bike though

    not to thread jack either.... I use Guys Bikes in Feasterville for my lbs, never had a problem with them. You can "demo" bikes there but there aren't any real trails to demo, just some grass and paved hills. very knowledgeable, fair pricing.

  8. #8
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    Don't take this the wrong way, but the Wiss isn't a place to take your girl out for her first time on a mountain bike. I went there for my first ride years ago, got lost and by the time I made it back to pavement, I'd made up my mind that maybe mountain biking wasn't for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFinn510 View Post
    do you have more info on this? I'm looking to get my girl out and riding and I've never rode the Wiss myself, she needs a bike though

    not to thread jack either.... I use Guys Bikes in Feasterville for my lbs, never had a problem with them. You can "demo" bikes there but there aren't any real trails to demo, just some grass and paved hills. very knowledgeable, fair pricing.
    Sorry, I don't know anything else about the event.

    If your girlfriend doesn't have a lot of experience mountain biking, I would strongly suggest driving to Houston Playground and riding the meadows. The meadow trails are smooth, flowy and beginner friendly.

  10. #10
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    here is the link to the facebook page for the fuji part of the demo, it lists the bikes they are bringing at least: https://www.facebook.com/events/1418894921722287/

    I am planning to go do the demo and then check out Wissahickon Cyclery tomorrow morning. I was hoping to get a chance to directly compare a 27.5 and 29 inch wheels and this looks like a decent opportunity. I have actually been trying to get my girlfriend and another beginner friend to come to the demo with me too, perhaps I should stop trying to convince them...
    I am also hoping to demo a Transition Trans Am next week, and one shop was recommending a Haro Flightline 27.5 for me that I am hoping to take for a test ride, though it has been tough finding a lot of information on Haro bikes, compared to some of the other companies.

  11. #11
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    Gigantic's on the mark. Wissahickon Cyclery is the real deal. Another excellent area shop not mentioned yet is Abington Wheel Wright.

  12. #12
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    I should add that Bell's bike shop just became a Haro Dealer.
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  13. #13
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    Philly Bikesmith. Just one year old. Located at around 19th and Spring Garden. They are a Norco, Kona, and Giant dealer. They have a Sight, Trance, Anthem, Process to demo last I checked. No charge as well. Great guys. I bought my Norco from them.

  14. #14
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    Sweet, thanks, I'll go check them out later this week. Bike shopping is going agonizingly slow but I've been to most of the recommended shops and had great service at a few of them (Bells and Wissahickon Cyclery have been particularly helpful). Unless another bike leapfrogs it I think I'm going to go for a Giant Talon 1. I still have a Haro Flightline to test ride, but so far the Talon felt like the best fit.

    After that it's finally time to plan my first ride. The wiss seems like the logical choice though descriptions of it (and my general lack of fitness) are making me think maybe I should go spend the day somewhere farther out (White Clay or NJ maybe).

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnederveld View Post
    After that it's finally time to plan my first ride. The wiss seems like the logical choice though descriptions of it (and my general lack of fitness) are making me think maybe I should go spend the day somewhere farther out (White Clay or NJ maybe).
    Go to PennyPack. Great trails and it's more forgiving than the Wiss (and very close). There's a lot more singletrack there than most realize. Most start at the Pine Road entrance.

    Have fun!

  16. #16
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    If you drive down to North Delaware check out Garrison's Cyclery . The guys there are awesome and extremely knowledgeable. Also we don't have sales tax in Delaware and they offer cash discounts so you can save a good chunk of change.

    Garrison's Cyclery of Centreville Bike Sales Service Shop Wilmington, Delaware

  17. #17
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    Check out the Skills Clinic at Kresson in Cherry Hill, NJ. The trails are easy, yet fun and there is a tone of useful information and instruction given for free.

    National Trails Day - Mountain Bike Skills Clinic & Trail Work @ Kresson Trails - JORBA CHAPTER - JERSEY ACTION RIDERS (Cherry Hill, NJ) - Meetup
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  18. #18
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    I joined the JORBA meetup group, if I'm free that Saturday I'm definitely going. Looks like fun.

    Pennypack is on the list too, I've been earmarking Pennypack and Belmont as good after work rides, though planning on a morning to explore it is probably a good idea. I think there is a race in Pennypack this weekend though so might be a little busy up there.

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