Bike Check-up

18 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

I live on the East side, York & 75th and was wondering if there are some recommendations for a good shop & mechanic in the area to work on my bike. I'm looking for a mechanic who takes as good care of my bike as I do! Not someone who uses Shimano tools to service Campag parts !!
This may seem like a simple ask, but alas a good mechanic is hard to find.
Your thoughts.

Anonymous's picture
ted (not verified)
Larry & Jeffs

See Larry at the 87th & 2nd Ave. location, I've tried a lot of different shops in NYC and I can say that he is the most customer oriented store owner I have ever seen. It's definitely a shop that you can set up a relationship with and since it's close by that's even better.

Anonymous's picture
Kiwi Greg (not verified)
Larry & Jeff's

"I called Larry & Jeffs. Not what I would call 'at all helpful'
When I asked if I could make a booking to have my bike serviced, they said no!(even though it says they offer this service on their website) I was told that ""this is their busy time of year and they have lots of bikes to service"" ""you need to leabe it with us for 4-5 days""
So I will take my Colnago ( which needed a few new Record parts $$$ ) and my hard earned dollars and look elsewhere.
My vote for this store .... 'You're fired!'"

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

"I've been experiencing unavailability a lot. I got a ""clueless"" response from one (still nameless) shop, which I generally like. Also went to Toga last Sat and was told that a. The bike won't be ready until the 28th and b. I had to leave it at the shop, even though they were not ready to work on it. I have SIG tomorrow, & coudn't afford to miss that. May return to the shop after the SIG, assuming there's anything that I have not yet done myself by then.

My house is a mess, but you should see my drivetrain.

BTW, I saw a mechanic (at yet another ""nameless"" shop) cleaning spokes with a sanding block. Is this normal? Is this safe? Wouldn't this a. weaken the spoke and b. leave the spoke open to becoming dirtier quicker?

Anonymous's picture
banana guy (not verified)
Colnago Denial?

"I know that Larry & Jeff's 2nd Avenue is busy right now. I am usually there with and without my bike.

I have found that if you wait for the first week of good weather to have your bike worked on, the good mechanics will all be overbooked. And, this past winter having been rather ugly, there is a pent-up demand for tune-ups, etc, as soon as the sun comes out.(the BNY rental reservations are pouring in everywhere!)

I have also found that if you take the time to develop a relationship with a shop, the owner, the mechanics, the staff, and if you nurture that relationship, the shop will never be too busy to work with you. (James is always available after a ride to re-true my wheels)

I regret that you had an unsatisfactory experience trying to access Larry & Jeff's, but urge you not to give up on them. It is a shop worthy of developing a relationship with. They have some of the most conscientious mechanics in the city, and Larry, the perfectionist, has an unsurpassed commitment to quality. (he won't let me work on my own bike anymore, lest I ""f### it up""!)

BTW: if you leave your bike overnight, bring a pizza for the guys when you pick it up. They will remember that small gesture for a long while!(a 6-pack of red stripe near closing time also helps, although the boss prefers a guiness)

I'm not saying Larry & Jeff's is the best shop in town, only that you need to cultivate a relationship with any shop in order to get the best service. Naturally, if they don't know you from John Doe, they will not give you preferential treatment(Colnago or otherwise).

Oh, and don't forget the pizza!

BTW: if you need an intro to Larry and his team, let me know."

Anonymous's picture
richard rosenthal (not verified)
A few unkind words about Larry & Jeff's, at least the 3rd Ave. o

"I don't understand why posters complain of bike shops but won't name them. If you get bad service or overcharged, the reputation of the place should pay the consequences of that.

Several years ago a former club member put a deposit on a Merlin-Campy. She asked my opinion. I asked the price. I was outraged. I asked where she bought it. She said Larry & Jeff's. I told her to price it elsewhere.

She priced the identical bike--I mean IDENTICAL--bike at Toga (not that I'm necessarily partial to them)...for a cool $1000 LESS!

L&J is located near monied people who have more money than bike savvy, and, in the best capitalistic tradition, L&J was and is only too happy to relieve these mindless/clueless people of it. And they 're happy to cooperate.

For example:

• A db spoke: Wholesale: c. 38¢-40¢; L&J: $1.75.

• Price of overhaul: Wouldn't say on the phone; had to bring bike in.

I told the overcharged club member to get L&J to justify their charging her $1000 more than another shop for the identical package. Their breathtaking reply: ""We'll maintain it for the first year.""

Uh, for $1000?

Disclaimer: I don't know a thing about the L&J (or L) on Second and 87th. Did they get divorced from J's on Third and 79/80th? Also, the bike story goes back c. five years. The HB wrap rap and spoke anecdotes are current.

Folks: C'mon, come forward with your bad experiences and NAME the shops. How better to keep them honest, as it were?

One last note: the best, most patient, most caring, most accessible bike mechanic in all of New York Learn it if you don't know it.


Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Larry vs Jeff

AFAIK, they're mostly individual entities and have been for quite some time. Larry's (2nd, 87-88) is ok but Jeff's? (3rd, 79-80) Ack, ptooie.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

">I don't understand why posters complain of bike shops
>but won't name them. If you get bad service or
>overcharged, the reputation of the place should pay the
>consequences of that.

...Something about ""representing"" the club and burning bridges."

Anonymous's picture
richard rosenthal (not verified)
We shouldn't share bad opinions and stories, Isaac? I disagree.

"Golly, Isaac, I didn't realize everything I do in conjunction with cycling reflects on the club as a whole.

So if I complained about work poorly done, the club itself is considered a complainer? If I balk at being overcharged or high prices, the club itself is pilloried as being cheap?

If I yell at a driver for endangering a cyclist by, for example, suddenly cutting in front of him from an ajoining lane, then slamming on his brakes as he turns without signaling his turn, am I creating a wrong-headed antipaty in that driver for the NYCC?

Answer: None of us ""represents"" the club and neither does our web site. We are 1400 individuals with free thought; we are not in lockstep.

And I, for one, am only grateful to receive stories of bad service and high prices as well as good service and fair pricing.

One of the best campaign lines I've ever known is Sym's, ""An informed customer is our best customer."" No worthy shop should shrink from cyclists' knowing and expressing themselves about it. And the idea of silencing ourselves out of some amorphous service to the NYCC is beyond my ken."

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)

Rich, I didn't mean you. I meant me, as a NYCC board member.

Anonymous's picture
Kiwi Greg (not verified)
An Owners Vision

I appreciate your comments about L&J's. I'm sure they are great mechanics and they obviously take very good care of you and your bike.
The level of service an owner offers in his business is always difficult to translate to your employees. Having owned & run my own business I know how difficult it is to get your staff to see the bigger picture and care the way you care.
As for my Colnago, I don't expect preferential service just because I have a nice ride. There is enough of sense of entittlement on the Upper East side already, I certainly don't share those sensibilities. Weather you drive a Lexus or a Pinto you should receive the same level of service. I can't see why the store I called ( who does say on their website that they take bookings) don't work like car dealers and book bikes in for service. It would save on storage space which is surely one of the most expensive elements of running a business in Manhattan.
Anyway, it's not my business.
I can actually service my bike myself, having worked as a mechanic for my old club team on many tours and crits. The issue is just having the environment to do the work. People in our building don't look too friendly at me when I spanner my bike in the basement!
I figure the money I was going to pay for labour is best spent on some new tools and then I can buy the parts off the net and probably end up on the winning side of the deal.
That way I figure I can buy myself some pizza and beer and then I won't have any reason to complain about customer service!

Anonymous's picture
Sheamus Cullen (not verified)
Local Bike Shop Mechanic's

I have to agree with Peter on this one, build a relationship with your local shop and you would be taken care of. I stopped off with him and Larry & Jeff's and the mechanic James was very busy but managed to take time out to wrap my bars, afterwards we hung out in the shop and had a great time.

I also have to say that Sid's Bike Shop 235 East 34th Street held a bicycle maintenance work shop with the NYCC, where now I have a great relationship with their staff. Their shop is very busy but Alan (owner) and Zoltan (mechanic) always make time for me. Their prices are very reasonable for the level of service they provide. Despite being very busy they do take the time out to explain and show you the work they have done, and tips on servicing your own bike. I won't go anywhere else unless it's an emergency repair, sorry Peter but I'm hooked on Sid's now.

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
Another View

"I don't think you should need to have a ""relationship"" with a bike shop to get decent, reasonable service and if you don't get that service no matter who you are, you shouldn't be afraid to tell the world about it.

After my experience with Larry & Jeff's on 3rd Ave., I will never even buy a battery for my computer there. I bought my first road bike there, a Bianchi Eros. My biggest requirement at that time was getting a triple chain ring (I was fresh from Irv Weisman's last B SIG), my 2nd requirement was that the bike come in celeste green, the classic Bianchi color.

Alas, the frames that came in celeste green - like the Campione - did not come with a triple chain ring. ""Can you put a triple on the Campione?"" I asked politely. The clerk told me it would be a lot more money. ""Go with the Eros"" he told me, it's the same frame as the Campione and it comes with a triple. What did I know? I figured I could settle for British racing green if it meant getting a triple.


1) The Campione frame and the Eros frame are NOT the same, the Eros is a touring frame which I didn't want, and is both heavier and less agile than the Campione frame.

2) A triple chain ring is not significantly more expnesive than a double and any decent bike shop would probably have made the switch for nothing.

If they didn't want to swap components without charging, that's one thing. But LYING about the frame is altogether different and if they weren't lying then their ignorance is even worse. I also met someone a few years later who bought an Eros there and was told the same thing ""Oh yeah, it's the same frame as the Campione."" And if that weren't bad enough, everytime I went back for my free service or to buy something I got nothing but condescention, attitude and sarcasm from the clerks and the manager. I was happy to pay for service from a different shop where I was treated with respect even though I still had a few months left to run on my free service from L&J.

Now this was several years ago but to my knowledge, the management has not changed and if they allowed people like that to work there at all, it's likely the same attitude still exists today. Of course I wouldn't know about their shop today since once I found out how badly I was misled, I swore I'd never go back again."

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
two more shops

Bike Heaven 212-230-1919 [email protected] 348 E 62nd St (betw. 1st & 2nd Av)

Pedal Pusher Bike Shop 212-288-5592 [email protected]
1306 2nd Ave. (betw. 68 & 69 St)

Anonymous's picture
jk (not verified)

Conrad's - Tudor City.

Enough said.

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)

Best time to get the bike overhauled. That's when I go to my shop (Habitat); they need the business, and I don't need my bike. Expect it's the same elsewhere.

Sorry this suggestion does nothing to solve your problem in the short term.

Anonymous's picture
CJVDT (not verified)
too late now but...

My shop in White Plains gets so busy in the spring he offered a discount if you brought you bike in for a tune up before March 15th!

Anonymous's picture
Janet Klutch (not verified)
Another Suggestion

Of course, this depends on what kind and how much work needs to be done.
I have had work done on my bike at the Piermont bike shop, while I had lunch. I have also gone to the Bicycle Workshop in Tenafly, NJ and waited there, while they did some work.

Anonymous's picture
Pete Brevett (not verified)
Bike Shops

I have always had good luck at Metro. Especially their stores at Lex and 88th and 47th and 9th Avenue. Good service and knowledgeable salespeople.

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