Seeking a recommendation for a London bike shop

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Anonymous's picture

I'm going to London in a few weeks and I really want to visit a great bike shop--er, great British bike shop. Most of the ones that advertise in the British cycling mags seem to be outside London, and the ones I've found in London seem to have, well, off-the-rack American bikes like Trek, Cannondale, Klein, etc.

Any suggestions?

Anonymous's picture
steve (not verified)

You'll have to do a bit of travelling around the city, but the best shops are:

Centrally - Condor Cycles -
Condor build their own frames for all areas of cyclesport and stock a huge range of equipment, clothing etc.

Then in the South - Geoffrey Butler Cycles -
'Butlers' is the place to go for half of London. Their own frames as well as Bianchi, Trek and some more exotic stuff, also a great range of kit often good sales either instore or online

and Pearsons.
Pearsons is pronbably too small to be worth the trip but was my 'local' and were a great bunch so I thought I would just name drop.

Also worth checking out for all the lastest in news and sport action in the London area.

Say 'Hi' to Blighty for me.

Anonymous's picture
Steve B (not verified)

Condor cycles definitely has the attitude if that's what you're looking for I always shopped at Evans (, as they have a huge stock across their stores and always seem to have good end of season sales as a result. Their Waterloo Cut store is pretty well stocked.

Personally, I think the stores here, even in NYC, are way better and the weak dollar makes them consistently cheaper.

Anonymous's picture
Hy S. Terrier (not verified)
Wanted Memorable London bike shop

Beware of the great difference in prices. What you spend a dollar for in NYC, you will spend a pound for in the UK - but the UK pound is equal to $1.80 US - hence you will be spending almost twice as much in the UK for the very same item in NYC.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Condor's, Sigma and Cycle Dauphin

I will also endorse the recommendation for Condor. They are on Gray's Inn Road, and the nearest tube station is Chancery Lane on the Central Line. Walk north for one block, cross straight at the lights to remain on Gray's Inn Road and continue for another 200 yards and the store is on the lefthand side. There used to be a decent Indian restaurant in the same block.

At certain times of the year, Condor has sales on their own brand of clothing. A few years ago I picked up some shorts there at £10 ($19) a shot and, three years later, all but one of those five pairs is still going strong. And I definitely wash them after every use.

If you have the time, a train ride to Hampton Wick and Sigma is well worth it. The advertise in Procycling. You could then catch a bus to nearby Hampton Court.

But, if you want a real treat, you could do a lot worse than take a train and a taxi to Cycle Duaphin, almost at the top of Box Hill, near Dorking, about 30 miles south, southwest of London. They also advertise in Procycling. It is one of the best road bike stores I've ever encountered. It has a very personal service and Conrad's here reminds me of it. Cycle Dauphin also has an Espresso machine and serves a fairly decent cappuccino.

Evans may have some good end season sales, but I find their staff pretty poor.

As also mentioned, you will not find any bargains in London and this is made even worse by the exchange rate.

You should also be aware that in Britain, rear and front brakes are wired the other way around, ie you have the back brake on the left and the front brake on the right; it's actually a legal requirement. Because they ride and drive on the left, you have to be able to signal a right hand turn while still being able to apply the back brake. In the US and continental Europe, the law requires the brakes to be the other way around.

Otherwise, you will struggle to find a better kept pint of Fuller's London Pride than the Dove in Hammersmith. And the best place for Indian food is Southall. And it's relatively cheap.

Anonymous's picture
Steve B (not verified)
"""Great"" Britain"

Now that we've concluded that the US is a better place to go bike shopping than the UK, onto more important questions. Is there anywhere that serves Fullers in NYC? I know some of the convenience stores sell Pride and 1845, but what's the cheapest option. Any recommendations for Curry? Where's the cheapest place to buy Marmite?

Forgive me for the Evans recommendation - I was just recommending somewhere which is reasonably priced and central... but if the original poster wants that they would be best buying in the US!

We could always suggest Halfords... the original UK home of Bianchi. ;-)

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
British Nostalgia

Halford's. I'd quite forgotten the rubbish they sold, with the exception of inner tubes. And I'd also forgotten they were the original UK home of Bianchi.

As for curry, my two best recommendations are the Jackson Diner in Jackson Heights. Jackson Heights has a large Hindu population, with a high percentage born in India, rather than here. It is the equivalent of Southall in West London. My other recommendation is the Karma Cafe in Hoboken. But the Jackson Diner is definitely better value, and is easily accessible from the 7 train. It's a stonesthrow from 71st St and Broadway.

It has really good value with its buffet on a Saturday afternoon - as much as you can eat for, I think, $8.50, and it serves the large bottles of Taj Mahal too.

I've no idea where the cheapest outlet is for Marmite, but I'm guessing that Fairway on 74th and Broadway, or the 125th St store would be cheaper than either Myers of Keswick or Tea & Sympathy. I no longer shop at Fairway, because we are fed up with being treated like sh1t when we complain that their fresh produce is rotten, especially their garlic.

The cheapest source of Fuller's in New York is Pioneer on Columbus Ave at 74th Street. In fact, I would have to say it is the cheapest source of any beer in New York and has the widest range of beers of any supermarket I've seen over here. They also sell a lot of brews from Theakston's and Young's. At the moment, they are knocking out a very palletable Czech pilsner for 49 cents for a half litre bottle.

If you are pining for some real ale, try The Gingerman on 36th Street between Madison and 5th Ave (north side). Almost all of it is brewed over here but, occasionally, they import one from England. I've twice seen Gale's HSB there and they keep it nicely. But they don't serve real ale in July and August, and they sometimes run out by the end of the week.

Ok, what's any of this got to do with cycling? Any English cyclist will tell you that there is nothing like a curry after a good long ride, washed down with a good beer.

A piece of advice to any English Siglets this year: if you've had a curry the night beofre a ride, make sure you stay at the back of the paceline.

And to get us really off subject, what do you fellow English folk think of Charlie and Camilla getting married. Personally, I couldn't give a toss.

Anonymous's picture
David Regen (not verified)
re: curry after a big ride

I quite agree that Indian is the perfect meal after a big ride. In my youth, I used to come home from a summer 80,90,100 miler, get cleaned up and get together with friends for dinner in the East Village, where I'd order two appetizers, two entrees and a Foster's, followed up with a Dove bar. There is nothing quite like riding hard all day and then stuffing one's face with suspiciously cheap ethnic food, and Indian has always been a favorite. Vietamese a close second.

Anonymous's picture
XXX (not verified)
no legal rrequirement re brake setup in US

Can't speak for UK, but 'tis not correct that there is a legal requirement in US to have front brake on left. Many (right handed) cyclists have it the other way round (see, e.g., Sheldon Brown) on the theory that you should put the strongest hand on the most important brake, i.e., the FRONT.

It's merely a convention that US bikes come setup the way they do, and, as a point of note, motorcycles in the US come with the default brake setup the other way.

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
I stand corrected!

I apologise. I assume it was a legal requirement here, simply because it is over much of continental Europe.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Brake routing

It's not merely a convention that the right hand lever controls the rear brake. The brake guides along your top tube are on the left side of the tube making the cable routing smoother from the right lever.

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

It _is_ a (Continental and American) convention that the right hand side lever controls the rear brake. The fact that the brake cable guides are on the right are an effect of that convention, not a cause of it.

It's just as easy for a builder to braze those at 5 o'clock as it is at 7 o'clock. Or right on top, if you're agnostic.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
My Cannondale has the braze on the left

I assumed the braze on was on the left on my Cannondale because it was bought in England and that this would make it smoother for the left-hand lever controlling the back brake.

That said, the last time I changed brake and gear cables, I had them rerouted fo the American/Continental way around. I can't say I've noticed any difference to the effectiveness of either brake. The both work just fine.

Having not been to England for three years, it will be interesting to see how I get on with riding and driving on the left side of the road again.

Anonymous's picture
Steve (not verified)

Just thought I would add some internet addresses for the bike shops mentioned: They stock the new Ridley Damocles and their own Carbon Frame is very hightly rated.

My initial thought since moving here is that bikes, frames and components are cheaper here and that cycle clothing (Trade Kit) seems cheaper in Europe. Also in the UK riders more often buy lesser known frames and build up as opposed to the 'off the peg' culture shops seem to display in the US. Saying that I still struggle to name parts correctly!!!

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