Conrad's Bike Shop :-(

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Anonymous's picture

Per the recommendation of John at Conrad’s Bike Shop, I purchased a set of Look pedals. They are very good. However, John tried to mount the Look cleat on my Shimano Road shoes (SPD-R drill pattern). He couldn’t get the Look cleat into the SPD-R pattern. I purchased a new pair of SiDi road shoes from him. I’m also happy with these shoes. As I was jury rigiding the Shimano SPD-R road shoes for another bike, I was surprised to find that the Look cleat fits perfectly on to the Shimano SPD-R road shoes. John is too experience to have made this mistake. Sadly, I have to give Conrad's the “Do Not Enter” rating.

Anonymous's picture
Uri (not verified)
Bring back the shoes.

You should talk to John as well. John is extremely honest.

Anonymous's picture
Tom (not verified)
sidi soles

I assume you know that Sidi produces several different soles on its shoes. For example, there are millennium soles and millennium 2 soles, and there are Sidi carbon soles. I cannot believe that John would pretend that the cleats would not fit just so he could sell you another pair of shoes. That seems to be what you are suggesting. I have dealt with John for years and have never known him to try such a thing. He has always been honest and forthright with me. I too think you should talk to him.

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

I've never had bad service at Conrad's.

I've had several pairs of Shimano road shoes that I used with Look cleats. I found on one pair the cleat would distort when the mounting screws were tightened fully. I had to put a thin spacer under the cleat in one corner to keep it from distorting. Also, at least for the way I have to adjust my cleat rotation, the inside rear corner of my Look cleats sticks out past the edge of the sole of the shoe.

Anonymous's picture
Diane Goodwin (not verified)
Conrad's is really great ...

"When you think of Conrad's Bike Shop, you think mostly of his clients being racers. You envision Colnagos. Well, in 2003, a group of 2003 newbie brevet riders starting coming into his shop and all demanded strong lighting for night riding, triples and other miscellaneous non-race oriented services. John was always helpful and I think, learned alot from us. I think we really amused him - especially my SQR Caradice seat post bag which he called a ""trunk."" He was especially helpful to us that year ... and again, we weren't racers - long-distance cyclists. On another note, he built up my Kickbike. I had it shipped there - didn't buy it from him either. He's been easy to deal will get on the phone and answer stupid questions.

BTW, I agree, go back and talk to John. Maybe he was having an ""off"" day. If he was wrong, he'll admit it and I'm sure, will offer you something in return for your inconvenience."

Anonymous's picture
frank (not verified)

could it simply be that a fits b' but b does not fit a'? regardless, is it not always better to match the pedal with the appropriate cleat ( a w/ a' & b w/ b')? i ask simply because i had always assumed this to be the case.

Anonymous's picture
undermensch (not verified)

Shimano does make a few models that only have the spd pattern, particularly for Mountain Bike/Touring (ones with a sole you can walk on) -- they are not compatible with the look pattern.

Most of Shimano's Road shoes accept the look pattern. I don't know if at some point they made road shoes that only accepted the spd pattern.

As others stated, double check with John, he's of the upmost integrity.

I ride speedplay pedals.
from Italy, with love,


Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
john is the only person i'd consider...

...if i need any work done on my new/used litespeed classic. sorry, the other mechanics may be competent and all, but john is several levels above the rest in the business here in nyc.

everyone makes mistakes.


Anonymous's picture
xxxx (not verified)
Not recommended!

"On a recent recommendation from a friend, I decided to try Conrad's. About 5 weeks ago, I met John and told him I needed to have my rear wheel trued and that the crank was not spinning as freely as it should have been. I figured it was a bottom bracket problem most likely. He said he would check out the bike and take care of it and told me to come back in a week. After a week, I went back and the bike was not even touched. John again said come back in a week. I wasn't to happy but I said fine. I called him 5 days later and told him I'd like the work done, he said come in two days. When I went to pick up my bike, I asked him how it went and he said no problems. He charged me $65 (plus a $15 tip for the mechanic) and off I went. I immediatly noticed that the crank was still the same so several days later, when I had the time, I went back told him there was no difference. I asked him if he worked on the crank and the bottom bracket and immediately I could tell he hadn't. He gave me a very uncomfortable yes answer which I could see was not true. He then said he would have to overhaul the whole bike if I wanted him to find out the real problem. He quoted me a price which was extremely high but, being naive and still remembering how my friend raved about this guy, I gave the go ahead. Again, he said come back in a week. I called him last Thursday after he had the bike for 8 days and asked if the bike was ready. Of course, he said no but they would work on it on Friday and told me to come on Monday to pick up the bike. I had my doubts, why come on Monday if the bike will be ready on Friday? Anyway, I kept my mouth shut and waited. This morning I went over to the shop and there was John. First thing out of his mouth was, ""hey, what can I do for you today?"" Like he didn't know. I told him I was there to collect my bike. He said he'd have it back to me ""sometime this week"". Supressing my anger, I told him no way, I wanted my bike back now. He had the nerve to ask me why. I said, ""why? because I want it back"". He then said he could have it back to me tomorrow. Suddenly, my bike was a priority. I said, no, now, I'm taking it out of here and that this level of service was unacceptable and bad. He said he was sorry but that in the Spring it's really busy and I shouldn't come for service in the Spring. Right, like it's my bike's fault for needing service at this moment. In all, Conrad's had my bike for 4 weeks out of the last 5 and managed to only true my rear wheel (which cost $80 bucks). What a waste of time. If you want to be overcharged, lied to, jerked around and without your bike for weeks at a time, then by all means go to Conrad's. It's the black hole for bikes. Otherwise, my strong recommendation is to stay far away from this place, there are way to many good bike mechanics in this city then to deal with such nonsense."

Anonymous's picture
fendergal (not verified)
Then by all means, take your business elsewhere.
Anonymous's picture
xxx (not verified)
Gee, fendergal ...

Do ya think? lol

Anonymous's picture
David Regen (not verified)
You need to be your own mechanic

I can't imagine living without my bike for 48 hours, let alone several weeks. Learn to fix it yourself and you'll never have to wait again.

With drivechain problems, it's a matter of deductive reasoning--keep eliminating possibilities until you find the problem. The best possible way to work on a bike is when it's on a repair stand, but if you don't have one, then flip it so it rests on the handlebar and saddle (remove your computer first!!). Pedal the bike with one hand and see how it feels. Is there immediate drag? Tt could be that a brake shoe is rubbing. Give the rear wheel a spin--does it rub? If not, there may be drag in the hub. Take the wheel off and give it a spin, holding onto the axle--does it spin normally? If yes, then the wheel is fine; if no; then the hub needs new bearings.

If the rear wheel is fine, that leaves the bottom braket and the derailleur pulleys (yes, they wear out too). Pull the chain off the chainring and give the crank a spin--it should spin surprisingly fast. If it doesn't, you need to either have the bottom braket repacked (if it's a loose bearing type) or replaced. To test the pulleys, you really need to remove the chain, but you can just tug at the chain instead; if the chain doesn't move too easily, put on new pulleys.


Anonymous's picture
me (not verified)
They Stink...

"I agree, my own experience was the same...just a different mechanical issue with my bike. It seems that John is only concerned with his regular customers that want to spend large amounts of money in his shop. I would have been one of those customers over time if he had initially treated me and my steel Fuji with Shimano 9-speed 105 parts with more respect. I guess I need to get a Ti-Dura Ace bike from him before I am considered a ""true customer"".

I understand that he may want to cater to his regular customers first but how do you get new customers if you always ignore them and treat them badly?"

Anonymous's picture
Uri (not verified)
Five weeks ago

is about the right time every Tom, Dick, and Shirley drag their bikes out of storage, wipe the cobwebs off, and try to ready them for the Five Borough Bike Crash and the Montauk Century. The shops are overloaded up until those rides take place. Some more than others. Historically, it is the worst time to get anything done on your bike regardless of the shop. Conrad's is one of the smallest shops around. They are easily inundated. Yes, John probably could have handled himself better, but I know from experience, this is the worse time of the year to go and ask a shop for immediate service.

Anonymous's picture
Once Bitten (not verified)

I don't see where the original poster asked for immediate service. He was initially told to come back in a week and that's what he did.

I had a similar experience at Conrad's three weeks ago. I took a Rolf wheel in to have a Shimano freehub swapped for a Campy freehub and cassette. Ciao Italia! Conrad's got the supposedly hard-to-get Rolf freehub right away, but it took them seven working days just to get a Campy cassette. Conrad's blew their promised delivery date twice.

Being busy gives Conrad's no excuse for stringing along their customers. They need to be honest about delivery dates, and if they cannot meet them offer some kind of recompense.

That said, as the original poster suspects, Conrad's probably does treat its regular, high-zoot customers better. What business does not?

I've learned over the years that the only way to get decent service at a bike shop is to develop a relationship with the staff. For the past year I've been going to the shop on my corner, despite its deservedly poor reputation for prices and service. I would go in there for little items--and get treated like dirt.

But eventually they got to know me and they now respect me. The other day they trued a wheel for me for free, then helped me pack a frame for shipping at no charge.

Anonymous's picture
Christy Guzzetta (not verified)
Conrad's is the best!

I for one will trust only Conrad’s to service my bike. There are lots of bike shops in New York City. Some are very good. But as far as I am concerned there is only one Pro Shop – and that one Pro Shop is Conrad’s. I have a custom made bike built specifically for me, I did not buy it at Conrad’s. Yet Conrad’s services it as if it were their own bike, as if they were going to ride that bike to the top of the mountain themselves. Conrad’s is the Pro Shop. John, Philip, Yee – they are all pros. And my experience with the pros is if you have a problem, work with them, they will fix it. No one in this city does better work making a bike hum.

I find it interesting that the critics hide behind anonymity. Who are you, I wonder? Could you be a bike employee from the competition trying to drive business your way? If you don’t have the strength of character to stand by your own opinions, your opinions must be very weak, they can have no merit. While Conrad’s is at risk, in the public eye, open, a potential target, you throw barbs from hidden places. Who are you? I don’t know. What experience do you have with bikes? I don’t know. Do you even ride a bike? I don’t know. In fact, I actually wonder if you do. I also find it interesting that the people who have had good experiences with Conrad’s generally do take ownership of their comments. They stand strong by their words. My compliments to you for taking a position and owning that stand.

I know Conrad’s and they have proven to me time and again that they are the absolute best. I don’t know who the anonymous critics are. They have proven absolutely nothing to me.

Anonymous's picture
xxxx (not verified)
My identity doesn't matter.

Christy, my identity doesn't matter but John knows who I am, this is not a made up story but fact. I can assure you that I'm not a bike shop competitor and I do ride my bike a lot. Luckily, I had a second bike to ride otherwise I wouldn't have let John keep my bike for a total of 4 weeks in the first place. I have no doubt as to the quality of work that John and his staff perform when they do get around to performing it and John seemed like a nice enough guy. I have nothing personal against him but the truth is I was lied to repeatedly about when my bike would be ready, I was lied to about work that was done on my bike and I was lied to about the additional work that needed to be done to my bike in order to fix it. As soon as I took my bike out of Conrad's I rode straight to another bike shop and, literally, in 10 minutes my crank was fixed (I'm not exagerating). There was no need for a $250 overhaul which is what John wanted to do and charge me. Bottom line, John's actions were not genuine and I, for one, will never deal with someone like him again. I own my own business too and would never dream of treating customers the way I was treated. I'm glad your experience with Conrad's has been good and I'm sure he's taken care of that beautiful red bike of yours very well but for me he gets a big fat F.

Anonymous's picture
hindy schachter (not verified)

Irv and I have only positive things to say from our years of experience with John Tsang at Conrad's.

Anonymous's picture
Fred (not verified)
Caring and expert

I just got my bike tuned at Conrad's. As always, they did great work.

As is often the case they went to extra trouble to help me out.

It's true that they are very busy now. When I brought my bike in they warned me it might take a while. They were one day later than I was expecting, which I consider a VERY small price to pay for having confidence in the workmanship.

I have had bad experiences at other bike shops. Never at Conrad's.

By the way, I did NOT buy my bike there.

Anonymous's picture
Karol (not verified)
In Search of the Perfect Bike Shop

I recently tried Conrad's for the first time on the recommendation of one of the A19 Sig leaders. I was having terrible trouble with my rear derailer and it seemed like nobody could get it right, including me. I first tried the shop where I'd bought my Trek 2300 last year, which provides free tune ups for a year. After they worked on it, the shifting was worse, even though I know the guys and they're eager to help.

I then went to Anewgen in midtown, but discovered they've sadly closed. I relied on them for tune ups and service after another NYCC member recommended them to me.

So I tried Sid's, paid $8.50 for an on-the-spot fix and it was practically identical to when I brought it in--still giving me trouble on about half of my gears. Not good.

Then I brought it to Conrad's on Monday and Yee said it wouldn't be ready till the following Monday. I panicked and said I couldn't wait. I had to ride on Saturday with the NYCC Sig. So he said, Okay, call Friday. I called Friday and picked it up that afternoon.

I rode it for 81 miles in deepest Westchester and it worked tons better, but not 100%. So I brought it back and Yee worked on it again, and got it back to me a day later. It was like 99.999%.

John didn't charge me for the second tune up, although I am sure if I brought it back they'd further fine tune it for free. I'm satisfied for now. I also bought new Look Keo pedals from John, which I'm thrilled with.

Conrad's seems to be incredibly diligent, although nobody's perfect. Buy hey, keep me posted if you know of the Perfect Bike Shop.


Anonymous's picture
Joe Irizarry (not verified)
I found the perfect bike shop

I've been riding since 1985. Since then I have used a few bike shops. Most were ok. None of them great. That is till I found Conrad's. I only purchased one bike from them and that was way back in 1988 or 1989. Ever since then I've been using Conrad's for all my bike needs. John treats all the bikes that I bring in as if they were his own. Currently I'm riding a Trek 5900 which John treats just like the custom Ti Seven's sold by his shop.

Every once in a while I stray. Especially now that I live in Brooklyn. But it's still worth taking my bike there even though I have to take the train to get there when ever my bike is ready.

Some advice that I can offer is narrow down what you think the problem with your bike is. You can't walk into any bike shop and say - my bike is making a clunking, grinding kind of sound. That'll get your bike pushed to the bottom of the fixer up pile. While people who walk in and know more or less what the problem is will get their bike back within a week. If the mechanic has a good lead from you it makes their job easier. It's just a matter of knowing how your bike rides when it's in tip top shape.

All shops mess up every once in a while. So give John a break. Or at least have the decency to give us your identity so we can see who's bitching and moaning.

By the way Karol, kudos to the A-19 Sig leader who recomended Conrad's. He must be one cool sun of a gun.
So there you have it!!! Conrad's is the Perfect Bike Shop!!!

Anonymous's picture
frank hacklander (not verified)

conrad's is the only shop i trust in the city and john has always treated me well. in fact, he has occasionally stopped me from making silly purchases (no, i really did not need that newest bit of carbon fiber bling). however, i also try to avoid the silly season (pre-Montauk, 5BBR) with respect to service and purchases because even the best bike shops will have difficulty meeting the requirements of demanding customers during that period. and, let us also not forget that distributors will also inadvertently mislead shops about item availability which can then lead to further misunderstandings. conrad's will always have my vote.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
i have to agree with joe...

"...if you want something done right and your time is worth money, go to a professional. john is a professional. he in fact proved that (again) on friday when i called asking him if he could stay open a few minutes late to sell me a few parts i needed to complete my bike project.

not only did he stay open a few minutes late, he took the time to ask me specific questions to make sure i left with the exact parts i needed. thanks to john's professionalism, i'm one bolt sleeve away (*) from being able to ride my bike.

i guess it all boils down to time and money. in most cases, it's worth spending a little more to get professional service. conrads is THE most professional shop in nyc and john is one of the reasons.

(*the guy i bought the bike frame/fork from [ebay] forgot to send me a special front brake bolt sleeve that reaches through the thick crown...i just found this out now at 2:30am sat morning - i guess i won't be riding this thing for a couple more days.)


Anonymous's picture
Chris T (not verified)
Bitching about Conrads again...whatever

"1. It's that season to defame or defend a bike shop on the message board, with Conrad's on the hot seat. Can't support either side. I didn't buy my bike at Conrads, and my favorite shop didn't sell me my bike either FWIW

2. If you think you have problems with you local bike shop, don't think the pros have it any easier. From's live commentary on Stage 18 of the 2005 Giro di Italia (a 34km ITT):
Russell Van Hout (Selle Italia) rode across the finish line with part of his clip-on bar in his hand, as it came off five km to go. He described his mechanic with an obscene gerund, before remarking, ""Our mechanic's the best, eh? He's a wanker. I just had a nice tempo, It was a good roll down for me. But with five kilometres to go, my bar came off. I was holding that in one hand and my brake in the other, so I nearly lost it on one corner.""

BTW, I love the Aussies for their straight on comments.

3. The following saying is generally attributed to Yogi Berra: ""If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be""

similarly, I don't believe there's a perfect bike shop, though it's ok to think there is a PBS."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
Talking shop

The original poster never had a follow up discussion with the store. It could have been a simple communication problem or something the shop owner would have been happy to resolve. Then posting something here afterwards may have then had some (very) marginal value.

I don't see what the point is posting annonomously such negativity here. Likewise no further discussion from this poster despite the many responses here. To me, this is very lame and very suspect - reflecting poorly on the poster raqther than the shop. That's my impression for what it's worth.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Another way to put it

It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but it only takes one disgruntled anonymous person 5 minutes with a computer to ruin it.

Anonymous's picture
??? (not verified)


It sounds like you too have a problem with the rules of this Message Board. Of course most negative comments are going to be anonymous. First, if the OP posted with his real name he would have a problem if he ever wanted to try Conrad's again. Second, he would have still pissed off many of Conrad's loyal customers and had fewer friends to ride with.

I've argued against allowing anonymous posts on the MB since its inception but this is one of the very few instances where it may be valuable.

The simple solution is to ban anonymous posts. Maybe people will eventually get comfortable posting negative comments under their real name. Maybe not. Either way, you're better off than you are now, where you are trying to discredit people for following the rules you helped set up.

(I won't get into the Conrad's debate as I don't shop there.)

jeff vogel

Anonymous's picture
Doesn't matter (not verified)
Respect all posters

I've read this post with interest. Some disgruntled customers complain about Conrad's because they feel they've been wronged. Loyal customers than come to the rescue of Conrad's and blast the unhappy ones for being anonymous like that somehow matters. Everyone has different experiences with bike shops. The unhappy posters probably have a legitimate beef while the happy customers will forever love Conrad's. This is an open forum to sound off, ask and give advice, post news of interest, etc. I don't think the unhappy posters would lie about their experiences and they have every right to post. Likewise, people have the right to proclaim Conrad's the best thing since sliced bread on this MB. For someone to say it takes a lifetime to build a business but only 5 minutes to tear it down is silly. If the allegations against Conrad's were not true, the owner of Conrad's also has the right to refute them if he chose to do that. The forum is open to him too. The bottom line is Conrad's seems to be a decent enough bike shop with many loyal customers but, evidently, it's certainly far from perfect. Respect everyone's opinion.

cycling trips