Local Bike Shop: Velo Bike Shop, Seattle
I have been riding for quite a while. Most maintenance tasks I can handle on my own. I can do anything from adjusting my brakes to truing a wheel. I am even getting the hang of derailleur adjustment. Even so I still rely on my local bike shop for a second opinion, advice or the projects I don’t feel comfortable tackling on my own. The local bike shop can be a great resource. I have a good relationship with a couple of bike shops, but sadly both are considerable distance from where I live.
There are not many bike shops in Downtown/Belltown Seattle. It is a high rent district and bike shops are not the greatest money making ventures. Luckily Velo Bike Shop is not far from where I work. I stopped in a couple of times for some window shopping and spoke with Lloyd, who I gather is the owner. I got a good vibe and decided to have them help me out with a couple projects. My experience was as follows:
Velo Bike Shop
2151 6th Ave
Velo carries Giant, Bianchi, Surley. They also have some consignment sales, which is unique. Based on my observations, they carry mostly mid range and below bikes, the type of bikes one would use buzzing around downtown Seattle. No one in their right mind would lock their $10,000 bike to a rack and go into a bar. Bianchi and Giant have some high end offerings which they could get for you. Here are a couple examples from the archive.
I have used the mechanical services at Velo Bike Shop twice. My experience is as follows:
Repair: Axle replacement
Cost: $25 parts, $25 labor
I was lucky to acquire a 1989 Cannondale ST1000. It was equipped from the factory with a rack and fenders to make it the perfect vintage commuter. Unfortunately it had not been ridden in nearly 25 years. While getting it back into road worthy condition, I found that the read axle was bent. This is not a job I like doing on my own. It requires removing the bearing and repacking everything with grease, a messy ordeal. I dropped off the wheel they took my information and said it would be ready later that day (expect longer wait times during peak season). True to their word, they called later that day letting me know my wheel was done. They even took the time to clean off the original parts and return them to me in a bag so that I may assess. In my opinion, a mechanic, auto or bike, replaces a part you should be allowed to see the original part. This was a nice touch.
Repair: Frame Swap
Cost: $100 plus parts.
Years of use had taken their toll on my old Giant road bike and it was time to either replace the frame or buy a new bike. Unfortunately, I was not in a position to buy a new ride, so I chose a new frame. I was surprised when I was told that the frame swap would only be $100 plus parts. It would be easy for me to pick up my bike from work, so I had Velo Bike Shop do the work. They had to order a few parts to complete the build, and kept me informed every step of the way with calls or texts. This is a nice touch and often not the case with mechanics of any kind. It was greatly appreciated. Once again, replaced old parts were given to me when I picked up the bike. Other than having to make a slight tweak of the rear derailleur, the work was flawless. My derailleur is very worn and a bit tricky to adjust.
Velo Bike Shop is an established bike shop with a solid reputation. I had heard of their work and even met one of their mechanics on the RSVP where they provide voluntary mechanical ride support. Moving close to work in Belltown made it convenient for me to stop in. I find their mechanical and customer service to be excellent and their prices to be reasonable, especially considering their location. They even have a collection of loaner tools available in the entry! A very nice touch.