Ottawa Bike Shops

I’ve been shopping around for a new year-round commuter. This will be the first time I’ll be buying a new bike with the intention to ride it year round. I have a few reasons for this. one is the environmental impact of trashing a bike every year (albeit an old bike) and one is that I’m just sick of riding bikes that don’t work. I decided on single-speed because it’s been my experience that although internal hubs are sealed and therefore will last longer, once they do go to crap, they’re crap.

anyways, I know what I want. I have a few ideas of bikes that will work. And I have a bike shop that I generally shop at. I’m a bit flexible on price, and even components. Here’s a review of my experience.

Stop 1: Cycle Power on Carling.

I had a talk on the phone with someone. A pretty good talk and he answered all my questions. He said he had lots of bikes that would fit what I wanted (at this point I hadn’t as many details, so it was pretty simple “a single speed commuter”

I went to the shop and told the guy I wanted a lower-end commuter because I was probably going to destroy it. He picked me out the fuji classic track. Said it’s a great bike, has no downsides. The reason I like cycle power is that they do LIFETIME, unlimited tune ups. However if you have a single speed there isn’t too much tuning up to do. The guy didn’t seem that interested in helping me out and also seemed a bit bored, which I assume is because I went in asking for a “lower end bike” but considering lower end in their shop is 550, it’s not like I wanted a 200$ can tire bike

The result: The Fuji Track (Classic) – $550

Stop 2: Bushtukah

The guy was great. it helps if you’re a cute girl and there are lots of young men working. I didn’t have a problem getting help. I picked out the Trek district. At $1269 it was a bit steep but has some sweet new technology. I took it for a ride, and it was awesome and smooth. The guy then suggested I try another trek, without the carbon drive, and $500 cheaper. I took it for a ride too but if I was going to go trek I was going to go carbon drive. He suggested that I might want to put the bike on hold, and wait and see if the 2011 bikes would come out in the next few days, thereby driving the price of the 2010 model down – now THAT is what I call good (albeit probably against employee conduct) service!

The result: Trek District – $1269

Stop 3: Fresh Air

The guy didn’t seem to have too many answers for me. Every time I asked a question “so does this bike have a flip flop” he had to look at the bike. Well I could have looked at the bike myself and answered my own damn questions I guess, or he would ask another guy. He seemed quite intent to help me though. Although the kid wasn’t uber knowledgeable he was (or tried to be) helpful

the result: Giant Bowery $612

Stop 4: Tall tree
I asked for an aluminum single speed, he said he didn’t have any and had never had anyone ask for that. This is where I started leaning towards chromo. He didn’t offer to show me anything else, so I asked what else he had. Other than that the guys were really good and helpful.

The result: Masi Speciale Commuter, $650

Stop 5: Kunstadt Glebe

This is the shop that I would call “my” shop. I have been going to the same mechanic for years, and this is now where he works, so this is where I go. I ride with the guys at this shop, and I buy pretty much all my accessories there. They carry Masi’s so I went in to see if they could get me the commuter. He didn’t think he could, and he didn’t think he would be able to for the same price, since the guys at tall tree were obviously selling off a model they already had on the floor, and he would have to order it in specially, from a dealer that they aren’t really dealing with anymore (norco – they don’t even sell norco’s).

Anyways, Adam was super helpful, as he always is (I’m biased), and offered up the speednik for the same price, if they had it, since it was already on sale. Unfortunately they had already sold the one in my size so we were back to square one. He offered to ‘do some research” and would call me in the morning if he could get me the masi, and if he could get it for the right price.

the result: potentially, the masi Commuter, potentially for $650

Last stop; Phat Moose Cycles

I walked in on a whim, following a recommendation from a friend. I ran into another friend Barry, one of those guys I never really keep track of, but consistently run into, either at a bar or, more usually, at a bike shop. I hadn’t run into him since last fall so we were due for a run-in. I started taking to him and mentioned what I was looking for and the guy working in the shop said “oh yeah. we have it”
and I though ‘heard that before – you have no idea what you’re getting yourself into buddy” so I said I wanted a masi commuter or something comparable, and he said
“I have that”
so I said, great, I want it for 650″
and he said “you know what you want, for 650, is the Salsa Casseroll, it is even better” and he’s right. It actually does everything the masi does (has the ability to go back to geared (easily), has braze-ons for rack & fenders, comes single/fixed) AND it has better components, AND it was down for 950 to 650. He offered to switch off whatever I wanted, or to let me try it for a week and then switch things up.

This guy was UBER awesome. He let me test the bike (for over an hour) without even taking id or a CC. He knew ALL about the bike, as well as all about the Masi, even though he JUST started carrying it. He knew the difference between the masi speciale fixed & the Commuter, and at least 5 other people I had talked to were convinced it was the same thing.

I was SO impressed with this shop. I had never been there before I got amazing service. Maybe it was because I obviously knew one of their regulars, and it was just a coincidence but I was blown away. Really friendly, really knowledgeable, amazing bikes available, and a great price. They took the time to tell me before I test rode it what I should be looking for (in this case being stretched out since I was testing a 50 but probably needed at 47) and I think they’ll do a great job of adjusting it when it comes in next week.

The other thing that impressed me was that they were like “you can call us every day if you want” most shops are like ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’ – although I will admit the younger guy said they might either forget to order it or forget to call me, but I’m so excited about this bike that I won’t forget (that and I put 500$ down for it)

The Result: Salsa Casseroll, 650$

The Service award:
Phat Moose Cycles
98 Hawthorne Avenue MN
Ottawa, ON K1S 0B1
(613) 231-2427

Update June 29: I still don’t have my bike. The boys at Phat Moose have assured it will be in by the end of the week, and I can pay my invoice (the balance of which is only 150 + tax) at the pre-hst price (at the moment bikes under 1000$ only taxed with PST but that will be no more once HST sets in)


1 Comment »

  1. KL Said:

    Trying to buy a new bike and completely overloaded with info and choices so this was helpful. Just curious – two years in – do you still recommend phat moose?

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