Best Bicycle Shop

Big Shark Bicycle Co.

The amount of quality Big Shark Bicycle Co. crams into a storefront in the University City Loop is nothing short of amazing. Every nook is filled with parts, clothes and, of course, bicycles. The pièce de resistance, a Colnago sporting Campagnolo components and a $4,000 price tag -- just like they use in the Tour de France -- hangs from the ceiling. We will admit upfront that we are partial to Italian gear, and Big Shark stands apart for offering choices beyond Shimano and Trek. Owing to a shortage of floor space, Big Shark doesn't have as many bicycles on display as several other shops in the metro area. Most notably, there is a shortage of moderately priced road bikes (say, in the $300-$500 range). But this is a minor nit that's more than offset by Big Shark's commitment to customer service. No matter how busy it gets (and it can get very busy), you never have to wait long for help. We were particularly impressed during a recent visit when the shop was crowded and we needed nothing more than the use of a 7mm Allen wrench to adjust a handlebar stem. It's an odd size that required a bit of searching in back, but the clerk found the tool after a few minutes and cheerfully handed it over, treating us every bit as well as customers who were looking to spend money. Big Shark also deserves kudos for its support of the local racing scene. Besides sponsoring road and mountain-bike racing teams, the shop promotes several races each year, including a criterium on the Loop. And for those just getting started, the shop holds occasional classes on basic bicycle repair.
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