Shop to Tour, Tour to Shop: A rough guide to Philippine Bike Shops for Touring

Forumites often ask about where to get touring stuff-from frames, to parts and components. Not all bikeshops in the country offer touring specific brands/stuff but there a few that offer these hidden gems for those intending to venture into the discipline…

But before that, it’s important that you and your bikeshop have a clear point of reference when dealing with each other…

As a customer, it would be good to…

Know what you want- will your rig prioritize cargo hauling, comfort or speed? These obviously influence your choices.

Be realistic with your resources-You can’t expect a bombproof rig with a beggar’s budget. Though there are alternatives out there, most of the time, you will get what you pay for when getting components/goods for your rig.

Feel free to ask- most of the bikeshops that I have encountered are passionate about the sport, so feel free to ask, inquire and know what you’re getting into. Over the years, I’ve learned that hidden gems/service are offered by some shops which prove to be helpful in improving my rig and riding in general.

When choosing the shop, it’s important to consider the following:

Range of products and services offered-Nothing frustrates me more when a shop can’t offer stuff that you need which you expect to be commonplace (brakepads, cables etc). Similarly, shops that have inadequate tools and expertise in dealing with mechanical issues with the bike can also be annoying.

Customer service-In the past ive encountered rude salespersons from bikeshops-I aint wasting my time there. For instance, there was this one shop in Cartimar, Pasay who would refuse to bring out stuff unless youre buying them-we don’t deserve this kind of treatment!

Discounts-Everybody loves lesser priced items so why not ask for a good price? Be realistic though and you cant get it for free!

Call me old school but though there are online sellers for components, warranty claims and post purchase service is important to me and these may be essential considerations for you as well.

Bottomline is, it is important that you- as a customer develop a good working relationship with your bikeshop. That is, they’re not just people running a shop to suck your funds with the goods but they are there to help you address your touring needs.

What I present  here are shops that ive dealt with over the years and I’m sure there are others out there…

Ross Cycle Center (Cartimar Center, Pasay, http://www.yellow-pages.ph/business/ross-cycles)

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The ever first bikeshop that I’ve dealt with when I started biking again several years ago, they’ve got good stock of different bike brands as well as components. Aside from reasonable prices, they provide good services ranging from bikewash to overhaul. Also, they are in touch with fabricators and even Mang Lando (the famous saddle, shoe repairman) hangs out often in the shop. What I like as well is that since the shop carries a variety of brands, maximizing your budget for quality components/alternatives are available (La Bici, Cole, Novatech) and ive asked them many times to reconfigure my rig with satisfactory results

(Touring stuff offered: Surly, Salsa, Marin)

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With Jimmy, my bike mechanic working on my former student’s bike
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frames, components and stuff for different budgets

Sabak Sports (Alabang and Makati, https://www.facebook.com/sabakmakati/?fref=ts)

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still closed 😦

Though specializing in tri/roadbikes, full suspension mtbs, they carry touring stuff as well. Aside from the usual services, they also offer Retul bikefitting. In addition, they also sell used frames/parts at decent prices.

(Touring stuff offered: Surly, Salsa, Soma, On one, Absolute black, Jones’ bike)

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Retul fitting session at Sabak Sports (photo courtesy of Dindo Flauta)

Velocipede (Commonwealth, Quezon City, https://www.facebook.com/Velocipede-Bicycle-Shop-138910249476472/?fref=ts)

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small but packed with good stuff (Photo Courtesy of BJ Robes, Surly FFFinas)

Quite active online, this shop has a cozy atmosphere and great customer service. If you need information about a particular item, they’re fast in responding. Not only do they offer a range of touring gear for your needs, their services are excellent as well.

(Touring stuff offered: Salsa, Surly, Niner, Jones’ bike, Apidura, Thomson)

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All those frames…

Tryon Marketing (JP Rizal, Makati, https://www.facebook.com/tryon.riders/?fref=ts)

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37 years and counting (Courtesy of Nick Agabe)

One of the pioneers in the industry (established in 1979), this shop has withstood the test of time. Though specializing in Fixed gear and folding bikes (this is where I get the brompton serviced), they have unique stuff for the touring cyclist. Also, if you intend to setup your bikes with that classic/vintage feel, your best bet is this shop.

(Touring stuff offered: Carradice, Nitto, Velo Orange, Dia Compe, Ducas)

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all set up with my Ducas Fenders

Bikezilla/Missing Link (Ortigas/Eastwood, https://www.facebook.com/MLC.Eastwood/?fref=ts)

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all that space, all that stuff
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havent visited, but some staff from Bikezilla work here now (courtesy of Abha Eustaquio)

One of the main stores to get your Surly or Salsa touring bikes, they run the shop in a much more personalized manner-they’re a bit slow in terms of responding to online inquiries but they are customer friendly and engaged when you visit their shops. As a matter of fact, several mechanics work on a bike making your waiting time much shorter. Also, the discounts given are quite hefty-and with such a great inventory, you won’t regret visiting them

(Touring stuff offered: Salsa, Surly, Marin)

Built Cycles (Paranaque, Commonwelath Quezon City, Makati https://www.facebook.com/BuiltCycles/?fref=ts)

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The new branch in Makati

Don’t be fooled by the posh looks of their shops as they have a lot to offer in terms of brands and components at the right price. Though they may seem much more focused on fixed gear bikes, the brands they carry for touring are also topnotch. They have great customer and repair services …I wish they’d offer a bikewash (soon) though

(Touring stuff carried: Salsa, Surly, Specialized, Nitto, Araya, Conquer Outdoor bags)

Overall, while I may not have shared the totality of my experiences with these shops, they are worth visiting as many would give good feedback about them as well. So go ahead, pay a visit, inquire and find out what they have in store for you J

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