Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Central Wheel Rides Again!

Its safe to say this bike shop has had a pretty shitty (and deserved) reputation for a long time. A friend recently suggested I stop in as there was a new owner, new staff and a whole new attitude there. I was hopeful, as it is the closest bike shop to Hartford. I’m not shitting on REI here; they sell and repair bikes, and are actually super helpful and nice; but a bike shop they are not.

My first visit in years was for a reverse threaded lockring for a fixie I was building. As they were searching for the part, I added if given a choice, I wanted a black one. The dude looked up and said there were only silver. Then I heard some discussion about, “Can we sell that to him?” and the next thing I knew there was a black lockring on the counter. They were selling me a co-worker’s special order that hadn’t been picked up yet. I asked if they were sure about this and they good-heartedly joked, “He only works here once a week!” Wow. I assume they knew he wasn’t in a hurry, or at least hope not!

The guys at the shop also answered a bunch of kind of basic questions I had about building my first bike. Super personable and super helpful. They even let me leave some beatbikeblog stickers and critical mass fliers for customers!

I just wanted to give these guys a well deserved big up and wish them lots of luck.

Thanks fellas!


murbike said...

It's good to hear about Central Wheel being a decent shop again.

I remember when they were good.

Naturally, when I had a job at UCONN, commuting by bike from Manchester a couple times a week, they sucked big time.

Gotta love the circle of life. I'm glad to hear they didn't totally go under.

You mention that they are the closest shop to downtown. What about Newington Bike?

That's not a promotion. Even though I live about 1/2 mile from them, I'm not a big fan (I use Pedal Power in Middletown as my LBS), but it occurs to me that Newington is as close as Central Wheel. The benefit to Central is that you can just boom straight out Farmington Ave.

Just an observation.

I'll have to check out Central one of these days. One of my favorite after work rides goes right past there.


Karma said...

It goods to hear some positive word coming from Central, actually this is the second from a friend as Brendan had a good experience a few weeks ago as well. Central is nice because the ride down Farmington is easier than getting out to Newington (that ride from W.Hartford sucks!!), though Newington is amazing and will always be tough to beat. The good news is if we can get the bike vibe going there will be plenty of work for all.

Rich said...

While on the Alley Cat last month, Steve and I passed by a bike shop on Franklin Ave near the hospital. Neither of us have ever heard of it nor gone in there to check it out. I was wondering if anyone here has. That's certainly close to downtown.

A google search says that it's called Ray Taksar Raleigh‎, but there's nothing really at all about it online.

chillwill said...

ha! there's not much inside either!

i don't wanna pop too much shade in case things have changed, but i remember going on there and seeing few parts/accessories and just stacks and piles of stuff. Never ever knew how the place was still in business.

i should check it out one day while riding home. if you do, post yer findings!

check it and report back!

Karma said...

Yeah I saw that joint a few weeks ago when we were surveying in the South End, it looks like a shop suspended in time. I'd be very surprised if it was actually in business.

murbike said...

Taksar has been there forever. I'm surprised he's still open.

If I remember correctly, he was a hot shot pro at one point. I may be mistaken, though. It's been a while since I've been there.

He used to be a good source for old school parts. I think he's changing flats for the neighborhood kids now.

Again, haven't been in the shop for a good 5 years, so I may be wrong.

chillwill said...

"He used to be a good source for old school parts."

hmmm....with all the old squeaky bikes in the city and all the older road bikes, single speed and fixie conversions, there's prolly a great market for him. i wonder if he'd have parts for my mercier?!

Anonymous said...

I dunno...

My wife bought a bike a Central Wheel in the summer of '08 and I was not too impressed. The bike is cool (Jamis satellite) and the salesman knew his stuff and treated us well (I forget his name, young skinny guy with tattoos). The mechanic (German guy?) was a jerk to me when I brought the bike in for the 100 mile post-purchase adjustment. He gave me a hard time about the saddle and computer I installed on her bike because it was obvious we didn't purchase them at Central. He also kept trying to sell us on a $100 fitting session and clipless pedals, shoes, shorts the whole deal.

I bought my road bike at Newington Bicycle and my experiences there have been nothing like the Central Wheel. No one mentions fitting sessions or gives me a hard time about the Brooks saddle or Salsa stem I obviously didn't purchase from them. They have done minor repairs and adjustments/tune-ups for me for free. If they carried a bike that fit my wife as well as the Jamis did we would have bought it from them. They've earned my business and my wholehearted recommendation.

Anonymous said...

The um, "german guy" no longer works at Central Wheel.