Sadly, it seems the local bike shop may be on the verge becoming irrelevant to many mountain bikers – and that’s a shame. Aside from dispensing the gear you need to get on the trail, bike shops can offer a wealth of local trail knowledge and in some cases, even just dropping in can make you cooler. Here are our picks for eight of the most iconic mountain bike shops around the US – be sure to visit if you’re in ever in town!
Mike’s Bikes (San Rafael, CA)
Mike opened his first bike shop in Marin County in 1964 selling Schwinn bikes. If you know your MTB history, you can see where this story is going… Turns out mountain biking as a sport was born close by and many of the pioneers rode old Schwinn bikes. Today, Mike’s Bikes operates 9 shops and is well known throughout northern California, selling a wide selection of Specialized, Cannondale, and Diamondback mountain bikes. Mike’s used to rent mountain bikes at their San Rafael location, though it’s still a great basecamp for a pilgrimage to the birthplace of mountain biking.
Absolute Bikes (Salida, CO)
Salida sits at the intersection of two epic mountain biking routes, the Continental Divide trail and the Colorado Trail, so mountain bikers are always stopping in town for supplies. And when they do, they invariably end up at Absolute Bikes to swap stories, get updates on trail conditions, and make repairs. The shop also provides guided rides along the well known Monarch Crest trail for day trippers.
The original Absolute Bikes started in 1989 in Flagstaff, AZ and in 1999, Absolute partner Shawn Gillis opened the doors in Salida. Today there’s a third location, in Sedona, AZ and all three are dedicated to helping mountain bikers get on the trail. The Salida shop also boasts a growing collection of vintage mountain bikes from the 1980s and 90s.
First Flight Bikes (Statesville, NC)
On the surface, First Flight Bikes in Statesville, NC is your typical small-town bike shop, selling Trek and Surly mountain bikes. But look closer and you’ll find the Museum of Mountain Bike Art and Technology (MOMBAT) co-located with the shop and sporting a collection of about 100 vintage mountain bikes, some from as early as the 1960s. I haven’t had a chance to visit MOMBAT but thankfully their website has great photos and the history of each bike in the collection.
Fat Tire Farm (Portland, OR)
Sure, Portland is known as the most bike-friendly city in the US, but mountain biking? Not so much. Still, I was stoked to find Fat Tire Farm, a mountain bike-only shop located on the west side of town, offering a huge selection of MTB gear and service. The shop rents mountain bikes to shred places like Sandy Ridge to the east and they’re super active in supporting local trail building efforts.
Mountain Bike Specialists (Durango, CO)
With a name like Mountain Bike Specialists, how could this shop be anything but? The shop has been a Durango fixture for decades and owner Ed Zink has helped organize several national mountain bike events in the region over the years. Word is mountain bikers like Ned Overend, Travis Brown, and Todd Wells are shop regulars so you never know who you’ll bump into!
Poison Spider (Moab, UT)
It’s the first bike shop most folks see when they cruise into Moab, making Poison Spider perhaps the most recognizable of the half dozen plus shops in town. Count on finding just about every thing-a-ma-jigger you could possibly need for your mountain bike at Poison Spider and expert service for your rig. The shop even runs tours and shuttle services, making the shop a great resource for the latest trail info.
Mellow Johnny’s (Austin, TX)
This is what I imagine everyone’s local bike shop would look like if the shop had a ton of money and didn’t have to worry about turning a profit. All kidding aside, Mellow Johnny’s is owned by Lance Armstrong, and although there’s no strong mountain bike connection to be made, you can bet they have the latest and great mountain bikes available (that is, as long as those bikes have the word Trek painted on them).
Over The Edge (Fruita, CO)
Over the Edge (OTE) has been in Fruita since 1995 and is perhaps best known for hosting the epic Fruita Fat Tire Festival every April. But it turns out the epic singletrack in town exists, thanks in no small part, to the folks at OTE. Today you can find OTE locations in Hurricane, UT (near Gooseberry Mesa), Sedona, AZ, and even in Australia. OTE also organizes international mountain bike tours and offers rentals at the Fruita location.
Of course there are plenty of other great shops out there we didn’t get to mention. Where is the best mountain bike shop you’ve visited?