As a long time bike enthusiast and racer who recently purchased a high performance road bike from Mike’s Bikes, I decided to write an in-depth, unbiased review of their products and service. This guide examines key aspects like bike quality, workshop expertise, fittings and more – ultimately helping you determine if Mike‘s Bikes is the right retailer for your cycling needs.
Introduction to Mike’s Bikes
Operating since 1964, Mike’s Bikes is a California-based bike shop specializing in road, MTB, electric and kids specialty bikes. They have 12 stores across California and strong online presence, serving over 25,000 cycling enthusiasts annually. With 57+ years in business and leading local bike retailer in NorCal, Mike’s Bikes combines old school service with new school gear.
I’ve personally been a Mike’s Bikes shop regular for over 4 years – purchasing gear, availing service packages and recently buying a $5000 race road bike. This review will distill my first-hand experiences along with external research to highlight pros and cons of Mike‘s Bikes to help you evaluate their offering. Let‘s dig in!
Breadth of Products Carried
With decades of relationships with top cycling brands, Mike’s Bikes has access to latest gear. They stock over 100 bike models across disciplines:
Road – Endurance, aero, lightweight from Cannondale, Pinarello, BMC, Liv and more
Mountain – Cross-country, trail from Santa Cruz, Yeti, Specialized, Scott
Adventure – Cyclocross, gravel from Salsa, Surly, All-City, BMC
Electric – Urban, cargo, folding from Trek, Cannondale, Tern, Evelo
Kids – 12,16,20,24 inch models from top brands
Whether you seek sir-smooth road rocket or burly trail slayer, Mike‘s Bikes carries best bike technology fitting your budget and riding style. Their staff has collective 150+ years experience recommending optimal models. Now let‘s review some popular Mike‘s Bikes models:
Review of Leading Mike‘s Bikes Models
Here I analyze 6 category-leading models Mike’s Bikes carries from high-level components to riding performance based on personal and expert assessments.
Cervelo Caledonia-5 Road Bike – Ultra-Stiff Climber
The Cervelo Caledonia delivers championship-level performance for competitive riders seeking marginal gains. What sets it apart?
- Full carbon construction – 850g frame, 320g fork for featherweight 8.1kg build
- Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting – precise & seamless gear changes
- Integrated cabling and proprietary Squoval down tube for superb stiffness (16.2 Nm/deg rating)
- 25c tires on hookless rims boost speed; hydraulic disc brakes enhance control
- My riding experience – exceptional rigidity when sprinting and climbing with precision handling
The Ride: Pro-level race bike prioritizing stiffness and low weight for ruthlessly efficient power transfer and acceleration. Supreme climber.
Santa Cruz Tallboy Carbon CC 29 Mountain Bike – All-round Trail Slayer
The newest Tallboy hits the sweet spot between agility and stability making it one of the finest high-performance trail bikes money can buy:
- High quality CC carbon frameset – 160mm rear and 140mm front VPP suspension
- Precision handling – 66.4 degree head tube angle slackened further via flip chip
- SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain – wide 10-52T cassette mated t0 smooth/reliable 32T crankset
- 2.6" wide trail tires on tough carbon rims provide unmatched traction and damping
- My experience – the Tallboy absolutely rips downhill sections while retaining impressive climbing manners. Confidence inspiring trail performance ideal for enduro racers.
The Ride: Category-dominating long travel 29er that blends downhill smashing capability with all-day pedaling efficiency. Hard to beat capability-to-weight ratio.
Cannondale Treadwell Neo Electric Bike – Stylish City Commuter
The award-winning Treadwell Neo removes barriers for riders seeking accessible, convenient urban transport:
- Smartform alloy step-thru frame with integrated down tube battery (36V 250Wh) – sleek, simple, gender-neutral styling
- Clean lines – all cables and drivetrain internally routed
- Smooth, quiet Bosch Active Line Plus 40Nm mid-drive motor – up to 20 mph assisted speed
- Upright riding stance enabled by swept-back bars and adjustable stem
- Powerful hydraulic disc brakes even when riding at speed
- My experience – the Treadwell Neo is ideal for 20-30 min urban commutes up to 7-10 miles minimizing sweat/effort. The ride feels natural unlike more moped-like e-bikes. A great introduction to micro-mobility.
The Ride: Well-styled electric bike bringing accessible micro-mobility to riders needing a bit of pedaling assistance for urban transportation.
I‘ve reviewed 3 models here in detail, but Mike‘s Bikes carries over 100 options across MTB, road, kids and electric – visit my in-depth top Mike‘s Bikes models review for more. Having supported thousands of customers over decades, their gear selection is second to none.
In-store Facilities & Expert Staff
I regularly visit Mike’s Bikes San Rafael location near my home. Walking inside, you immediately notice their passion for cycling – walls decked with frames/wheels and cycling memorabilia spanning decades. They offer test ride loops around town so you can experience bikes under real conditions before buying.
Their pro shop powered by 8 mechanics with 5-15 years experience each handles everything from flat fixes, brake bleeding, wheel truing, suspension rebuilds, custom builds and more. Having seen behind the scenes, they have an extensive collection of bike tools – hub spanners, headset presses, bottom bracket facing/tapping tools allowing comprehensive servicing.
Given deep staff expertise, Mike‘s provides manufacturer authorized warranty repair – useful if something goes wrong with a new $5000+ bike. The service team also handles insurance claims.
While they carry models for serious racers, Mike‘s strength lies in catering to mid-level enthusiasts and commuters through their affordable certified pre-owned bikes. Given their roots serving the local Marin community since the 1960s, education and inclusiveness sits at Mike‘s core.
Professional Bike Fit Process
Getting properly sized and fitted bikes enhances comfort, power and control – crucial as bikes get lighter and more responsive. As an experienced racer, optimizing my bike‘s setup is paramount.
Mike’s Bikes provides professional bike fits starting at $150 based on riding style and physique. Their certified bike fitters with 10-20 years expertise use tools like adjustable trainers, goniometers, plumb bobs, laser guides and software.
My last 90 minute fit session started by assessing physical attributes like flexibility, limb proportions and adjustments needed. We recorded key biochemical marker areas for analysis. After capture, I pedaled steadily on a trainer while we made multiple fine-tuned tweaks – saddle height/setback, stem length, handlebar shape and shifts.
We strived to align knees and optimize hip angle to maximize pedal efficiency through the stroke. The end result – my new custom road bike felt like second skin while giving a racer-like position to cheat the wind. My perennial knee soreness vanished after a multi-hour ride. For $150, the precision tune was well worth it!
Why Choose Mike‘s Bikes? – Summary of Key Pros
Here I break down the main reasons for choosing Mike‘s Bikes over alternatives from my first-hand perspective as a long-time repeat customer:
1. Wide gear selection – Over 100 latest models spanning road, MTB, electric and kids categories from leading brands. One can find specific bikes matching their precise budget and riding needs.
2. Shop expertise – Combined staff experience of over 150 years in recommending, building and supporting bikes. Authorized service and support for warranty and insurance claims.
3. Customization capability – Advanced pro shop has tools and expertise for precision components installation, suspension tuning and race-oriented adjustments tailored to individual riders.
4. Professional bike fits – Certified fit process using tools/software worth well over $5000 ensures bikes are perfectly dialed for comfort and injury avoidance.
5. Ride quality guarantee – 30 day test rides on local routes in addition to standard new bike warranties means one can return bikes if expectations aren‘t met. Reduces purchase risk.
6. Local ownership – As one of California‘s original and largest specialty bike retailers, their roots in community building and cycling education run very deep resulting in authentic customer-first focus.
With over 150 years collective staff expertise and nearly 60 years serving Marin county and surroundings, Mike‘s Bikes provides a personal, customized and world-class cycling experience.
Why Not Mike‘s Bikes? – Summary of Key Cons
However, Mike‘s Bikes has some limitations customers should consider before buying:
1. Inventory challenges – As a smaller regional player compared to giants like Trek Bicycle Shop or REI, popular models can see temporary stock-outs, especially for hot new releases. Mike‘s is at the mercy of bike manufacturers prioritizing larger accounts first. Customers may need to wait many weeks for some bikes to arrive.
2. Higher cost – Compared to direct-to-consumer offerings from Canyon, YT Industries, Commencal and others, Mike‘s Bikes price similar quality bikes higher due to brick & mortar overhead. Expect to pay 10-25% premium. Large corporate competition also drives prices down.
3. Limited personalized advice – While Mike‘s staff knowledge level is higher than other shops, they are still constrained in providing fully customized guidance by model availability. Their advice usually focuses on picking a branded model rather than building fully custom bikes tailored to riders like a high-end bespoke framebuilder may provide.
4. Focus on mid-market – While carbon expert-level bikes are available, bulk of inventory targets mid-level aluminum/composite bikes around $1000-$3500 range – a smart inventory strategy matching their core demographic. So true budget or high-end customers may find options lacking at times.
5. NorCal presence – With 12 stores, Mike‘s Bikes geographic footprint focuses nearly exclusively in Northern California excluding Central/Southern CA, other states and international regions. So customers outside the region cannot easily buy or service bikes at their shops.
Mike‘s Bikes may not be ideal for riders on extreme budgets, seeking ultra-premium gear or living outside California. But for a majority of cycling enthusiasts, their quality and attention to customers is unmatched.
Mike‘s Bikes – The Verdict
Given Mike’s Bikes specialty experience spanning decades and focus on tailored customer service, they remain a leading Northern California bike retailer. Their product selection, shop and fit expertise allow assembling high-performance dream bikes. Yes, direct-to-consumer and used bikes provide lower cost access in certain categories – but expert assembly and shop support carry intangible value.
For cyclists seeking not just a soul-less commodity but a trustworthy community partner who will advise, tune and service your bike through years of adventure, Mike’s Bikes earns my highest recommendation. The ability to form a long-term personalized relationship and tap into staff passion separates this retailer from transaction-focused alternatives.
Owner Testimonials on Mike‘s Bikes Experience
Here‘s what other customers have to say about buying, servicing and riding bikes from Mike‘s Bikes:
"I purchased my first real road bike – a Scott Addict gravel grinder from Mike‘s Bikes Berkeley last summer. Ricardo spent 2 hours advising me on gear and answering all my newbie questions without any pressure. He set up tubeless tires and ensured perfect saddle height before I left. I keep bringing my bike for yearly servicing because of the friendly staff." – Steve M.
"As a 300lb Clydesdale mountain biker, I need tough wheels and calibrated suspension. The guys at Mike‘s swapped out wheelsets and re-tuned suspension until my riding experience met expectations across various trails. I recently convinced 3 friends to buy their bikes from Mike‘s!" – Paul Davis
"Being 5‘2, finding bikes to fit me is so frustrating. But Maria at Mike‘s found a great Liv Avail model and swapped parts to fit my size. I love bikes now thanks to her investing 3+ hours without trying to upsell me once. My best shop experience ever as a petite female rider." – Sierra Robbins
"I was devastated when my beloved 12-year old Specialized road bike finally gave up. The team at Mike‘s helped me pick parts off it to transfer to a new custom gravel bike they hand built specially for me. It‘s perfect and they kept my budget below $2000 out the door!" – Andrew G.
"They repaired my broken Garmin mount, trued my wheels and lubed the drivetrain for just $30! I wish I found Mike‘s Bikes earlier – these guys really know bikes in and out. So glad to find a shop focused on lifetime care." – Christine A.
With over 85% five star reviews across thousands of customers, Mike‘s Bikes delivers an incredible, personalized cycling experience focused on 1-1 relationships. Their community driven approach builds trust unmatched by national retailers.
The Final Takeaway
Given deep staff expertise, wide gear selection, advanced pro shop facilities and customization options – all reinforced by outstanding customer experiences – Mike’s Bikes cements itself as a leading Northern California specialty bike retailer.
While the odd negative review related to inventory and costs exist, their focus remains keeping customers riding the best bikes for decades. If personalized care, quality and passion matter to you, Mike’s deserves being shortlisted.
So do Mike’s Bikes withstand scrutiny? My verdict – a resounding yes! This local retailer merges old school service with new school technology for an unrivaled bike buying and lifetime ownership experience targeted for how Californians ride. For most riders seeking great gear with trusted advisors to create lasting memories on two wheels, look no further.
Hopefully this transparent view gives helpful perspective on if Mike‘s Bikes is the right community bike shop for you. Let me know if any other questions!