Bike Shop Nirvana


My wife always gives me a hard time about being drawn to a new bike shop like a kid drawn to the candy store. I’m sure there’s nothing new or all that exciting in the shop, but I always have to go in, kick tires, check out the latest bike stuff. Imagine my excitement when I got to go to Seattle Bike Supply to return some bikes and take a quick tour. That place is HUGE. Wall-to-wall bike stuff. 6’ stacks of just anodized rims. Big boxes with the words “Shimano” and “SRAM”. It was great. I’ll have to do a formal interview with Tim Rutledge (he’s our contact down there) once he gets back from the Tour of California, but in the mean time - I’d wanted to give you a little perspective on what goes on at this cool place.

SBS is the shop behind your local shop. As many in the industry know - stores are only as good as their supplier. If you ever walk into your shop and need a part ASAP that just isn’t something they carry - the shop may hit up SBS to fill that gap. In many cases, SBS can get the parts you need to the shop in 24 hours - very nice since most of us tend to plan for our big events the day or so before we need them. SBS has also done a good job of identifying the need for urban bikes and has started to shift their inventory to cater to the emerging market.

Here’s the quick story I got from Tim on the SBS story:

Seattle Bike Supply is a full service bike and bike parts distributor. We also own several leading bike brands; Redline® bikes, Torker® bikes, Pryme® protective gear, Potenza®, and Inline®. As of January 2007 SBS is the exclusive USA distributor of Lapierre, and Batavus branded bicycles Our 4 warehouse locations (Kent, WA; Rancho Dominguez, CA; Reynoldsburg, OH; Dallas, TX) are able to offer 1-3 day delivery anywhere in the USA. With thousands of SKUs in stock and fast friendly service, SBS is your one stop bike and part supplier. Redline History intersects with the start of Seattle Bike Supply. Redline bicycles started in Southern California in 1974, meanwhile, 1,115 miles north of the Redline factory, in Renton, WA. a man named Terry Heller begins selling bike parts out of the back of his Ford station wagon. Seattle Bike Supply is started. Little did anyone know how these two companies would evolve.

More SBS Warehouse Photos



That looks incredible!  I hadn’t even heard of this place, thanks for the tip.  I can’t wait to see a Lapierre bike up close (instead of just drooling over the ads in VeloNews).

We’ll have a Lapierre on test, as soon as we can get one.

I know exactly how you feel. My LBS is in this small strip mall and they bought the store next to them some time in December. I’m 13, I Mountain bike and I live on the east coast near DC. There aren’t many whistlers around this area and the homemade trails are getting boring. So for me if I want to talk bike or look at bike stuff its off to my LBS, but I’ve been bored lately. They’ve been closed since January and are due open in the 1st-2nd week of March (almost time!)and I can’t wait because the store is going to be 6/4 the size it was and look completely different with even more stuff. I just can’t wait to see what new Specialized stuff they get. But I want to ride the Rockhopper 29er now!

Hey Kevin - Not sure where you’re located, but I got this from Tim:

“...please let your readers know that they can view and test ride the Lapierre bicycles at Center Cycle in Renton, David Groom and Carl will be happy to help—we do not have a showroom at the Kent SBS headquarters.”

I’ve seen a Lapierre in Kirkland at Montlake Bicycle Shop.  It’s a pretty hot-looking race bike.  I’m a Trek Madone guy because that’s what my team rides, but I really do like the look of the Lapierres. 

What intriques me, as I’ve been after one for a while, is their travel bike option.  I’m not a mtn bike guy, but if there’s any hope of getting that in a road or cross setup…Sign me up!

Wow Grant - I think we’re related.  When I was ~13 I would ride the 5 MILES (a long way back them) to the bike shop just to hang out and ogle the new parts for hours.  I finally pestered them enough to give me a job when I turned 16.  They PAID me to stand around and talk to people about bikes!  Are you kidding me?!

Oh…my…god—you got to go to SBS?!  Oh, WAY cool!!

“The shop behind your local shop” is QBP’s trademark, I believe.

SBS is *one* of the distributors. The other biggies are J&B and QBP, and there are other smaller distributors. In Canada, the major bike parts distributor is Norco (yes, the same Norco that sells bikes).

You mention SBS’s brands. QBP and J&B also have their own branded bikes—J&B has Sun & Cayne; QBP has Civia, Salsa, Surly and others.

The distributors sell these branded bikes because it gives the dealers flexibility—you don’t have to be in the manufacturer’s dealer network (like with Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc) to be able to sell these bikes—they’re just catalog items like saddles and water bottles and lights.

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