Thursday, January 3, 2013

New York City Bike Shops -Conrad's

Most tourists go to attractions like the Empire State building when they visit New York City. But for cycling freaks, there is a grand bike culture to see in NYC. There are more shops per square mile than I have ever seen so we could only visit a few recommended by Classic Rendezvous list members.( We started our tour by visiting Conrad's, located in Tudor City.

Conrad's was started in 1972 by Conrad Weiss and his wife Sarah. They started importing high-end European frames after attending a bicycle Expo in New York. Soon, Conrad's handlebar moustache became a logo. The shop was sold to John Tsang,  who has worked in Conrad's since he was 14, and he eventually bought the shop from Sarah Weiss in 1997. It is my image of a classic bike shop. Small but packed full of frames hanging from the ceiling and groupos beckoning in the display case. I grew up dreaming of the European bikes in such shops. You don't see too many shops these days that offer bare frames and groupos to create your own build. I just don't find the popular spacious, modern glass, chrome and slatboard superstores appealing. They are staffed with well meaning, polite and usually inexperienced young folks that just don't have the depth of knowledge to provide the service I'm looking for and the bikes are all huge production plastic bikes made by machines in Asia. But small shops like this with staff that have years of experience know what the capacity of a certain rear derailleur is and know what a 144bcd chainring is and know about the trail of a frame and fork combination.
John seems well suited to retail chatting up his customers.

 The staff has all been working in the bike industry for more than a decade.
The place has the feel of cycling.
There are frames from classic European names as well as
new hot properties like Seven Titanium.
 The display case has a set of silver and gold-plated Campy belt buckles.
There is a nod to tradition with a classic blue Gios Torino in the window and
steel De Rosa frames along side a Colnago and a Condor hanging from the rafters.

If you are interested in vintage frames and classic bike shop feel, it would be worth a visit to Conrad's on your next trip to the city.

25 Tudor City Place #4, New York, NY (212) 697-6967


rlove2bike said...

I am impressed with your knowledge of builders and for being an all around bicycle guru.

Thanks for the great posts!

biciak said...

Thanks but I depend on the rich resource on the google group Classic Rendezvous. It is a group for vintage lightweight collectors to chat about the history of lugged steel bikes. You might want to take a look or use it for research if you are wanting to find out something about some bike you see.!forum/classic-rendezvous-lightweight-vintage-bicycles

Also the is the archive for the old Classic Rendezvous list and has info back for ten years.


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