First published on 9 Nov 2012. Updated on 16 Mar 2015.
From fixies to Forevers, Time Out scour the city to find the best pedal-powered two-wheelers for every taste.
Get on your bike! Six scenic cycling routes around town.
This Hefei Lu store and workshop associated with Tianjin brand Battle is popular with locals for repairs and low price cycling goods. The decor is a little rough and ready, but the couple running the shop are friendly and if you need a straightforward, reliable bike to potter around the city on then they offer good value. Steel frame city bikes are available in a range of colours including baby blue (398RMB) and pink (498RMB), while a sleek bronze road bike will set you back 480RMB. Accessories are also fairly priced, with helmets from 100RMB and locks from 50RMB.
Battle 347 Hefei Lu, near Danshui Lu. See full address details.
This little gem near Zhongshan Park is well hidden, but worth seeking out. Concealed down a ramshackle-looking lane, the shop sells every bike accessory imaginable, including flasks, helmets, oil cans, chains, sunglasses and locks, plus a selection of items from international clothing brands including Diadora gloves (298RMB), Lycra T-shirts from Freeride (440RMB), and men’s Castelli wind stoppers (1,600RMB). Chain’s sells both imported bikes and a range from Taiwanese brand Giant, along with their own customised models starting from 1,000RMB. There’s also a selection of mountain bikes, including a sturdy red Rocky model for 4,100RMB, and a sleek range of Canondale road bikes (from 21,899RMB), mostly with light chromium frames and racing handlebars. The large workshop offers repairs and you can hang out in the chic bike-themed CHNO cafe next door while you wait.
Factory Five, started in 2010 by co-founders Drew Bates, Tyler Bowa and Jeff Liu, is run as a kind of unofficial clubhouse for fixie enthusiasts similar to Rapha’s global chain. Prices start at 3,000RMB (and top out at 20,000RMB) for a custommade bike crafted with either an aluminium or steel frame, with styles including daily commuters, race and distance touring models. Factory Five also sell a huge range of parts, both imported and locally produced. Lust-worthy items include a superlight lattice chainring (550RMB), their latest frame F550S, with a carbon fork (3,450RMB), and a Mission Workshop waterproof bag imported from the US (1,160RMB). The people behind Factory Five also organise a number of bike-related get togethers and socials, including regular rides.
Factory Five 667 Changhua Lu, near Anyuan Lu
. See full address details
. If you’re on a budget and looking to get into the ‘fixie scene’, then Fixie Frank is your go-to-guy. Run out of the eponymous owner’s apartment, Fixie Frank features two rooms crammed with a rainbow-coloured assortment of what looks like every fixedgear bicycle part ever made. Frank guides you through selecting the various parts of your bike; he mostly sells steel frames but it is possible to get aluminium (for a higher price). You won’t find anything ultra-high end here but you can get a reasonable entry-level fixie, with prices ranging from 700 3,000RMB. Frank also has a Taobao shop (bikediy.taobao.com) where ready-built bikes go for around 1,200RMB.
Fixie Frank First Floor, No 15, Dongan Si Cun, 727 Wanping Nan Lu, near Zhongshan Nan Lu. See full address details.There are many places across Shanghai to pick up classic Yongjiu (Forever) bikes, but for one of the widest selections, head to the place where they used to be made. Founded in 1940, the Yongjiu brand swiftly became a Shanghai staple, though today the company focuses on more modern styles including foldable bikes and mountain bikes (both around 1,088RMB). At their flagship store on the site of their old factory in Yangpu district, pride of place is given to their Forever C models, launched as a modern take on their iconic old frames. It’s difficult not to lust after the retro versions in store though; they have the classic black (498RMB) with tan leather saddle, in 26 or 28 inch frames. The vintage style can also be found in pink or blue with white spring saddles for the same price. Forever 139 Liaoyuan Xi Lu, near Dahushan Lu. See full address details.
This Chilean brand has been manufacturing bikes in China for several years, but has just started retailing them here too. The group has a workshop run from a residential block on Zhenning Lu; you can order the bike you want on their website and head down to the shop where they put everything together for you. The bikes are design-focused with more than a touch of vintage; look out for soft brown leather seats and handles, faux wicker brown baskets and classic city frames. At 998-1,198RMB, these aren’t the cheapest rides in town, but these are stylish, statement bikes that we reckon are well worth splashing a bit of cash on.
GAMA Bikes 9C, 233 Zhenning Lu, near Yanan Lu
. See full address details. Numerous branches of this Taiwanese chain can be found dotted around Shanghai, offering a reliable mix of bikes and cycling goodies. The store at Jianguo Xi Lu is one of the largest though, stocking a broad range of good quality mid-range bicycles, including folding, road, off-road and children’s models. Towards the top of the price range is a pretty aluminium-framed blue road bike at 4,488RMB, but for cheaper options, a bright red sit-up-and-beg-style city bike with panniers will set you back about 898RMB. The store also offers a wide array of accessories including chains from 139RMB, calipers from 184RMB and helmets from Japanese manufacturer Ogk Kabuto from 640RMB.
Giant 743 Jianguo Xi Lu, near Hengshan Lu. See full address details.
If you’re looking for a little bit of bike porn, treat yourself to a Hypergrace visit. Founded by two Shanghainese friends who formerly worked in finance, the store mainly specialises in flashy, fixed-gear track bikes, and is an official distributor for Spanish brand Dosnoventa, one of the current, ‘must-have ’ labels that serious riders are fawning over. These bikes are not cheap though: the Dosnoventa Tokyo model weighs in at an eye-watering 110,000RMB (buy a good lock if you go for that one). Less expensive models are on hand however, with customised bikes starting from 8,000RMB, plus brands such as Cadence and GodandFamous also in stock.
Hypergrace No. 39, 1500 Zhangyang Lu, near Taolin Lu. See full address details.
Local bike enthusiasts Ben Yang and Brad Zhang are responsible for this Jingan bike hub where they recreate trendy, 1980s Phoenix-style bikes by using mainly auction-sourced parts. As well as vintage, they also sell new parts and have built a strong reputation for their carefully curated selection of apparel and soft goods (they are also Shanghai’s official distributor for Chrome Industries, a San Francisco-based company who specialise in bags and shoes inspired by the SF Bike Messenger scene). A black leather and chrome saddle from famed bike brand Brooks will set you back about 1,700RMB, while bikes range from 200-10,000RMB. They also organise ‘vintage rides’ where participants dress in period clothing and ride classic steeds in classic tweeds.
Apparently, when the British designer Paul Smith was in town last year, he hung out here for a whole day to talk with Yang and Zhang; an impressive endorsement.
Rideal 383 Jiaozhou Lu, near Wuding Lu. See full address details. The Specialized store on Jianguo Xi Lu is a reliable option selling pro-quality bikes from the US, along with a wide range of accessories and offering repairs by their skilled mechanics. There’s an array of bike styles, sizes and colours, including fixies from around 2,690RMB, mountain bikes from 5,890RMB and city-style numbers from 2,690RMB, complete with a basket. There’s also a huge number of Romin Evo saddles on offer (600-1,000RMB), which have a special device to measure your sit-bones and enable you to create your ‘dream saddle’. Specialized 221 Jianguo Xi Lu, near Jiashan Lu. See full address details. This is an oily, grimy, no-nonsense bike shop with all manner of bikes. The store has earned itself a reputation for building quality customised fixies, with prices starting from 3,500RMB. However, they also offer mountain and city bikes composed of local parts that can usually be tailor-made in the space of a week and start from 1,300RMB. Be advised that it’s best to take a Mandarin speaker with you if your Chinese skills are limited.Speedcat 404 Xiangyang Nan Lu, near Jianguo Xi Lu. See full address details.
On the fourth floor of high-end designer department store Lane Crawford, sits a space dedicated to Strida’s achingly stylish bikes. These portable, belt-driven models are designed not just to get you from A to B, but to ensure you make a statement en route. It used to be that Fuxing Zhong Lu’s Brompton Junction store
was our top place to get foldable bikes in Shanghai, but Strida’s comparatively cheaper options have since overtaken them in our affections.
Not that the UK-designed, Taiwanese-owned brand sells their bikes at bargain basement prices: they’ll set you back 4,300RMB in orange or turquoise, or 8,500RMB for a silver model. Lane Crawford also offers an exclusive titanium and gold model, with a foldable frame, gold gilded wheel rims and spokes – available for a cool 11,800RMB.
Lane Crawford 99 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Puan Lu. See full address details.
Having scooped the Readers’ Choice prize at last year’s Time Out Best of Shanghai Awards, no list of bike shops would be complete without this Jiashan Market hang out. The design-centric brand was founded by three Shanghai-based Malaysians, who weave together a passion for fixed gear bikes with a relaxed bar and café area.
If you want a fully customised bike, then this design-led brand could be the place for you, with basic frames in both steel and aluminium available in both sports and retro styles and in an array of bright colours. The majority of parts are produced in China and unbranded, except for a few special options imported from Taiwan or the UK, enabling Wtf to keep costs relatively low. They are hugely enthusiastic about getting each customer just the right bike for their personality, and are very approachable if you’re after a new bike but aren’t especially well versed in the technical lingo (they’ll often start with questions about your favourite colours and styles rather than anything too specialised).
Customised models start from around 3,000RMB depending on parts. They’re also one of the numerous fixie shops to organise regular rides around town as well as on-site events such as independent creative markets and more.
Helen Roxburgh and Lynda O'Donoghue