Bike Shops in Eden Prairie & Chanhassen
With hundreds of miles of paved bike trails extending in every direction, the southwest metro area is a cyclers’ paradise. So it’s no surprise that there are several retailers catering to bikers of all shapes and sizes—from road-racing fanatics riding “skinny-tire” bikes made of high-tech, composite materials to kids just barely tall enough to see over the handlebars.
One problem familiar to parents is that kids quickly outgrow clothes—and bikes. For families with growing children, Bokoo Bikes and Paddle Sports in Chanhassen has added a trade-in program which gives up to 50 percent of parents’ original bike investment toward the purchase of a larger bike.
Bokoo also produces and imports a training bicycle from Germany, which has no pedals and has a drum brake to help teach children ages three to six how to balance.
Bokoo owner Ed Vigil started the company in 2000 and opened his first, 10,000-square foot store in Chanhassen. Bokoo features bicycles and accessories from Giant (it’s the Twin Cities number-one Giant dealer), Easton, Giro, and more.
Under his arrangement with Taiwan-based Giant, the largest bike manufacturer in the world, Bokoo also sells bikes to corporate accounts and government agencies across the United States.
Bokoo sells bikes ranging in price from $280 to $10,000 (for elite racers). The quality of bikes has improved greatly in recent years, even at the lower end of the price spectrum, Vigil says. “With better materials like carbon fiber, and very thin aerodynamic aluminum, bikes are lighter and more durable. You’re getting a lot of fun for very little money,” says Vigil, who added Surly Snow Bikes to his inventory last year.
The store specializes in road bikes, but also caters to families, Vigil says. “Kids’ bikes are very important to us.” 550 Lake Dr. E., Chanhassen; 952.934.6468
One of the most successful bike entrepreneurs in Minnesota, Erik Saltvold, operates one of his 18 Erik’s Bike and Boards shops in Eden Prairie. The 12,000-square foot store stocks somewhere between 400 and 500 bikes at any given time, according to Saltvold, who was only 13 when he started his business in 1977, at his parents’ home in Richfield.
Erik’s is an authorized dealer for road and Triathlon bikes made by Wilier Triestina, a prestigious, century-old Italian manufacturer of racing bicycles. It also offers a number of other bike brands including Specialized, Raleigh, Cannondale, Seven, and Haro. In 2009, Erik’s was named Bike Retailer of the Year by the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. “Southwest is a great market, with a lot of family business and a lot of great trails that are good, safe places to ride,” Saltvold says.
Erik’s is the title sponsor for this year’s Ironman Bike Ride on May 6, which begins in Lakeville and covers the south metro area. 16570 Main St., Eden Prairie; 952.934.7993
Another local magnet for bike enthusiasts is Freewheel Bike in Eden Prairie. It’s the suburban branch of Freewheel, which was founded in Minneapolis’ West Bank neighborhood in 1974 as Minnesota’s first cycling co-op. Owner Kevin Ishaug is a former customer and employee who bought Freewheel in 2000.
Freewheel is one of the biggest Trek dealers in the U.S. Trek has had a major impact on cycling with road (racing) bikes, mountain bikes and “a pretty broad selection of hybrids,” Ishaug says, which are a cross between skinny-tire road bikes and fat-tire mountain bikes.
Freewheel has played a major role in the growth of winter cycling, becoming one of the country’s largest distributors of studded bicycle tires and fat tired snow bikes. In January, Freewheel hosted its first Freewheel Frozen Frolic, a four-race series that included three off-road races at Murphy Hanrehan Park Reserve in Savage and the Lake Minnetonka Ice Race.
Freewheel’s Eden Prairie store was recently awarded the Best New Bike Shop Award by Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
From May through August, Freewheel’s Eden Prairie store will host group road-rides beginning at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays (fast-paced) and 9 a.m. on Sundays (medium-pace). There is also a women’s ride on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. 12910 Plaza Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.377.2230
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