(Information here is to the best of my knowledge and I don’t guarantee 100% accuracy. Any corrections are welcome. As mentioned in my previous blog, writing about bike stores where I know a lot of people from, is quite a touchy subject. It would be difficult for me to give recommendations and reviews. So what I can give for now is the landscape and it’s for you to decode)
If I would draw out an LBS’ six degree of separation, then it would go something like this…
YKK in Cebu distributes Argon, Jamis, KHS, Kona, Kuota. LiteSpeed, Merlin, Ridley, Salsa, Surly, Quintana Roo, Attack Racing, Campagnolo, Crane Creek, Fizik, Formula, FSA, Fulcrum, Hayes, Hutchinson, Jagwire, Kenda, Lightweight, Manitou, Race Face, RST, Serfas, Sun Ringle, Surly, Token, USE, Vision, WTB and Louis Garneau. So any store selling these products acts as distributors to YKK. These include AllTerra and Ross Bike Shop to name a few. But one Manila based LBS carries all of these products because it has close relations to YKK and its Bikezilla.
3T Techno Turbo Trading on the other hand distributes Giant, Trek, Merida, Fulcrum, Campagnolo (FYI- some parts has no exclusive distributor in the Philippines such as Campagnolo and Shimano), Selle Italia, Bontrager, Profile Design, American Classics, 3T Cycling, Reynolds, Ceepo, BMC, SRAM and Rock Shox. They have a store named LifeCycle which has branches in Greenhills and in Pasong Tamo. Another store is directly connected with the group, Velocipede in Quezon City. They also handle the bike section of ROX that’s why they have common products. Finally, one of the co-owners is directly related to Joven’s in Marikina completing the places where you can buy these products. Of course they also distribute these parts to other stores like Extreme and AllTerra, whose by the way, one of the proponents is formerly related to Beaver Lopez’s now defunct Powerbikes, where Bikezilla’s Ado came from.
Shimano, the big one, on the other hand is distributed by three sources locally. One of those is Hans Gee which has a “relative” shop before which is now closed- Cycle Option. Cycle Option is where former AllTerra mechanic Ef transferred. AllTerra by the way has its own brand of entry level mountain bike.
Besides YKK, another Visayas based group which now has a shop in Pasong Tamo (formerly in EDSA), named Dan’s Bikeshop carries the Fox, and Specialized and another one based in Cebu handles Thomsom, Vellum (a Filipino venture into bike frame production) and DT Swiss so that in terms of bike and bike parts distributorship, Imperial Manila is not as Imperial as it seems.
Quickly, Velocity in Cartimar carries the Seven, Giro and Easton products. While Newton carries Cannonadale, Cateye and Look. BikeTown Cyclery brought in exotic parts into the local market like Independent Fabricators, Sycp Bikes and Nokon. Bike King (not related to King’s Bike Shop in Quiapo) carries the Orbea bikes while Felt has a local Felt company/distributor in Pasong Tamo Extension. MT Pro bikes carries mostly brands for the urban/ jump or dirt bike product brands.
So as you can see some stores were able to close distributorship deals on some products but nothing compares to the “mega” distributors which handles majority of the bike products in the market. As mountain biking became popular, a lot more ventured into bringing other products locally thus an explosion of distributors for bike products came about. Some of these are ordinary weekend warriors who dreamt of getting involved in the bike business and with some savings entered into it. Some of these ventures maybe referred to as a “one hit wonder”- only carrying a very few products on their line-up.
Ending this write-up, note that this list is about the formal channels only. Rules are and can be broken. There are informal channels especially for products that have no exclusivity. But even exclusivity is sometimes broken. Am tempted to even write here a special situation which has produced a new bike shop which is now defunct. But I’ll leave it to your wild imagination and connections to figure out what I am talking about.
So what’s the purpose of this blog? To give you an idea of the local LBS scene and so that you will know whom to contact in case of queries. Note that by experience, buying directly from the distributor doesn’t guarantee lower cost, because sometimes, a reseller has more room to offer discounts, circumvent rules or be more creative in pricing just to be competetive in this cut throat market. So the general tip is- know who sells the product you are looking for then compare prices. Its that simple. And this applies strickly for outright purchase. If there is service and warranty involved, then its a different discussion. There is where you need to experience the shop and decide which one will be your “chill out place”. But then again as I have mentioned a hundred times- infidelity is encouraged in this type of game.