What's a Midwestern bike shop to do in the dead of winter? Why ride a custom-built tandem snow bike, of course, and pass the time playing a vintage Paperboy arcade game. This week's spotlight on bikes shops around the US moves to Sweet Bikes of Canton, Michigan.
Sweet Bikes has been in business since September 2010 and caters to an eclectic mix of customers, from "50+ couples looking to get back into riding" to "high-end riders/racers who want custom," according to owner Seth Kleinglass.
"We offer a bit for everyone in between but seem to really do a lot of work at those extremes, interestingly enough," he said. "The shop philosophy is really customer service driven: be nice to everyone and treat them as you would want if you were a newbie or pro rider. A little time and a smile go a long way to repeat business. We have built a reputation on our friendly 'customer is always right' mentality."
While obviously focused on the bottom line, Kleinglass clearly likes to make sure he – and his staff – are having fun doing it, too. Helping pass the time is a vintage Paperboy arcade game and Sweet Bikes partners with local outfit Bastine Fabrication Company for special project bikes, which include a custom tandem fat bike and a three-wheeler specifically designed to hold hot dogs.
"It has a 9-speed drive with an under-seat shifter, linkage steering, and holds 250+ hot dogs," Kleinglass told BikeRadar. "I ride it the last Friday of every month at critical mass and give out free dogs to anyone riding. It is a great time and awesome publicity."
Have hot dogs, will travel
What's the coolest thing in your shop?
"Besides me and the vintage Paperboy machine?" said Kleinglass. "The Fat Mother Trucker custom built tandem fat bike – race proven with 4.8in tires to boot."
Don't see too many custom fat bike tandems
What are you currently lusting after right now?
"Felt FRD 29 Frameset custom built with Enve wheels and XX1 group – super lust worthy!"
Should Kleinglass ever get such a thing together, it would at the very least be one of the lightest 29er carbon hardtails around. Felt uses a new woven TeXtreme carbon that allows for fewer plies and brings the claimed medium frame weight down to just 900g. So far, our testing of SRAM's new XX1 1x11 group has shown it to be smooth and durable, too, in addition to being even lighter than its XX package.
Sweet Bikes' stock runs the gamut from cruisers to SRAM XX1
What is your current bestseller?
"Oddly enough, one of my all-time best sellers are the Polar water bottles. I can't seem to keep them in stock. Of course we do well with good old tires and tubes as well. I did sell two full custom built Look 695 bikes last month, too – one with Di2 and one with Campy Super Record EPS."