Toronto Life - The Goods

A compendium of the latest store openings, hottest parties and runway shows and all the buzzy fashion gossip. Sign up for the Style newsletter for weekly updates



In time for Bike Month, 18 amazing city bikes that you can’t get for $20 on Craigslist

Giant Via 3

A relaxed version of the Trek Earl with a smoother road feel, the Via 3 is a single-speed ride with a less aggressive stance than its Trek counterpart. Fitted with a chain guard and split top tube for U-lock holstering.

The Cycle Shoppe, 630A Queen St. W., 416-703-9990,, $389

  • Tim

    umm the one in the picture has breaks!

  • Nathalie-Roze & Co.

    Gorgeous bikes, but is there really nothing out there that’s more accessibly priced?

  • Meow Meow

    All very cool, but too pricey. I’d rather see the $20 bikes that you can get on Craigslist. Perhaps a different title for this article should be, “Bikes for those who earn over $80k”.

  • Rye

    I own a Raleigh One Way and I absolutely love it! I bought it for $600 though:) Shop around!!

    Also, to people who would rather spend $20 on a bike – think of it as an investment. For me, Spending $600 on a bike was a lot and I definitely do not earn $80k, but it’s saved me $$$ on Metropasses, and precious time otherwise wasted on waiting for stupid streetcars.

    I had once purchased a vintage bike on Craigslist for $200, although it had a good run for 2 years before my new bike, I spent about another $200 for replacing tires and repairs here and there. With the new bike, at least I have a peace of mind that the bike isn’t going to fall apart at least for the next 10 years (warranty) and I get free tune-ups at the store for a few years.

  • meow.kiss

    it’s an investment until it gets stolen… thank you very much, i’d rather not spend $600 on a bike that’s be gone in a month or two.

  • LL

    If you are regularly locking up your bike in Downtown Toronto, spending more than $300 is just idiotic. It’ll be stolen in no time at all.

  • Edvaard Wu

    If toronto life want to do a guide on bicycle helmets I’ll show what I use.

  • Natty

    I bought a Linus last year at Bikes on Wheels and I love it!

  • Jehr the Behr

    Very nice city ride. Looks fast, too. Locking your bike properly goes a long way toward discouraging the Igor Kenks of this world.

  • nw

    If you’re buying a $20 bike from Craigslist, what are the odds that bike isn’t stolen goods?

  • cxx

    You can easily commute on your bike to work 7 months of the year (or 12 like me), that will save you >$700 on metropasses. You can get a fantastic bike for <$700. Plus this doesn't include the many other benefits that are associated with riding such as improved health, more alertness at work, reduced stress, etc.

    To find a great deal go to bike shops and ask for past years models, they are brand new, but heavily discounted.

  • OhRoseDale

    Six bicycles stolen.

    Kryptonite locks.

    If you get in my face with pride about our fantastic city, you will be met with bitterness.

    And yes, I am still a cyclist. In the end, of course, it cost less than the motor vehicles I have owned. But really, encouraging people to enter the cyclist culture without telling them about the emotional pain involved when their trusty steed suddenly disappears…
    well, that’s just unfair.

  • Pierce

    To reduce the chance of theft, you need a cheap looking bike. Better yet, get a cheap bike.

    You can buy a bike for $100 (plus tax) at Canadian Tire. Add fenders and a carrying rack to make it look even nerdier. Plus a bell. Plus lights if planning on using it at night.

    It’s not the most comfortable bike, and it’s a bit heavy. And it may need repairs sooner than a more expensive bike – but maybe not sooner than that more expensive bike gets stolen.

  • canuck

    Nice bikes; but like most have said, they will more than likely get stolen.

    I had my new shiny road bike stolen from outside of work a few years back. Even with a couple of locks on it.

    If you buy one of those nice bikes, please don’t leave it outside. Take it inside.

    I learned my lesson. My city commuter bike is now a 10 year old Canadian Tire special. Does the trick. But a bit heavy and very ugly.

  • Daily Commuter

    At these outrageous prices, these are inaccessible to the vast majority of the people. Thus, the comparison to $20 bikes on Craigslist is absurd. For anyone considering cycling for health or environmental reasons, they’re not going to dive into the market by splurging on these high-end bikes. It’d be like buying a Porsche as a new driver. The article would be FAR more helpful & accessible if it had profiled bikes below $300 or highlighted features consumers should look for.

  • jerrod

    20 dollar bikes on craigslist? The only 20 dollar bikes on CL won’t make it home. One can buy a very VERY good bike for an equally reasonable 300-500 (ie. the Linus, for 500).

  • ஜ✮msjag✮ஜ

    These wonderful bike are sure to keep all the trauma doctors and nurses at Sunnybrook and St. Mike’s hospital employed fully in overtime throughout the summer. Wear a helmet, save your brain a bit, but become a quad or a para from the whole bike versus vehicle scenario. Now go out and enjoy filling up the streets with bicycles.

  • WarrenG

    I got this bike a few weeks ago. Those looking for a fixed-gear bike on a budget, this is a great one.
    It comes in matte-black with white trim on the rims. At $390 I couldn’t pass it up, considering Marin’s fixed-gear bike is $800 (Dominion). Don’t get me wrong, Marin’s bike is great too and a quality build and I love the white frame with the orange accents.


  • Steve

    I’ve ridden a $2k road racer for the last 5 years in downtown Toronto. I live downtown, and leave my bike locked for hours on end as I attend lectures or work. I use a kryptonite new york lock, locked PROPERLY and still have my bike today.

    I suggest everyone takes a second to learn how to secure your bike. There are ways to make sure you’re locked in the safest manner to the safest objects. Locking up your top tube with a $40 dollar lock to a chainlink fence is not considered “secured”.

    So many times I’ve heard, “Oh I don’t want to spend $100 on a lock, my bike is only worth XXX”. Well, you get what you pay for.

    I’ve lost a $20 MEC computer to sticky hands, but I’ve held onto my bike.

  • Steve

    @ஜ✮msjag✮ஜ: You probably shouldn’t leave your house either. According to your logic you’d probably get mugged or worse. Or you could take a CanBike course on how to ride safely, take bike lanes, and advocate for better cycling infrastructure. The doc’s at the trauma hospitals have enough work to do.

    @Daily Commuter: It’s true that spending close to $1k on a bicycle is quite a lot, but as seen by other posters, it’s really not that much in comparison to other transportation costs. In fact, why not consider it this way? Which is more compatible with a $80k+ salary, a $1000 vehicle that lasts 10 years, or a $40000 vehicle that has annual upkeep costs greater $4000 a year…

    You get what you pay for. Get a cheap bike, get something that is slow, heavy, difficult/expensive to maintain. Get a slightly nicer one, and be happy. Would you buy a 3000 used car? or a Toyota Corolla (or insert your reasonable budget car here).

  • rusl

    It’s amazing all the comments about these bike being pricey. They are NOT. Do you ever think about what goes into making something? What kind of labour conditions are you paying for? Also, compare the value you get from a bike to the price – it can virtually replace a $10000/year car with a single payment and maybe $200 a year maintence (or less if you buy a more expensive lower maintenance bike)

    Bicycle makers are up against the glut of unused bikes floating around out there. The reason you can get a decent bike on craigslist for only $200 ($20 is for something that is a giveaway or scrap) is because so many people buy a bike, leave it in the garage in the suburbs unused for 10 years, then try to get rid of it. Make no mistake, it still costs $1000 to make the bike even if you can buy it used for $200. Also, prices are climbing (slowly, relax) as people are starting to use bikes more and the smoking deals are less common. I’m starting to see people overprice bikes on craigslist occassionally – not often – but it used to be unheard of.

    Also consider that there is a lot of unknowns in a used bike unless you are a mechanic who can accurately access wear and tear. Bike repair and maintenence is not pricey but you still can double the price of a $200 bike with a repair bill if things are all worn out.

    That said, used bikes are a better way to go if you are trying to be frugal than a Cheap Zellers/Walmart bike. It’s better to put the money into local repair labour charges of for a mechanic than the black hole of crap that Cheap Department store bikes are. Don’t buy them! The parts are so terrible as to be nearly unfixable new. They are dangerous and make you not want to ride a bike – they discourage cycling. (I’m not exagerrating) The worst is the $349 “full suspension” deal that they do at places like Zellers. It’s essentially a terrible $99 bike with more metal (heavier) on it. And it will be painted shiny and deceive the naive who don’t understand the difference between glossiness and functionality – someone who thinks they are paying more for something that is better, but just getting ripped off more. In that case you are miles ahead buying a used bike at any price even if it requires some repair. (except if the used bike is a shiny Zellers bike, but those don’t typically last long enough to be resold)

    Personally I got a great deal on a used Rocky Mountain for $500 hybrid frame bike including rack and fenders 10 years ago and I still ride it. I would say every day but now I actually ride my own new (handbuilt in Vancouver) cargo bike more often.

  • rusl

    Locks: Most bikes are stolen unlocked. It’s a hassle to lock up and sometimes one forgets. Sometimes the forgetting happens when a thief is around.

    Solution: Try a frame lock. They are used in Europe normally but not here much. The AXA Defender is the best one IMO but hard to find: The basic idea is the bike locks itself, so, like a car you can park anywhere. It’s so quick and easy to lock you get in a habit and never forget.

  • Michelle

    Bikes for people who make over $80k? Hello… if you need to make $80,000 a year before you can afford a $500-800 bike (that is less than the cost of 6 or 7 months of the TTC) then you have serious spending problems.

    I bought a bike for $500 when my salary was half of that and it still gets me around years later. It’s called an investment.

  • Kim

    If you can afford to buy one of the beautiful bikes, you should be able to spell the word ‘brakes’.

  • mr

    can suggest Trek Nav2 comfort bike, at app. $500. solid and stable with 26 in., 1.9 tires that evade tram tracks. has easy to use twist shift and comfortable saddle. a good alternative to the auto in good weather. also as a trail bike. get a good lock as it will be stolen, otherwise.

  • Mikester

    If you’re looking for a reasonably priced single speed city commuter, don’t get the custom jobs at places like urbane. I’m glad not a single one of their bikes is listed here because they _are_ overpriced (labor conditions or not, they’re just overpriced for the value).

    Instead, go with the linus single speed “roadster classic”. I wish I had gotten that one, it’s half the price of a custom job from places like urbane and it will do nicely.

    As far as getting stolen, try locking it and just be aware of your surroundings and act accordingly. Sorry to hear about someone losing 4 bikes! that stings! but knock on wood I haven’t lost one in TO in 10 years. Also, you can get a car stolen too… It is still a much better value for the money, not to mention all the other benefits some mentioned.

    Bike on!

  • skip mcgrath

    I bought a $ 40.00 bike off kajiji. I don’t think it was stolen, the guy was just cleaning his garage. It looks like junk which is great. I use my other bike to get 1 km to the metro and my new $40. kajiji bike to go from the metro to my shop 3 km. I leave my Kajiji bike locked outside for days at a time and don’t worry. I love it. Incidentally, if you look at the bike racks at the metro I am not the only one with this idea. They are all junk bikes. I think the most important attribute of a communter bike is that is costs less to replace than the price of a tank of gas. Even the ones at Canadian tire are a bit upscale for this. I think there is a big business idea here untapped.

  • Thomas Curtis

    I saw “City Bikes for $20″ but was apparently misinformed :

    On a positive note, I found a ton of bikes at slightly closer to that rate in the Annex at and I’m taking a look at the (ahem) cheaper versions

    The $20 dream, friends.