Gryffin Wilkens-Plumley, Contributing Photographer

As Yalies get into gear and settle into new class schedules, some have picked biking as their preferred mode of transport. Across the Elm City, students have found a variety of options to purchase their bikes such as the Orbea Gain D30i ebike.

When contemplating the perfect bike for your adventures around New Haven, Yalies and residents alike often find themselves grappling with various questions: Should it be a new ride or a reliable second-hand option? Is it more convenient to shop online, in-person, or perhaps a combination of both? And, of course, the perennial debate of prioritizing quality over price. Additionally, for Bronco owners, a critical consideration might be finding the ideal bike rack for a Bronco to complement their on-the-go lifestyle.

To put the brakes on all these questions, the News looked into New Haven’s many bike purveyors, including traditional stores, co-ops and online retailers.

“Communal, yeah, I think that’s the key thing that defines the Devil’s Gear,” said J. Joseph, board manager of Devil’s Gear Bike Shop. “If you’re stoked … we’re stoked on you.”

Down Chapel Street, just past the CVS, Devil’s Gear Bike Shop offers a lively space for Yalies and New Haveners, with bookshelves, couches, a small sitting area and bright neon designs popping from the walls.

The prices at Devil’s Gear are wide-ranging, reflecting the broad scope of makes and models. New bikes could run easily between $600 to $1,000, with higher-end models well above that price.

The shop does, however, have plenty of budget options, including a stock of used bikes that began at $250. Many of these were classic ’60s and ’70s road bikes, rebuilt in top condition.

“The Devil’s Gear was founded about 22 years ago, by Matthew Feiner,” Joseph told the News. “He had been working at a different shop in New Haven … And he did not like customer service. He felt that it was very elitist, and very judgmental. So Matthew set out to make a much better shop … [where] if you’re excited about cycling, we’re excited about that.”

In addition to bicycles, Devil’s Gear also sells a large selection of skateboards and longboards.

College Street Cycles runs a more conventional operation, focusing almost exclusively on bikes and bike accessories. The small shop, only a block away from Bingham Hall, is brimming with bikes that are arranged along the floor, hung along the walls and suspended overhead from the ceiling.

With the class of 2027 arriving in New Haven, business has been so inflated for College Street Cycles that it can be hard to keep up.

At College Street Cycles, prices run the gamut from around $500 for a standard road bike, all the way to $2,850 for one of their electric models. 

“The bulk of our models are in the $500 to $800 range, with a great variety of road, mountain, commuter and hybrid models,” Bob Jacobson, a leading member of the team said.

Just about three blocks east of Science Hill, the Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op offers a very different service. 

The shop itself looks like an open garage, with ample space for bicycle repair stands, spare parts and refurbished bikes.

“It’s definitely not your normal bike shop experience,” Kyle Anthony, shop manager at the Co-op, said of his workplace.

Bradley Street Co-op does both sales and repairs. Their for-sale bikes are all used but refurbished to a high standard.

When students buy bikes from Bradley Street Co-op, they are also contributing funds toward a bike for someone in need. James O’Donnell, a programs manager at the Co-op, explained to the News that so long as the Co-op sells enough to break even on rent, about $100 from each sale goes to their donation program. 

The Co-op has partnered with local elementary and middle schools, mental health centers and nonprofit organizations like New Haven’s Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services. The shop also donates bikes to New Haven residents in need on a case-by-case basis.

When buying a bike, avid biker Wilson Shen ’26 told the News that he begins by finding a used bike for sale on an online platform, like the “Yale Free and For Sale” Facebook page, or in group chats where students post their used goods for sale, often at rock-bottom prices.

“Prices at New Haven shops are far too high,” Shen said.

Purchasing bikes in this way can come with a lot of uncertainty. Wilson, for his part, trusts in his own judgment to ensure the quality of his potential purchases.

“I never buy bikes sight-unseen,” Shen said. “I must see the seller in-person first. I’ve seen a good 27.5-inch mountain bike go for $250 second-hand and road bikes for half that.”

Bikes park free on all New Haven parking meters.