The Claremont shop is a haven for cycling enthusiasts.
by Jordan Litke
photography by Walter Mansilla
Jax Bicycle Center in downtown Claremont has been keeping the community in bicycles for more than 30 years. Once the site of Bud’s Bicycle Shop, the store has made slight changes over time to meet customer needs, and today is more focused on the family recreational rider than the hardcore competitor.
Jax is a Trek concept store, which means they predominantly carry the Trek brand of bicycles and accessories. Along with the products they provide, they have full-service bicycle maintenance capabilities. After purchasing a bicycle, customers can come in and get free adjustments for the first 60 days of ownership. Jax can build bikes from scratch, starting with just a frame, and allow customers to personally choose the other necessary elements.
Because they are avid bicyclists themselves, the Jax staff can instruct customers on what would best suit them. “There is no such thing as the best bike. It’s what’s best for the individual,” says Jonathan Chang, manager of Jax in Claremont. Chang and the other employees do not attempt to sell the most expensive bike on the rack. They sell what is most suitable for each client.
Claremont resident Scott Eddy has been a customer since the shop was still Bud’s. He always loved the service he received from Bud’s. When he discovered that the new owners could take care of his cycling needs, he decided to remain a customer. He had Bud’s specially build bicycles for him, and he is now having Jax custom-build him new ones. “You don’t go into Wal-Mart or something and get a bike,” Eddy says. For serious cyclists, the smallest detail can make a big difference in a ride. Although some would never purchase an off-the-shelf bicycle at a store like Wal-Mart, many bicycle shops, including Jax, are able to make adjustments on any bike, giving it a more personalized ride.
Not only are the people at Jax concerned with bikes and accessories, they are also big advocates of cycling. They want to encourage the sport for personal health and for the betterment of the environment. They avidly support groups like Bikes Belong, based in Washington, D.C., Warrior’s Society, based in Cleveland, and The California Bicycle Coalition. Chang says that Jax really does maintain a bicycle-friendly work ethic, encouraging their employees to ride to work instead of drive. They try to allow time in their work schedule for the extra effort it takes to bicycle to work.
Chang says that he works for Jax for four basic reasons. One, he gets to work on bikes. Two, he gets to ride bikes. Three, he get to talk about bikes. And four, he gets paid to do it. Since the staff consists of serious riders, customers know they are getting reliable facts and full service from this small bike shop.
Besides Claremont, Jax also has locations in Irvine, Huntington Beach, Fullerton, Long Beach, Mission Viejo and Yorba Linda.