Here is an excellent address to get your bike (pedal bike) repaired or even buy a customized bicycle.
After trying out other options in the most obvious places, from the modern and foreign run bike shop in Thao Dien, District 2 to the other more local places around town, mostly in Vo Thi Sau, I was about to give up on my trusty bike which never let me down in ten years. Some figures to make a point, I was charged 600.000 VND in District 2 to get a general maintenance done, after that, some pre-existing issues came to the surface and I was charged an extra 200.000 VND to get some special grease applied to the chain which did not solve the problem at all. When going back for the third time, I was told I had to replace the chain, the pedal unit and the cassette (rear set of gears) but strongly recommended to ditch the bike and buy a new one….that was all in the space of a few weeks. I was obviously disappointed after spending 800.000 VND and then being told I should buy a new bike…for between 6 to 8 MVND, not an easy choice. This meant me spending several months without riding on Sundays while I pondered my options.
I then remembered an address I had used a long time ago and had to search in my phone’s long lost contacts. Bingo! I found a message with the address of Mr. Tri. Something like six years ago I had him service my bike and was very happy with the service.
So I gave him a call and told him I’d go to his bike shop and bike repair at 285 Vo Van Tan streer, in District 3 Saigon (HCMC). I’ve laid out the address from Thao Dien, District 2 to the bicycle shop in District 3.
As I was too lazy to ride my bike there, I loaded it into a cab and did the taxi ride from District 2 to District 3 to deliver the bike (I did ride the bicycle on the way back, just 10 kms, mainly down Vo Van Tan street and then Dien Bien Phu street). Mr. Tri was as friendly as I remembered and the drop-off was quick.
I later received the sum of expected costs by text message, with maintenance, changing of the chain, the cassette and also new tires for both wheels and rubber air-chamber (back wheel), the total price was 900.000 VND, quite incredible (I had spent 800.000 VND just for servicing the bicycle in another shop!). The pedal unit was fixed and did not need replacing. Ok, some of these items might not be imported straight from the Shimano factory but if I could avoid buying a new bike (and I don’t like the feel of the ones on offer near my home after test-riding the bicycles), I was a very happy rider.
I did want to wait a few weeks and ride some kilometers before writing this post, just in case the bike fell apart! But no, excellent results, the best of prices and a very friendly encounter with Mr. Tri and his technician, coffee and chit-chat when picking up the bike, and if you are lucky, he’ll even sing “The house of the rising sun” from The Animals to you. A great address I definitely recommend, I can still ride my ten year old bike with a frame in perfect state that suits me well, no need to buy a new bike.
Sometimes its good to go back to the roots, an unassuming house that holds a very unpretentious bike shop and bike repair workshop, nothing flashy but good results at the fairest of prices!