It seems like only yesterday, Tijon Randall was wrenching client bikes in the basement of his Brooklyn apartment due to COVID-19 shutting down shops across the country. Prior, Tijon was one of the mechanics at a local bike shop in Manhattan when the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, including the one he worked at. Thankfully, Tijon’s relationship with clients was strong enough that the demand for repairs, maintenance, and builds kept him afloat as everyone was trying to figure out how and when it was safe to re-open stores and businesses again. This new reality showed that he might be able to fulfill his once-longshot dream of opening his own shop. And just like that, TUNED, a boutique bike shop in Brooklyn, New York, was born.
TUNED isn’t your run-of-the-mill bike service shop. Walking past on a quiet block in Gowanus, Brooklyn, you probably wouldn’t even guess that bikes of all types, from holy grail velodrome race machines to custom-spec’d wireless electronic road rigs, were being serviced and built at the inconspicuous location on a regular basis. You walk into TUNED, and you’re surrounded by bikes, but not like how you would feel walking into a Best Buy, surrounded by massive inventory, overwhelmed by the sheer number of flat-screen TVs blaring and flashing simultaneously.
It’s more like walking into a high-end furniture store or fine art gallery, where you’re almost unsure if the objects showcased on the floor are for sale or display purposes only. Actually, they’re neither because they belong to TUNED customers but just goes to show the type of clientele this shop attracts. But regardless of whether you’re a seasoned racer or know nothing about bikes, you’ll very likely appreciate what’s happening there.
Unlike some boutique-y experiences, regardless of industry, the energy here is far from pretentious. Tijon and his small crew have over 20 years of experience working in shops all over the five boroughs of New York. Thus, they’ve serviced everything from brakeless messenger machines to Brighton beach cruisers. More importantly, they’ve interacted with and supported the melting pot of personality types only NYC can squeeze onto one island, so you know they’re just as friendly as they are experienced.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, I stopped by TUNED to hang with Tijon and photograph a few of his favorites from his fleet, ranging from cult classics to uber-nerdy commuters.
The one that makes you feel like a kid again?
Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 29er Hope tech brakes, Race face next R cranks, Sram X01 AXS, Reverb AXS Dropper, Stan’s flow mk4 rims to Hope hubs, Answer stem Renthal carbon stealth bar, Fox Factory 36 with Push industries conversion Rock Shox súper deluxe ultimate coil and cascade components link upgrade.
The one where you’re dressed fresh-to-death and the bike needs to match the feeling?
Cannondale track frame, Custom Honey Heritage rims laced to Dt 370 track hubs, Nitto pearl stem, Nitto bars, Shimano headset, Shimano Dura-Ace cranks, Shimano Zen Olympic chainring, Dura-Ace Seatpost, custom covered Selle Italia flite saddle. Mks pedals and cages, Toshi double straps challenge tires.
Which bike would you lend to a friend in need for a fixed gear race?
Tiemeyer GT Superbike. It has a vintage 3t More stem, Veloflyer Hellyer bars, and Profile Design BDC fork. Cranks are Sugino 75 with Sugino Zen chainring, kmc chain, EAI Super cog, 60mm Honeywheel.co track wheels, and Selle Italia Slr saddle
Which one do you take on a chill ride with wifey?
Commencal Absolut Dirt Jumper. It’s built with Enve cockpit (bar, stem, seatpost) and Pro Aerofuel Saddle, Rockshox Pike DJ fork with carbon rims laced to Profile Racing elite hubs, Shimano Xt disc brake, Raceface SixC cranks, and Crank Bros stamp pedals.
If you were on a deserted island and could only take one bike?
Specialized Stumpjumper Expert St 27.5. XTR brakes, carbon cranks, Wolf Tooth chainring, 12-speed SRAM GX shifter and derailleur, carbon wheels, Fox shocks, Fox 34 fork, Renthal bars and stem (green)
The one where only real bike nerds will recognize the awesomeness. The if-you-know-you-know bike?
Tuned Prototype Ti road frame, Whisky fork, Cane Creek 110 headset, Controltech Timania bar and stem, Supacaz silver bar tape, SRAM Red mechanical brake AXS ground set, Yokozuna disc brakes, Jagwire elite link beaded brake cable housing, S-Works toupe saddle, Honeywheel.co road disc wheels, Omata cycling computer, and Vittoria tires.
After just celebrating its official one-year anniversary and recent accolades in New Yorker magazine as one of the best bike shops in New York, what’s next for Tijon and the TUNED team? Aside from a service space, TUNED has begun using the shop as a community outcove, putting on events ranging from shows spotlighting local artists to WTF+ socials celebrating inclusivity.
So if you’re in Brooklyn and want to browse a boutique bike shop or a New York local in search of mechanics that you can trust with your beloved steeds, head over to TUNED and say hello.