My choice from the new releases at the start of June was the Bike Shop and Cafe, although Benny’s Spaceship did almost win. This is part one of my review, as I will also review the other builds from this set later on.
Why did I want the bike shop? I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a huge amount of house items such as windows and doors, as well as learn the mechanics behind building houses. It was also a medium priced set to see how I got on with the bigger sets before moving onto (hopefully) some of the advanced modular buildings.
The set: Creator Bike Shop & Cafe (Set 31026)
The price: £64.99 from LEGO.com
Bricks in the box: 1023 (0.6p a brick)
Time to build:
Sorting this set took about an hour (unmarked bags). It took 3-4 hours to build the main bike shop and cafe. A lot of the time to sort and build will depend on how old you are. For an adult, it wasn’t too demanding, but this may be harder for younger children.
What’s in the box:
The box is decorated with the main build on the front and a lot of example builds on the back.
Inside you get four instruction books (two for the main build, and one each for the other two builds) with cardboard backing.
There are two grey plates separated from the bags.
You get three large bags and four smaller bags. (I’m sure this is right, but I can’t remember so am looking at a photo and guestimating…) The big bags have smaller bags inside.
You also get a brick separator in one of the bags. Find it. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.
This set comes with three mini figures, that are actually a little bland. There was opportunity for some cool figures here, but instead we just get three generic figures.
At the end of the first build you get to create a bright yellow car. It’s a cute little car for one driver to get around your LEGO city.
The build experience:
To start with you will need to sort your bricks. This was actually pretty time consuming, but does extend the play time with the set so I quite liked it. It’s also pretty fun to divide everything up although some little kids might be bored by this process. It’s worth the effort to break it up by colour as there are a lot of parts to sort through!
The bike shop:
The first instruction manual takes you through building the bike shop and car. This took me about 2 1/2 hours to create.
There are some great details here including:
- the hatch to the roof BBQ
- the back delivery slot on the shop.
- the brick details on the outside of the model, made with textured edge 1×2 bricks.
- the LEGO kitchen, complete with tap and hob unit! So sweet!
- the delivery ramp and tools in the ‘workshop’
The flat also comes with a bed, that’s not quite long enough for a laid out mini-figure. Would have been nice if they fit!
I also feel it would have been better if the set came with more than one bike seeing as it is the bike shop set. One for repairs, and one for sale. A mechanic dressed figure would also have been a neat addition.
The bike shop opens up using hinged 1×2 bricks and snaps shut at the bottom using a hook and little bar. This is a neat trick for keeping the set closed up (and open) with a snap! It also makes it more playable for kids (don’t you wish modular buildings opened like this too!) However, it would have been good to have another one of these clasps at the top so when you open it at the top, it doesn’t just pull at the top and not unclasp the bottom.
The second manual takes you through the cafe. This took me about two hours to build.
The cafe features a small cafe (duh!) with a flat over the top that comes with a rooftop garden and balcony. There’s also a resident parrot. (Okay, maybe it’s not a parrot, but it sure looked that way to me at the start!)
Again, this set opens up like a dolls house, making it very playable for children (and big kids). This time the build opens on flat hinge plates, but it clasps shut at the bottom the same as the bike shop.
The great details on this build include:
- an alleyway with a cash point
- the coffee machine
- some well thought out curtains
- the chequered table out front
- the sign-age outside
- the way the stairs are built into the wall
What’s not there? There’s a distinctive lack of furniture upstairs – again, it calls out for a LEGO extension so the minifigures have room to live! I feel LEGO were also missing a trick by not including a barrista themed figure *cough*larry*cough*
For a build like this I kind of expected more leftover parts. Perhaps some of these are needed for the other builds in this set, but still, a little disappointed with the spare part count!
Overall the bike shop and cafe are tiny but adorable buildings. It was a great experience building them to get a measure of how to create small buildings. It would have been nice if there was a little more space for the minifigures to live, but I fully intend on providing an extension when I get the chance.
More variety in minifigures would also have been a bonus – particularly ones themed to the bike shop and cafe!
If you can, get this set. If you can afford it, get multiples – you can create a full LEGO street in one hit by having all the options for the set lined up.
Rating: 7/10 (Points removed for boring minifigures, tiny living spaces and a lack of bikes.)