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  1. #1
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    How To (NOT) Inspect and Test Ride a Bike

    Step 1: Loosen and Verify Seat Post is not stuck. Adjust seat post up or down for test ride.

    Step 2: Do the same with the handlebar stem. After all, stuck stems are a PITA, and at the very least, get a discount on the bike if it is stuck.

    Step 3: Spin the wheels, make sure brakes work and are not rubbing, shift the gears. Inspect the frame for rust, dents or other defects.

    Step 4: Inflate tires.

    Step 5: Off for a ride!

    Step 6: CRASH!!!!

    Step 7: Pick yourself off the ground, knock the blacktop grit off your bloody hands, walk the bike back, and pay the seller.



    Forgot critical step 2B: Retighten stem FULLY!!! Make sure bars are secure. It turns out, when you try to turn with a loose stem, the wheel goes one way, and you will go another....

    Also critical step 4B: Put on your riding gear, at least the basics (helmet and gloves).
    Last edited by wrk101; 01-05-13 at 12:59 PM. Reason: Changed it to "4B"

  2. #2
    Señor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Yikes. Any damage (you or bike)?

    I had a guy wipe out when he was test riding one of my bikes a few years back...he neglected to tell me he had not ridden a bike since he was 12 and had never been on road bike. He wobbled down the road for 20 or 30 feet and then veered into the curb at about 5 mph and toppled over. No damage to him (save his ego) or the bike. He walked it back, apologized and left...
    Last edited by 4Rings6Stars; 01-05-13 at 11:02 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Cache's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice, and for giving us a laugh at your expense. Were you planning to buy the bike if you didn't wipe out on it?? And to be pedantic, I assume you would place 5a before 5, making it 4a (meaning put on riding gear before riding).

  4. #4
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Been there! Done that! I even have a T-shirt, commemorating the event:-(
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  5. #5
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    Ouch! Hopefully you only hurt your pride.

    I have a similar story to 4R6S - guy straddles the top tube and then proceeds to jump both feet onto the pedals at the same time while stationary. Toppled over. He hadn't ridden a bike since he was a small child. He paid me and then had me hold the bike upright as he started pedaling to try the test ride again.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RobbieTunes's Avatar
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    First time I rode a fixed gear, with toe clips, was when I was getting one for my nephew.
    Somehow, before I went a foot, I realized what could happen.

    "Um, do you have any flat pedals?"
    "It's a fixed gear, you have to know how to ride them."
    "Um, it's not for me, and I don't want to wreck your bike."
    "Why, are you scared?"
    "Um, yes. I don't want to wreck your bike or break my collarbone."
    "It's easy, watch" (rides away like he does it every day, since he does)
    "I'll take it, take the pedals off, I'll carry them."
    "Why"
    "So no one else tries to ride it and sues me."
    "Dude."
    "Yeah." (I got your &^%$ dude, right here.)

    I've never wrecked on a test ride, or had one wrecked, but I once sold a Kawasaki GPz550 to a guy with no motorcycle license. He was a real jerk, so when he asked if I'd show him how to shift, brake, etc, I said "sure." We went around the block twice, with no traffic, and then I took his money, gave him an old helmet, and watched him ride away.

    Robbie ♪♫♪...☻
    Perhaps you didn't really hear what you thought I said...

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  7. #7
    Senior Member toytech's Avatar
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    I almost ate it on the test ride when I built my Colnago, forgot to tighten the pinch bolt on the stem... very exciting when you hit the brakes from the hoods

  8. #8
    Senior Member JPZ66's Avatar
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    Yeah ! Hehehe, that's classic !!! Glad you're ok.


    Joe

  9. #9
    RFC
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    Senior Member RFC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Step 1: Loosen and Verify Seat Post is not stuck. Adjust seat post up or down for test ride.

    Step 2: Do the same with the handlebar stem. After all, stuck stems are a PITA, and at the very least, get a discount on the bike if it is stuck.

    Step 3: Spin the wheels, make sure brakes work and are not rubbing, shift the gears. Inspect the frame for rust, dents or other defects.

    Step 4: Inflate tires.

    Step 5: Off for a ride!

    Step 6: CRASH!!!!

    Step 7: Pick yourself off the ground, knock the blacktop grit off your bloody hands, walk the bike back, and pay the seller.



    Forgot critical step 2B: Retighten stem FULLY!!! Make sure bars are secure. It turns out, when you try to turn with a loose stem, the wheel goes one way, and you will go another....

    Also critical step 5A: Put on your riding gear, at least the basics (helmet and gloves).
    LOL! I have done similar things like not tightening the rear release. Put the pedal to the metal. Bike goes one way, rear wheel another and me down hard on the pavement. Good thing I am built like a terrier. Take the hit, roll and get back up again.

  10. #10
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    After transporting our tandem in the back of our Passat wagon, I expertly installed the wheels in record time. My wife and I launched the tandem quite easily as we were facing down a long hill.

    While rapidly approaching the intersection at the bottom of the hill, I yelled to my wife "HOLD ON" as we flew across the street at high speed and plowed into a corn field coming to a bumpy stop.

    Critical step 2C: reset quick release on brakes after installing wheels.

    It's no longer necessary for me to remember step 2C, as my wife will never let me forget it.
    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

  11. #11
    Senior Member gearbasher's Avatar
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    Back in the day, before I used a torque wrench, a friend would always tell me that I made everything too tight. Well in '83, I was building my first "real" bike" (Guerciotti) and I decided I wasn't going to over-tighten anything. On my test ride, when I came out of the first turn, the bike was going straight but the bars were turned about 30 degrees. Torque wrenches for everything, now.
    Last edited by gearbasher; 01-06-13 at 12:04 AM.
    "Trying is the first step towards failure." --- Homer Simpson

  12. #12
    Senior Member that_guy_zach's Avatar
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    I bit it hard to the tune of being in the ICU for week once for not checking someone elses bike that I bought.

  13. #13
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cache View Post
    Thanks for the advice, and for giving us a laugh at your expense. Were you planning to buy the bike if you didn't wipe out on it?? And to be pedantic, I assume you would place 5a before 5, making it 4a (meaning put on riding gear before riding).

    I had actually decided to not buy it. OK deal, but marginal for sure. Once I crashed it was one of those "I broke it I bought it" moments. No real visible damage, but if you crash someone's bike, IMO, you buy it. FWIW, the seller did not see the crash, but that did not matter to me. I am a big believer in "bike karma".

    I had a friend once selling a car. As a "precaution", he went with the buyer on a test ride. Wouldn't you know it, the "buyer" pulls out right in front of a car at an intersection, all while my friend is saying: "Don't pull out! Don't pull out!" Totaled the car. Dirtbag buyer had no insurance, my buddy did not have collision coverage. Buyer told him: "I don't think I want it" and walked.

    Sold my beautiful white, pristine 92 Honda VFR years ago. Buyer wanted to know why I was selling it. Me: "Its too much bike for me, I get in trouble with it. I've been riding for years, but this one is not for me." Buyer looks at the old guy, me, and chuckles.

    One problem with that bike is my other two bikes were a Goldwing and an ST1100. With those bikes, if you wanted to go, you gave it full throttle. With the VFR, full throttle meant instant wheelie. And on my other bikes, if you wanted to stop, you gave it full braking, front and rear. On the VFR, just touch the rear brake, and it was lock up city.

    Two weeks later I get a call from a towing company. "Hey, we got your bike, and its running up quite a storage charge. Are you going to pick it up?" i did a little checking, guy was still in the hospital, crashed it bad.
    Last edited by wrk101; 01-05-13 at 01:05 PM.

  14. #14
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    Always searching for Lotus literature and memorabilia for use at www.VintageLOTUSbicycles.com, can you help?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Hoss Cartright's Avatar
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    In the fall of 1974 I sold my 1973 Suzuki TS250 to a local kid. Dad paid me and they left. Kid crashed it on the left-hand corner at the end of my street. Forgot to put the kickstand up.

    In the spring of 1982, the buyer of my 1980 Yamaha IT425G (Enduro bike) handed me the cash and then test rode it. (I wouldn't allow test rides as it was an animal and I learned in the past that it was too risky to trust people with test riding motorcycles) I watched him flip it over backwards on a 4th gear wheelie and then try to run with it.. Ouch! That was ugly. Three weeks later his wife sold it back to me for one third what he had paid me as he had crashed it again and broken his leg which cost him his construction job and they needed cash.

    Sold a Yamaha Maxim in the summer of 1988. Again I was paid in advance as again no test rides. The guy tells me he knows how to ride. He gets on it, starts it up, opens the throttle, dumps the clutch and bounces it off the side of my building and then goes down in the parking lot.

    Sold a 1996 Suzuki Katana in the summer of 1999 to a young and cocky cop. He showed-up riding on the back of his fellow cop buddy's Ninja. Told him he couldn't ride it because he had no helmet and no motorcycle endorsement on his license. After he gave me the "I'm a cop" routine and I've got a learner's permit, I reminded him that learners needed a helmet, and I still told him no. So he paid me in cash and took off on it with no helmet, shorts and t-shirt. Fifteen minutes later they were back "pushing it" and he was covered in road rash. They were asking if they could leave it at my place until they could get him some medical attention and come back with a truck as it was crashed too bad to ride.
    '72 MERCIAN VINCITORE ~ MY PARAMOUNTS - '72 P15-9, '72 Chrome P13-9, & '73 P10-9 ~ '87 all 'Campy' Cannondale Team Comp ~ '95 Bob Jackson ~ '04 Cannondale R600

  16. #16
    Senior Member Paul J's Avatar
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    Back in the late 80's after a club ride one of the guys asked about buying one of my bike, a SLX Ciocc with super record and sew-up. It took off and about 15 minutes later he came back with the bike and a skinned-up knee and fat lip. It looked back and ran into the back of a pick-up. The front wheel was now touching the buckled down tube. He left with the bike and I had an interesting Alan. Felt bad, be had it rebuilt and then rode it for years.
    1982 Merckx Campy Super Record, 1995 Merckx Campy Centaur 10, DiamondBack Axis TT, (set-up as city bike), Bushnell Tandem

  17. #17
    billy chuck eschlwc's Avatar
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    entertaining thread.

    in high school, i had an italian moped and a '67 camaro. the car was parked on the street outside the house, when my oldest sister's (large) college girlfriend wanted to take a spin on my moped around the cul-de-sac. no clutch, easy to ride, good brakes, what could go wrong? watched her take off down to the main road, all was well when she turned and headed back toward the two of us standing by my car, when ... wham! crashed right into the front quarter panel. she couldn't stop! she laughed. my sister laughed. i cried. nightmarish.

    unfortunately, this has scarred me. nobody rides my bikes.
    happer: keep watching the sky, macintyre.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    My experience in this line goes back ten years to when I was the parts manager for Ducati Richmond. A guy (Marine, no less) buys a new ST2 from the shop. It's Tuesday lunch time and I'm behind the parts desk, only one mechanic was working at the moment. The customer starts and stall the bike four times trying to get it off the line ("I've ridden dirt bikes before, I don't need instruction"). For try number five we hear him just about bounce the engine off the rev limiter. I'm flying over the counter, the mechanic is two steps ahead of me, and neither of us were fast enough to see him wheelie it across the street right into a utility pole. So, he gets up, gets this look like a cat that's just fallen stupidly ("I meant to do that" - he's a Marine, remember?) and first thing out of his mouth is, "Can you have this fixed by Saturday? I have a ride with a couple of buddies scheduled." And the ************* owner (having rushed up) says, "Sure." I wanted to kill him at that moment.

    Fortunately, the insurance company stepped in (they'd just filed the coverage on line about fifteen minutes earlier), and because it hadn't even been processed in the company's system, everything was held up for three weeks. Thank God, because I was already looking at the nightmare of doing a damage assessment in the next twenty minutes, then doing an overnight parts order from Ducati. Which in that degree of rush, would have had a number of things going wrong. I later too the estimate and a tape measure and figured out that first ride cost the customer something like $300.00 a foot.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  19. #19
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    One of my favorites, $3000 per second on this new Harley!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erSrEIuOwX4

  20. #20
    Ride, Wrench, Swap, Race dddd's Avatar
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    Back around 1990, I allowed a guy to test-ride my 900 Ninja after he told me he had a Kawasaki 400.

    He didn't tell me he had never ridden his kawi, or any other bike, and proceded to drive diagonally into a brick wall after narrowly missing a trash dumpster in the parking lot.
    He also bumped his helmetless head into said wall, and as the bike tipped over the gas cap sprang open, dumping fuel but luckily no fire. The bike stayed right there, leaning against the wall, so the only damage was to the front-right fairing region.

    After he received some care in the ER for a mild concussion, he gave me $500 for the damage to the bike, which bought new "fairing stay" sub-structure and a few other bits. I was entirely pleased with the settlement.

    More recently, a soon-to-be-married couple came over to test a couple of road bikes, and all was going fine until the gal turned into the driveway at an angle to the 1" curb. She went flying into her fiance, who happened to be passing in the other direction, and of course they both went down.
    This was a lucky one, as neither got hurt and they bought both bikes, a decent Nishiki and a nicer trek 1200.

    This rider seems to have plenty of experience, but I found it fun to watch for it's dramatic ending:

    Last edited by dddd; 01-07-13 at 10:43 PM.

  21. #21
    Mixte Power! Arrowana's Avatar
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    Critical step 3B is make sure that the tension on the SPD pedals is set loose enough you can actually get out. The plus side is people think the giant scar on my calf looks awesome. The downside is the guy decided he didn't want to trade me that Cannondale...

    At work we had a lady out testing a 7.9FX (Full carbon, Ultegra, etc.) She comes back a bit later all cheerful and holding her arm. Apparently someone pulled out in front of her, she grabbed the brakes, did an endo, and broke her arm. She calmly explained that she was going to walk to the hospital, then be back later to buy the bike...

  22. #22
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    just went over to my buddy's shop and got a few things.. as i was rolling down the driveway getting my feet in the staps, i didn't notice i was about to roll off a steep curb instead of down the ramp. I see just in time to be like "oh shiiii" as the wheel goes off the curb and then wedges between the curb and a lump of asphalt. I'm riding on the hoods.. levers both drop a few inches (haven't wrapped the bars yet), and me and the rest of the bike keep going and do a low-speed endo.. Luckily I didn't hurt myself at all. I did manage to scuff up the top of the stem and brake levers though.. a pretty unusual place for crash damage

    glad my buddy missed that fine display LOL

    if i had been on one of my mtbs i would have just jammed off the curb i think, but i was afraid of tacoing the skinny 700c wheel if i jammed it instead of slowing down/bailing..
    Last edited by frantik; 01-09-13 at 12:46 AM.
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