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  1. #1
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    Is riding around the block enough for a test ride?

    We had a good day for a ride. I went with my daughter to the LBS. I wanted to buy a Cat
    Eye LD 1000 rear blinky for commenting. While I was there I asked about their road
    bikes. They said the most I could test ride it was around the block. I then asked if I could
    rent a bike to test ride. They would not do that either. I could see their point, they do not
    want to risk the newness of a bike on a test ride.

    How would I tell the feel of a bike if I am only permitted to ride around the block?

    I have not ridden a road bike in more than 20 years.

  2. #2
    sch
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    About as well as you can check shoes by walking 10' back and forth on the shoe store carpet. For one thing the fit is going to be very approximate and not having ridden in 20yrs you won't have a clue as to whether a minor adjustment will fix a problem if you even recognize a problem. You really need to spend about 5-10mi on a bike to see how you and the bike get along. This is not practical for a new bike. Another problem is that as you get more experience with biking on your new bike your perceptions of what to expect will mutate. Try looking for an older cheap decent quality road bike and use it for 6-12months and then dive back in if all goes well with a 'nicer' (more expensive!) bike. Road bikes come in a variety of price ranges and you will notice most of the differences when going from $300-500 to 1K-1400 and then 1700-2000. Above 2200-2500 the differences get to be pretty subtle between bikes.
    There are a bunch of roadie variants these days and a little experience may refine your judgement. (Not trying to be deprecatory, just practical). : )
    Steve

  3. #3
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    Thanks sch,

    Looking for a used bike may be my best bet. As long as I get the right size frame. I'll start looking up the sizing equation.

    Scott

  4. #4
    Duct tape won't fix that slotibartfast's Avatar
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    It's amazing that an LBS would only let you ride around one block for a test ride. They know that's not long enough for you to form an opinion. Since your posting in the +50 forum, I assume you're that old (like me!). If it were my store, I'd look at you as a new, steady customer and let you test ride a bike for as long as you wanted. It's not like you're a young kid that's going to trash the thing. If you talked to the owner and that's their policy, I'd find another LBS. If you talked to one of the salespeople, I'd ask to talk to the owner and see if you could work something out for a longer test ride. I'd bet the owner would accomodate you some way - for example, you may have to agree to pay for any damages that incur on the ride. Something like that wouldn't be unreasonable.
    It's no matter, no distance, it's the ride.....Stephen Stills...Throughfare Gap

  5. #5
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I think I've been to four different LBS's in the past few months. In each instance, I was encouraged to take a nice, long test ride with as many bikes as I had an interest in. The Trek stores always insisted on having me sign some kind of form and give them a driver's license, but the others didn't even do that. But all of them said -- go! enjoy! let us know how it feels!

    Maybe you need to find another LBS?
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  6. #6
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    Thanks Gary,

    Comparied to your experience I guess I need to look somewhere else.

  7. #7
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cruzMOKS
    While I was there I asked about their road
    bikes. They said the most I could test ride it was around the block. I then asked if I could
    rent a bike to test ride. They would not do that either. I could see their point, they do not
    want to risk the newness of a bike on a test ride.
    I think I'd find another LBS. That seems like a bad policy to me.

    Steve

  8. #8
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    Two different LBSs here have offered to let me ride as long as I want.

  9. #9
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    My LBS said I didn't take a long enough ride.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    A friend of mine walked into a shop and told them the bike type he was interested in. They were a bit doubtfull, but he was talking an expensive bike. He arranged that he would bring along his own wheels and if he did not buy the bike he would replace the brake blocks. They agreed to that so a week later I went back with him. The bike was adjusted for fit, and he left his credit card, changed the wheels and came back an hour later. It was a good job he liked the bike as he took it off road and needed a darn good clean before they could sell it.

    He paid his money, after negotiating a discount because the bike was well used now, and it proved to be the best fit bike he had ever had.

    The only way a bike can be checked is by riding it, but my LBS now sets a bike up on rollers for customers to try out. If they then like the bike, the road test is allowed but with an old pair of wheels fitted and a good secure deposit or credit card, even to known customers. Complete unknowns only get the roller test.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    He paid his money, after negotiating a discount because the bike was well used now, and it proved to be the best fit bike he had ever had.
    That hardly seems fair to the LBS, since your friend was the one who used it! Or do I misunderstand?
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  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    That hardly seems fair to the LBS, since your friend was the one who used it! Or do I misunderstand?
    At the high prices we pay in the UK. we are always looking for a discount. If you don't ask- You don't get.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  13. #13
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Complete unknowns only get the roller test.
    I think that this is part of it. I did the parking lot thing originally, because when I was starting out I didn't have any experience on longer rides; it wouldn't have been helpful. NOW, because I've worked with the LBS on many occasions, they would likely let me take out a bike for a couple hours if I wanted.

  14. #14
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    Find another shop. There is no way you can evaluate a bike with a ride around the block.

    Last year while shopping for a high end road bike I did hour long or longer test rides of several bikes, from several shops These bikes were in the $3500 to $5000 price range. Doing this, I actually determined I didn't need a bike in that price range to meet my needs and bought a less expensive bike. I did the same a year eariler when I was looking to replace my trusty Trek 520 touring bike. I took more than a dozen test rides on bikes ranging from a $600 Fuji to a $4000 Waterford. I settled on another Trek 520 for about $1000. The test rides were the most import factor in making a decesion. My rule on test rides was really simple, shops that didn't allow long test rides were eliminated, period!

    That you're new to cycling shouldn't be a factor. The test rides can still give you valuable information as to likes and dislikes. Don't be afraid to take a bike for a good spin.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  15. #15
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    Did they stipulate how many times you could go around the block? Are they going to run out and flag you down the second time around?

    I guess my opinion is different than most. In a ride around the block I can assess how compliant the frame is and how the bike handles. What else do you need to know as everything else can be easily changed.

  16. #16
    just over the next hill cruzMOKS's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great input. I had no idea how long I should ride to test a bike.
    I plan on going on 2 tracks. I will look for a used bike to ride for a while and then go for a new bike when I need a better one.

    The bike I have now has served me well. But I am only riding by myself or with my family. And that is the way I want it for now.

    In the Spring I may want to ride with groups some.

  17. #17
    bici accumulatori pinerider's Avatar
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    One thing I found when I returned to road bikes a few years ago - You feel like you are on a different planet until you get acclimatized to the different riding position. I hadn't ridden a road bike for about 10 years, when I got back on one, it felt really strange for a lot longer than around the block.
    ...!

  18. #18
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    My bike shop told me to take it out and ride like I stole it. Being new to biking even the long rides didn't really help all that much. What I did learn was which features like trigger shifting vs. hand grips I prefered.

  19. #19
    Pat
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    You really need to ride a bike under a variety of conditions to really get a good idea of what it "feels" like. By variety, I mean hill climbs of varying steepness and length, descents, corners at various speeds and a variety of road surfaces from smooth to rattle out your fillings rough. However, most expensive bikes come with good to excellent frames and even the entry level road bikes have perfectly adequate frames so the differences between bikes will be rather subtle.

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