without even talking about 3k or more bikes, a few years ago I wanted to get a cross bike to replace my old touring bike. My fav store changed policies to "no test rides" unless you paid for a weekend rental (that would apply to a purchase). The alu framed bikes I had read up on were still a mystery to me in terms of how they would feel on the road--twitchy? very harsh? etc. I just didnt know---and these were $1500 bikes more or less, not many thousands.
Ended up finding another store where they were more than happy for me to ride it, for the time I wanted, just had to leave i.d.--like a car test drive.
Needless to say, after a few test rides that quickly showed me how the bike felt, enough for me to know I liked how it rode, I got the bike there simply because of their policy. I would have liked to buy it from the store I had previously bought numerous bikes for myself and my family, but the other place got my business because of their open policy.
I realize there are factors of inventory, but especially with a bike of this price range, I was quite surprised.
Although you guys are talking of not wanting to buy "untested" bikes of umpteen K prices, for me I still wasnt going to spend 1600 bucks without a test ride.
Tip to bike shops...there is no way that anyone shoudl commit to an expensive bike without a ride. And if you do offer demo bikes - set the bike up correctly! Most (!) of our test rides have involved getting off after a block, and fixing the indexing on the rear derailleur. Misaligned brake pads, creaky BB's and seatposts etc. do not help the close.
Last edited by tspeters; 01-28-13 at 07:22 PM.
Sure, come in and test ride our bikes. That's what we're here for. Even better, buy one someday. But don't tell us you're not going to by a Madone 5.2 because we don't have a Cervelo S5 to compare it against. We're still trying to sell our last 2011 S3.
I last bought a bike after a test ride in 1989, I think. It's just too hard to find something I'm interested in in my size. I'd love to ride an EVO, might even make me want one.
It's just as bad with mtbs, maybe worse because it's harder to buy frames.
You can still put that $8k bike up front but be reasonable about letting it out on test rides. No problem in denying customers the test ride of the uberbike for something like that - if they take offense at that, that's their problem and likely a customer you're better off not hassling with. I do however, think an LBS shoots themself in the foot by not allowing test rides on bikes the customer specifically is interested in buying. Why not order online at that point? (It will definitely be cheaper online.)
1 cx bike, commuter (light off road), 2 road bikes (sportives and fair weather commuter), 1 mtb (off road fun and antics)
My local Giant dealer has at least two of each model of performance bikes that Giant makes from Advanced SL down to the Aluxx frames. they aren't all the most current model year, but they don't need to be for me to get an idea of the differences as they are close enough. When I went to buy my bike they encouraged me test ride both the Defy and TCR advanced, which were the models in my price range. Those guys are awesome. Ever since I bought my bike there, they have let me demo pretty much anything I want for whatever time I need to evaluate whether I want it or not. It's a pretty good policy, because I normally end up buying the things that I take extended demos on.
I took a Roubaix SL3 pro out for a test ride last year in toronto and the shop didn't ask for ID or any collateral to hold or anything. I could have never come back and I really don't think they could have caught me.
Of course, I didn't steal the bike (I later bought a SL3 expert from my local shop at a much better price) but I was surprised at how easy it was to walk out of the door with a $5000 bike. They even gave me a helmet to wear (I forgot mine, I had my shoes at least)
Kudos to the shops that allow test rides. I know that my local shops don't always have the highest (s-works) models in stock to try but if you order one I know they said it isn't a commitment to buy.
'12 Specialized Roubaix SL3 (Expert)
'11 Specialized Tricross Comp.
'07 Cervelo P2C
'06 Specialized Sirrus
It doesn't even need to be high end. Bike stores don't usually stock what they don't think will sell quickly. I went into the Felt store the other day looking for the felt f95 jr (650c kid's road bike) and/or the F24 (24inch tires kids road bike). They had neither in stock. But could order it. These are less than $1000 bikes. But obviously not a lot of demand. But most people don't even know they exist.
Although they had 24 inch tired kids mtb. Personally I think most kids would get more use out of a road bike than a mtb. (redline makes a kids cross bike, fuji also makes kids road bikes I have never seen any of them in stores). You see the little mtb all the time in stores but they are $300 not $800.
There's too many factors too consider as to whether a Bike Shop will put a high end bike in their inventory.
My bike shop in San Francisco carries more than 10 bikes that cost over $6000 and a couple with 5-digit price tags. The highest I saw was a $13,xxx but it was on sale for around $11k. Majority of them are S-Works and Wilier.
In fact, they will be the first bikes you will see when you enter the door, and they're on the floor and center racks.
I AM IN THE BIKE BUSINESS!!!
In the Bike Business, I am!!!