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  1. #101
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    I really am curious about something and this question is directed at the responders that did test ride for a while (off the shop property)....did you buy the exact bike you rode? Had it been test ridden before?
    "Nothing is so typical of middling minds than to harp on the intellectual deficiencies of the slightly less smart, but considerably more successful."
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  2. #102
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    Did you buy the exact bike you rode? I am curious. I am not referring to the model or whatever...i am referring to the same bike you took on a test ride?
    Yes.

  3. #103
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    So you are suggesting that a shop would have to carry six of these bikes so they could have one in your size to ride. Then they all get ridden and the shop has to sell them at a deep discount because they are basically used bikes. That is a lot of bikes at around five grand a pop to carry in inventory when they might sell three of four a year.
    I'm really surprised by this perspective. As I already noted, none of the LBS in my area work this way. Every one of them will let me test ride any bike in the shop, so long as they believe I'm a serious shopper. They don't have to think that I am very likely to buy that particular bike. I can walk in and say that I have ridden such and such a bike at somebody else's shop but before I buy it I want to compare it to one of their bikes. Bikes are routinely taken out on test rides and then sold as new.

  4. #104
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    I'm really surprised by this perspective. As I already noted, none of the LBS in my area work this way. Every one of them will let me test ride any bike in the shop, so long as they believe I'm a serious shopper. They don't have to think that I am very likely to buy that particular bike. I can walk in and say that I have ridden such and such a bike at somebody else's shop but before I buy it I want to compare it to one of their bikes. Bikes are routinely taken out on test rides and then sold as new.
    So if that bike has 10 three hour test rides on it, like the TV that plays all day long at Best Buy for days on end, you paid a new bike price for that? I am not challenging you here, but that's like us selling our rental road bikes...we know they have been ridden and we do not sell them at retail. You are buying the "floor model" that has miles on it. Like buying a dealer demo car...it is a used car.

    At the end of the day, I don't really care, but we won't sell a demo bike as new. We had three Serotta demos which is basically what you ar buying unless the shop just does not sell many bikes. When we sold one it was discounted because while the groupset was brand new the frame had mileage on it and we wanted the customer to know.

    If I am dropping several grand on a bike, order me a new one that has never been ridden.

    We don't even sell seats that someone wanted to switch off a new bike at retail. They are not new even if they never had a butt on them.

    I guess our customers are not that forgiving. We had road bikes that had a little dirt on the tires from a trip around the lot, and got all kinds of challenges on the "newness" of the bikes. Or if it is a little wet out and the bike gets dirty, back into the shop for a cleaning.
    Last edited by roadwarrior; 01-30-13 at 12:25 PM.
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  5. #105
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    It's always good to get a discount on a floor model. However, I could definitely envision circumstances where the floor model is enough demand that you don't need to discount it, especially if it's a barely ridden model. Of course, it's easy enough to offer the customer the option to order a brand new one once they've test ridden, exactly as car dealers do.

    Not sure what the confusion is here - if the car dealers can pull off regular test rides, from cheap to cars to luxury mobiles, all of which cost much, much more than bikes and experience much more wear on a test ride, there's no reason a properly run LBS can't do it. And while I agree that often hi-end customers don't really need a test ride, be it bike or car because they know EXACTLY what they want, I'd venture that the vast majority of other customers would feel much better with at least a ride. And yes, I know the bike fit issue is a real one that is a difference from cars - but you can still work with that without going crazy.

  6. #106
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhnngg1 View Post
    It's always good to get a discount on a floor model. However, I could definitely envision circumstances where the floor model is enough demand that you don't need to discount it, especially if it's a barely ridden model. Of course, it's easy enough to offer the customer the option to order a brand new one once they've test ridden, exactly as car dealers do.

    Not sure what the confusion is here - if the car dealers can pull off regular test rides, from cheap to cars to luxury mobiles, all of which cost much, much more than bikes and experience much more wear on a test ride, there's no reason a properly run LBS can't do it. And while I agree that often hi-end customers don't really need a test ride, be it bike or car because they know EXACTLY what they want, I'd venture that the vast majority of other customers would feel much better with at least a ride. And yes, I know the bike fit issue is a real one that is a difference from cars - but you can still work with that without going crazy.
    There is an odometer on a car that it is illegal to reprogram. Not true for a bike. Fact is, at least in my world in season we do not hang on to road bikes under two grand very long at all so maybe a couple of lot trips max. But the high end buyer who "wants to experience the bike" can rack up some mileage. Do that a few times...

    I'd want a fresh new one. But that is just me.
    Last edited by roadwarrior; 01-30-13 at 01:57 PM.
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  7. #107
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    I'd also want a fresh new one, but that's a cinch for the LBS - just order the thing for the customer. No issue there whatsoever - customer knows they've got to wait for it to arrive, or take the floor model.

  8. #108
    Senior Member dobrado's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    I really am curious about something and this question is directed at the responders that did test ride for a while (off the shop property)....did you buy the exact bike you rode? Had it been test ridden before?
    Yep! Bought it after test riding it (Trek 2.1); it was ordered for me, so I was the only one who had ridden it before.

  9. #109
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    I have not test ridden a bike since Ii gave up the last free one I got when racing. By test ride, I mean miles worth. This discrimination that buyers think they have amongst frames...sorry. There is so little difference in the top end stuff, and I have sold a lot of it, most buyers buy for other reasons than rideability. Like a frame is going to make them faster.
    How would someone know without a test ride if a high end bike is actually what they are looking for - particularly if it's their first high end bike? I have a caad and maybe I want an evo. I know the fit is fine but maybe it's so stiff or otherwise different that I find it uncomfortable. I wouldn't want to drop $5k or more only to find out later the bike is less rather than more comfortable. Just an example.
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  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
    How would someone know without a test ride if a high end bike is actually what they are looking for - particularly if it's their first high end bike? I have a caad and maybe I want an evo. I know the fit is fine but maybe it's so stiff or otherwise different that I find it uncomfortable. I wouldn't want to drop $5k or more only to find out later the bike is less rather than more comfortable. Just an example.
    Some people are happy enough with a brand that they'll trust going in blindly. Others have lusted after a particular bike for so long that they pretty much know it's that one or no other.

    It's not as bad as it seems - even with test rides, unless they're long 30+ mile jaunts which most LBSes will understandably NOT let you do with that shiny floor model, you really don't know what you'll ultimately think of the ride. Taking a short spin around the block is very different from how you'll feel at mile 100 of a hilly century. You just gotta go with it. I try to at least get a basic ride so I know if things are egregiously off, but other than that, it's a crapshoot.

  11. #111
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    So if that bike has 10 three hour test rides on it, like the TV that plays all day long at Best Buy for days on end, you paid a new bike price for that? I am not challenging you here, but that's like us selling our rental road bikes...we know they have been ridden and we do not sell them at retail. You are buying the "floor model" that has miles on it. Like buying a dealer demo car...it is a used car.
    I don't think many reputable shops would sell a demo bike as new. In general, how many new bikes get 30 hours of use before being sold? I test rode my two bikes. I was the first or near first person to ride them. They were new. I bought them new (although not at full retail). I rode a couple others that I didn't buy. They still looked new and I didn't see them in the shop for long. If a bike is ridden by quite a few people and not bought it starts to look less new. The shops I've been in generally discount these after a while. In fact, they generally discount anything that's been around a while.

    I will say I ordered a caadx without a test ride but I did spin one around the parking lot to be sure of the size.
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  12. #112
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I "test rode" on a trainer in the shop and had the bike fitted to me during that process, mirror, good fitter, all that. That was easy and very successful. I didn't need to take the bike onto the street. It was a fairly high end bike, 2nd from top. They had several sizes. The fitting was free and didn't take that long - I went with the stock bars.

  13. #113
    Senior Member garysol1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    OK, maybe I am not cool enough to be in your class or to know enough to buy without a test ride, but test riding was essential to a mid-range purchase I made a few months ago.
    Not sure who pissed in your Cheerios but I agree and have agreed through out this whole thread that test rides are important. You may want to go back and reread the thread......

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    The real high end buyer is like you and me. And the average guy is not going to feel the difference even if he rides a hundred miles. I've taken them out on rides and if I tell them what they should be feeling, indeed like a placebo they get it. Say nothing, hardly anyone can tell.
    So for you a $3800 bike is not high-end, but for me it was. I was comparing a Domane 5.2 vs a Roubaix Expert SL4. I rode both in the same day. I could TOTALLY tell the difference between the two, and it sold me on it. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to differentiate in a short test ride, and was then unsure how to know which bike I wanted. I was told, on here, that I wouldn't know what I wanted in a road bike until I had thousands of road bike miles under my belt. (I had about 1500 miles on a hybrid at that point.)

    I'm sure my next purchase will be different, but I'm glad both shops I dealt with were really cool about test rides. The Specialized shop knew me at this point and offered to let me take the Roubaix with me to the Trek shop so that I could ride both bikes over the same course. They were fine with it - i was uncomfortable with the idea.

    But then again, as when I bought my last car, I'm told I'm different. I do so much online research and reading that by the time time I'm in your shop I know what questions I'm trying to answer and what information I need to make up my mind. I wouldn't wanna go take an S-Works Roubaix for a spin just to try out Di2 (although my shop wants me to do it) because I know it won't do what I need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    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 was perfectly fine going to different shops as part of my test riding. I told them "I'm here because you have X. I am also test riding Y from this other shop. Do you have anything else you think I should ride? I would like to make up my mind today if I can." That approach worked really well. I also decided to take an afternoon off, on a weekday, to do this. I figure if I walk in to a shop during a slow time of the off season that I'd get great service. I did at every shop.

  16. #116
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
    Not sure who pissed in your Cheerios but I agree and have agreed through out this whole thread that test rides are important. You may want to go back and reread the thread......
    You're probably right that my annoyance was reflected back on the wrong quote.

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    Test rides.....a luxury for the consumer I suppose...but I doubt you'd really find out anything unless you ride a bike for at least a few days. After all, especially with high end bikes, it's not like they are going to suck. The question is how you live with the bike; I find it takes living with a bike for a while to notice these finer points.

    As a sales tool? I actually have come to appreciate stores with no test rides/no return policies. As a Canadian who moved to Taiwan, I was initially shocked by this. I plunked down $100K on a BMW...no test ride. A bike? Not even a question if one was available. The upside of this is that I actually do more research to make sure the item is exactly the one I really want/need because there is no going back. In addition, when I buy something here, it's new. Twice in the past six months my sister in Toronto has purchased fairly high-end home products (e.g. home espresso machine) only to find out that item had been used by a customer, returned to the store, repackaged and sold as new. I watched my Foil come together from a pile of parts; after the tech, I was the second person to ride my bike.

    The other thing I would add....test rides for LBS are suicide. So a guy takes out a bike and absolutely loves it. Says thanks for the test ride, let me think about it. Goes home and orders the exact bike from the internet. So the LBS provides the service, the web gets the money.
    Last edited by Taipei325; 01-30-13 at 09:24 PM.

  18. #118
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    So if that bike has 10 three hour test rides on it, like the TV that plays all day long at Best Buy for days on end, you paid a new bike price for that? I am not challenging you here, but that's like us selling our rental road bikes...we know they have been ridden and we do not sell them at retail. You are buying the "floor model" that has miles on it. Like buying a dealer demo car...it is a used car.
    As others have mentioned, ten 3 hour test rides is a rather extreme example.

    I guess our customers are not that forgiving. We had road bikes that had a little dirt on the tires from a trip around the lot, and got all kinds of challenges on the "newness" of the bikes. Or if it is a little wet out and the bike gets dirty, back into the shop for a cleaning.
    In my experience, the ground rules for test rides are dry road conditions.

    I appreciate your respect for your customers in wanting to sell new bikes that are truly new. But at least for where I am as a customer, I'd be unlikely to buy from your shop. Maybe at some later point I'd be the type who valued a pristine tire over the experience of a test ride. High end and mid-range (>$4k is what I'm thinking about, but choose your threshold) bikes are not all alike - they have different stiffnesses. Their chain stays are different lengths, their forks have more or less trail and so they handle differently and I don't think I'm alone in wanting that information before I take out my credit card.

    It sounds like you know your business and your clientelle, but people like me maybe wouldn't be so well-served. I'm middle aged and comparatively new to cycling, so I can't rely on 30 years of experience around great machines and I haven't bought many expensive bikes before. But I'm serious about my riding, doing about 4000-7000 road miles/year. I can feel differences in how bikes handle without someone telling me, and I want to have that information before I purchase a bike that I will likely ride for 15000 miles or more.

  19. #119
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakiChan View Post
    I was perfectly fine going to different shops as part of my test riding. I told them "I'm here because you have X. I am also test riding Y from this other shop. Do you have anything else you think I should ride? I would like to make up my mind today if I can."
    Although I'm primarily in service now, your approach is one that I've always welcomed. It shows you've done some homework and you're ready to make a decision if the right one comes along, and then it's my job get you on the bikes in my shop and represent them the best I can. And if you want to try something that's out of your reach that's on our floor, I'll be glad to show it off.

    And I'm glad you're eager to work with bike dealers and not show up for test rides in the middle of a big sale. It never fails, in the middle of our biggest sale of the season when we're sending a dozen bikes out the door per hour, some customers will insist we diagnose their creaky bottom bracket NOW.

    Working for a bike dealer, my main job is making you happy with your purchase, regardless of where you buy it. And if you show up for the Saturday ride on a Giant you bought up the street, I'm going to say something like, "Giant makes very fine bikes. I'm sure you'll love it."
    Last edited by oldbobcat; 01-30-13 at 09:36 PM.

  20. #120
    Mr. Dopolina Bob Dopolina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post
    Well, yeah, but the dealer pays $4000 for what is essentially a lure to make a $3000 sale that nets him something like $1800. Frankly, I can't see him staying in business for long doing stuff like that.
    In what universe would that be?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taipei325 View Post
    Test rides.....a luxury for the consumer I suppose...but I doubt you'd really find out anything unless you ride a bike for at least a few days. After all, especially with high end bikes, it's not like they are going to suck. The question is how you live with the bike; I find it takes living with a bike for a while to notice these finer points.

    As a sales tool? I actually have come to appreciate stores with no test rides/no return policies. As a Canadian who moved to Taiwan, I was initially shocked by this. I plunked down $100K on a BMW...no test ride. A bike? Not even a question if one was available. The upside of this is that I actually do more research to make sure the item is exactly the one I really want/need because there is no going back. In addition, when I buy something here, it's new. Twice in the past six months my sister in Toronto has purchased fairly high-end home products (e.g. home espresso machine) only to find out that item had been used by a customer, returned to the store, repackaged and sold as new. I watched my Foil come together from a pile of parts; after the tech, I was the second person to ride my bike.

    The other thing I would add....test rides for LBS are suicide. So a guy takes out a bike and absolutely loves it. Says thanks for the test ride, let me think about it. Goes home and orders the exact bike from the internet. So the LBS provides the service, the web gets the money.
    Totally disagree with the bolded above. If done properly, test riding is a near-guaranteed way to get the business. If they're buying a pricey bike, talk to them, show them you know what you're doing, make a few tweaks to the fits so that it works for them, and you'll get a good response. Heck, that's exactly what happened to me at my LBS for a Cervelo - I was just thinking about buying but not that serious at first, but after they got me one it and spent a decent 20 mins without me asking, they had the sale pretty much that day (I thought about it for a week, actually, but the sale was pretty much made in my mind that day.) Good service counts for a lot, even amongst cheapskates. (That would be me.)

  22. #122
    Beer >> Sanity bikerjp's Avatar
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    Plus most major brands can't be bought online anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhnngg1 View Post
    Totally disagree with the bolded above. If done properly, test riding is a near-guaranteed way to get the business. If they're buying a pricey bike, talk to them, show them you know what you're doing, make a few tweaks to the fits so that it works for them, and you'll get a good response. Heck, that's exactly what happened to me at my LBS for a Cervelo - I was just thinking about buying but not that serious at first, but after they got me one it and spent a decent 20 mins without me asking, they had the sale pretty much that day (I thought about it for a week, actually, but the sale was pretty much made in my mind that day.) Good service counts for a lot, even amongst cheapskates. (That would be me.)
    Fair enough! I did put it very strongly! Must have been too hot on my morning ride today!. But I think there are lots of ways to offer great service without a test ride on a high end bike. For instance, my LBS dialed in the geometry of the Foil on the Retul bike fit, so I had a very good idea what the fit of the Foil would be like. When I got it, no surprises, and I would continue to buy bikes like this in the future. In many ways, the feedback from the video and body measurements was a more valuable, objective set of data, though I can certainly appreciate others value the intangibles even more.

  24. #124
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hhnngg1 View Post
    No, that's good business. You want some outrageously high-end bling item to show that you've 'got the good stuff', even if pretty much nobody buys it. High end stores use this all the time - you actually think Tiffany intends to sell thousands of their $750,000 multidiamond holiday necklace that's on display front and center next to the $200,000 pair of diamond earrings and the $350,000 diamond ring?
    The $750,000 diamond necklace will still be worth $750,000 next Christmas. That $8000 S3 that got test ridden a few dozen times will be worth $5000 a year later, and barely what we paid for it after the S5 came out. And while it was in the shop it did not sell one S2 or Madone or CR1.

    Most of our customers walk in with a target price point and a margin. We'll show them bikes in the target zone and test the margin. If they're buyin' and not just kickin' tires, they don't want to waste their time and our time gawking at, talking about, and riding bikes that they know they can't afford.

    Does that mean we hide our nice stuff? No, the Madone and Domane 6s are out front where you can see them, but we know there's a good chance we'll be ordering a couple more before the end of the season. Our road customers are usually looking for something to make their Ride the Rockies more enjoyable, so what's going to bring them in and sell them is the service agreement and a Scott CR1 or Bianchi Infinito that's in their size. Or, he'll take out a Madone 5 with Di2, say he loves it, and surprise us by asking us build him a Project One 6.

    If they're looking for a Pinarello Dogma or a custom Pegoretti, they know who has them. The guy who wants to drop $8000 on one of these is not going to do it at a shop whose bread and butter is Trek 7.2 FXs.
    Last edited by oldbobcat; 01-30-13 at 10:48 PM.

  25. #125
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
    In what universe would that be?
    You're right, I got the cost and the margin reversed. It s a $3000 sale that nets $1200.

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