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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 01-28-13, 11:48 AM   #1
whitemax
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I don't how these LBS's expect to sell high end bikes

I'm in the market for a high end bike. Went to a Giant dealership and was told that because they did not have the volumn, they could not put the TCR Advance on the floor (and it's a pretty big shop). Same thing with Specialized; no Tarmac Pro or Venge. I'm gonna drop 7 or 8k on a bike with no test ride? Don't think so. Been wanting a pair of the S-Works shoes...none on hand (or even the next lowest model). Was told a cusomer with a pair who is my size might come in and I can try his on For $400, I believe I'd want to try them on first yes? Go to Cannondale and they are encouraging me to take a brand new Evo out and ride it to my hearts content. I just don't get this marketing strategy from Giant and Specialized, it's a lost sale as far as I am concerned.
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Old 01-28-13, 11:53 AM   #2
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I can't remember the last bike I test rode before purchasing. It has probably been close to ten years.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:00 PM   #3
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I think there are two types of buyers.

Some know exactly what they want in terms of size, components, etc....and for those folks, a test ride is probably not necessary.

However, some folks (especially those who are buying their first performance bike) want to try the bike before they buy it.

Sounds like the poster is the second type.

Nothing wrong with that, but you may have to travel a bit to find a dealer that caters to the high end cyclist and has the inventory to allow test rides.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:03 PM   #4
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I can't remember the last bike I test rode before purchasing. It has probably been close to ten years.
Same here. Test rode my first road bike and none since.

Matter of fact it has been almost a year since I set foot in a brick and mortar bike shop. Never anything in stock that I want and they always offer to order it in for 20 - 40% more than I can buy it for online... Bike shops are for immediate gratification. If I'm waiting, I'm not paying bike shop premium for the privilege.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:06 PM   #5
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If you're poor like me, you can test ride the **** out of everything in your price range.

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Old 01-28-13, 12:07 PM   #6
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Your going to the wrong stores. Not to toot our own horn but we always have Tarmac and Roubaix S-Works and Pro's on hand. In fact we have a fleet of Venges on hand in all sizes as demo/rentals and in no way are we a big shop.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:10 PM   #7
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I've never sold bikes (I have lots of high-ticket sales experience, though), but I would guess that, statistically, a test ride does nothing to increase the close ratio on those bikes. I wouldn't be surprised if there were actually a worse close ratio between test ride vs no test ride.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:11 PM   #8
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My shop typically has a few high end bikes in stock, but like you said it's hard to get a test ride on a top of the line bike.

Think about it like this:

Most bike shops probably don't make hands over fists profits, so carrying high end bikes with no customers is expensive in itself.

Then when you figure a $8,000 S-Works Tarmac comes in six sizes. That's a pretty expensive inventory with relatively few buyers.

After I got my first road bike fitted to me I knew what kind of geometry I like and don't like, so I'v never had any reason to test ride a bike after that.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:12 PM   #9
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The same reason why you can't go to any old Chevy dealer and expect them top have a $120,000 ZR1 on the floor waiting to be "test" driven. They may have a few base model Corvettes for you to sit in, and maybe test drive, but they won't/can't tie up six figures in one car when they could buy six trucks and have them ready for sale on the lot instead - plus their return's greater on selling six of anything over one high end car.

My point is it's unrealistic to the think every dealer's going to have the uber-expensive model regardless of what you're buying. In the case of a LBS - letting people "test" $8k bikes is risky business. So good on the C'dale dealer for letting you play with their expensive toys...
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Old 01-28-13, 12:13 PM   #10
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Your going to the wrong stores. Not to toot our own horn but we always have Tarmac and Roubaix S-Works and Pro's on hand. In fact we have a fleet of Venges on hand in all sizes as demo/rentals and in no way are we a big shop.
My shop also has numerous high end bikes on hand, but there has to be a market for it. If the shop isn't expecting to sell those bikes they probably should bring them into inventory.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:16 PM   #11
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I've never sold bikes (I have lots of high-ticket sales experience, though), but I would guess that, statistically, a test ride does nothing to increase the close ratio on those bikes. I wouldn't be surprised if there were actually a worse close ratio between test ride vs no test ride.
its not always about the test ride but about the wow factor. You walk into a bike shop and front and center is the 14 pound wonder bike. You can touch it and feel it and pick it up. Your hooked. So maybe you cant afford the 7k price tag but for 3k you can get close. You have now totally forgotten about your $2,000 budget and bumped yourself another thousand in order to get yourself closer to that wonder bike.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:18 PM   #12
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Your going to the wrong stores. Not to toot our own horn but we always have Tarmac and Roubaix S-Works and Pro's on hand. In fact we have a fleet of Venges on hand in all sizes as demo/rentals and in no way are we a big shop.
As a bike dealer, wouldn't you agree that it's a little different issuing test rides on road bikes/cruisers than MTB's? A proper "test ride" on a MTB would involve one of your employees detailing a high-end bike for two hours after the interested party returns it...
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Old 01-28-13, 12:19 PM   #13
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its not always about the test ride but about the wow factor. You walk into a bike shop and front and center is the 14 pound wonder bike. You can touch it and feel it and pick it up. Your hooked. So maybe you cant afford the 7k price tag but for 3k you can get close. You have now totally forgotten about your $2,000 budget and bumped yourself another thousand in order to get yourself closer to that wonder bike.
It all makes sense now...
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Old 01-28-13, 12:20 PM   #14
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wookie yells at me when i touch the venge....
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Old 01-28-13, 12:23 PM   #15
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its not always about the test ride but about the wow factor. You walk into a bike shop and front and center is the 14 pound wonder bike. You can touch it and feel it and pick it up. Your hooked. So maybe you cant afford the 7k price tag but for 3k you can get close. You have now totally forgotten about your $2,000 budget and bumped yourself another thousand in order to get yourself closer to that wonder bike.
I'm aware of some of the trickle-down associated with having a halo product on display - having $200k speakers on the floor made it easier for me to sell $20k speakers - but we're talking about sales of the halo product itself.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:25 PM   #16
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As a bike dealer, wouldn't you agree that it's a little different issuing test rides on road bikes/cruisers than MTB's? A proper "test ride" on a MTB would involve one of your employees detailing a high-end bike for two hours after the interested party returns it...
For sure I agree. What we did is this. Our most popular high end mountain bikes are Specialized Epics so we have a fleet of Epics in all size runs for demo/rentals. You can rent one of our carbon Epics for $50.00 a day and if you purchase a bike the $50.00 is applied to your new purchase. Problems solved. After a year or so we will sell the demos at a deep discount.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:28 PM   #17
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I'm aware of some of the trickle-down associated with having a halo product on display - having $200k speakers on the floor made it easier for me to sell $20k speakers - but we're talking about sales of the halo product itself.
The Halo product is a sales tool but with that said we sell plenty of S-Works bikes and I feel actually having the bikes here on hand is a huge help in selling the bike. I can show the customer why it costs more than the less expensive bikes and they can feel the weight difference first hand. If the weather is nice I have no problem sending them out on a test ride if they are serious.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:30 PM   #18
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I also want to test ride any bike before I ride it. Several years ago I planned on getting a combo Ti/CF frame (Seven, Merlin, Serotta, etc.). But once I got on all, I realized they weren't at all what I wanted. More recently a test ride made the decision for me between Specialized, Cervelo, and Pinnarello.

If you aren't in a hurry, I would take test rides when you are near a shop that carries what you are interested in - work travel, vacations, etc. If not, I would consider a trip to the closest LBS that carries what you are considering. That is too much money to buy on chance
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Old 01-28-13, 12:36 PM   #19
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Giant and Specialized? Come on, don't make me laugh... Try going in to buy a Pegoretti and being told yours won't arrive for another 18 months! #stillSOworthit
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Old 01-28-13, 12:37 PM   #20
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The Halo product is a sales tool but with that said we sell plenty of S-Works bikes and I feel actually having the bikes here on hand is a huge help in selling the bike. I can show the customer why it costs more than the less expensive bikes and they can feel the weight difference first hand. If the weather is nice I have no problem sending them out on a test ride if they are serious.
I understand the benefits of having something on hand, but I also understand the pitfalls - people often use demos as a way of talking themselves out of a purchase - I'm saying that, if you were to keep track of test ride vs. no test ride, you might be surprised at the numbers. And it goes without saying that good salesman doesn't sell the product.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:43 PM   #21
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I've seen this handled very badly (order it and if you don't like it we might take it back) and very well.

If you have a relationship with the shop beyond being a stranger asking difficult questions, it can be very straightforward. I ride regularly with a shop that carries high-end bikes, and try to buy parts from them as well as having them do some mech work (notably on King hubs). I have seen them order up bikes for interested folks and bring them on the group ride. That way they can ride with the customer, keep an eye on their inventory and make sure the fit is right. Seems to work for them.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:44 PM   #22
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forget high end bikes...i won't even buy a saddle from a bike shop if they won't let me try it.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:50 PM   #23
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Go to a different bike shop. I was only given a hard time about a test ride once. Guess what? I didn't buy a bike from there. If you are serious about buying a bike, then a test ride should be perfectly acceptable. Now, I can understand if they would like for you to wait for a day with at least reasonable weather to keep the mess down, but even that has never been an issue where I've test ridden. The shops I generally go to are really cool about it.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:51 PM   #24
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And that's the sign of a good shop.

I went in for a test ride and the store employee told me I wasn't dressed warm enough. They offered me extra clothes so I would be comfortable for a several hour ride.
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Old 01-28-13, 12:53 PM   #25
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I understand the benefits of having something on hand, but I also understand the pitfalls - people often use demos as a way of talking themselves out of a purchase - I'm saying that, if you were to keep track of test ride vs. no test ride, you might be surprised at the numbers. And it goes without saying that good salesman doesn't sell the product.
If a person rides a bike and talks themselves out of it then thats fine. I would rather that then have an unhappy customer. I have a hard time selling a bike without a test ride unless the buyer is a very seasoned cyclist who knows exactly what they want. I would say 90% of my bike sales includes a few test rides so I dont think I could ever track the sales of test ride vs no test ride. I want the customer to be educated in a Roubaix vs a Tarmac vs a Allez vs a Noah vs a Team Machine....etc..... and the best way to educate the customer is to explain the high points and let them ride the bike. It is not a 5 minute sales presentation but as far as I know I have no unhappy customers.
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