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Are You "Obligated" To Buy A Bike After More Than One Test Ride?

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Are You "Obligated" To Buy A Bike After More Than One Test Ride?

Old 05-01-15, 02:27 PM
  #1  
sam_cyclist
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Are You "Obligated" To Buy A Bike After More Than One Test Ride?

I went to a demo day, and test rode a bike from a local retailer.

I actually hadn't planned on attending the demo day, but literally just ran into the event on my way somewhere else over the weekend.

I was literally just curious, as I haven't ridden a full suspension in a while and wanted to see how far the tech had come.

I enjoyed the test ride, but the bike clearly wasn't for me, for a variety of reasons. I inquired about some other possibilities and the shop owner told me to call and inquire at a 2nd location.

I called around and visited his shop to test ride a second bike, a bike with more travel.

The owner did a thorough job trying to get the bike set up properly, meaning a quick basic fitting and lowering the stem, along with setting up the sag and psi for my weight.

After the test ride, I tried to be as objective yet complimentary as possible, but it was pretty clear that neither first nor second bike were for me. The owner asked me if I wanted to test ride a THIRD bike. I wasn't too keen on this idea, as the first two bikes simply didn't feel right.

I agreed, just to appease the shop. I came back on the 3rd bike after just a couple of minutes as it was the worst of the 3.

I was ready to return the bike and simply head out. The owner seemed kind of PO'ed. At first, he was trying to push some positives: "it's a beautiful day to ride, man!" Again, I was ready to leave, but then he started pushing the hard sell "what will it take to get you a bike?" (meaning the price point).

I really didn't have a figure for him, as I didn't want any of the 3 bikes. He started to glare at me, and finally just stopped talking.

I've had some odd experiences at bike shops over the years. I can say the same thing with automobile purchases. I know thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars are at stake with the sale, and salespeople can lose their cool, but it's still a bit disappointing nonetheless.

Do you feel obligated to buy a bike if you've test ridden 2 or 3, even if it's at the shop's insistence/invitation?
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Old 05-01-15, 02:36 PM
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You were misunderstood. Move on. In the future, don't lead people on. Did you say that you were just curious? Was it clear to the shop people that your curiosity meant that you wouldn't be buying a bike?

These points were clear to me but having asked for a second and then a third test ride, the message you are communicating is intent to buy. I can understand their frustration.
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Old 05-01-15, 02:37 PM
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I'm Not, Are You?
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Old 05-01-15, 02:47 PM
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Hell no.
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Old 05-01-15, 03:00 PM
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I wouldn't feel obligated.

But I would feel uncomfortable having the owner spend time setting up three bikes for me if I truly had no intention of buying one.
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Old 05-01-15, 03:41 PM
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Solid points everyone.

I actually thought I'd like the bikes a lot more than I actually did. It was odd that the one shop that spent the most time with me as far as fitting and was the most thorough with setup actually had the worst bikes.

edit: and yes, I did feel uncomfortable when they asked if I wanted to test ride the 3rd bike. I was ok with the second bike, but didn't expect them to ask me if I wanted to test ride a third. I said yes, partly out of a sense of obligation and also because, hey, you never know, it might be an awesome bike.

I realize in retrospect that at least one other shop has tried this 'trick' of insisting or pushing an additional test ride. It does create a sense of obligation as in 'see how much work we've done for you? And you're not buying?!?'

Last edited by sam_cyclist; 05-01-15 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 05-01-15, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
I went to a demo day, and test rode a bike from a local retailer.

I actually hadn't planned on attending the demo day, but literally just ran into the event on my way somewhere else over the weekend.

I was literally just curious, as I haven't ridden a full suspension in a while and wanted to see how far the tech had come.

I enjoyed the test ride, but the bike clearly wasn't for me, for a variety of reasons. I inquired about some other possibilities and the shop owner told me to call and inquire at a 2nd location.

I called around and visited his shop to test ride a second bike, a bike with more travel.

The owner did a thorough job trying to get the bike set up properly, meaning a quick basic fitting and lowering the stem, along with setting up the sag and psi for my weight.

After the test ride, I tried to be as objective yet complimentary as possible, but it was pretty clear that neither first nor second bike were for me. The owner asked me if I wanted to test ride a THIRD bike. I wasn't too keen on this idea, as the first two bikes simply didn't feel right.

I agreed, just to appease the shop. I came back on the 3rd bike after just a couple of minutes as it was the worst of the 3.

I was ready to return the bike and simply head out. The owner seemed kind of PO'ed. At first, he was trying to push some positives: "it's a beautiful day to ride, man!" Again, I was ready to leave, but then he started pushing the hard sell "what will it take to get you a bike?" (meaning the price point).

I really didn't have a figure for him, as I didn't want any of the 3 bikes. He started to glare at me, and finally just stopped talking.

I've had some odd experiences at bike shops over the years. I can say the same thing with automobile purchases. I know thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars are at stake with the sale, and salespeople can lose their cool, but it's still a bit disappointing nonetheless.

Do you feel obligated to buy a bike if you've test ridden 2 or 3, even if it's at the shop's insistence/invitation?
You are never obligated to buy. He's just trying to make a sale. If you don't want to test other bikes, just say so and leave. If you don't like the sales approach, go elsewhere.
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Old 05-01-15, 05:32 PM
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I went to a shop and test rode 3 bikes. I told the workers I had some ideas of what i wanted and I wanted to feel out other bikes and get some advice. I tested a couple of not so popular bikes and the shop owner was really stoked to tell me about them. Sadly they didn't have the perfect bike for me, but were so helpful I'd highly recommend the shop. And I picked up a little something.

We had a great chat about how the area has changed in a few short years and so have bike preferences.
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Old 05-01-15, 05:55 PM
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The owner was actually the same way the first time I talked to him. He was still trying to sell me the bike after I walked away! He's just a bit more "assertive/aggressive" in his selling approach.
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Old 05-01-15, 06:09 PM
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although many people do, one should never feel obligated to purchase anything from a vendor, ever. of course, this doesn't apply to me, because i'm a rube and have an over-active conscience.

but as it so happens, just the other day i demo'ed, for 75 dollars for 24 hours (to be applied towards purchase in that eventuality) an expensive FS Ibis. i told them right off the bat, that i had no intention of buying the bike. they said, "no problem". so i rented it, didn't want it, as it turned out, and returned it the next day. end of story.

vendors know that "bike demo days" increase, on average, sales and are a profit making proposition. they also well know that everyone that demos a bike, whether it be one time or more than one time, will not buy a bike and that fact is factored into their calculation. so ultimately it is no loss to them.

of course that doesn't mean they won't think poorly of you as person.

OTOH, if i feel pressured by a salesperson, i won't buy anything from them, no matter how much i may want it. but then again... if the price is right...

Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 05-01-15 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 05-01-15, 07:21 PM
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1. Of course you're not obligated to buy.

2. Bicycle shop sales staff (including owners) are rarely trained in appropriate sales techniques. They usually open the shop, or get work at the shop, because they like bicycles ... not because they want to learn to sell bicycles.
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Old 05-01-15, 07:59 PM
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I've never tried three at one time, but have test ridden many single bikes. Never felt obligated.

Only once was the salesperson visibly disappointed. Maybe because he thought for sure I liked it enough to buy it since I was gone for 45 minutes?

Funny thing is, I ended up buying a bike from them years later... but I doubt they remembered me.
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Old 05-01-15, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
Do you feel obligated to buy a bike if you've test ridden 2 or 3, even if it's at the shop's insistence/invitation?
No. For me it's a long term purchase so I won't let myself be pressured into purchasing something that's not right for me.
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Old 05-01-15, 11:43 PM
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Never EVER allow a salesman's tactics to influence you. You'll end up hating what you buy...and hating yourself for buying it.

And the OP illustrates the fac t that you'll see some of the WORST businesspeople in the world in the LBS business. That guy not only didn't make a sale, but pretty much guaranteed that the OP will never return to his shop- except perhaps when he is having the 50%-off going-out-of-business sale.
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Old 05-02-15, 06:36 AM
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There is a cost to test riding and maybe one solution is that the consumer should pay a price for just that. This gives the rider what he really wants and the shop owner the compensation for time and resources.

This way the consumer will be able to test and not regret what was purchased. The longer the test ride interval, the more the price a consumer pays.

It will be close to the concept of bike rentals.

Last edited by Garfield Cat; 05-02-15 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 05-02-15, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
Never EVER allow a salesman's tactics to influence you. You'll end up hating what you buy...and hating yourself for buying it.

And the OP illustrates the fac t that you'll see some of the WORST businesspeople in the world in the LBS business. That guy not only didn't make a sale, but pretty much guaranteed that the OP will never return to his shop- except perhaps when he is having the 50%-off going-out-of-business sale.


High pressure sales tactics have no place in an LBS. They may work at a car dealer, but you don't tend to frequent a car dealer for anything other than the once every 5-10 year pain ritual that is buying a car.
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Old 05-02-15, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
Never EVER allow a salesman's tactics to influence you. You'll end up hating what you buy...and hating yourself for buying it.

And the OP illustrates the fac t that you'll see some of the WORST businesspeople in the world in the LBS business. That guy not only didn't make a sale, but pretty much guaranteed that the OP will never return to his shop- except perhaps when he is having the 50%-off going-out-of-business sale.
Based on what Stucky said, I'd compliment the owner on putting forth the extra effort to find me a bike, but then I'd explain that none of the three bikes appeals to me, and if I were to allow myself to be pressured into buying a bike that doesn't appeal to me, I'd hate myself, I'd resent you and your bike shop, and I'd probably never buy any accesories from you or bring my bike in for service. You wouldn't want that, would you?
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Old 05-02-15, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sam_cyclist View Post
Solid points everyone.

I actually thought I'd like the bikes a lot more than I actually did. It was odd that the one shop that spent the most time with me as far as fitting and was the most thorough with setup actually had the worst bikes.
Worst for you, but probably the best for someone else.
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Old 05-02-15, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
There is a cost to test riding and maybe one solution is that the consumer should pay a price for just that. This gives the rider what he really wants and the shop owner the compensation for time and resources.

This way the consumer will be able to test and not regret what was purchased. The longer the test ride interval, the more the price a consumer pays.

It will be close to the concept of bike rentals.
The outdoor equipment vendors here in Australia were trying something like that with hiking boots and ski boots. If you wanted to try them on, you paid a fee. It was supposedly to stop people from getting an idea of their sizing, then trotting off home to their computers to order on-line.

I will not ever buy boots from a store like that. If a bike shop doesn't want to invest in inventory and appropriate sales training for their staff, I am certainly not going to pay for their failures.
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Old 05-02-15, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Based on what Stucky said, I'd compliment the owner on putting forth the extra effort to find me a bike, but then I'd explain that none of the three bikes appeals to me
I've learned a lot about sales from my family (wife used to sell business phone systems and daughter sells IT) and now me where I moved into consulting and progressed where sales is now part of my job.

Good sales people and good organizations, including stores, want customer input and feedback. Good sales people not only want to make an immediate sale but want long term business from you, your friends, and all your references. So they should talk with you, listen, and ask questions so they truly understand what you want. If they don't do that, find another store.
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Old 05-03-15, 07:13 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
The outdoor equipment vendors here in Australia were trying something like that with hiking boots and ski boots. If you wanted to try them on, you paid a fee. It was supposedly to stop people from getting an idea of their sizing, then trotting off home to their computers to order on-line.

I will not ever buy boots from a store like that. If a bike shop doesn't want to invest in inventory and appropriate sales training for their staff, I am certainly not going to pay for their failures.
Ok, lets look at your "if/then" comment. Your conditional conclusions is that its "their failures" and not your own, or at least in part not yours.

Inventory is one thing and then we have to understand what appropriate sales training for their staff is another.

There are more bike shops in southern california than anywhere else in the States. Very few shops have all the inventory of bikes and parts like wheels, etc. And most bike shops are small in the sense that their gross revenues won't go beyond the 10 million a year in US dollars.

Small bike shops can carry only so much lines of bikes, unless the shop owner has a huge amount of capital to sink into each line and then be able to turn over the sales of these lines. Good luck on that.

The sales personnel is one thing, the fitting people are another. Its like picking a physician who does a certain procedure like heart bypass surgery. The more that surgeon does, the better that surgeon gets. And its the surgical team as well. I think the same goes for fittings. If I want a good fitting, I would search for a good fitter. Not all bike shops have experienced fitters.

Inventory: this is kind of like the custom frame builder. That frame builder will ask you many questions about your riding style, etc. After that he then does measurements and discusses what he thinks will work for you. Why? Because its not going to be "his failure".

Thus, that experienced fitter and custom frame builder gets paid for that knowledge. Its just appropriate that the consumer realizes this and is willing to pay for it. I can think of one bike shop in my area, Helen's Cycles in Santa Monica and Nate Loyal the pro bike fitter. He is an independent guy who does the fitting by appointment there. It doesn't mean Nate is the only person who does fittings at Helen's but he is available.

I just happen to be at Helen's when Nate Loyal was doing a fitting for Sarah Hammer upstairs in the fitting department. Two professionals. And yes, it was a Felt track bike.
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Old 05-03-15, 09:40 AM
  #22  
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My LBS Doesnt Do test Rides Most of their customers are either recreational riders or commuters with a few hard core road cyclists ... the store is big enough to ride a quick loop and they let you do that a few times and sit on the bike and pseudo "fit" you but thats it ...

to the OP , if any of the 3 bikes fit you well and was your dream bike did you have intentions of buying? or you had no intention of buying no matter what, even if it was the bike you were searching for your whole life? if the 2nd option then i say you were wrong for doing 3 test rides , bu if you had intent to purchase if one fit and none did then thats on them not you .

Either way tho you arent obligated to do anything in Life but die one day (hopefully no time soon) everything else is a choice, some we may not want/ like the out come of, but still a choice ...
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Old 05-03-15, 08:55 PM
  #23  
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OMG! Sales is a process. If that owner didn't know you were a long shot then he is a poor salesmen. If he EVER made you feel uncomfortable, he is a poor salesmen.

Period.

I recently shopped for a bike for my wife and then myself. I ended up visiting several LBS. Not one of them know my name. Frankly, I am a difficult customer because I know the sales process and I am informed by the Internet before I get there, but that Is no excuse, I was prepared to buy when I found the right bike. That makes me a "laydown". A bike shop pays for every oppritunity that comes through the door or calls on the phone. The goal is to eventually sell something to them. collect the information and ask them to be a future customer, that's all a shop has to do.

The OP was looking at high end full suspension bikes and was interested enough to go to two locations and ride three bikes? He is interested in bikes. The sales person didn't find out what bike he was interested in. He assumed he was interested in purchasing a full suspension bike. The salesperson never took the t
ime to ask what bike would fit the customers needs/desire. He may have sold a bike in the future...
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Old 05-03-15, 09:01 PM
  #24  
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BTW, when i finally bought my bike, I called a far away shop looking for the bike I was interested in to be in inventory for a test ride. The shop confirmed, asked my name and when I could come ride it. They needed to assemble the bike and wanted to be ready for me. I walked through the door, was asked if I was Charlie, "your bike will be ready shortly". They asked me for the sale and so they got it. I never felt uncomfortable and would have declined if the bike was not for me without feeling bad. I would have spoke highly of them anyway because of their professionalism.

Last edited by CharlieC; 05-03-15 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 05-03-15, 09:05 PM
  #25  
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I recently bought my first road bike. I went to four different stores and in all of them they were ok with me test riding one or two bikes. In all cases, I told them I was shopping around and would go to other stores before purchasing, they all seemed fine with it. The store I ended up buying from didn't have a model within my price range on my size, but the salesman still offered me to test ride the model above and if I liked it, he could order the model within my budget. He then spent over an hour fitting me to the bike, even though I clearly told him there was no way I would buy that bike. Still, he patiently explained to me what he was doing, what to look for and what accessories I should consider without being pushy. The service on that shop was so much better than all the others than I decided to buy from them and now I am really happy with the model I got.

Long story short: I think it is ok to test ride, but be clear to the people in the store that you will go to several other places before purchasing. Some will be fine with that and you will want to buy from them. If they are dicks about it then it's probably better to look for a different shop.

Originally Posted by CharlieC View Post
BTW, when i finally bought my bike, I called a far away shop looking for the bike I was interested in to be in inventory for a test ride. The shop confirmed, asked my name and when I could come ride it. They needed to assemble the bike and wanted to be ready for me. I walked through the door, was asked if I was Charlie, "your bike will be ready shortly". They asked me for the sale and so they got it. I never felt uncomfortable and would have declined if the bike was not for me without feeling bad. I would have spoke highly of them anyway because of their professionalism.
I had a similar experience with one of the stores. I went looking for a particular model. They told me they had one but that it was not assembled, so they offered to put it together for me so I could test ride it the next day. I test rode it, didn't really like it, they were perfectly fine with it. I'll consider them next buy I'm shopping.

Last edited by PepeM; 05-03-15 at 09:08 PM.
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