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Trying out bikes before buying them?

Old 08-18-15, 11:57 AM
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Trying out bikes before buying them?

In many of the posts, I see mention of trying out bikes before buying them. Here in Staten Island NY, there are 3 bike shops and not one has offered to let me try out any bikes before buying them. How are you guys making it happen?
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Old 08-18-15, 11:59 AM
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Usually I have to tell the shops I do not want a ride...they start talking test ride as soon as they see me looking at something.
If they do not know you and you are looking at a high end bike, they might not be as eager.
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Old 08-18-15, 12:03 PM
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Test riding before buying is the norm; more of the rule rather than the exception. Maybe your local shops aren't willing to risk theft or damage loss from casual shoppers. Too bad, but probably a reflection of their environment. Imagine how this fear changes other behaviors in the shop as well...
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Old 08-18-15, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pat0115
In many of the posts, I see mention of trying out bikes before buying them. Here in Staten Island NY, there are 3 bike shops and not one has offered to let me try out any bikes before buying them. How are you guys making it happen?
"I am interested in this bike. I would like to test ride it."

If they say no, your response is "I am sorry, but I will not buy a bike without test riding it first."

If they still say no, then leave the shop.
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Old 08-18-15, 12:21 PM
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I usually have to ask before I can get a test ride. None of the LBS's in my area will offer a test ride out of the blue.
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Old 08-18-15, 01:34 PM
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My LBS in Salem wouldn't order a bike for me until I could test ride the different sizes. Since they didn't stock Fargos, he knew that would probably cost him a sale, but he did it anyway and was right. I thought I would need a medium, but the size small is more comfortable. So they didn't sell me that bike, but I get my parts and stuff there.
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Old 08-18-15, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by pat0115
In many of the posts, I see mention of trying out bikes before buying them. Here in Staten Island NY, there are 3 bike shops and not one has offered to let me try out any bikes before buying them. How are you guys making it happen?

Have you asked why you are expected to dumb a large sum of money with not test ride? Could it be all three shop had people ride off & never return.

My LPBS asked for a credit card to hold, and your state issued driver license. I a crook want to steal one of there bike they could comply, ride away, and say someon e stole their wallet containg credit card & license.

IMHO honest people pay for the things dishonest people do to victimize business. Local Wal-Mart does over 50 million bucks a year in sales, last year shrinkage, shoplifing, thieft was over a million dollars. scarry.
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Old 08-18-15, 05:46 PM
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Any time I've ever dealt with a bike shop, I always had to ask if I wanted to test ride any thing. Than again, maybe I look fishy? Don't know...
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Old 08-18-15, 06:15 PM
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It may be your area. One shop I frequent encouraged me to ride a demo bike for a week. All they asked for was a phone number. They said they've never lost one yet.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:20 PM
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After looking at a few bikes when I was last looking to buy I asked, "Can I take it on a test ride?" The manager said sure. I showed up the next day and me and a friend went on a 30 mile ride.

It wasn't anything special at this place. When we got back he asked how it was and how far we went. When I said 30 miles he asked if I wanted to take it out again to get a better feel for it.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:32 PM
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There are so many flakes around that I can understand why some lbs are more unwilling then other. People will test ride and then go buy on line. i think bike shops can size people up pretty quickly.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:39 PM
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When it's wet, raining, snowing, or icy outside the shops around here keep the bikes inside.

When the weather is nice... I go cycling instead of out shopping.
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Old 08-18-15, 06:56 PM
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When I was shopping for my touring bike, I was going for a test drive and the manager said to go around the block and come back. I told him I was going for a 30 minute drive or I wouldn't even consider buying the bike. I eventually bought the bike from them after a few test rides. I figure that if I am taking this bike touring and spending a weeks time or more on it, that I wanted a longer test ride. They probably thought I was a jerk with a few long test rides but it was in October and they didn't seem too busy.

What do you do when you are buying a custom bike?
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Old 08-18-15, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by pat0115
In many of the posts, I see mention of trying out bikes before buying them. Here in Staten Island NY, there are 3 bike shops and not one has offered to let me try out any bikes before buying them. How are you guys making it happen?
First, you have to ask. They aren't just going to offer. Or at least, from my experience, that's rare, and you have to be expressing a pretty strong interest in a particular bicycle.

And sometimes the shop might require you to leave something of value behind like your credit card or something.
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Old 08-18-15, 08:43 PM
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Most of the time, I don't try before I buy anyway ... so it's no big deal if a shop doesn't offer a test ride.
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Old 08-18-15, 08:45 PM
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Interesting extremes here. My perspective....I wouldn't a bike without test riding it first and my LBS wouldn't expect nor want me to.
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Old 08-18-15, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ltxi
Interesting extremes here. My perspective....I wouldn't a bike without test riding it first and my LBS wouldn't expect nor want me to.

It has actually been impossible for me to test ride many of my bicycles. They don't exist before I buy them.


In other words ... some have been custom-built and other have been built up. We purchase the frame and components, and Rowan builds them.
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Old 08-19-15, 05:26 AM
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I expect that most people who are concerned about a test ride are not experienced enough to make any rational judgement based on the test ride. Folks who have been riding for awhile and have experience on multiple bikes will have a good idea what they want as far as geometry, frame material, etc. Saddles, tires, stems and bars are all easily changed and would not be a reason to choose one bike over another.
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Old 08-19-15, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
I expect that most people who are concerned about a test ride are not experienced enough to make any rational judgement based on the test ride. Folks who have been riding for awhile and have experience on multiple bikes will have a good idea what they want as far as geometry, frame material, etc. Saddles, tires, stems and bars are all easily changed and would not be a reason to choose one bike over another.
Not true at all. Just take a look at some of the high quality bicycling magazines like Velonews and their ride results and comparison tests. Those people do nothing but ride and evaluate bikes for a living and use some sophsicated equipment to measure differences.

It also isn't especially true with more modern materials like carbon fiber where builders can do all sorts of special things laying up the material. Two bikes can have identical geometry but ride entirely different. The same can be said with metal by doing things like varying tube sets.

Then there are bars, stems, seaposts, and saddles. How can someone tell without actual riding?

The more experienced the rider, the more obvious these differences are.
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Old 08-19-15, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
I expect that most people who are concerned about a test ride are not experienced enough to make any rational judgement based on the test ride. Folks who have been riding for awhile and have experience on multiple bikes will have a good idea what they want as far as geometry, frame material, etc. Saddles, tires, stems and bars are all easily changed and would not be a reason to choose one bike over another.
Depends on the dealer. I've had more than one tell me they couldn't even change out a stem. I wanted to buy a bike, not a partial bike kit. Other dealers are more reasonable, and they're willing to swap things out; but that usually happens after the test ride, or at least they'll put the rider on a trainer.
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Old 08-19-15, 09:26 AM
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I did test ride the first recumbent I bought, a Rans Tailwind. Other wise I bought without test riding. A bike is a machine, and the rider has to adjust to it.
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Old 08-19-15, 10:02 AM
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go on some group rides if the shop offers them and get to know the guys. my local shop will "rent" you a bike for the group ride and I see lots of people trying out the store stuff on our weekly group rides.
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Old 08-19-15, 10:48 AM
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Opposite coast , no problem . Your shops probably got burned too often by theft in test rides.
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Old 08-19-15, 11:43 AM
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Bad idea to ask for a test ride imo.
I have always found it best to simply walk into a showroom and approach whatever salesperson has the cheapest shoes and is eating a sandwich. I then immediately buy whatever product they suggest.
This has always worked well for me and the best part is that you can do it with bikes, cars, furniture, prosthetic limbs, child adoptions, etc...
Hope this helps you out with your next purchase!
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Old 08-19-15, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka
Most of the time, I don't try before I buy anyway ... so it's no big deal if a shop doesn't offer a test ride.
But you're more experienced and can buy a bike based on measurements and geometry alone. The average bear, or should I say Tasmanian Devil, can't do that.
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