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Buy before you try???

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Buy before you try???

Old 06-27-17, 02:28 PM
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Buy before you try???

I know my LBS cannot carry everything in stock but can order you one if you are willing to wait. Or get something on-line and work with the vendors themselves. My problem is what if you don't like it once you purchase it? I want to at least feel how it fits, rides and handles even if its only in the parking lot for a few minutes before I puck down my hard earned money. This is especially true if getting a high end bike (>$5k). Plus there are so many bike choices how does one go about getting their dream bike (assuming I have an idea of what I want, ie. a gravel bike)?

So what are some steps I can take to at least get close to what I think I want?

- Specs that match my current bike is one. But even with that ride and handling needs to be felt in person.
- I guess I could find someone with the same bike and ask to ride it. Hopefully they would say okay.
- Buy it, ride it, sell it if I don't like it. I would take a financial loss on that.
- Buy it and hope for the best? I might like it but I want to love it.

Any other ideas? Have any of you purchase a whole bike that didn't work out? What did you do? I think most places would not let you return something if you already rode it. Getting the wrong size is a bummer too. This is my worst fear...
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Old 06-27-17, 02:41 PM
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Do some calling around for equivalent models and drive to test ride, if such a thing exists close enough to do so.

Otherwise, the only place I know of that will let you order it and then immediately return it is Performance. I am sure there are others according to location.
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Old 06-27-17, 03:20 PM
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LBS here ordered a bike for me to test ride with no obligation to buy it. They kinda wanted to know how likely I was to purchase it, tho.
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Old 06-27-17, 03:36 PM
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I've test ridden 5 bikes from 3 different shops. They all had bikes in stock in my size and one shop spent about 20-30 minutes fitting me. I ended up buying a used bike, but I still use the "fitting" shop and I've sent people to them. Mike, the tech and salesman who fitted me, was a marvelous find. He recently had me take his new bike for a ride so I could get a feel for Di2 electronic shifting and disk brakes.
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Old 06-27-17, 03:49 PM
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Look for a shop(s) that will rent the bike(s) you are interested in.

Many demo days exist as well. You may or may not be lucky enough to be near them though.

This is time and money well spent as specs do not tell the story. Different bikes ride different. A ride in the parking lot just does not get you familiar enough with each bike.

Good luck. Can be a fun and/or frustrating process.
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Old 06-27-17, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad
Any other ideas?
Buy it from REI and you have a year to change your mind.
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Old 06-27-17, 07:39 PM
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I bought several of my bicycles before I rode them. Riding isn't going to tell you much. Tire pressure alone will make a difference between how one bicycle feels vs another. Same with saddle height or handlebar height. Get one with the right measurements, and make the adjustments as necessary.

BTW - regarding size ... the reach is the most important measurement (essentially the length of top tube when horizontal). Measure that on your current bicycle. Do you think it is OK or do you feel crowded when you ride or too stretched out? In other words, if that measurement is OK, go with it. Otherwise consider adding or subtracting a centimetre or so. Get that right, and you've got a decent chance of getting the rest right ... although, it is worth checking to be sure.

Last edited by Machka; 06-27-17 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 06-28-17, 07:46 AM
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You can pay for a professional fitting before buying a bike.

The fitter can recommend models based on the results.

Personally, I'd drive to a shop that has bikes to try or rent.
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Old 06-28-17, 07:52 AM
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A decent LBS should be able to determine the size of bike you require prior to ordering. Fit can be adjusted with different stems and spacers. There should be zero risk of getting the wrong size.
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