Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Is it acceptable to test ride bikes you don't plan to buy?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Is it acceptable to test ride bikes you don't plan to buy?

Old 06-29-17, 07:14 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 853
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Is it acceptable to test ride bikes you don't plan to buy?

I bought my first two bikes with very little comparison testing with other shops, which I slightly regret now. I'm happy enough with my bikes, but I now have a far better idea of the available models and the sort of features that I would look out for.

Realistically, I'm not going to buy another bike for a minimum of 6 months, possibly 12, but I'd like to have a really good idea of how the competition stacks up, by trying as many bikes as I can.

I am a bit hesitant about getting a reputation as a "tire kicker" or "tourist" with my local shops, and would like to know how asking for test rides is generally viewed (preferably by store owners or employees), if I know that I won't be making a purchase decision in the near future.

My next bike would probably in the $3000+ price bracket, so I really want get my choice right, so I also need time to study the options, and save some cash!

Any thoughts on how to approach this, being fair to both myself and the bike shops?

How many test rides at a single store do you think is reasonable, considering you may not buy anything from them?
johngwheeler is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 08:09 AM
  #2  
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 7,398

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Liked 943 Times in 505 Posts
I believe most shops WANT you to test bikes, even if you are not "ready to buy now" serious. They always hope a good ride will convince you to pull the trigger.


If you are concerned about how they will perceive you, just be honest with them. Tell them your intentions up front and go from there. My guess is they'll still be plenty happy to accommodate you.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 08:14 AM
  #3  
Farmer tan
 
f4rrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 7,985

Bikes: Allez, SuperSix Evo

Liked 28 Times in 23 Posts
A test ride is a "prospect" for the shop.

The more prospects they have, the more chances they have to sell something.

You're doing them a favor.

Be honest about your timeframe for purchase, and try to go in at a time when they're not overwhelmed.

Take the card of the salesperson who helped you, and if you liked how they treated you, then ask for them again when you go back. They will perceive this favorably, as they are cultivating a prospect into a potential sale.
f4rrest is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 08:14 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
msquared22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: USA
Posts: 66

Bikes: Salsa Vaya X9

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I guess I don't really see it as a problem. Just tell the bike stores that you're very early in your search and you imagine it will take you a while to find the perfect bike.
msquared22 is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 08:17 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 9,044

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Liked 2,040 Times in 1,268 Posts
If you go in and honestly tell them what you posted here (not buying for 6-12 months, expect to spend $3k), I can't see anything wrong with that. You're doing a market survey, so to speak. And with what you expect to spend, I'd expect 9 out of 10 shops would bend over backwards to help you.


The only thing I'd suggest is to try to avoid peak times at the shops. Most places that's April or May on a Saturday morning; some college towns it's the week before and after registration.
pdlamb is online now  
Old 06-29-17, 08:28 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 920

Bikes: Diamond Back Apex, Mongoose IBOC Aluminum Road Bike, SR road bike

Liked 167 Times in 116 Posts
The last two bike shops I visited offered to let me ride bikes I had specifically shown interest in. Having said that, I am much more likely to buy from a shop that is helpful in that way. They know this as well, so really, it's a win win situation.
Ballenxj is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 08:30 AM
  #7  
Generally bewildered
 
WizardOfBoz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Eastern PA, USA
Posts: 3,038

Bikes: 2014 Trek Domane 6.9, 1999 LeMond Zurich, 1978 Schwinn Superior

Liked 342 Times in 252 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb
If you go in and honestly tell them what you posted here (not buying for 6-12 months, expect to spend $3k), I can't see anything wrong with that.
I'd never give hard figure information like that to a vendor. Instead, I'd find a couple of bikes I'm interested in and tell them that. This gives them some incentive to make sure that there prices are not completely skee-whacked. In fact, I'd probably give them one example that they carry, and one that they don't.
WizardOfBoz is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 10:36 AM
  #8  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Albany GA
Posts: 193

Bikes: 1983 Trek 400, 2015 Cannondale Synapse, Soma Double Cross, 2021 Salsa Warbird 600

Liked 41 Times in 19 Posts
Yes, it is acceptable.


I'm a long time car salesman. The saying in the car biz is "The feel of the wheel seals the deal!" How are you going to know whether you want to buy a bike or car if you don't drive it first?

I can't tell you the number of times a customer has said to me, "I'm just looking" - and then they drive their new car home that day.


If your LBS is serious about selling bikes, they'll be happy for you to test drive that bike. Who knows, you might fall in love with THAT bike RIGHT then and want to take it home TODAY! That's a win-win for them AND for you!

Gary
BrazAd is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 11:05 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
rgconner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,156

Bikes: Curtis Inglis Road, 80's Sekai touring fixie

Liked 11 Times in 9 Posts
Do them a favor and post on their social media site about how great the test ride was, how they were helpful, etc. That will make up for any inconvenience and give you a good rep with the store.
rgconner is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 11:08 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 39,267

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Liked 3,118 Times in 1,717 Posts
Be up front about your intentions, and let them decide.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

Just because I'm tired of arguing, doesn't mean you're right.

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 11:17 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,537

Bikes: yes

Liked 644 Times in 330 Posts
Originally Posted by BrazAd
Yes, it is acceptable.


I'm a long time car salesman. The saying in the car biz is "The feel of the wheel seals the deal!" How are you going to know whether you want to buy a bike or car if you don't drive it first?

I can't tell you the number of times a customer has said to me, "I'm just looking" - and then they drive their new car home that day.


If your LBS is serious about selling bikes, they'll be happy for you to test drive that bike. Who knows, you might fall in love with THAT bike RIGHT then and want to take it home TODAY! That's a win-win for them AND for you!

Gary
+1

This. Most of us wouldn't think twice about test driving 10 cars or looking at 20 houses before making a purchase.

That said, there are 2 LBS's in my town. One is run by a cranky old guy who would def get an attitude about this (and pretty much everything). The other shop is friendly & accommodating. Guess which one gets my business?
ksryder is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 11:54 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
winston63's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 707

Bikes: Specialized Diverge E5 Comp, Specialized AWOL Comp, Scott Solace 10

Liked 27 Times in 20 Posts
In my experience most bike shops jump at the chance to get you on a bike! As others have said, be honest about your time frame and what you think you are looking for, and be open to other suggestions from the shop, too.

I've been testing bikes for months now, looking for a road bike. Virtually every bike shop I checked out was eager get me out on a test ride, and I'm sure I've ridden more than 15 bikes over the last 6 months or so.

Recently I tested six bikes at one shop alone! Their service and attitude was fantastic, though I wound up finding my perfect ride at a different shop. Even though I didn't buy my bike from that one shop, I gave them a glowing review and will absolutely put them on top of my list the next time n+1 strikes.
winston63 is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 12:24 PM
  #13  
vol
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,815
Liked 21 Times in 15 Posts
Pick a slow day when there are no other customers. Even if the bike you are interested in is still in the box, they may be willing to have it assembled on the spot while you wait. I had that experience twice, once I didn't buy, the other time I bought the bike right away. One morning during a huge snow storm, I went to a bike shop, the manager took the time to give me a full measurement and advised me what bike size I should choose.
vol is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 12:33 PM
  #14  
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 16,874

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Liked 7,838 Times in 4,348 Posts
Originally Posted by mtb_addict
No, I think it's unethical to pretend like you're interested in buying to get a test drive!
But he isnt pretending. He clearly states he is interested, itll just take time before he can buy.
Best to know what you are saving for.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 12:44 PM
  #15  
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 13,564

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Liked 5,172 Times in 2,350 Posts
It's probably not a good idea to walk into a shop on a Sat AM, migrate to the most expensive ones in the store and ask to ride all the electronic shifters and disc brake models 'because i want to compare them all for a possible future purchase'.

But since you aren't doing that = have at it.
__________________
Vintage, modern, e-road. It is a big cycling universe.
Wildwood is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 01:06 PM
  #16  
LET'S ROLL
 
1nterceptor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,782

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Liked 45 Times in 34 Posts
Don't waste time; yours and the shops'. One year from now; you might win the lottery and will want to buy a $10,000 bike.
Or you might get hit by a bus, and Dr. might say no riding for 18 months. Test ride when you have the money and close to
really buying; say 1 month before.
1nterceptor is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 01:50 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Posts: 780

Bikes: 2018 Lynskey Cooper CX; 2007 Cannondale F4

Liked 155 Times in 64 Posts
Like a new car purchase, a new bike purchase can very much be an impulse decision, made out of passion and not always logical or economic sense. Even if you didn't plan on buying a $3000 bike when you walk in the door, a wonderfully joyous test ride on a bike that fits perfectly is often enough to persuade a reasonable bike enthusiast to walk out $3000 poorer, but one sweet bike wealthier.
General Geoff is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 02:19 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Bozeman
Posts: 4,094

Bikes: 199? Landshark Roadshark, 198? Mondonico Diamond, 1987 Panasonic DX-5000, 1987 Bianchi Limited, Univega... Chrome..., 1989 Schwinn Woodlands, Motobecane USA Record, Raleigh Tokul 2

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here's the deal.

Typically I'd say "This isn't a problem, go ahead and ride as many bikes as you want."

But for a $3000 bike? I'd imagine most bike shops are going to be a little more protective of those bikes and not want them to be ridden all of the time, especially a year out from purchase.

I mean, it's a risk every time they let you out there on one of those bikes. What if you crash? On a $1000 bike, no real problem, replace the part for $50. On a $3000 bike? It's a bit more of a problem. Think about it. If you were purchasing a $3000 bike, would you buy one that had been wrecked by someone test riding it?

If I were you, I would shop around, but not specifically ask to test ride the bikes. If (when) someone approaches you, say "I'm just looking right now, but I'd like to buy something like "insert bike here" at the beginning of next season."

If they offer to let you ride it, then go ahead, but if they don't, I wouldn't push it. A season out for a bike purchase is a REALLY long time.
corrado33 is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 02:54 PM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minas Ithil
Posts: 9,173
Liked 642 Times in 398 Posts
Just don't go into a shop, have a salesman take the time to help you, then go home and buy the exact same thing online.
Lazyass is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 02:57 PM
  #20  
vol
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,815
Liked 21 Times in 15 Posts
I've read some bad stories on yelp about someone "test riding" a bike by looping in the Central Park for some 40 minutes without buying the bike, hope it's not true.
vol is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 02:59 PM
  #21  
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 13,512

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Liked 2,809 Times in 1,804 Posts
This.

I sold cars years ago. While working for a Mazda dealership that was teaching us a new sales program the manager sent us all out to pretend we were customers and test drive cars at other dealerships. The idea was to evaluate their sales techniques compared with ours.

I went to a Toyota dealership and test drove a MR2.

Suddenly I wanted to work for a Toyota dealership and own an MR2.

It took a lot of willpower not to buy that car on the spot. It was sweet, much more fun than the RX7. And the sales guy was very laid back, just a bro, no hard sell. He could read customers. For all I know they had the same sales program we did.

That said, when I test rode a new Trek entry level road bike at the LBS last year I didn't take it out of the parking lot. I only needed to know whether I could handle a drop bar bike again without pain (old C2 vertebrae injury from a car wreck). I couldn't at that time. I needed another year of working on neck strength and flexibility.

I did take a flat bar road bike for a longer test ride, but it was a used bike and they encouraged me to take a longer ride. It was still a bit uncomfortable.

I thought about renting a road bike a few times and maybe buying the rental later. But for the price of a few rentals I bought an '89 Centurion Ironman a few weeks ago. That's my test ride. If drop bars and I get along I may revisit the Trek LBS again next year and see about buying from them. They're good folks.

Originally Posted by BrazAd
Yes, it is acceptable.


I'm a long time car salesman. The saying in the car biz is "The feel of the wheel seals the deal!" How are you going to know whether you want to buy a bike or car if you don't drive it first?

I can't tell you the number of times a customer has said to me, "I'm just looking" - and then they drive their new car home that day.


If your LBS is serious about selling bikes, they'll be happy for you to test drive that bike. Who knows, you might fall in love with THAT bike RIGHT then and want to take it home TODAY! That's a win-win for them AND for you!

Gary
Originally Posted by General Geoff
Like a new car purchase, a new bike purchase can very much be an impulse decision, made out of passion and not always logical or economic sense. Even if you didn't plan on buying a $3000 bike when you walk in the door, a wonderfully joyous test ride on a bike that fits perfectly is often enough to persuade a reasonable bike enthusiast to walk out $3000 poorer, but one sweet bike wealthier.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 03:37 PM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
Milton Keynes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3,947

Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

Liked 1,710 Times in 936 Posts
Who knows, you might fall in love with one of the bikes you test ride to the point you end up buying one. That's why they're called test rides. And that's why LBS's allow you to take test rides.
Milton Keynes is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 03:57 PM
  #23  
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Posts: 27,079

Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2

Liked 4,532 Times in 3,158 Posts
Originally Posted by Milton Keynes
Who knows, you might fall in love with one of the bikes you test ride to the point you end up buying one. That's why they're called test rides. And that's why LBS's allow you to take test rides.


And so often just about any new ride can feel so good as to cause you to "fall into love" and just buy it on the spot.
genec is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 04:06 PM
  #24  
Veteran, Pacifist
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 13,564

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Liked 5,172 Times in 2,350 Posts
I rode my old steel bike to the Calfee factory in Santa Cruz just to talk about their CF bikes (this was a few years ago). I never had to ask, they put me on their top of the line bike with Campy Record, put my pedals on, adjusted the saddle & stem, gave me 2 full water bottles and said, "We leave about 5:30, so be back before then." It was over a year before I bought a Calfee, they aren't cheap.

Point is, if they know you are a rider and will be buying a bike they should encourage you to ride - if they believe they have what you want (and what LBS salesman doesn't think he stocks something you want?!?).
__________________
Vintage, modern, e-road. It is a big cycling universe.
Wildwood is offline  
Old 06-29-17, 04:12 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
winston63's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 707

Bikes: Specialized Diverge E5 Comp, Specialized AWOL Comp, Scott Solace 10

Liked 27 Times in 20 Posts
Originally Posted by genec


And so often just about any new ride can feel so good as to cause you to "fall into love" and just buy it on the spot.
Indeed. I wound up falling in love like that just recently and bought a Scott Solace!

Seriously, the bike shops I've been in were eager to put me on test rides even when I clearly communicated that I wasn't buying anything for some time. And these were not beaters, I was encouraged to ride some pretty high end bikes priced well north of the OP's $3K budget. What was surprising, though shouldn't have been, is how uniquely we respond to different bikes.

Several of the models that I thought I was going to love based on reviews, etc didn't feel 'right' to me at all and I had no interest in buying after a test ride. But when something speaks to you, well, it's game over
winston63 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.