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Test Riding a Bike

Old 06-15-20, 08:36 AM
  #1  
xraydog
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Test Riding a Bike

I was reading in another part of a forum about purchasing a new Canyon bike. A comment came up.... "I simply would never lay out that cash for a bike I had never ridden" .... that got me thinking.

I understand that sentiment, but, at least in my case test rides are relatively short and usually not where I plan to ride the bike and usually do not represent a typical ride.

The question to you all is. How do you test ride of bike? How long? Where?, more than once? etc....
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Old 06-15-20, 08:37 AM
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probe1957
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My LBS let me take the bike for the weekend.
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Old 06-15-20, 09:02 AM
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Canyon lets you return a bike within 30 days if you don't like it

Try returning a 3 week old bike to your lbs and see how that goes.........
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Old 06-15-20, 09:22 AM
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The bike shop where I just bought my bike from was right on a MUP so I was able to give it a good ride and not worry about much more than how the bike felt.
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Old 06-15-20, 09:33 AM
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I would agree with not buying a bike you've never ridden...but I did it again. Was close enough to home and my daughter brought me my new bike I ordered. Haven't had a chance even to take shipping packaging off yet. I've ridden enough to pretty well know my bike size and have ridden enough flatbar bikes to know what I'm getting. My first carbon fork tho so that will be different.
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Old 06-15-20, 02:30 PM
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Hilly man..... Nice!. I like the way you are protecting it with the seatbelts.
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Old 06-15-20, 02:37 PM
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I rode a Wally World bike around the store once. Or almost, until some undercover shoplifter prevention guy stopped me. His attitude wasn't the greatest and the bike wasn't assembled properly so I took his advice and left the store. Does that count as a test ride?
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Old 06-15-20, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tacoenthusiast View Post
Canyon lets you return a bike within 30 days if you don't like it

Try returning a 3 week old bike to your lbs and see how that goes.........
Yes, if it's unused. Try test riding a a bike that you can't...ride.
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Old 06-15-20, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
Yes, if it's unused. Try test riding a a bike that you can't...ride.
Have you had a canyon return denied?
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Old 06-15-20, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by xraydog View Post
I was reading in another part of a forum about purchasing a new Canyon bike. A comment came up.... "I simply would never lay out that cash for a bike I had never ridden" .... that got me thinking.

I understand that sentiment, but, at least in my case test rides are relatively short and usually not where I plan to ride the bike and usually do not represent a typical ride.

The question to you all is. How do you test ride of bike? How long? Where?, more than once? etc....
​​​​​​
I'm a road rider so even if all I can do is ride around the parking lot a dozen times, I can get a pretty good sense of my comfort level on a bike as long as I can get up to a decent speed.

I once fell in love with the look of a Klein racing bike, but about 25 feet of riding on that buzzy monster cured me of that.
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Old 06-15-20, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Tacoenthusiast View Post
Have you had a canyon return denied?
I have not. But their return policy clearly states they only accept new items for return.
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Old 06-15-20, 05:16 PM
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I'm not convinced test rides are particularly useful for most folks. It requires a certain amount of knowledge to understand what you are experiencing as you ride. That same knowledge will allow someone to look at bike specs and a geometry chart and have a pretty good idea how a bike will feel. An experienced cyclist doesn't need a test ride. An inexperienced cyclist doesn't know enough to benefit, outside of egregious fit errors.
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Old 06-15-20, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I'm not convinced test rides are particularly useful for most folks. It requires a certain amount of knowledge to understand what you are experiencing as you ride. That same knowledge will allow someone to look at bike specs and a geometry chart and have a pretty good idea how a bike will feel. An experienced cyclist doesn't need a test ride. An inexperienced cyclist doesn't know enough to benefit, outside of egregious fit errors.
I couldn't agree with you more except to add that even low end parts work good when they're new.
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Old 06-15-20, 07:41 PM
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I haven’t bought a NEW bike in a very long time. I bought a brand new racing road bike in 1976(still have it) and really didn’t know anything about it after riding my Schwinn Varsity for a few years. I just knew I needed something lighter as I was wanting to go on longer rides. The guy who owned the small local bike shop raced century races and steered me toward a racing bike I could afford. Before purchasing the bike he nearly insisted that I go for a ride around the harbor which was about 5 miles or so with uphills and corners etc. I rode that bike for over two years without having a car and I love it still. I can now buy my vintage racing bikes without testing as I know what to look for. If I ever buy a mountain bike or any other style of bike, I would want a good test ride to know what to look for .
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Old 06-16-20, 07:10 AM
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If you would test drive a car before buying, then you will probably want to test drive a bike before buying. The same caveats about how much you really learn driving a brand new car for a short test ride apply. Yes, the car is a bigger purchase but since you are the engine on a bike it is worth comparing how you feel on different bikes. Even with similar geometries, the bar and wheel choices and contortions of chains stays and other frame members may cause the ride to feel really different or will intefact with your pedal motion in ways that you don't like.
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Old 06-16-20, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
I'm not convinced test rides are particularly useful for most folks. It requires a certain amount of knowledge to understand what you are experiencing as you ride. That same knowledge will allow someone to look at bike specs and a geometry chart and have a pretty good idea how a bike will feel. An experienced cyclist doesn't need a test ride. An inexperienced cyclist doesn't know enough to benefit, outside of egregious fit errors.

I think there's something to be said for having inexperienced riders test ride a variety of bikes, it at least helps eliminate things they find completely unsuitable.
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Old 06-16-20, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I think there's something to be said for having inexperienced riders test ride a variety of bikes, it at least helps eliminate things they find completely unsuitable.
I agree. The first bike I ever bought was an '81 Raleigh, after riding perhaps a half dozen bikes around the parking lot of dealer. Even that brief ride is enough to get a feel for the bike. The Raleigh was the most expensive of the bikes I tried, and it was a quality I now would describe as" stiffness" that made it stand out from the others. Now I buy aluminum bikes online and pretty much know what to expect.
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Old 06-16-20, 09:45 AM
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Never rode any of my bikes I bought, or built up, before owning them, but they are all higher end CV, and steel, not much to go wrong there. Looking at my 1st new bike, steel Milwaukee road bike from Ben’s Cycle. Not planning on riding that either, before putting out the cash. Steel frame from Waterford, higher end Shimano components, not too worried about liking it.
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Old 06-17-20, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for all the responses.

I think a weekend test ride like Probe1957's local bike shop would be ideal, but, certainly not the norm.
I agree with ShelbyFV that I am not sure I have the experience to adequately evaluate a bike with a short test ride. I'm not sure I could reach an unbiased opinion.
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Old 06-18-20, 07:29 AM
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I have bought bikes I test rode, bikes I never test rode and frames I built up. My best bike is one I built, my least favorite was the most expensive and one that felt good on a short test ride. Even with that least favorite bike, it wasn't horrible, I just never fell in love with it.
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Old 06-18-20, 11:01 AM
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Canyon seems to have a pretty substantial return policy, so I'd have no concern buying a bike from them without riding one first.
I have never felt that short shop test rides were very useful, but it doesn't hurt to do one just to confirm before you buy, I suppose.

I recently bought a new bike without test riding it first. It was during COVID lockdowns and while the shop would've had no problem letting me test ride it before buying, it seemed unnecessary. It was basically a new/upgraded version of a bike I already own, and I have ridden other similar bikes in the past. I researched the size/dimensions/specs beforehand, and knew exactly what size I needed. I don't think I would've learned anything on a short test ride that would've swayed my purchase decision, so after looking over the bike in the shop I just paid and took it home, then rode it for the first time later that day. I also have zero doubt that this shop would've let me return/exchange the bike if I got it home and really hated it for some reason.
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