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Test rides

Old 09-13-16, 11:51 AM
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Test rides

A rant - so if not interested in my complaining, move on.


Very often I read on this forum about test rides for a new bike purchase & frequently folks say you MUST have a test ride before buying.


Do you guys expect a bike shop to stock every size of every model offered by a manufacturer? Just think of the inventory a Trek dealer would have to stock. Say 7-8 sizes of Madone, Domane, and Emonda. That's 21 bikes. Now you've got aluminum, entry level carbon, and top end carbon. Then you've got disc version of several of these.


My local shop rarely stocks high end versions and if they do, only one or two. I don't expect them to put the money into inventory to carry every size shape and model. I think that's why website reviews and objective (if that's possible from a forum) forum reviews are valuable in deciding which bike to get. I ride a small frame & I'd bet there's not a high end Madone around in the entire state - much less one where they'd let me test ride it very far.
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Old 09-13-16, 11:55 AM
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I think what most people state is to test ride before buying it. If you special order a car you still get to test drive it before you pay for it. So if they dont carry your model/size and order it for you then yes you should test ride it before you buy it. However it should be expected that they carry a number of popular models in various sizes. Sure they may not have the top-tier Tarmac but they have the lower tier in your size so you can see if the frame geometry works for you before requesting they order a specific model.
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Old 09-13-16, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
Do you guys expect a bike shop to stock every size of every model offered by a manufacturer?
Not really. But I'm not buying without test riding it first. If a shop doesn't have it in stock in my size, that doesn't make them bad people or anything, but they're not selling me the bike.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:00 PM
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If the shop doesn't have or want to get the bike I'm interested in and in my size, I look elsewhere. This is especially important for anything mid to high-end because nobody want's to be stuck with an expensive bike that doesn't fit.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
A rant - so if not interested in my complaining, move on.


Very often I read on this forum about test rides for a new bike purchase & frequently folks say you MUST have a test ride before buying.


Do you guys expect a bike shop to stock every size of every model offered by a manufacturer?
Fortunately, there is more than one bike shop on the planet.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:18 PM
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I think you guys live in a different bike "world" than I do. I'm in NC and the shops don't carry all sizes of all models. I know there's more than one shop, but I travel the state a lot with my work so I can visit shops in all the major cities. If wanting a Madone in size 52, I would not be shocked if one doesn't exist as a stock bike available for test ride in the state. I wanted to try out a F8 and again, but again I'm pretty sure there aren't any around.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:24 PM
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Shops don't need to carry all sizes of all models.

BF types are not typical of the average bike shopper, who goes in, tells them what they intend to use the bike for and how much they want to spend, and then looks at what the bike guy (or gal) has to show them.

I've sold many bikes where the entire process took less than half an hour...
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Old 09-13-16, 12:35 PM
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I don't worry about group level, but YES, I expect to be able to ride a representative model of the bike (or same geometry bike) in the size I am looking at to make sure it's comfortable and meets my needs and expectations.

Unfortunately, in this area, the only shop I know will do that is Performance Bike. They allow you to buy it first and then immediately return after it comes in if you aren't satisfied. (it actually continues into a full year, but not sure of the conditions). Otherwise you have to find a (super) shop that just has lots of inventory and generally even then only right after the new model year comes out, at least in my experience for my size.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by American Euchre
Fortunately, there is more than one bike shop on the planet.
Not for everyone. There is one bike shop where I live. He has a nice selection of 2014 and 2015 bikes for not much of a discount in maybe 3 models and 1 size per model. I was just checking them out last night. 2014 Giant Defy 1 in large (I would be interested in Defy 1 in probably medium if not small), a 2015 Giant Defy 5 in medium, and another Giant Defy I didn't look at the tag, but I think it was one of the carbon models. That was the extent of his road bikes.

Everyone says shop the shop and pick the bike the shop you like has. There's only one shop. All else is in another city and a huge hassle then to have any work done on the bike.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:43 PM
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I have a separate thread going due to similar issues. The one place that carries Scott only had 1 size of Solace so I couldn't compare the slightly larger one; furthermore, they do not carry any other brands. It makes it difficult to determine differences between the different brands. Oh well. I guess pick one that feels good and go with it.
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Old 09-13-16, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
I think you guys live in a different bike "world" than I do. I'm in NC and the shops don't carry all sizes of all models. I know there's more than one shop, but I travel the state a lot with my work so I can visit shops in all the major cities. If wanting a Madone in size 52, I would not be shocked if one doesn't exist as a stock bike available for test ride in the state. I wanted to try out a F8 and again, but again I'm pretty sure there aren't any around.
Shop inventories are often low now since the '16s are mostly gone and '17s haven't arrived in quantity. Here's a list of Trek dealers in NC - give 'em a call.
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Old 09-13-16, 03:58 PM
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Guess I'm spoiled here in the Orlando area? I have 4 Trek dealers within 20miles of my house.
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Old 09-13-16, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
A rant - so if not interested in my complaining, move on.


Very often I read on this forum about test rides for a new bike purchase & frequently folks say you MUST have a test ride before buying.


Do you guys expect a bike shop to stock every size of every model offered by a manufacturer?
OK, so don't test ride bikes.

Or you could make note of the fact that there are multiple bike shops in the world, you likely know people with bikes, and after you've test ridden a half dozen bikes, you begin to get a much better idea which bikes you're interested in and which features you want. Ride enough bikes that if your LBS does have to order a bike, you're confident it's the size and has the features you want.

Or don't. It's your money.
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Old 09-13-16, 04:28 PM
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A beginner going into a bike shop likely doesn't know what he wants anyway, so it's up to the LBS to convince him that he should go for a particular bike given his budget. Very often he ends up blowing that budget anyway. He's probably not going to know what to look for on a test ride anyway. Do you think a beginner rider can go for a 20-mile test ride? The upside is that he's likely going get a bike that fits him well.

BF types going into an LBS to buy a bike likely knows exactly what bike he wants and what size and what price he's willing to pay for it. If the LBS doesn't have what he's looking for he'll go to another one that does.
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Old 09-13-16, 04:32 PM
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Whats wrong with calling shops further out of the local area to find models to demo and make a day of it?
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Old 09-13-16, 05:18 PM
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Seems to me ... that, like so much else in life .... it comes down to personal preference.
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Old 09-13-16, 07:26 PM
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I laugh.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mrodgers
Not for everyone. There is one bike shop where I live. He has a nice selection of 2014 and 2015 bikes for not much of a discount in maybe 3 models and 1 size per model. I was just checking them out last night. 2014 Giant Defy 1 in large (I would be interested in Defy 1 in probably medium if not small), a 2015 Giant Defy 5 in medium, and another Giant Defy I didn't look at the tag, but I think it was one of the carbon models. That was the extent of his road bikes.

Everyone says shop the shop and pick the bike the shop you like has. There's only one shop. All else is in another city and a huge hassle then to have any work done on the bike.
Drive out of town test ride a bunch of bikes. Learn to work on the bike on your own. Or schedule a service and spend the afternoon doing something fun near that town. Lots of options, bro. No pity party here.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw
Guess I'm spoiled here in the Orlando area? I have 4 Trek dealers within 20miles of my house.
Four Trek dealers and you bought a Cannondale. LOVE IT.
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Old 09-14-16, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by longbeachgary
Four Trek dealers and you bought a Cannondale. LOVE IT.
We also have three Cannondale dealers here in town with many more not too far away if I drive to Tampa, Daytona, Cocoa, Melbourne, etc...
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Old 09-14-16, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
A beginner going into a bike shop likely doesn't know what he wants anyway,
Going to multiple bike shops, riding multiple bikes, and talking to multiple people is a fine way to figure out what he wants.
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Old 09-14-16, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by RShantz
I think you guys live in a different bike "world" than I do. I'm in NC and the shops don't carry all sizes of all models. I know there's more than one shop, but I travel the state a lot with my work so I can visit shops in all the major cities. If wanting a Madone in size 52, I would not be shocked if one doesn't exist as a stock bike available for test ride in the state. I wanted to try out a F8 and again, but again I'm pretty sure there aren't any around.
I understand exactly what you mean. I work a part-time job selling archery equipment here in NC. There are a lot of similarities between bows and bikes. We could not afford to carry a representative model of every single bow we could sell, but we can come very close in setting up a bow for a customer in terms of sizing, draw length, draw weight, and some other variables which would let them come very close to the one that they are interested in ordering. Just explaining the slight differences in the ones we carry and the ones they want are usually satisfactory to most folks.
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Old 09-14-16, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdslw
Guess I'm spoiled here in the Orlando area? I have 4 Trek dealers within 20miles of my house.
I am in the the Orlando area also. What if you don't want a trek nor specialized? I find it impossible to test ride first. And I may be wrong, but it sounds like quite the hassle for a shop to stock enough variety to test ride different frames and sizes or to order in a frame and exchange until you find the right one.

I am 45 min from downtown Orlando, there's no shortage of shops in a 90 minute radius, in a very highly populated area, but unless you want a Trek or Specialized, sorry, test riding what you lust over is just not an option.

And FWIW, I am not saying the shop wouldn't stand behind what they sold, in fact they said they would, but what a misery of inconvenience for all.
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Old 09-14-16, 12:07 PM
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I was looking for TT bikes a week or so back and the shops I was going to would show me what they had/could get in and then give recommendations on other shops I could go check out other brands.
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Old 09-14-16, 12:15 PM
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Only 2 trek dealers near me, but lots of specialized though.
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