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Ever buy a bike without a test ride?

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Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Ever buy a bike without a test ride?

Old 09-03-21, 12:06 PM
  #26  
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Back in the before times, my lbs used to have a factory demo day when a few of the big brands would show up with a trailer full of test bikes. Doing a quick test ride on several similar bikes in one day helped me zero in on the models/styles of bike I was interested in.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
I feel exactly the same way. A short test ride around the parking lot of an LBS does not tell you much. (Even motor vehicle dealers allow overnight test drives.) What I am afraid of is doing what you described here, then deciding my existing road bike rides better than my new one. This fear is holding me back from N+1.
I think the lesson here is that the human neuromuscular system is so adaptable that anything with the right approximate dimensions and mechanical properties is going to feel pretty good after a few tweaks.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:24 PM
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I test rode my first MTB ('91), and my first road bike ('98). The test ride didn't amount to much more than confirming that it was the right size. From then until my newest bike, I haven't purchased a complete bike. It's been an evolution of frames and parts. My newest was purchased as a complete bike, used, based only on pictures. It's everything I expected it to be.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:25 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
The key is always buying cheaper bikes than your existing one, so you don't feel so bad if they don't measure up.
I've been doing it wrong.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:28 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
I've been doing it wrong.
I didn't necessarily intend it that way, but the list price of the Ritchey I bought in 1997 is more than any bike I've bought since, even without adjusting for inflation.

Mind you, I didn't pay list price.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:30 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
I think the lesson here is that the human neuromuscular system is so adaptable that anything with the right approximate dimensions and mechanical properties is going to feel pretty good after a few tweaks.
I have been amazed how long a ride it takes to distinguish between a NEAR fit and the RIGHT fit. I had to exceed 50 mile rides before the original 'Ten Minute Bike Store Fit' on the Ritchey started to bother me.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:30 PM
  #32  
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All of my bikes were purchased without a test ride
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Old 09-03-21, 12:39 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I didn't necessarily intend it that way, but the list price of the Ritchey I bought in 1997 is more than any bike I've bought since, even without adjusting for inflation.

Mind you, I didn't pay list price.
Maybe I haven't been doing it completely wrong. My '04 Time was $2500 for just the frame. In today's dollars, that would be a lot more than the $3K I most recently spent on my Storck (complete bike with a very nice spec). There are things I like better about the Storck, and things I like better about the Time.
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Old 09-03-21, 12:58 PM
  #34  
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I have never gone on a test ride before purchasing a bike.
Then again, Im not OCD and have always made a decent living so my bike purchase was never going to make or break me.
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Old 09-03-21, 01:10 PM
  #35  
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Last 3 bikes I bought without a test ride. Just too much hassle (or even impossible) to arrange these days. Ideally I would want a proper test ride and I have done that in the past when it was much easier to arrange. Now I rely on distance selling regulations providing a return policy if I don't like the bike. I've never had to send one back yet!
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Old 09-03-21, 01:10 PM
  #36  
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Of the four bikes I currently have, I bought three without test rides.

My commuter, I bought as NOS off an ebay vendor (so obviously didn't test ride it), but when I was in the market to buy that commuter, I test rode a bunch of bikes, and it was helpful. This bike's too big, that bike's too small, I just don't like the way this other bike handles. I already had a good idea of what I wanted, but the process clarified what I didn't want. My previous commuter, I had test-ridden, and really wasn't attentive enough on the test ride to problems that were glaring once I rode it a little more.

My old racing bike has a custom-built frame, and my distance bike has a stock frame I picked out with help from a fitter, and built up myself.
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Old 09-03-21, 01:13 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
I think the lesson here is that the human neuromuscular system is so adaptable that anything with the right approximate dimensions and mechanical properties is going to feel pretty good after a few tweaks.
That is true! So far, it has only taken me a few rides to get used to my own component "upgrades."
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Old 09-03-21, 01:15 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
I have never gone on a test ride before purchasing a bike.
Then again, Im not OCD and have always made a decent living so my bike purchase was never going to make or break me.
You're doing it wrong. If your bike purchase isn't putting you close to the edge of bankruptcy, you're not spending enough.

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Old 09-03-21, 01:35 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
The key is always buying cheaper bikes than your existing one, so you don't feel so bad if they don't measure up.
This is no fun.

Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
You're doing it wrong. If your bike purchase isn't putting you close to the edge of bankruptcy, you're not spending enough.
This is too dangerous.

The range I am working with is the replacement cost of my current bike (including upgrades) and what my wife has recently spent on purses.
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Old 09-03-21, 01:38 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
This is no fun.


.
Incorrect.

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Old 09-03-21, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post

The range I am working with is the replacement cost of my current bike (including upgrades) and what my wife has recently spent on purses.
In a semi-related story...

Years ago, when music was my primary hobby, my wife asked why I needed to buy another guitar. In response, I asked her why she needed to buy another pair of black shoes. She stopped asking those questions.
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Old 09-03-21, 01:44 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Incorrect.

I stand corrected! I had not considered older road bikes, not because I am a snob, but because I only have (slight) mechanical experience with 11 speed systems.
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Old 09-03-21, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
In a semi-related story...

Years ago, when music was my primary hobby, my wife asked why I needed to buy another guitar. In response, I asked her why she needed to buy another pair of black shoes. She stopped asking those questions.
My wife is happy I am modifying my bikes rather than my car.
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Old 09-03-21, 01:47 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
My wife is happy I am modifying my bikes rather than my car.
Happy?....Or less-unhappy?

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Old 09-03-21, 01:49 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
I stand corrected! I had not considered older road bikes, not because I am a snob, but because I only have (slight) mechanical experience with 11 speed systems.
And that was two bikes ago!
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Old 09-03-21, 02:07 PM
  #46  
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I don't think it's necessary to test ride, but I find it helpful. When I got my Bianchi back in 2005, I test rode a Felt, a Fuji, and a Specialized as well, all within a few days of each other. Sure, none of the test rides was longer than 20 minutes, but it was enough to tell me that as-set-up by the shop, the Felt was ok, the Fuji was too aggressive, and the Specialized just failed to impress. Alternatively, I bonded with my Bianchi immediately.

For riders who are building frame-up, or willing to tinker with wheels, tires, stems, and saddles - a test ride may not provide that much information. For people who aren't going to be doing all of that (ie most), getting a test ride can definitely help weed out which setup you'll like better.
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Old 09-03-21, 02:35 PM
  #47  
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Many times. I study the geometry to make sure it will fit, make sure it has the parts I want (or at least the ones I'm not willing to swap out), and then make the purchase. I may like the feel and performance of various frames and parts more or less, but they have always been rideable.
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Old 09-03-21, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Happy?....Or less-unhappy?
From the point of view of my credit card statements, those two states are indistinguishable.
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Old 09-03-21, 04:42 PM
  #49  
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Bought a new bike from the UK costing $3.2k without a test ride right before Covid hit. I was a little concerned and had buyers remorse a couple of day after my purchase. That's a good chunk of change headed halfway around the world talking to folks through the internet. Fortunately it all worked out and got a bike delivered without issues. Was rather impressed when it took only three days to ship including bike going through Customs.

Bike did fit with some minor tweaks but that's expected. Did a lot of geometry comparisons with the new bike verses what I was currently riding so I knew I was pretty close fit wise. Also asked a lot of questions before ordering.

Long story short it worked for me...
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Old 09-03-21, 06:09 PM
  #50  
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All my current bikes, come to think of it.
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