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Ever buy a bike without a test ride?

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Ever buy a bike without a test ride?

Old 09-03-21, 08:20 AM
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NoWhammies
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Ever buy a bike without a test ride?

I am toying with the idea of buying a new bike. Early days, more of a pipe dream than anything else at this moment in time. BUT many of the bike stores are out of stock. And the bike I am interested in is not available from many of the local shops.

So, I'm curious. Have any of you bought your bike without doing a test ride? If so, how did it go and would you do it again?

Thank you.
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Old 09-03-21, 08:30 AM
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No, not unless you include the first bike I was given by my parents when about 4 yo.

Though I might be okay purchasing online if it was a similar geometry and style bike I already have experience with. If I had no clue about bike fitting and geometry and had to ask people here for their opinion then I might not buy online.

So do you have a clue? <grin>
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Old 09-03-21, 08:34 AM
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Bought two of these. One White then got a Bargain deal on the Red One.

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Old 09-03-21, 08:34 AM
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I’ve never test ridden a bike. Had a custom bike built after being fitted on a test jig and at least 5 other bikes online or used. Once you have a bike that fits comfortably you should be able to determine if another bike can achieve the same fit points. Knowing the stack and reach of your current bike and the ones you’re contemplating is essential.
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Old 09-03-21, 08:38 AM
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I bought a bike without test riding it, I spent ages comparing geometry charts to check they were similar to my current bike before buying though!

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Old 09-03-21, 08:43 AM
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I've had quite a few custom framesets but all of my off the peg bike and frame purchases have been without a test ride. I do study frame geometry charts though and know what to avoid (mainly short head tubes).
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Old 09-03-21, 08:44 AM
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My last two bikes were bought without a test ride. The Domane SL5 was from an LBS and my R3 Disc was bought as a frameset online. No regrets with either, but I was pretty careful about looking at geometry ahead of time and making sure that I was getting the right size frame.
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Old 09-03-21, 08:47 AM
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I’ve had so many bikes over the years— guesstimate: 23— but I don’t think I test rode any of them pre-purchase. I vaguely recall test riding something like a Stumpjumper around E. Lansing in the early ‘90s, but I didn’t buy it.
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Old 09-03-21, 08:52 AM
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Lots of them, all C&V. Once you get your sizing down, it's not difficult.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:05 AM
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I bought most of my bikes, including a custom frame, unridden. I would have to live with a bike for 200 mi, switch to another bike for a few days, and come back for another ride to really know if I liked it.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:12 AM
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I've bought every bike, 15+, without a test ride. I know the geometry I like, plus I'm adaptable and the bikes are adjustable.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:22 AM
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my two current bikes were both bought without a test ride, and my next bike will be bought without a test ride as well.

Those who know me, Know I get stressed out about the bike fit. The first first two bikes I didn’t get all that much help, one was bought new from CC, and the other was bought used on Craiglist. I use a geometry comparison website, as well as the actual data from the brands. The next purchase both shops have been really helpful determining fit. Still stresses me out though.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:29 AM
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I bought my Lynskey without a test ride, but I may not have purchased it if I had gone on a test ride. Nothing wrong with the fit/geometry, mind you - she fits fine. Her two issues come from tire clearance and wheel choice.

- Tire clearance. When Lynskey stated that there was clearance for 28mm tires, they were being dead serious - not a millimeter more. Problem is, the bike came fitted with Continental Ultra Sport 2s in 28mm, which actually inflate to about 31.6mm, resulting in little more than a single millimeter of clearance on each side - the bike 'growled' on my first couple of rides when I got out of the saddle, and it took me a couple of days to realize that the growl was actually tire rub against the chainstay. If I had figured this out on a test ride, I might not have passed on the bike, but I would at least have requested installation of tires that actually fit.

- Wheel choice. Bike came with the option of Vision Team 30s, or for an upcharge, Stans Notubes of some variety. The Stans had a max pressure of 85PSI, which seemed a bit low to me - at the time, I was riding 100psi on 25mm tires, and I currently ride 90psi on my rear wheel, 80 on front. This left the Visions, which are heavy, slow to spin up, and in general, make the bike feel more lethargic than it ought to. A bike shop may have been willing to work with me on other wheel options, but if I had known how unfortunate the Visions felt, I may have looked elsewhere. These days, Lynskey allows for an upgrade to HED AR wheels, which I likely would've picked - 325g lighter (claimed weights) and 21mm internal width make for a more appealing option.

So yes, meeting the bike in person and having a test ride could definitely help you form opinions, or at least give you the opportunity to trade out some bits that don't work as well as you'd like.

I like my Lynskey, but I'm also aware that she's not 100% perfect. I guess that's why there's always n+1.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:31 AM
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I have never bought a bike as such and done a test ride at all. Probably because I am not buying a Trek, Specialized. or Giant bike that the LBS sells. I have never even bought a bike at a LBS. Maybe I am an odd duck. I might add I have never bought a bike that I was not completely happy with either.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:44 AM
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Now that I think about it, I realize I've only test ridden 2 of my 8 bikes. Two others were bought online - after obsessively poring over the geometry tables, and the other 4 weren't in rideable condition - one being just a naked frame.
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Old 09-03-21, 09:48 AM
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There is a poster here (I think) whose signature is something like, "By the time you know enough about yourself and bikes to get any valuable information out of a test ride, you don't need a test ride."

Basically, you can't tell anything by ten minutes on the roads around the bike shop. it probably takes at least an hour for your body to really react tot the sizing .... or longer if you are more fit. It would probably take an hour to figure out how the bike actually worked for you ... . to notice and understand the new feelings over bumps, around corners, under hard braking and acceleration.

And by the time you know enough about riding, and how you want to ride, and what you wanted a bike to do, you would probably have ridden enough bikes and studied enough geometry charts that you could look at the numbers and the parts spec and know enough to make a choice.

The only time a test ride is Absolutely essential is when buying used, when you need to learn a whole lot about a bike in a hurry, because buying used, you really can't count on returning it if two days later yuo find some major flaw .... possibly a flaw the seller was hiding.
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Old 09-03-21, 10:00 AM
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I'm a casual rider and of average height with I guess what you would call normal proportions. As a kid a great many of my bikes were purchased solely on if I could straddle the top tube and reach the pedals. I'm almost 57 now and I have enough of an understanding of what works for my needs I don't know that I would have a lot of reservations buying online especially if there was a decent return policy.

Like everything bicycles though, this isn't a one size fits all thing literally and figuratively. Like others have stated, research what you need well. Especially if you are planning on going from something like a mountain bike to road bike in which case I'd strongly suggest a test ride on something at least similar to what you are looking at.
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Old 09-03-21, 10:23 AM
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Most of my 15ish bikes have been purchased as frames except my newest mtb, which was bought sight unseen by looking at geo charts.
I bought my main road bike used so I did test ride that one. It felt absolutely horrible but I knew I could make it work, so I got it.

It's funny how when a person asks about buying a new bike on BF, they get the advice of test ride, test ride, test ride.
Then a thread like this comes up and everyone says they never test ride.

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Old 09-03-21, 10:31 AM
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I've never test ridden a new bike. Don't see the purpose.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
It's funny how when a person asks about buying a new bike on BF, they get the advice of test ride, test ride, test ride.
Then a thread like this comes up and everyone says they never test ride.
Depends on the buyer.

I usually suggest sitting on a bunch of bikes and learning a lot about how each bike fits, to get a feel for what the buyer likes.

I also assume (as that quote mentioned) that anyone coming here and asking for general bike-buying advice does Not know what all of us know and therefore Cannot make the judgments we can make. If you notice, almost every post starts with "my last 15 bikes," or the last 23 bikes i bought .... " Most of the people coming here for general assistance are more like, "I found a bike in a garage" or "my dad gave me a bike" and have zero clue.

For someone who has very little knowledge .... sure, sit on the bike if at all possible.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:32 AM
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I have never test ridden a bike.

Once you know what fits you, it is really superfluous, and local bike shops rarely have the better models on hand, particularly in my size.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Most of my 15ish bikes have been purchased as frames except my newest mtb, which was bought sight unseen by looking at geo charts.
I bought my main road bike used so I did test ride that one. It felt absolutely horrible but I knew I could make it work, so I got it.

It's funny how when a person asks about buying a new bike on BF, they get the advice of test ride, test ride, test ride.
Then a thread like this comes up and everyone says they never test ride.
"Do as I say, not as I do."
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Old 09-03-21, 11:42 AM
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My last two road bikes have been custom frame jobs, so yes. Another two road bikes were built of from framesets. Didn't test them first either. The Bike Friday was also a custom build.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
I would have to live with a bike for 200 mi, switch to another bike for a few days, and come back for another ride to really know if I liked it.
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.
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Old 09-03-21, 11:55 AM
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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.
The key is always buying cheaper bikes than your existing one, so you don't feel so bad if they don't measure up.
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