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Should a bike shop do that to me? bike fit/buying help

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

Should a bike shop do that to me? bike fit/buying help

Old 07-09-09, 10:30 PM
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zambenini
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Should a bike shop do that to me? bike fit/buying help

Ok, so I've had a couple of entry-level road bikes and a touring road bike and I manage to log 2,000-5,000 miles a year depending on life's circumstances.

I've been wanting to get a nicer bike and I picked out something that's higher end than your average noobie ride but still a great value for the $$$ and went to one of their authorized dealers to look at the bike.

The shop guy spent a while explaining that though they have the bike in stock, they don't do "test rides." No taking it for a spin. He said they go through a 2-hr fit process (that costs $125) where they measure everything and then they order you a bike, you pay them and ride off. He also said that it's extremely rare to return the bike, but they would take it back. He said they don't want to wind up with a used bike after all those test rides and that the only thing I'm going to be able to learn from the ride is that the derailleurs are in good working order.

I was impressed with the care and detail of the fit process he described BUT it seems weird to me. I've always ridden bikes before buying, though I've not quite had the same attention to fit as he promised.

Anyway, if I'm on the fence between a really first-rate aluminum bike and a "bargain" carbon ride, shouldn't I get to ride them to see how they feel? I'm almost sold on this guy's promises of great fit and measuring my watts and all that jazz, but at the end of the day, should I pick a different dealer?

What do you guys think?
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Old 07-09-09, 10:35 PM
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When I was shopping for bikes the other day, my LBS asked me if they could hold onto my CC and license and told me to go ride the bike where ever I liked for how ever long I liked. They also included a lengthy (3+ hour) fitting with a person that fits bikes for a living, not some HS kid on vacation who took a few hour class one weekend on bikes.

There are cheaper places then a LBS to buy from, so my recommendation would be to buy from a LBS that you enjoy working with and that treats you well. If you have to travel a few miles further to find one, or pay a few dollars more to work with one, I think it would be well worth it.

Personally, buying a bike without a test ride would be like buying a shoe never having tried it on. Just wouldn't do it.
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Old 07-09-09, 10:39 PM
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Personally, I'd walk away. I wouldn't pay a bike Shop $125 for a "bike fit" And I wouldn't buy from a store that didn't allow test rides. All the stores I've worked at, test rides, sizing and fitting were all an integral part of the sales process. We didn't charge customers to sell them a bike.
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Old 07-09-09, 11:54 PM
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Do not drink this LBS owner's Kool Aid. He's a flake.

You're making a substantial purchase, and perhaps, an investment in yourself. Get a good bike that fits, and feels great when you're on it, and you'll use it. Otherwise you'll find excuses not to ride. Or to want to spend even more money on a bike you wish you had gotten.


My rule of thumb is take a test ride on routes and under conditions you intend to ride with your new bike. I ride a lot, 3-4 hours a day, so my test-ride time is 2 hours minimum. If somebody planned to ride no more than 6 miles, say to work, then a single ride on that route would be sufficient.


Some stores use demo bikes, which are sold used, but I was led to believe mfr provides them cheaper—sometimes the color schemes are less-desirable—and sometimes a rental fee is charged. To me, this is worth paying for—as opposed to a schlock fitting scheme. Even if the fitting is spot on, it tells you nothing about your bike's handling characteristics, stiffness on hard pedaling, vibration damping, comfort for 5 miles vs 50. Zero, zip, nada.

This guy, if successful, is selling to noobs and leisure riders and giving them the magic aura of authority bedazzlement. You don't want this. You want to deal with people who love bikes and cycling, and know that they'd never buy a bike for themselves without a good test ride.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:12 AM
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RUN AWAY!!! ...oh, and take others with you. As stated, reputable shops don't charge folks to sell them a bike.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:15 AM
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Can't speak for others. But, when I purchased my more expensive road bike.. They put me atop a trainer and did the basics( saddle height and handlebar elevation) . Not a true fitting, but enough to assure i am comfortable.. I doubt they'd do that on a less expensive road bike.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
Can't speak for others. But, when I purchased my more expensive road bike.. They put me atop a trainer and did the basics( saddle height and handlebar elevation) . Not a true fitting, but enough to assure i am comfortable.. I doubt they'd do that on a less expensive road bike.
Geez, you've got low expectations.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:30 AM
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.^.. I have two less expensive bikes.. The reason for my expectations: My commute and touring bike. They offered no fitting.. Maybe they thought I was a too experienced a cyclist and could do it myself. ?
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Old 07-10-09, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
Can't speak for others. But, when I purchased my more expensive road bike.. They put me atop a trainer and did the basics( saddle height and handlebar elevation) . Not a true fitting, but enough to assure i am comfortable.. I doubt they'd do that on a less expensive road bike.
Wow, that sucks! Last roadie I bought myself was only $1000. I took it for a spin and the shop offered a FREE 45 minute fitting on the trainer. I declined cause I know what I want to feel, but it was a great offer!
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Old 07-10-09, 02:33 AM
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.^. Yes. But, i rode my new bike from the shop to home. Over those 20 some miles, it might have made the ride home on my new bike more comfortable.Nothing wrong with taking advantage of any freebee.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:09 AM
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go elsewhere.

when i bought my first "nice bike" (which was an inexpensive one), the shop owner threw a "will return shortly" sign on the front door, and took a ride around the local streets with me. as a newcomer to road bikes it was nice to have him ride with me and give me some quick fit/technique tips while on the road.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:20 AM
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Ditto on what everyone else said. Nearly all LBS I've ever dealt with will let you test ride a bike, even if it's just in the parking lot. Saying that the only this you'll learn about the bike is that the derailleurs are in working order is nonsense. As for the $125 for the fitting, also nonsense. If you're buying the bike there, the fitting should be FREE. One of my LBS' offers bike fits for $70 but only if you bought the bike elsewhere. Find another shop.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:41 AM
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At the shop I work at you can test ride ANY bike you like. We include a comprehensive fit with ANY road bike purchase.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Randochap View Post
Personally, I'd walk away. I wouldn't pay a bike Shop $125 for a "bike fit" And I wouldn't buy from a store that didn't allow test rides. All the stores I've worked at, test rides, sizing and fitting were all an integral part of the sales process. We didn't charge customers to sell them a bike.
What he said.
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Old 07-10-09, 06:57 AM
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it's like buying a new car without test driving it... lol puhleeeze.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:50 AM
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Just take this thread in and leave a copy with the owner
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Old 07-10-09, 08:02 AM
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My $650 last-year closeout OCR3 came with a free fitting on the trainer, and they would trade out stem and bars if necessary to fit me properly, for no charge. Hardly a high-end bike. My test ride consisted of a ride round the parking lot, but I'd never ridden a road bike before anyway, so it didn't make much difference. I bet if I'd requested it, they would've let me do a longer ride.
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