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Where to test ride and buy a road bike in Los Angeles?

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Where to test ride and buy a road bike in Los Angeles?

Old 07-25-14, 02:25 PM
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Where to test ride and buy a road bike in Los Angeles?

Can anyone recommend a good LBS in Los Angeles to buy a new road bike from? I'm looking for a place where I can test ride several bikes for about 15 minutes each and then test my final choice or two for about an hour each. I'll likely spend between $1000-$1500.

I'm in Silver Lake so better if the shop is on the east side but I'm willing to drive if necessary. I usually go to Budget Pro in Eagle Rock but they told me today that they only allow parking lot test rides.

I'm getting back into cycling after a long hiatus. Currently I'm riding a 1990 Trek 1100. I recently rented a 2011 Allez Elite while on vacation and really liked it. Before I buy a new bike I'd like to ride and compare a couple of different geometries (racing and endurance), a couple of different brands, and a couple of different component levels. Best if I can test them out back to back (in 52"s) at the same shop.

Thanks.
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Old 07-25-14, 02:39 PM
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Helens and Incycle should be fine letting you take it out for 15 minutes or so. Not sure about an hour or why you would need to test it for that long.
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Old 07-25-14, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Elvo
Helens and Incycle should be fine letting you take it out for 15 minutes or so. Not sure about an hour or why you would need to test it for that long.
+1
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Old 07-25-14, 11:56 PM
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Ride a bike for an hour and then bring it back?
Haaaahaaaaahaaaaa
Get real
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Old 07-26-14, 06:56 AM
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A few years back at Bike Religion in Newport Beach, they did allow a test ride on the Cervelo bikes for longer periods of time. It takes more than 15 minutes just for a rider to warm up. Then the course. From Newport one can go down PCH and into the Newport Coast area for climbing. That would take an hour or so. There are several loops there. Then for high speeds, it could be the SART for mostly flat and going 30 mph. Multiple switchbacks on long mountain stretches would have to be in the San Gabriels, Angeles Natl Forest area. All this takes time.

But the thing about testing bikes is that the wheelset should be the same as well as the gearing. It would be difficult also to test a bike with Rotor rings and then with the standard round one's.
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Old 07-26-14, 05:01 PM
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I'm hoping to see if an endurance geometry frame really is much more comfortable than a racing frame. I figure it will take at least an hour to find out. Maybe I just need to see if I can rent one.
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Old 07-26-14, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by hutchla
I'm hoping to see if an endurance geometry frame really is much more comfortable than a racing frame. I figure it will take at least an hour to find out. Maybe I just need to see if I can rent one.
If you've ridden a lot in the past you'll probably be able to tell how a bike is going to ride in the long run with just a couple miles of test ride. I was road bike shopping about a year and a half ago and probably rode most of the bikes for ~15-20 minutes, usually pretty hard around the neighborhoods the shops were in. I probably could have ridden them longer, but that was generally enough. Budget Pro did let me take the bike through the neighborhood-- they didn't say anything at all about how long, and I went up and down some of the local hills.

The most important thing for me in test riding a bike is getting it set up right before I roll out of the shop. I bring my measurements and try to get them matched on the stand before I roll.
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Old 07-27-14, 12:23 AM
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You can rent a Roubaix at Incycle.

Seriously, would you be OK paying full price for a "new" bike that 5 others have ridden for an hour? If not, then how can you expect the store to let you take one out for such a long ride?

Or wait for a manufacturer sponsored demo day where they let you ride longer on bikes that aren't intended to be sold as new after multiple potential customers have used them for an hour.
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Old 07-27-14, 10:14 AM
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Thanks, it's a good point you make, f4rrest. On one hand buying a bike as new with about 75 miles on it doesn't seem like a big deal (that's how it works with cars) but then I can see how a bike is likely to take more abuse than a car during a test ride depending on the rider.


Bitingduck, maybe I'll go back to Budget Pro. I really do like them although I was a little surprised at how many 2012 models (and even a few 2011s) they had on the floor. I know it's common for shops to sell older stock during the busy season but it seemed like the majority of their (visible) inventory was old. And I got the sense that they aren't looking to discount the older models too much although I could be wrong about that.


Who did you work with at Budget Pro? Maybe they rightly sensed that I wasn't ready to buy when I asked about test rides. Perhaps things are different when you have checkbook in hand?


Also, I'm sure I can get a sense of a bike with a hard, quick ride. I think a longer ride might show how well endurance features help (like Trek's Domane seat post) and if a saddle truly feels good but then maybe the saddle is a separate issue.

Last edited by hutchla; 07-27-14 at 10:15 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 07-27-14, 10:40 AM
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The shops will probably let you apply the cost of renting the bike to your purchase.

Originally Posted by hutchla
Thanks, it's a good point you make, f4rrest. On one hand buying a bike as new with about 75 miles on it doesn't seem like a big deal (that's how it works with cars) but then I can see how a bike is likely to take more abuse than a car during a test ride depending on the rider.


Bitingduck, maybe I'll go back to Budget Pro. I really do like them although I was a little surprised at how many 2012 models (and even a few 2011s) they had on the floor. I know it's common for shops to sell older stock during the busy season but it seemed like the majority of their (visible) inventory was old. And I got the sense that they aren't looking to discount the older models too much although I could be wrong about that.


Who did you work with at Budget Pro? Maybe they rightly sensed that I wasn't ready to buy when I asked about test rides. Perhaps things are different when you have checkbook in hand?


Also, I'm sure I can get a sense of a bike with a hard, quick ride. I think a longer ride might show how well endurance features help (like Trek's Domane seat post) and if a saddle truly feels good but then maybe the saddle is a separate issue.
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Old 07-27-14, 07:09 PM
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Cynergy Cycles also rents Specialized road bikes. I don't know if they're the latest/greatest version though. I would guess that Helen's will let you take a Cervelo out for longer than 15 minutes if they think you're serious (don't know about an hour.) I've done a couple 10-15 minute test rides there.

As mentioned, you can also monitor the demo schedule of the manufacturer's you are interested in. They will let you take the bike out for an hour if you want to. I took a Trek Domane out for a 30-40 minute demo and it was nice not to have to worry about scratching up a brand new bike.

Last edited by Dunbar; 07-27-14 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 07-28-14, 11:57 AM
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Not only do you need a shop to let you ride it for an hour but you need one to let you bring your own pedals and saddle and dial in saddle height, aft and fore and bar height and maybe swap out the stem to get an accurate idea of how well it fits. Unfortunately it usually doesn't work that way
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Old 07-28-14, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
Not only do you need a shop to let you ride it for an hour but you need one to let you bring your own pedals and saddle and dial in saddle height, aft and fore and bar height and maybe swap out the stem to get an accurate idea of how well it fits. Unfortunately it usually doesn't work that way
This is the part about buying a new bike that is a pain. I have narrowed my search down to a few bikes and would like to ride each one before making a choice (especially so I can compare to my current bike) but it is such a hassle to find a shop that can get a frame that is close to my size and is willing to set up one or more bikes for a test ride on a day that actually works for me (meaning, I dont have to take a day off work to test bikes - although I would love do that). I suspect I will have to just make an educated guess at some point.
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Old 07-29-14, 07:03 AM
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Your dream bike only exists in your mind while sleeping.
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Old 07-29-14, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel
Your dream bike only exists in your mind while sleeping.
Perfect fit is a myth. Unless of course you get a custom build frame.
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Old 07-29-14, 06:53 PM
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Can you imagine a professional rider telling the team that he wants to test ride before he signs up?
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Old 07-29-14, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat
Can you imagine a professional rider telling the team that he wants to test ride before he signs up?
Can you imagine a pro team telling the pro rider he has to select and pay for his own bicycle?

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Old 07-30-14, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
Can you imagine a pro team telling the pro rider he has to select and pay for his own bicycle?

With the money that the top riders get, maybe they can pay for their own bikes. But this would mess up the whole sponsorship arrangements that pro teams depend on. And it would drive the mechanics crazy with parts and all. But I would think that their bibs might be branded a sponsor logo but a different padding.
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Old 08-01-14, 01:48 AM
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I tried a lot of LBS around LA.

My favorites were:

1) Wheel World in Culver City
2) Just Ride LA in Downtown
3) Performance Bike in SM (I bought there because I wanted a Fuji at the end and they had a great deal and was always treated well)
4) Helen in Santa Monica (super competent clearly but very busy and a little snarky I thought. I am sure they wouldn't be if you were trying to buy a Trek Madone...)

Did not try Cinergi in SM, but I had a great conversation on the phone.

Other LBS went downhill after those 5...

I cannot judge how high end their bikes are however (my budget was $500 for a hybrid), except maybe for Helen who seems to have super expensive stuff. There were some seemingly serious riders hanging out at "Just Ride LA" in downtown...
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Old 08-02-14, 04:53 PM
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Thanks to everybody who posted on this thread. I purchased my new bike today after testing a few.

I visited and spoke with Velo in Atwater Village, Bicycle's John's in Burbank, Helen's in Manhattan Beach, Open Road in Pasadena and Incycle in Pasadena. I had a good experience in all of the shops. Every one was very patient and took time to talk and answer my questions. Steve at Open Road was especially good. After I told him what I was looking for he backed up and started with a basic interview about my riding to make sure that I was asking for the right thing.

I ended up buying from Incycle. First I scheduled a time to test three models I was interested in. Turns out I didn't need too much time on each ride. I ran a quick 2 mile course, first on my bike, then on the other three. I used my pedals for all of the rides. For each ride I had the seat height adjusted and centered and the tires inflated to 100 psi.

I tested a Specialized Allez Comp, a CAAD10 5 105, and a Synapse Disc 5 105. Thought I was gonna end up with the Synapse but I walked away with the CAAD10. I was surprised at how much lighter and more compliant the CAAD10 felt over the Allez. And the relaxed geometry that I was looking forward to from the Synapse was too upright for me; also the ride felt sluggish after the CAAD10.

I would've tested several more bikes at different shops but I lucked into a big sale on Cannondales with 105. I loved how the CAAD10 felt so I jumped on the deal. I'm glad I took the time to test ride.
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Old 08-02-14, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by hutchla
Thanks to everybody who posted on this thread. I purchased my new bike today after testing a few.

I visited and spoke with Velo in Atwater Village, Bicycle's John's in Burbank, Helen's in Manhattan Beach, Open Road in Pasadena and Incycle in Pasadena. I had a good experience in all of the shops. Every one was very patient and took time to talk and answer my questions. Steve at Open Road was especially good. After I told him what I was looking for he backed up and started with a basic interview about my riding to make sure that I was asking for the right thing.

I ended up buying from Incycle. First I scheduled a time to test three models I was interested in. Turns out I didn't need too much time on each ride. I ran a quick 2 mile course, first on my bike, then on the other three. I used my pedals for all of the rides. For each ride I had the seat height adjusted and centered and the tires inflated to 100 psi.

I tested a Specialized Allez Comp, a CAAD10 5 105, and a Synapse Disc 5 105. Thought I was gonna end up with the Synapse but I walked away with the CAAD10. I was surprised at how much lighter and more compliant the CAAD10 felt over the Allez. And the relaxed geometry that I was looking forward to from the Synapse was too upright for me; also the ride felt sluggish after the CAAD10.

I would've tested several more bikes at different shops but I lucked into a big sale on Cannondales with 105. I loved how the CAAD10 felt so I jumped on the deal. I'm glad I took the time to test ride.
Welcome to the club. How much did you pay?
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Old 08-02-14, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rms13
Welcome to the club. How much did you pay?
My CAAD10 5 105 was $1200. I got the last 52". The Synapse 105 disc was $1150. They had several other awesome deals on some nicer bikes too.
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Old 08-02-14, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by hutchla
My CAAD10 5 105 was $1200. I got the last 52". The Synapse 105 disc was $1150. They had several other awesome deals on some nicer bikes too.
Where did you test ride while shopping at Incycle? Congrats on the new toy
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Old 08-02-14, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JetWave
Where did you test ride while shopping at Incycle? Congrats on the new toy
Thanks! I just took a short 2 mile loop: Del Mar west to Grand to Green. I had another 4-5 mile course ready on my garmin that I created on MapMyRide but I didn't need it.
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Old 08-14-14, 04:50 PM
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Posted for archive purposes and for people who use the search function in the future.

- - - - -

The Trek dealer in Newhall let me test ride a Domane for about an hour and a half. He didn't ask for it, but I mapped out my route beforehand and gave him a copy. He suggested a different route that would include some extensive climbing, but I decided that I didn't need to do that route to get a good feel for the bike and it's characteristics. He also didn't ask for it, but I left my car keys with him while I was out. Made me feel better anyway.

He may have allowed this because I purchased my Madone from him several years previously and have gone into his shop for cycling consumables. Not always, but often enough so they knew who I was. We "have a relationship" with each other, albeit a business one. Even so, when I was a first-time customer, he let me test that Madone away from the shop and out of sight of any employee for about twenty minutes.
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