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Would You Pay 300 USD to Test Ride Tandems?

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Would You Pay 300 USD to Test Ride Tandems?

Old 03-31-16, 09:03 AM
  #26  
Stick69
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
@Stick69 Here's my gigantic Craigslist link from when I was shopping for tandems. It will catch you all the nicer stuff from the whole region around Sac

Craigslist Tandems
Thank you...the Primera looks like a possibility. I have now settled into the look ride and learn stage after realizing being in a hurry was not helpful.
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Old 03-31-16, 09:24 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by alathIN View Post
I can sort of see it, but not totally on board.

As everyone else has mentioned, any such fee should certainly be applied to the purchase price if a purchase is made.

For that money, I would fully expect to be able to demo multiple bikes for fairly prolonged periods of time in an area where there is some nice riding. If it's at least half a day of riding to get the feel after you start to tire, and there are two or three different bikes I'm interested in, and some help with fitting/sizing along the way, I could see paying a demo fee...

Bottom line, it's a free market (more or less, in this industry anyway), and they're free to devise and pursue their own business model. Either it will work out for them or it will not.
The Yelp reviews indicate some people ride 5 bikes over a day and one came back to ride another 4 bikes the next weekend. Some then special order the bike and spend the better part of a day having it fit when it arrives. If someone is really interested they can read the Yelp reviews.
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Old 03-31-16, 10:30 AM
  #28  
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They advertise that they do test rides on their website - but nowhere is there any mention of a fee.
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Old 03-31-16, 11:23 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Stick69 View Post
Thank you...the Primera looks like a possibility. I have now settled into the look ride and learn stage after realizing being in a hurry was not helpful.
Here's what I learned about the used tandem market...

There was a real revolution in frame design in the early 80's or so. Most of the good tandems you see from before this are either Schwinn or French.

1980's Santanas and Burleys with 27" wheels and Suntour components are pretty common. They seem like good quality bikes that are just obsolete. You could modernize them but it would be a big project, there are a lot of tandem-specific components to replace with modern versions.

1990's Trek and Cannondale entered the market about the time of Shimano's indexing and freehub triumph, and it must have really hurt the tandem companies. Santana made it but I saw pretty few Burleys from this period. The one I found, with V-brakes and 24-speed, I bought! There are a few other contemporary companies (like GT and Fisher and KHS) who tried to compete at the same time.

All of these bikes are sort of like a blank canvas. They have a wheel size set by their brake bosses but other than that, you can build them as road or hybrid or mountain. The important thing for the frame size is that you and your stoker have the right standover. The rest is tuned to your liking with stems etc.

Now companies like Co-Motion, Paketa, Calfee, Santana, DaVinci compete with one another at the higher end of the market. Their lowest models cost $3000 but have builds that are equivalent to a $1000+ single, the differences being they have low-volume tandem-specific tubes and components, and are usually welded in America; and their prices go up and up from there. They leave the sub-$1000 price range to Trek, and the middle-range off-the-rack tandems to Cannondale and KHS, all of those mostly now using mountain bike and not tandem components wherever they can.

The nice thing about shopping used is that the prices are substantially discounted; the problem is that since these are premium custom products, it's pretty unlikely to find one exactly suited to you on the used market, and people who buy nice ones don't spend the money lightly and hang onto them for a while. So you are going to very rarely see an 11-speed carbon tandem on Craigslist right now, it seems like mostly the 9-speed aluminum ones from about 15 years ago that are for sale, and the ones that fit you are going to be a subset of that.
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Old 03-31-16, 04:11 PM
  #30  
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Old 03-31-16, 04:21 PM
  #31  
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Not to 'test' ride but if I were at a spot like sedona, moab, the Rhine, Qotopaxi and needed to rent a bike anyway I would consider it a test ride. I may even rent a bike for a day local but even then $300 is a lot to rent a bicycle. You can demo $2000 skis for $50-$80. A stripper will tie you up and spank you for $300. and I would never listen to anyone who assures me all their customers leave happy.
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Old 05-21-16, 08:36 PM
  #32  
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Kirk's Bike Shop in Ramona has tandems, at least last time I was there.
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Old 05-23-16, 03:19 AM
  #33  
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$300? Seriously? We've ridden two tandems in the test ride department. Neither shop charged a fee. However, the rides themselves were completely different. The Co-Motion dealer, Sun Coast in Inverness (which is literally located across the parking lot from a rails-to-trails) took their only floor model, did a few adjustments after watching us ride a lap or two around the parking lot, and sent us on our way solo. They told us ride as far as you like (we went 6-7 miles down the trail & came back). The Santana dealer let us take an Arivva out for a test but the owner accompanied us because of "insurance issues". After THAT experience, both the shop treatment and the fact that we just didn't the Santana, we drove the 2 hours back up to Suncoast and purchased a better-sized bike still in the crate upstairs. When it's time to replace the Speedster (when we retire), we'll make the trek over to House of Tandems. We'll definitely test ride two bikes (DaVinci and Paketa) and we know whichever one we pick, Ric & Marsha will order our new bike and get us set up correctly. Nothing against our LBS, but we're his only tandem business.

Also, our LBS let my wife take a bike out for a test ride. Again, a no charge event. I rode with her, working a bit -- she was that much faster on Specialized Ruby than on her old Terry Symmetry. A 4-mile round trip and we placed an order. Actually two bikes. He told us if we'd order two bikes, he would cut his profit to $100 per bike. Saving money is always an incentive, especially when in comes with a lot of TLC and shop support.
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Old 05-23-16, 01:21 PM
  #34  
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I seem to recall stopping in there (Crank 2 Performance) about a year (or so) ago. I was talking to someone about their tandems and he mentioned a "test ride fee". I can't remember the exact amount, but I could have sworn he said it is applicable to the purchase price.
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Old 05-23-16, 04:59 PM
  #35  
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We found that short test rides (< 10 miles) are meaningless as there are too many distracting factors to see past in that short amount of time.

When riding for 30-40 miles you get to settle in and give your body a chance to speak up and be heard over that head voice that is yelling oh so excitedly about this new shiny toy. Minor feedback from the stoker develops with time on the ride... little issues such as "it feels like I'm being hit in the crotch with a 2x4" :/ Of course, some of that feedback can be adjusted out by equipment selection options your dealer may swap for you as part of the sale.

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Old 05-25-16, 12:23 PM
  #36  
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After less than stellar customer service dealing with wheel problems on our Santana Beyond, we decided to invest some time looking for our next tandem. The Beyond was our 2nd Santana, but the lack of welcome at their shop did not inspire brand loyalty. Since it was the first place we looked, we didn't recognize how bad it was. We later visited Ventana, who although not stocking complete bikes, borrowed a tandem for us to test ride (as well as giving us a complete tour showing us how the frames are built). We also visited Bike Friday and Co-Motion in Oregon, and again were treated like valued customers, given tours of the production areas and test rides. Our shopping journey led us to MTB Tandems in Georgia. MTB Tandems | Website Alex Nutt keeps a fleet of tandems available for test rides and fit.

We were told at the Ventana factory (in Rancho Cordova, CA) that Alex would be the best one to set up a bike for our needs. It made no sense to me to have a frame shipped from California to Georgia to be assembled and then shipped back to us in California; until I talked to Alex about the type riding we do, the type we want to do and what equipment we can use to achieve the comfort we wanted. We took a substantial detour to go to MTB Tandems and look at different options on the bikes and try things out. Alex took our order by going over individual tandem approved components to customize the build for our needs. He didn't charge for test rides, nor for the incredible amount of time he spent with us. I was happy with the price he came up with once all the pieces were totaled. And while I'm always happy to get charged less than I expected to pay, I hope he charges enough to stay in business.

We wanted a full suspension mountain bike, which he had for us to test. But his test fleet wasn't limited to just mountain bikes. He deals in an assortment of brands. I highly recommend anyone shopping tandems to give him a call and check out his web site. His customer service is outstanding!
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Old 06-15-16, 01:51 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Stick69 View Post
The shop is Crank2 in Pleasanton, CA.
Got an email from them last week. Their last day in business is June 30.

They seemed a decent shop, but I'm glad I didn't buy one of their custom tandems.
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Old 06-15-16, 02:23 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by KenshiBiker View Post
Got an email from them last week. Their last day in business is June 30.

They seemed a decent shop, but I'm glad I didn't buy one of their custom tandems.
Now might be a good time to go in and check out the sales on floor models. Maybe they would give one a discount on test rides.

As far as the charges, $300 sounds a bit over the top for a test ride. However, how much does a 1 day rental cost? Never been on a tandem? Rent one for a day, and see how you like it. And, it isn't "free" for a shop. Fitting the bike for 2 people. Wear & tear, and cleaning of the bike (or bikes). However, as others have mentioned, I would expect that to also be part of the sales cost, so actually buy the tandem, and all rental fees are reimbursed (even if you rent different ones for a couple of days, even over a few months).

Perhaps there was a miscommunication with the OP, but I'm not surprised that a store trying to sell first rate merchandise with second rate service failed.
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Old 06-21-16, 08:06 PM
  #39  
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Pay to try out???

Generally it has been my experience that when a couple actually ride a decent tandem, they end up buying it immediately or as soon as then scratch together the cash. I suspect that if I were still running a tandem shop, I would cleverly advertise an offer to pay couples to take a short introductory class, be introduced up close to the 2bikes I had in stock or could order reliably, and then take a nice day ride (free helmet loaners and water bottles topped off with choice of sports drink, also provided). I suspect $20 is the right bribe...I mean incentive.

Thoughts, comments??

/K
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Old 06-23-16, 10:29 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Stick69 View Post
My wife and I drove to a regional tandem specialty store to see some tandems in the flesh and to help support brick and mortar. We were given a nice tour of the store and inventory and told we could make an appointment for a day of test rides for 300 USD.
Looks like you're in Sacramento. If you're willing to drive a little farther, there's a great tandem place in Mountain View called Bicycle Outfitters. They have one of the best tandem inventories I've seen (mostly Co-Motion). And every time we go in to look around and talk tandems, they suggest we take a couple out for a spin. Never has there been any talk of a cost involved for a test ride. Just lots of helpful information ... even if their website is lacking a little.
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Old 06-25-16, 06:00 AM
  #41  
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$300 sounds kinda steep. But if you're gonna take a bicycle out for all day a refundable rental fee sounds reasonable to me.
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