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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How long do or should you go on a test ride when trying out bikes? Should a good bike shop be tolerant of more than one visit or trial?
 

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You should simulate the type of riding you plan on doing. For example, if you want to do 5-10 mile recreational bike path riding, take it for a 5 mile ride. Basically you need more that just a parking lot ride and sometimes more that one ride is required and the bike might require some adjustment or modification to better fit you.
 

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Joan said:
(1 )How long do or should you go on a test ride when trying out bikes?
(2) Should a good bike shop be tolerant of more than one visit or trial?
1. As long as they'll let you. Certainly more than once around the parking lot. A mile or two minimum, with a long enough straight to get up to a decent cruising speed.

2. Yes. Absolutely yes. Unless you're obviously planning not to buy from them (e.g., you want to test-ride there, then buy cheaper online).
 

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Also a little tidbit ive picked up over the years. 60 seconds on a bike cant tell you that its the right one...... however 60 seconds is more than enough to tell you if its not the right bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, that's helpful. I am not planning to test-ride & buy elsewhere, but the two models I'm looking at are carried at two different shops - so one won't make the sale.
 

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Tolerance is relative. They will have much more tolerance on Tuesday evening than they will on the first warm Sunday afternoon.

Go there on a slow night. Look around. You'll attract a sales person. Pick their brains. If you're interested in something, they should offer you a test ride. There not going to ask you how many test rides you've taken. IMO they can also be more open when there are no other customers to listen in.
 

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+1 for immer... Weekdays are great for having personal attention from a salesman.
Also use the test ride as a chance to find out what LBS's are good or not.
Ive had visits for bike shops where I had to ask for the testride and then was simply handed the bike.
Ive also had a test ride at a local shop where they first discussed my needs by asking questions to help determine what type of bike I need. They then told me that I needed to to ride the bikes. I was sized up and then the bars/seatpost were adjusted just for me while the salesmen was telling me a good 10 minute test route to get a feel for the climbing/decending/cornering etc. He then walked me outside and sent me on my way with a smile.... when I got back there were other bikes that they had prepared for me to ride right away so i could compare the bikes easier. After I had narrowed down the choices they even swapped a stem on one bike so i could judge the fit. I then decided on the bike and before leaving was greeted by the owner of the shop with a handshake and a thank you. Now that is what a good LBS is all about.

Just an additional FYI--- some shops like to play with tire pressure to mess with riders impressions of the bike. I had this happen once and was very thankful that I had been warned. Short version..... I was pondering a Cannondale Caad, told shop my concern was that the ride might be too rough.... they told me that theyd get the tires/pedals ready for the test ride within 5 mintues..... on the ride I felt that tires werent feeling right so I stopped at my car in the parking lot where I had a tire guage... they were both set to 50psi.... the suggested on the tires was 110-120. I brought the bike back from the test ride and just went home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Going in at a slow time is a good idea, I'll try that. The shops are both small, I think only the owner works at one & the other has maybe 2 or 3 guys.
 

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Here is the way my LBS handled it. I called them and told them that I was interested in a new bike and that there were 5 that I was looking at. They carried 3 of them. They made me an appt. on a Wed. afternoon. They had me bring my pedals and shoes and what ever else I wanted to ride in. I picked out the first bike, they spent about 45min to an hour getting measurements, asking me questions and having me get on the bike while in a trainer and having me pedal in different riding positions. Once we were happy with the fit, they showed me where to ride to and said go as long as I wanted. I went about 6 or seven miles. While I was out, they started getting one of my other selections ready using the data that came from the first. I tested all 3 bikes and actually rode one twice. They asked me if I had enough feedback from the rides to take with me to the other LBS and said that after I tried the other 2 at the other shop, if I wanted to comeback and ride one of theirs on a future date, that would be ok too. So they never expected me to buy it that day. Turned out that I liked one of the bikes so much that I didn't even try the other 2 and bought it that day. That was too weeks ago and I am very impressed with that bike shop.
 

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I know it's common to bring shoes and pedals to test ride. Is it also common to bring saddle (say, attached to seat post)? Would that be really weird?
 

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The more you spend the less likely that you will be able to test the bike.
Especially if the bike is only sold as a frame/fork/headset (Time/Look etc.) and has an integrated seatpost. If you are lucky someone in the shop rides the frame you are looking at and will let you ride theirs.
 

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The shop I bought my bike from had no restrictions AFAIK. In fact the head bike shop guy told me he thought everyone should spend a bit of time on a bike, ride it two or three times if need be. He said he gets people that come in and buy bikes without every riding them and it makes him worry they aren't getting something they are going to be happy with. I rode several bikes at that shop and he had my lose measurement and would have the next bike ready for me when I came back in.

I'm new to this, but I wouldn't buy from a shop that wouldn't let me ride a bike once, twice, three times or whatever it took for me to reasonably decide if the bike was right or not. FWIW, none of the bike shops I went to had any weirdness about me riding bikes... they all wanted my butt on something pedaling and hopefully buying. One shop I went to had a customer bike that was sold and yet to be delivered that they offered I take a spin on... nice Canondale with Dura-Ace components, etc. I declined that one for a few reasons.

Go ride some bikes, it is fun and free until you decide you have to have it.
 

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Camilo said:
I know it's common to bring shoes and pedals to test ride. Is it also common to bring saddle (say, attached to seat post)? Would that be really weird?
Would the seatpost be the same size as all the bikes you want to ride? Another reason for standard sizes! :)
 
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