Test rides (noob question #2)

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Arnolfini, 22 Apr 2008.

  1. Arnolfini

    Arnolfini New Member

    Right... I'm still deciding on the bike I want to get, but will probably be going out this weekend to buy one.

    Reading through various cycling sites (as well as these forums), it has become very evident that it's extremely important to ride a bike before buying it, and ensure that it's a good fit.

    The thing is, I don't know what a comfortable bike ought to feel like... or what I need to look out for!

    So can anyone give me some advice?

    For example are there certain areas where a badly fitting bike are likely to cause discomfort, which a well fitting one won't?

    or how do you tell a good bike from a crap bike when you're riding it... or is it likely to just be blindingly obvious to me once I've ridden a couple?

    I know this could be a tricky thing to explain, and my apologies for the dozy newbie questions! I'm quick to learn though, so I'm hoping there won't be too many more :wacko:

    Thanks in advance

  2. rob7222

    rob7222 New Member

    One thing to look for, if you're trying drop handle bars can you comfortably see clearly around you whilst holding the bars in all positions?
    Do the gears shift smoothly, do you know how to use the gears fitted.
  3. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

  4. gbb

    gbb Legendary Member

    This is a difficult one Arn.
    If you go to a good LBS, they should at least roughly set up the bike for you to test ride it.
    A bad shop probably wont even bother.
    But how do you know IF the shop has set everything correctly...you dont.

    My roadbike was set up 'roughly' by the shop. It rode ok, but a test ride may last 5 or 10 minutes, or you may make an arrangement for a longer one.

    I made several tweeks to mine in the following month...its better now.

    The most important thing is to get the right frame size. The right size bike can be tweeked later, as you get used to it.
    The wrong sized bike...you cant do much with it at all.

    Watch how seriously the shop sizes you...I'd like to think a good old fashioned LBS will take good care of you.
  5. punkypossum

    punkypossum Donut Devil

    You will probably know if it feels right or not, don't let the shop bully you into buying the size they think is right for you, it happened to me and I ended up with a bike that was too large, they would not take it back, so I ended up selling it...

    Also, make sure the shop let you have a proper testride, our local Hellfrauds for example will only let you ride the length of the shopfloor, which isn't really enough to give you an idea.

    From my experience, if the basic size is right, the bike should pretty much come out of the box and fit, apart from obviously adjusting saddle height. If at this point loads of other adjustments are already needed, the bike is probably not the right size or fit for you. You will still end up fine tuning things once you are properly riding it, but the basics should be there... If you are not sure or unhappy on it, don't buy it, no matter what the shop says and try as many as possible, that will give you an idea what feels right and what doesn't.
  6. OP

    Arnolfini New Member

    Thanks all for your advice. I'm planning on going to Bike+ in Croydon at the weekend (as recommended by Fab), so I'm hoping they'll fit everything properly for me. They're happy to let me have a decent test ride too (just so long as it's not pi$$ing down with rain!)

    Fingers crossed I'll have a decent (and well fitted) bike by the end of the weekend!
  7. Slim

    Slim Über Member

    Plough Lane
    +1 on the recommendations for Bike+.

    I was in there yesterday for some chubes (as we say in Croydon). I've had nothing but good advice from them - even when I've really wanted to buy something that was over the top for my needs.
  8. Night Train

    Night Train Maker of Things

    Greater Manchester
    When I bought my bike it was the first bike after 20 years of motoring interspaced with a few months of bike hire here and there.

    The bike shop tried me on a few frames, each adjusted to a close fit until they thought I looked comfortable. Then they sent me out for about half an hour to just ride around and make any adjustments I needed to the seat height and bars myself once they knew I was competent. They made sure that the bikes I tested were in my price range and advised me of the pros and cons of cheaper and more expensive bikes based on what I told then I wanted it for. The shop staff also spent a lot of time talking to me about how I felt riding the bike tomake sure I was completely comfortable with it. I then got free servicing for three years.
  9. OP

    Arnolfini New Member

    Damn... that sounds like some seriously impressive service! Unfortunately Manchester's a bit of a trek from Croydon! :evil:
  10. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Take a 'bike person' friend along with you if you have one. I would look for the right fit, but also at weak component parts that will need upgrading quickly, like crappy saddles etc.
  11. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    how much are you spending?

    I suspect a shop that gives serious consideration to the frame size when you ask them and lets you out for a proper test ride is probably going to be ok

    I was surprised at how many supposed trad LBSs wouldn't let me take a bike out when I was last buying
  12. Night Train

    Night Train Maker of Things

    Greater Manchester
    I think the risk of theft is probably high. I offered to leave my credit card and driving licence for them, they declined. I think the offer was enough to show trust.
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