Test riding seems to be a bit of a tricky proposition. Any advice?

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Cyclopathic, 10 Aug 2012.

  1. Cyclopathic

    Cyclopathic Veteran

    I'm making a list of road bikes under £500 that look like they fulfil my requirements. I've got to the point where there are about 3 or 4 that are all equally desirable on paper and to make the best choice I'd like to be able to at least ride them a few yards just to check for comfort and fit. This seems a lot easier said than done. Some places seem reluctant to let you try before you buy, some places only deal online, some places are far away.
    I'm very interested to know how other people have gone about whitling down their last few options to the one they want and if they were able to do comparative test rides. Or is this only available to reviewers in magazines, who's word we just have to trust?
    Bikes are such a personal thing and fit and comfort such an important aspect that I am dismayed at how difficult it is to do some comparative test rides. How many retailers claim to make sure that they do everything to ensure that you get the right bike but still don't let you ride one around the carpark. Or is it just that one has to spend thousands before this option is available.
    I live in fear of forking out for a bike only to discover a few months down the line that I should have gone for one of the others on my short list. Am I being unreasonable?
  2. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    Most local bike shops I know of let you test ride on the road, normally asking you to leave your credit card/wallet/keys in the till, or the larger chains charging your card a penny and keeping your ID in the till until you come back.

    It's online shops that are the problem, in this case you need to try and find a physical store that had the bike to try before you buy. It is worth checking the return policy, wiggle have a 30 day no quibble return policy.
  3. Tight Git

    Tight Git Senior Member

    Believe me - even spending over £2k doesn't make it easier to get a test ride! A Focus and Cube LBS near me was really unhelpful - we might let you try it for 50 yards outside the shop.

    However Westbrook cycles were the complete opposite - give them an hour's notice and they would prepare the bike for me to take out and test.

    I'm probably going to order a Canyon online but if I do buy locally I know where my money will be spent.

    Sent from my ZTE-BLADE using Tapatalk
  4. OP

    Cyclopathic Veteran

    Good grief. I'd think that if one were to leave a suitable deposit and some picture id they might be a bit more amenable. If they were very bothered they could tag along on another bike.
    It's a problem I've had with more than just bikes. Even currys wouldn't let me hear the sound on a tv I wanted to buy. I'll have a look around the lbs's around Leic and see if I can at least get an idea of a few. Of course lbs's always have a very limited stock in shop because of the storage issue which is always going to be a factor. Some shops though could definitely do a lot more to reassure us that we are spending wisely.
  5. Sara_H

    Sara_H Guru

    I had the same problem, went down to Halfords itching to spend my hard earned on a Boardman Hybrid Fi, they wouldn't even let me take it into the car park, so unfortunately I didn't buy.
  6. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    My carbon bike wasn't built until I paid for it, but they did measure properly and were quite happy to make ant changes. Built bikes, LBS happy to let me ride

    I don't think it is necessarily about the bike being nicked, more that it could get damaged, grubby I suppose?

    Evans are more than happy for you to test ride anything in the shop after a CC imprint.

    Online - Wiggle 30 day no quibble, depends on the bike. But I think all online retailers have to offer 7 day no quibble returns by law under DSR?

    I am not sure a 10 minute ride around the block will truly tell you. A proper LBS should surely put the bike on rollers for you - this is what mine did so they were happy with the (basic) fit

    I am not sure I would use Currys as an example of CS!
  7. Scruffmonster

    Scruffmonster Über Member

    If you were looking for a system that completely prohibits sales, Cycle Surgery make you pay for the bike in full, then refund you. Card charged instantly, refund gets back to you in 4 days.

  8. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    Compared with Corridori....
    Went in to have a very preliminary look at bike I was interested in, as it's not often I'm in that part of the world. Hot & sweaty after another ride, so at least I had my SPDs with me. No intention of buying, tbh just hoping to get some sizing idea in case a second hand one came up. Not only did they have a demo model in my size but Paul was practically begging me to take a test ride. Insisted I get my own bike out of car to take measurements off it, so he could set the demo model up right for me.
    Guess what... as soon as I could (nearly) afford it I was back, never even tried out the competition !
    style over speed and ohnovino like this.
  9. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    That is pretty poor - I am getting a bike from CS this weekend - quite happy with it I think without riding as very similar to my current roadbike
  10. Cyclist33

    Cyclist33 Guest

    Although you have ended up buying the wrong size before so maybe you should try out first.
  11. vickster

    vickster Legendary Member

    This is truen after a testride, so not foolproof either. This one feels good though. For me, better a little small than too big. Stems can be changed easily. Top tube length less so :smile:
  12. 400bhp

    400bhp Guru

    No it's not-perfectly understandable.

    Edinburgh cycles in Manchester have had bikes taken and not brought back, and they won't be the only ones..
  13. 400bhp

    400bhp Guru

    It's a dichotomy for them, the greater cost of the bike the more they stand to lose if it goes walkabout.
  14. Piemaster

    Piemaster Guru

    UK City of Culture
    I went to Shand cycles yesterday, nice guys and I took a rather lovely Stoater out for a ride around the industrial estate where they reside. Followed by a ride on the cyclocross bike, to get an idea of sizing - though the different geometry throws that out. No problem at all taking it out and the two guys could not have been more helpful. :thumbsup:

    Now how do I get one in the garage without it being noticed? Though they did suggest they could paint it the same colour as my current ride, a Pompino, so less likely to be spotted :whistle:
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