Is 'try before you buy' really the best advice?

fanatic278
fanatic278 Posts: 95
edited November 2009 in MTB buying advice
Is 'try before you buy' really the best advice?

I'd agree in an ideal world we'd all be able to try all the bikes we'd possibly want to buy, over a nice long weekend. But does this option exist for anyone?

Firstly, all the best deals are on the interweb, so are you missing out a trick by having to pay the premium from your local shop?

Secondly, unless you're lucky to live somewhere city based, do your local bike shops really have enough range of bikes to ensure you're getting the best bike available?

Thirdly, if you're lucky enough to find somewhere that'll let you do a PROPER test ride, can the average Joe know what they should like best? I mean, if you've never ridden full-sus before are you likely to like most full-sus bikes compared to a hardtail? Don't magazine testers know what we should like better than we do?

Just for debate - I'm not buying a bike..... :twisted:

P.S. I tried a Meta 5.5 before I bought it, but it had to be in the carpark and it was 2 sizes too small - so was pointless. I ended up getting it cheaper on the internet elsewhere.
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Comments

  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    It is always best. But that doesn't mean buying without trying is going to be a disaster if you know what you are looking for ie geometry etc.

    Usually reading up on some bikes then narrowing the field down to 3 or 4 works out well for most. Even a ride around the shop carpark gives you an idea of size, geometry and other basics. Of course a full test will give you more idea about suspension and so on.

    If you can, do it is my advice!
  • Wiggle are now allowing a 7 day trail of it's focus bikes (perhaps others?), I don't know if there are are any conditions though.
    --
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • my local bike shop let you take it in the car park and up the road for nowt, and for £30 you can have it for the day, and if you buy it gets refunded.

    simples
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    even when our local warehouse bike shop lets you test ride and their bikes start at 80 quid
  • canada16
    canada16 Posts: 2,360
    chrishumes wrote:
    my local bike shop let you take it in the car park and up the road for nowt, and for £30 you can have it for the day, and if you buy it gets refunded.

    simples

    :shock:


    What ????

    So you pay them to try a bike that might cost 1000-5000.00

    I can walk into a dealership right now and get a porsche for the day, if I have a suit and tie on..... Free 8)

    Do no pay anyone to try a bike, they should let you try it for free around the parking lot, and maybe a passport or bills, ect.. to take it down the street. (hence ex-demo prices on wiggle)= stand by your product.

    I just drive there, and give my keys, with V5... That settles the nerves.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    That is for the day - you can't hire some bikes that cheap!
  • I guess we mostly agree that if you happen to live near to a shop that'll let you try loads of different bikes, then why not.

    I personally wouldn't pay for a test ride though. Bikes are expensive enough without having to add £30 to the price for each test ride.

    I've started a poll....
  • guilliano
    guilliano Posts: 5,495
    If you are looking for a bike costing £1000+ then a test ride is well worth it, especially if the price is refunded on ordering. Remember that shops don't have a demo model of every bike, that would put them out of business instantly (my shop has 100+ adult bike models in stock...... can you imagine how much it would cost to have a demo version of every bike in every size?

    When demoing a high end bike the £50 basically pays for couriers to deliver and collect the demo model, so refunding this upon ordering is actually costing the bike shop to ensure they deliver a good service to a customer
  • canada16
    canada16 Posts: 2,360
    supersonic wrote:
    That is for the day - you can't hire some bikes that cheap!

    :oops:

    Still would not pay, if intending to spend lots of money.

    They should give it to me free, for the day :D

    (30.00 deposit, fair enough, if the bike came back with no marks)
  • Try!

    I narrowed my choice down to two bikes, both similar spec and geometry, one felt great the other was too cramped. No doubt I could have made a couple of small changes to the bike which was 2nd best, longer stem etc, but glad I made the right choice by trying them out. It's a big risk buying an expensive bike without trying first.
    Ridley Orion
  • guilliano
    guilliano Posts: 5,495
    As a shop worker it is annoying when people try a bike/helmet/item of clothing and take up my time and my company's money getting all the advice then go and buy online. But people put price above service and have no qualms about using a bike shop as a free advice centre. It's a shame that in 20 years that bike shop that people got all that free advice and personal care from won't be there simply because they were treated as if they were giving charity
  • I almost bought an orange five without trying one because of the great reviews they get, glad I did try it though, I hated it. I thought it felt as if the bike was travelling sideways through corners and the suspension seemed soft and lifeless.

    May have just been a poorly set up model, but still glad I didn't just buy one.
  • stubs
    stubs Posts: 5,001
    I am never happy with a bike till I have changed it to suit my tastes. So trying it even for a day wouldnt work for me.

    I know roughly what frame dimensions I like so go by the geometry chart then buy on internet. My last 4 bikes/frames have been bought this way and I still own 3 of them so it must work for me.

    However I would also say try before you buy I am just an awkward sod who does it his own way :)
    Fig rolls: proof that god loves cyclists and that she wants us to do another lap
  • Noclue
    Noclue Posts: 503
    I've never tried before buying, i own 5 bikes and they all fit differently, i just seem to be able to adapt so not really bothered.
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    a lot of motorbike shops will charge you for a test ride. although mine know if they lend me a decent demo instead of a crappy Bonneville I'll probably buy it

    However, I wouldn't get a free test ride off a shop and then shop on the internet.. thats not cricket
  • ilovedirt
    ilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    try before you buy is ALWAYS the best way, whether you buy off the net or not. I say it a lot on guitar related forums, try before you buy always if you can
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Yeah, I'm useless with my guitar!
  • diy wrote:
    However, I wouldn't get a free test ride off a shop and then shop on the internet.. thats not cricket

    Maybe it isn't fair, but it's a capitalist world. Internet shops usually have real shops too, so I don't see why they can't all compete on price like any other business. Strongest will survive.

    In my case, I was honest. I did the test ride (if you can call it that), told them I'd rather get it from a local shop, so would pay a bit extra, but not the £300 extra they wanted. They refused to budge on price, so I went to the internet.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Some have shops - many are not in prime locataions though like some LBS. Scale of economy too, they get better deals and can afford the same prices on site due to the internet trade. CRC, Merlin and Wiggle is mostly internet trade.
  • GHill
    GHill Posts: 2,402
    canada16 wrote:
    supersonic wrote:
    That is for the day - you can't hire some bikes that cheap!

    :oops:

    Still would not pay, if intending to spend lots of money.

    They should give it to me free, for the day :D

    (30.00 deposit, fair enough, if the bike came back with no marks)

    What's to stop someone just getting the bike as a free hire? Someone has to clean it etc too (not free).
  • ilovedirt
    ilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    It's defintely between the recon and the tora, just depends what features you want, i would probably go for a high end tora over a low end recon.
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Good advice, but wrong thread haha!
  • ilovedirt
    ilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    supersonic wrote:
    Good advice, but wrong thread haha!
    crap! :lol:
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • ilovedirt
    ilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    supersonic wrote:
    Some have shops - many are not in prime locataions though like some LBS. Scale of economy too, they get better deals and can afford the same prices on site due to the internet trade. CRC, Merlin and Wiggle is mostly internet trade.
    with my lbs i tend to buy the bigger things, frame, forks etc used or off crc, but i will always go to the lbs for the numerous small purchases, discs, tyres, disc adaptors etc, anyting under £30-£40 really
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • handful
    handful Posts: 920
    supersonic wrote:
    Good advice, but wrong thread haha!

    Must be catching :wink:
    Vaaru Titanium Sram Red eTap
    Moda Chord with drop bars and Rival shifters - winter/do it all bike
    Orbea Rise
  • dave_hill
    dave_hill Posts: 3,877
    I think you've got to be prepared to make modifications/upgrades/changes to any bike that you buy, whether you've tried it or not.

    If you expect a bike to be bang on right for you immediately you walk out of the shop, then you're sadly mistaken. Yes, it should be somewhere near, but everyone's different and what the designers/marketing men and/or the magazine reviewers prefer may not be exactly right for you.
    Give a home to a retired Greyhound. Tia Greyhound Rescue
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    JayPic
  • As a shop worker it is annoying when people try a bike/helmet/item of clothing and take up my time and my company's money getting all the advice then go and buy online. But people put price above service and have no qualms about using a bike shop as a free advice centre. It's a shame that in 20 years that bike shop that people got all that free advice and personal care from won't be there simply because they were treated as if they were giving charity

    I know exactly how you feel, my mobility shop has the same problem, people take an hour asking questions and getting expert advice/free tea, demo'd how to use and charge the scooter and then complain because were £300 more expensive.
    How about the fact I got £30,000 a month costs to cover, building, stock, staff, ect.....

    3months later get a phone call asking us to come out and repair the scooter they brought online because the company wont come out and repair it.
    I work as the engineer and always come out and repair my customers scooters ect.

    we get alot of buisness through repairs but we need main sales to stick around. when everyone buys online and we go bust I bet they will regret it when theres no one around to rescue them when there broke down.

    Its sad times really.
    Unlike my credit card im currently carrying a low level of interest- Peter Griffin


    Saracen Trace 1
  • I know exactly how you feel, my mobility shop has the same problem, people take an hour asking questions and getting expert advice/free tea, demo'd how to use and charge the scooter and then complain because were £300 more expensive.

    Would you pay an extra £300 for something that is a one-off purchase? Would you get a car from your local car dealer for £3000 more just because they're nearer? No.

    Shops we visit regularly might justify some loyalty, but not when we only ever go there once or twice in a lifetime. And I don't even think shops I visit regularly deserve loyalty if they're not willing to compete on price.
  • My LBS will often price match if they can.
    Buying a bike blind is tricky,I have tried or sat on several bikes this year,which have very different geometry,and while you might think that you know what geometry you need,it doesn`t always follow,when you get to ride the bike.
    Having said that I have bought 3 bikes,without trying because they have been secondhand or internet purchases.
    2006 Giant XTC
    2010 Giant Defy Advanced
    2016 Boardman Pro 29er
    2016 Pinnacle Lithium 4
    2017 Canondale Supersix Evo
  • ilovedirt
    ilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    fanatic278 wrote:
    I know exactly how you feel, my mobility shop has the same problem, people take an hour asking questions and getting expert advice/free tea, demo'd how to use and charge the scooter and then complain because were £300 more expensive.

    Would you pay an extra £300 for something that is a one-off purchase? Would you get a car from your local car dealer for £3000 more just because they're nearer? No.

    Shops we visit regularly might justify some loyalty, but not when we only ever go there once or twice in a lifetime. And I don't even think shops I visit regularly deserve loyalty if they're not willing to compete on price.
    why should they have to compete on price? the people in bike shops have bills to pay and mouths to feed. The only reason online shops are so cheap is because they have far less staff to pay and because they don't have a shop front. And you don't get the service you get in a shop. I'm happy to pay a little more generally to buy from a shop where i will get good service and advice than buy online. The only exception there is buying used really.
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5