The problem with buying a high end bike / frame!

nicensleazy
nicensleazy Posts: 2,310
edited January 2010 in Road buying advice
Its quite ridiculous really, but most bike shops still expect you to purchase a bike/frame on a whim or a punt. Parting with £3,500 for a frame, the buyer/customer should indeed get more. Speak to most bike dealers and sales guys up and down the country, most have not had a test ride on a Cervelo R3 or a Pinarello Dogma, perhaps not even cocked their leg over a frame, but yet we are expecting these people to sell a frame to us without any knowlege or handeling experience. Pathetic. However, who are the idiots....us I guess. You most certainly wouldn't go and buy a cheap car without a test drive, not even an el cheapo vehicle out of the local paper for a run around. Whilst I do appreciate, dealers cannot keep a surplus of demo models in store, at least the UK agents or importers need to get these bike instore so the staff can demo them and then hey presto.......pass on the info to the customer. So at the moment, all we have to go on is a review in a bike mag whch could be good or bad. I do hope things will change.....but for the moment, there is most certainly a luck of information or knowledge on top end frames/bikes in most cycle dealers! :cry:
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Comments

  • kingrollo
    kingrollo Posts: 3,198
    Agreed - A Static fitting service on a turbo was the best I could get. The only bikes you can test ride are the big brands at somewhere like evans
  • hopper1
    hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    I think it comes down to the dealer, and their commitment to us, the customers.
    I was unsure as to what bike I wanted, so went to Epic Cycles.
    They have quite a selection of bikes for demo. Call them to arrange in advance, turn up and test.
    They don't have 'all' sizes, but a little tweak of the stem etc, will allow you to get a feel for the bike.
    They do a fitting service, too.
    The shop is set in nice countryside, too, so you will enjoy your spin.
    They do good coffee, too... :wink:
    Surely there must be more good dealers than this, though.
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • owenlars
    owenlars Posts: 719
    I bought an Enigma and went down to see them before I bought. They gave me an Echo to play with for the afternoon if I wanted to. Did a 10-12 mile ride and came back to talk about the deal. Like all things it all depends on who you are aiming to buy from I guess.
  • Infamous
    Infamous Posts: 1,130
    Small shops often can't afford to risk a brand new pinarello etc being crashed by a clumsy rider who may or may not buy the bike anyway. For all they know you could be a complete beginner, or even worse a sportive rider. :o
  • Moaner
    Moaner Posts: 117
    Great thread - gives the 'good' dealers a chance to stand out from the crowd.
    Any other places you can try before you buy?
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Its quite ridiculous really, but most bike shops still expect you to purchase a bike/frame on a whim or a punt. Parting with £3,500 for a frame, the buyer/customer should indeed get more. Speak to most bike dealers and sales guys up and down the country, most have not had a test ride on a Cervelo R3 or a Pinarello Dogma, perhaps not even cocked their leg over a frame, but yet we are expecting these people to sell a frame to us without any knowlege or handeling experience. Pathetic. However, who are the idiots....us I guess. You most certainly wouldn't go and buy a cheap car without a test drive, not even an el cheapo vehicle out of the local paper for a run around. Whilst I do appreciate, dealers cannot keep a surplus of demo models in store, at least the UK agents or importers need to get these bike instore so the staff can demo them and then hey presto.......pass on the info to the customer. So at the moment, all we have to go on is a review in a bike mag whch could be good or bad. I do hope things will change.....but for the moment, there is most certainly a luck of information or knowledge on top end frames/bikes in most cycle dealers! :cry:

    Try Royles in Wilmslow. They have a demo bike of everything Cervelo up to and including the P4...
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Its quite ridiculous really, but most bike shops still expect you to purchase a bike/frame on a whim or a punt. Parting with £3,500 for a frame, the buyer/customer should indeed get more. Speak to most bike dealers and sales guys up and down the country, most have not had a test ride on a Cervelo R3 or a Pinarello Dogma, perhaps not even cocked their leg over a frame, but yet we are expecting these people to sell a frame to us without any knowlege or handeling experience. Pathetic. However, who are the idiots....us I guess. You most certainly wouldn't go and buy a cheap car without a test drive, not even an el cheapo vehicle out of the local paper for a run around. Whilst I do appreciate, dealers cannot keep a surplus of demo models in store, at least the UK agents or importers need to get these bike instore so the staff can demo them and then hey presto.......pass on the info to the customer. So at the moment, all we have to go on is a review in a bike mag whch could be good or bad. I do hope things will change.....but for the moment, there is most certainly a luck of information or knowledge on top end frames/bikes in most cycle dealers! :cry:

    +1 I totally agree, it's time dealers and manufacturers come to that realise that riders won't just pay thousands of pounds for bikes they can't try. Surely people don't do this on a large scale? Madness if you ask me. And I wouldn't pay out without trying first, you wouldn't be expected to do it when buying a car, now would you?
  • i travelled up to cyclesuk in chelmsford last year to look at a 2009 4.5 trek madone having spoken to them on the phone about size,spec etc. When i arrived there was no pressure put on me to buy and alex(the assistant) was very knowledgable and helpful. Once i'd sat on bike and had various adjustments done,all i had to leave was my car keys,id and my old man...and i was free to go for a ride. When i got back,again,i was left to look at other bikes and think about whether or not to buy the madone,but after much debate and test riding others my heart was set on it,reduced from £1600 to £1280 and i really liked the appearance and how it felt.So all in all,i was pleased with bike and the help i received.
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    You're always going to hear about certain dealers and how good they are concerning test rides etc. But it's not a general thing in the trade and I think it should be. After all, in some case 6-8k on a high end bike ain't small beans imo.
  • redddraggon
    redddraggon Posts: 10,862
    i travelled up to cyclesuk in chelmsford last year to look at a 2009 4.5 trek madone having spoken to them on the phone about size,spec etc. When i arrived there was no pressure put on me to buy and alex(the assistant) was very knowledgable and helpful. Once i'd sat on bike and had various adjustments done,all i had to leave was my car keys,id and my old man...and i was free to go for a ride. When i got back,again,i was left to look at other bikes and think about whether or not to buy the madone,but after much debate and test riding others my heart was set on it,reduced from £1600 to £1280 and i really liked the appearance and how it felt.So all in all,i was pleased with bike and the help i received.

    Hardly an EPS or Dogma though
    I like bikes...

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  • i know..... think i posted this on the wrong thread!!!
  • Hiya

    We have a good few models on demo here - we can't have everything but if you ask for a model we don't have on demo we will do everything we can to help. We have even lent out our own personal bikes.

    Check out our list of bikes on the links below and also see the FB page for other news.

    Mark
  • hopper1
    hopper1 Posts: 4,389
    i travelled up to cyclesuk in chelmsford last year to look at a 2009 4.5 trek madone having spoken to them on the phone about size,spec etc. When i arrived there was no pressure put on me to buy and alex(the assistant) was very knowledgable and helpful. Once i'd sat on bike and had various adjustments done,all i had to leave was my car keys,id and my old man...and i was free to go for a ride. When i got back,again,i was left to look at other bikes and think about whether or not to buy the madone,but after much debate and test riding others my heart was set on it,reduced from £1600 to £1280 and i really liked the appearance and how it felt.So all in all,i was pleased with bike and the help i received.

    Hardly an EPS or Dogma though
    True, but it does demonstrate the right attitude.
    There are shops near me who wouldn't even let you test ride a lower spec model :shock:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • Hear hear! This level of "assistance" has recently cost Colnago a sale to me.

    Although I don't blame the dealers, it's far too expensive to have a fleet of test bikes available, especially when they're having to compete with the new wave of internet sellers. My complaint is with the distributors and/or manufacturers. It would be very easy for each distributor to have one or two test bikes in each size which can be shipped around the country to different dealers on request. They do this with cars (well, Audi do), why not bikes?
  • I was in my local Halfords one time, and they wouldn't even let a guy pick up a bike he was interested in because the shop assistants weren't allowed to unlock it from the display!
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I think there's a couple of relevant points here:

    If every time a shop built-up a test bike for every 'tyre kicker' that came through the door, we'd all be reliant on online sales as most shops would have gone out of business. It's hard for shops to differentiate between genuine and bogus buyers. The margins on top-end frames and components is often pretty slim and can be wiped-out by a 'used once' sale.

    Knowing what geometry works for you isn't going to be proven by a spin around the block - if you don't know whether a Colnago EPS for example is the right bike for you suggests you start off with something else and be able to me an informed choice from there. There's rarely any 'bad bikes' but plenty of bad riders.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    I agree with Monty Dog, and may go a bit further. I think one stands to gain very little from a test ride — especially of an expensive bike, in which case you are likely to be an experienced cyclist and know what fits you, and which gear shifters you want. It's an emotional rite of passage, I suppose, but it puts the small retailers (which we'd all like to support) at a disadvantage. At the cheaper end, test bikes are more useful: they serve to help somebody decide whether or not they want a road bike, or another style.
  • nicensleazy
    nicensleazy Posts: 2,310
    I'm not even talking about a test ride, I'm talking about basic information about a frame or bike. Also, It would help if someone in the shop had actually had a ride themselves.

    Today, I telephoned a well know dealer in the SE of England. They stock many top flight race frames. I asked in particular about two frames I was potentially interested in and also asked if they could tell me about the differences. Now, these are not rocket science questions to ask, pretty basic stuff, but his response was if I asked a question on nuclear science. He just could answer the question. I said, well, has anyone else in the shop had a ride on both frames or have any further input.....his response was...ahahahahahahaha no. How the hell can this dealer sell these frames if their staff have no valuable input or knowlede! I think, most of us conduct our own personal research before entering the store and perhaps knowing more than the 'professional' sales staff. UK customers service.....don't you just love it!!!!! :evil:
  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    My apologies for ranting at a tangent. I could have read your original post more carefully.

    I agree that shop staff might at least try to stay more informed about the product they sell than their customers are. It's such a fashion led industry, though, that there's an awful lot of marketing babble to soak up. When I worked in a bike shop, I used to have to repeat all that stuff through gritted teeth. Still, that's the business and they have a responsibility.
  • lfcquin
    lfcquin Posts: 470
    While I like the idea of getting some time on a bike before I go ahead and purchase it. There are other more important factors for me. IMO there is no replacement for doing your research, talking to other riders, reading around and getting advice from the experts at the shops before making your purchase. If they offer a test ride then this is a bonus, but not essential for me. I did all that before deciding on my Sabbath and was then fortunate enough to get the use of Iain's bike for a full weekend before I signed on the dotted line. The bike test was just confirmation really, i am not sure it would have made much difference to my decision unless it was an absolute dog and for me, I don't think I could tell that from a few hours riding, especially when wheels & components make such a difference to the ride of a frame.

    The comparison is made to cars, and it is true, I am not sure many of use would buy a car without a test drive, but do we really get any benefit from it? it doesn't tell us anything of the reliability and there is no way to test it in all types of driving conditions and if you are buying new the one you test drive isn;t the one you buy.

    The same isn't offered for top end TV's or stereo systems or any other goods I can think of and yet people can spend easily spend £10k on that sort of stuff.

    Before I get slated, I am not saying it isn't right for everyone, its just more of a comfort - icing on the cake - thing for me rather than a decision factor.
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    I think a test ride is imperative when you are spending a lot of money on a top brand spec bike. Imo you cannot go by the name on the tubing. That doesn't count for a lot ime. Perhaps I can tell more easily than others I don't know, but an hour or two on a bike tells me a helluva lot.

    EVERY bike feels different, partly due to the set up but more so the way the frame has been constructed surely, especially the more popular carbon bikes around now, as varified by my test rides in the last couple of years. A De Rosa Idol feels very different to a Cervelo R3 which feels very different again to a Wilier Cento Uno. And I'm very glad they do feel different. They all have their own unique characteristics. It gives us the consumer more choice and the ability to find the bike we ideally want and want to ride for the next few years or however long. Components wise, I'm sure we all know how campag feels compared to Shimano so to me that's not so crucial. Wheels similarly.

    I think it's very important to get the right bike of course, and a test ride to me is the only way. I'm not going to believe any marketing blurb on a web site and make a purchase from that.
  • nicensleazy
    nicensleazy Posts: 2,310
    I think a test ride is imperative when you are spending a lot of money on a top brand spec bike. Imo you cannot go by the name on the tubing. That doesn't count for a lot ime. Perhaps I can tell more easily than others I don't know, but an hour or two on a bike tells me a helluva lot.

    EVERY bike feels different, partly due to the set up but more so the way the frame has been constructed surely, especially the more popular carbon bikes around now, as varified by my test rides in the last couple of years. A De Rosa Idol feels very different to a Cervelo R3 which feels very different again to a Wilier Cento Uno. And I'm very glad they do feel different. They all have their own unique characteristics. It gives us the consumer more choice and the ability to find the bike we ideally want and want to ride for the next few years or however long. Components wise, I'm sure we all know how campag feels compared to Shimano so to me that's not so crucial. Wheels similarly.

    I think it's very important to get the right bike of course, and a test ride to me is the only way. I'm not going to believe any marketing blurb on a web site and make a purchase from that.


    Fully agree!!!
  • mrushton
    mrushton Posts: 5,182
    Cyclefit have (had?) a loan policy of a bike from their stock in return for a credit card deposit. You got the money back if you bought a bike from them. Sabbath cycles let my partner borrow a bike for the afternoon and tweaked it up for her to be more comfortable. I also know someone who bought the loaned Specialized Roubaix he had borrowed from his local dealer.
    M.Rushton
  • Scrumple
    Scrumple Posts: 2,665
    Stop moaning and find another shop.

    Don't like to sound nasty, just reality. Would you lend out your frames to customers if it was you?

    It is a free market, and you can go elswhere.

    As for lack of knowledge, you can't always get the staff. At the right price. These days, the spotty urchins in B&Q don't even know what a hammer is. Time served services and shops are gone, long live the supermarket.

    My rant over.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Taking the example of a Colnago EPS - most shops don't stock them because they come in 22 sizes and about 10 different colours- it would be ridiculous to expect a shop to stock one in every size never mind to test ride it - by comparison, Cervelos only come in a handful and one paint colour. However, if Windwave the UK distributor are so keen on their 'official UK distributor' status then that's a different question - they have to do something to justify their 20% price premium? The majority of Colnago owners I know never had a test ride - but then again, most of them bought them after owning a number of different bikes and once they had sufficient understanding of their requirments they were confident in making the purchase and rarely disappointed. Generally, experience and knowledge isn't something that a credit card brings you. If you want to play safe, buy a Trek - you can have a test ride and they're boring as hell!
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Only as boring as you make it IMO.
  • JamesB
    JamesB Posts: 1,184
    Of the very many bikes I`ve had, both MTB and road, I`ve only test ridden three before buying but am happy with all past and present purchases! However:

    Two road bikes I rode were a Wilier and Viner, both at Epic; I had decided on the wilier on basis of tests / reports but then when riding the two back to back teh handling and feel of the Viner suited me much better---which is also the more expensive !
    the third test ride was on a Giant Anthem, a race ready demo model from Clive Powells shop in Rhayader, and this fantastic machine which persuaded me into buying my first (and only) full suss of a Giant Trance.
    So my thoughts are that dealers who let you ride before buying may get a better sale out of you, as well as giving the customer a chance to find out BEFORE what he / she is buying
  • Moaner
    Moaner Posts: 117
    A test ride isn't imperative for me and it isn't a substitute for experience and doing your homework.
    A test ride is very nice to have as the chance to confirm that you're making the right selection.

    Just to move the goalposts a bit, I'm finding dealers who can't even show you an example of the frame they want to sell you - these are big, reputable businesses....
  • Wheelspinner
    Wheelspinner Posts: 6,604
    OK, so you want to test ride a Dogma 60.1 first. Let's see. My LBS sells them, has one one display, and is building one for himself. The frame alone costs about 8 grand in AUD, and that's at his prices which are generally cheaper than RRP by a reasonable margin. So, Sir would like that one with Di2, Zipp 808, and all the bling? That'll be 20 grand thanks. Here - take it for a spin for an hour, no charge, no problem.

    As if.

    All you folks complaining that car dealers can give you a test drive should think again of the real comparison. A 20 grand BICYCLE is the equivalent of a Lamborghini Gallardo, or Porsche GT3, or Mercedes McLaren SLR or a Ferrari 430 or Audi R8....

    Think you can wander into your local car yard and just borrow the keys to one of those, no problems?

    Don't forget - you're asking for a bike you can reasonably ride, which means something approximatley your size at least, tweaked to fit. Go to the car dealer and ask to test drive the red one please, not the black one, as everyone knows red ones are faster. Oh,and be sure to insist that the pesky salesman stays behind while you thrash their 300 thousand dollar car around the backstreets.

    Remember too, that when you borrowed the car, the form you signed (read teh fine print) has you liable for major cost in the event of any accident, like a 5 thousand dlooar excess on the insurance. Plus, the car dealer is including the cost of that insurance across the cars they sell.. They are already big dollar businesses, and can (usually) afford that extra.

    Borrow an expensive car, and the chances you will crash it are relatively small. Borrow a seriously expensive bike, and the odds of a crash are a fair bit higher IMO. The insurance required by the LBS (or distributor or whoever) will be a significantly greater percentage of the value of the bike that it is for the car dealer. Your Dogma 60.1 just went up from 8 to 8.5 grand to cover it.

    Trek globally in 2008 had sales of 670 million USD, for 1.5 million bikes sold, and who knows how much of that revenue was for accessories etc. Let's round it down to 600 mill for the complete bikes alone. That's a whole 400 bucks average sale, or 250 pounds or thereabouts. Hardly the Madone 6.9, is it? I doubt too many of those had a test ride associated with them. But at least the overall company makes enough money to support the possibility of a test ride program.

    Have a real think about how many Colnago, Pinarello, Cervelo bikes you really see out there on the road, especially the better spec ones. They really are as rare as Ferraris. The fact that "plenty" of people can actually afford one because they only cost several thousand instead of a hundred grand upwards is irrelevant.

    I'm sure if you work with your local dealer and let them know you are serious about buying a top end bike they will certainly do their best to meet your needs.

    But if you waltz into your local shop unknown, and want to borrow something off their top shelf on the off chance you''ll buy it, think again.
    Open One+ BMC TE29 Seven 622SL On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • darren H
    darren H Posts: 122
    What gets me is still the lack of exp in sizing riders up to the correct frame size

    Im a size 53 and no more
    Im 5 ft 6
    Now I was in a large Derby cycle dealer t other week and a guy who was the same size as me was being shown and SAT on a 58cn TREK.
    I was astonished
    The guy who was instructing the newbie to roadbikes was telling the lad a complete load of rubbish.
    I couldnt believe it and told the sales lad such.
    The bike was £ 2400 quid for Petes sake.

    It left me feeling angry.How many more slip through the net and within a month have the bike on ebay because they have not enjoyed there riding.
    Shocking.