Why cant you do proper test rides?

kayakerchris
kayakerchris Posts: 361
edited May 2011 in Road beginners
If I buy a car I expect at least an hours drive in a decent car. When I bought a new computer, I took my own USB stick in with files to open, tried opening and closing, spent over an hour in the Apple shop playing with an iMac.
So why are bike test rides so rare and so short, Evans-5-10 minutes.

I tried to get a £4k Ridley to test ride, none in the country!!

I know that money is scarce but I would have thought at least the importer would have had one that i could try somewhere in the country.

Chris

Comments

  • Speaking from an MTB point of view (yes I know this is the Road forum) I've always had a bike on test for at least the weekend. ATB (importers of Whyte, Marin, Wilier...) seem to have their wits about them regarding test rides.

    All three of the bikes below were tested for the weekend so I knew what I was buying. I also tested other brands which I had for differing lengths of time. While we do have demo days in the MTB world I'm not aware of any for Roadies.

    It's something the industry needs to get upto date with but won't because most people who spend £4k on a bike do so after reading a few reviews, speaking to the LBS and sitting on it in the shop.

    The more people that ask for a proper demo before splashing the cash the quicker the industry's attitude will change.

    Some brands are good while others are p*ss poor.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Size is the first issue. Having to carry one of each size is going to cost a hell of a lot.

    Then there is the insurance etc.

    Then there is the fact that a hell of a lot of people buy without a test ride, balance this with the fact some people will just be having a ride on an expensive bike with no intention of buying it, so why should a shop bother.

    Seems different with MTB though...
  • When I got my bike from Epic cycles they were quite surprised that i was only out for about 15 mins on each bike. They were quite happy for me to go out on a good circuit around the shop. It was just time restrictions which got in the way.
    Bianchi. There are no alternatives only compromises!
    I RIDE A KONA CADABRA -would you like to come and have a play with my magic link?
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Me too. I got the impression they were surprised to see me back so soon. I was worried about going too far in case I got lost!
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    When I got my bike from Epic cycles they were quite surprised that i was only out for about 15 mins on each bike. They were quite happy for me to go out on a good circuit around the shop. It was just time restrictions which got in the way.

    I did 45 miles on my Epic test rides :lol:
    keef66 wrote:
    Me too. I got the impression they were surprised to see me back so soon. I was worried about going too far in case I got lost!

    You just cycle down to Bromyard and turn round at the end and come back. Very difficult to get lost - if you overshoot you just end up in Tenbury!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Bought my BMC from Evans and was gone for about an hour on it, after first checking that they were happy with that. They were.
  • sampras38
    sampras38 Posts: 1,917
    If I buy a car I expect at least an hours drive in a decent car. When I bought a new computer, I took my own USB stick in with files to open, tried opening and closing, spent over an hour in the Apple shop playing with an iMac.
    So why are bike test rides so rare and so short, Evans-5-10 minutes.

    I tried to get a £4k Ridley to test ride, none in the country!!

    I know that money is scarce but I would have thought at least the importer would have had one that i could try somewhere in the country.

    Chris

    At least an hours drive...are you serious?
  • I know that ATB have a fleet of hire bikes that you can book via one of their dealers. The availability of demo bikes should rest with the brands/importers and not the LBS.

    I can fully understand why a shop won't allow more than just a quick spin around the block on one of their stock bikes. After all would you be happy buying a bike that someone with little experience had ground the gears and thought that proper braking involved a drifting skid?
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    "At least an hours drive...are you serious?"

    I had two 48 hour demonstrators when I was choosing my last company car. It's just an Audi A3.

    They were so economical the fuel gauge didn't flinch, so it didn't cost me anything in diesel either!
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    "At least an hours drive...are you serious?"

    I had two 48 hour demonstrators when I was choosing my last company car. It's just an Audi A3.

    They were so economical the fuel gauge didn't flinch, so it didn't cost me anything in diesel either!
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,470
    Doubtless the biggest problem is potentially having to carry one of each size, of each model, just for test riding. Not to mention setup - on the rare occasions I've tested bikes I have really pushed the shop's patience by wanting to make fine adjustments to the saddle position. I didn't even dare ask if they could change the stem length and height... And of course I wanted to have pedals fitted that were compatible with my shoes.

    The thing is, for a really big purchase I wouldn't mind traveling to get a decent test ride. Perhaps there should be dedicated test centres at 2 or 3 places around the country where all major manufacturers could leave a full set of bike models and sizes just for testing, along with sales staff dedicated to setting them up for prospective customers. So that the LBS didn't lose sales, you could be referred by them and make the purchase through them afterwards.
  • allen
    allen Posts: 214
    Specialized do them at their concept and some other stores. Had an sl3 out for 40 miles before my purchase. Could have had it over a weekend if I had wanted to. Just had to leave a deposit . I d give them a go. They even fitted it and adjusted stems etc for me
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    edited May 2011
    The calibre and reputation of the bike shop is relevant to availability and subsequent time of test ride imo.

    Not surprised Evans allowed 5-10 mins for instance. Quite ridiculous.
  • vorsprung
    vorsprung Posts: 1,953
    Specialized near Plymouth were quite happy for me to go off for hours on a Roubaix

    I took a Eddy Merckx EMX1 out for a spin at the Evans in the middle of Bristol, rode it up to the suspension bridge and back

    I agree it's difficult to get test rides but it's not impossible

    I did have a session booked with Epic but the Roubaix seemed so suitable I just got it there and then
  • jswba
    jswba Posts: 491
    M. Steels in Newcastle let you take a test ride for £25 per day (refundable if you buy a bike from them).

    I test rode mine for a week(!) when I bought mine from the great Tony Butterworth's in Sheffield. (It was the manager's own bike)
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,198
    As others have said Epic let you have a good test ride and Wiggle allow you a period of time to try the bike with a no quibbles return period. Most smaller shops would struggle to afford a 'demonstrator' in each size as they would only get a very reduced price for it when they sell it on. There's also the problem with finding storage space.

    I'm amazed that anyone allowed you to use your own USB stick when trying out a new computer though!
  • kayakerchris
    kayakerchris Posts: 361
    go into an apple shop with a stick and open a word file. I wanted to see how office for Mac coped with some complex files I use.

    If I am going to spend a load of my money on a new car, I want to know that it is better than my present one in specific situations. I am hopefully buying one soon and I have my route just about plotted. Mixture of fast, slow, poor road surface, overtaking section for 30-60 speed, a bit of high speed dual carriageway for wind noise, etc.

    I agree that different sizes are a problem but I am looking at a Ridley, surely Ridley could supply the importer with every second size of the high end models so that it could be brought to the shop or somewhere central.

    I can see myself getting a trek, specialised or Giant simply because I can get a decent test ride from the concept stores and therefore be certain i like the bike. Disappointing really.
  • neeb
    neeb Posts: 4,470
    I agree it's a problem, although I don't really blame the shops for the reasons mentioned above.

    If I am going to be able to make the perfect decision when buying a new frame, I would ideally need to go somewhere I could find every bike I was considering in the correct size and test them all on the same day. I would need to have every one of them set up perfectly for my ideal saddle height, saddle setback, reach and preferred handlebar drop, a process that would probably need to be done using some sort of jig (it would take too long with a tape measure) and with a selection of stems and spacers available. I would need to be able to use the same wheels with the same tyres on each bike and the correct pedal system for my shoes. I would want each bike to be fitted with a cycle computer.

    I think it's very difficult to make valid and accurate comparisons between different frames unless all of the above conditions are met. Otherwise, you get the impression that one frame rides differently from another, but it's likely that wheels and setup are having as much influence on that as the frame is.
  • CamR
    CamR Posts: 83
    When I bought my latest bike I opted to only consider buying those on my short list that were available for a test ride. In the end I ended up with two bikes fore a whole weekend and the chance to try them out back to back. I bought a Ridley. The bike shop actually bought in a brand new bike, cut the integrated seat post to fit me and then gave it to me for the weekend to try. The other bike was a Willier and they let me speak to the local rep and arranged for a bike to be sent up to the area for me to try out.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    neeb wrote:
    If I am going to be able to make the perfect decision when buying a new frame, I would ideally need to go somewhere I could find every bike I was considering in the correct size and test them all on the same day. I would need to have every one of them set up perfectly for my ideal saddle height, saddle setback, reach and preferred handlebar drop, a process that would probably need to be done using some sort of jig (it would take too long with a tape measure) and with a selection of stems and spacers available. I would need to be able to use the same wheels with the same tyres on each bike and the correct pedal system for my shoes. I would want each bike to be fitted with a cycle computer.

    Epic pretty much cover the above (except for the computer - don't think that is really necessary - you'd need something like a Garmin to get any really useful comparative data). They don't use a jig though - I was fitted on my first visit and the bikes were ready set up on the second.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • twotyred
    twotyred Posts: 822
    +another for Epic here. Wouldn't consider spending more than £1000 on a bike without a decent test ride. Epic even use the same set of wheels on each bike so you are comparing the frames not the wheels. I live 90 miles from them but have bought both my road bikes there.

    Phil at Epic even told me that if anyone comes back from a test ride in 5 mins he sends then out again telling them to take their time.