test riding bikes

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  • test riding bikes
  • mrmo
    Member

    I have test ridden and not test ridden bikes before purchase.

    In all honesty the number of tweaks you will make to a bike after purchase does render test rides barely worthwhile. Change the tyres, fiddle with the shocks, decide the saddle isn’t for you maybe the bars are too wide/narrow etc.

    Most bikes are fairly easy to pigeon whole as too whether it will suit. In my case I am not interested in an AM/DH bike so why would I bother buying one or even test riding one.

    After a few weeks you tend not to care too much, as long as the colour is right for you everything else, who cares. Most people spend too much time worrying about details that don’t matter.

    philfive
    Member

    Nail on head mrmo, I thought I had made a mistake after my first ride but now it just makes me question what the fuss about test riding is.

    Premier Icon nuke
    Subscriber

    Yep spot on there by mrmo

    Jamie
    Member

    Building last 3 bikes up from frames*, and living in the backwaters, means I never got to test them before building.

    Apart from sizing issues, which are quite easy on mountain bikes as opposed to road bikes IMHO, I really don’t think there is such a thing as a bad bike these days, and any minor niggles can usually be sorted out with adjustments available or component change.

    *Dialled Alpine, Prince Albert & Croix De Fer.

    jmatlock
    Member

    I recently bought a 2013 Camber Comp, Never had a 29er or a FS before so I knew it would feel wierd to start with. My LBS only had a Stumpy in so I sat on that to get the size right and then ordered the Camber

    Put a few miles on it, swapped out the stem and bars and its perfect.

    Its easy to get wrapped up in Geo numbers and stuff, but the bike you test ride is ultimatley very different to how it ends up feeling after a few personal tweaks anyway.

    Dont over think it.

    hooli
    Member

    I guess there is also a certain amount of getting used to something too. I haven’t test ridden any of my bikes.

    mindmap3
    Member

    I personally found a demo quite useful once I’d narrowed my new frame down to a choice of two and was glad that I did.

    However, I do agree that the way the drmo bike is built up does have a bog impact. The Covert that I tested was built up with bits that I’m not keen on – Avod brakes, RS suspension, horrible Blackspire bars etc. But I was able to get an idea as to how the bike would ride.

    I ended up buying a Rune which on paper is pretty similar to the Covert but it rode very, very differently. The Covert was more poppy / fun whereas the Rune a bit more of a plough and more stable on steeper stuff and at speed.

    Before the test ride I was coming down more on the side of the Covert but the demo ride swung if the other way (that and the fact that the medium Covert was too small and the large looked like a gate).

    It is the only time that I have had a proper demo of a bike – I normally buy blind.

    philfive
    Member

    Runes are great 😀

    At least my recklessness feels a little bit more justified now.

    I haven’t test ridden any of my bikes. I was planning to test ride the Spitfire (hooking up with a local sponsored DHer) but then I had a go on a mate’s Whyte G150 which had very similar geometry and loved it. Everything I’d learnt about the Spitfire suggested it had better suspension and a stiffer frame (and adjustable geometry) and I was planning to build it up with a mix of my favourite parts and the best stuff you can buy, so it seemed like I couldn’t go wrong with it.

    Before I ordered the Spitfire I’d ordered a Cotic Rocket based on how much I love my Soul, my liking of the geometry and all the great reviews. I’m sure I’d have loved that too if it had ever arrived!

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    [long winded anecdote]
    Last year the LBS had a few Trek Madone 6.5 demo bikes. I have a 2004 Madone SL 5.9, so was interested to compare. New ones were Ultegra Di2, Race X Lite wheels, Bonty finishing kit. Mine is Dura Ace 7800, older Race X Lite wheels, Bonty finishing kit.

    Collected demo bike, took home, set it up, geometry was a bit different – more relaxed, but I’ll forgive that. Rode 100 miles the next day, loved it, super comfy, felt light, fast, really nice. Would’ve bought one there and then.

    Fast forward a week and they still had them, so I rode to the shop on my Madone, and jumped straight on the same demo bike. Hadn’t been used in the interim, so still set up for me. Doing the straight back to back made me realise that actually it didn’t feel as nice as mine. Yes the Di2 was cool, and it did handle marginally better, but actually it was a good chunk heavier and didn’t climb as well as mine.

    The lure of ‘shiny thing’ on the first demo ride (and actually my assumption that it would be abjectly ‘better’) definitely blinkered me, so potentially had I bought after a quick test ride I’d have made a mistake.
    [/long winded anecdote]

    Bought last couple of bikes with no test ride. Bought my Superfly without ever really riding a 29er full stop. I’m less fussy than many though, will generally make things work. Plus it was a bit of a fait accompli as they didn’t do any 26″ wheeled XC bikes.

    philfive
    Member

    so test ride road bikes, don’t bother with mountain bikes?

    mindmap3
    Member

    Runes are great

    At least my recklessness feels a little bit more justified now.

    They are indeed – I am a full on Banshee fan boy now!

    What colour did you go for? The 14 colours are really nice, especially the green. I ended up with ano black – originally wanted fluro yellow but didn’t like the dark green decals (the black reacts with the fluro paint and turns green).

    I’m a happy boy with mine. It’s too much bike but it climbs well, descends well and I think looks great even in size large. Although I do think that maybe I’d have been better off with a Spitfire.

    Jamie
    Member

    so test ride road bikes, don’t bother with mountain bikes?

    I think it’s more important on a road bike for fitting reasons, due to being in a relatively fixed position for longer.

    I could be talking bollocks, though.

    philfive
    Member

    So I have just spent a considerable sum on a bike without actually test riding it, has anybody else done this and has it come back to bite you on the arse?

    I did about 3 months of research and spoke to people who had the bike but just didn’t ride it. My point is that my first ride on it was awful and I didn’t get along with it at all but now 4 rides in and it is brilliant, so if I had test rode it the chances are I wouldn’t of bought it.

    Are demo rides only good for sizing?

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    And in my case test ride back to back with your existing bike, it’s hard not to look at something new and shiny through rose-tinted glasses.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I think I managed to testride 2 of all the bikes I’ve owned. Ironically the ones I’ve liked the least have generally been the ones that felt most amazing on day one, beauty can be skin deep.

    It’s all a bit skewed by the fact that some bikes are just easier to ride, so feel good immediately. Others have more to offer but you need to spend some time with them. I wouldn’t have bought my Hemlock after a testride in its original spec but with a little perseverence, I love it. My Mmmbop felt amazing after about 2 minutes but never got any better and finding faults tends to take longer. And it took me about 6 months to figure out that though my Herb was brilliant, it was brilliant at things that I’m not too bothered about (and my 224 by comparsion is pretty poor, but better at the things I do care about)

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    Yep. Never rode a 29er and sold my 26er single speed and geared 26er 456 to purchase Scandal frame and all the bits.

    Turned out OK. Better than OK.

    philfive
    Member

    Mindmap

    it’s the Ltd Edition fluro orange. the spitfire looks good but the rune is a beast of a bike and pedals really well for how big it is.

    coogan
    Member

    Always try and get a test ride personally. Had a Pivot Mach 6 all weekend and promptly ordered it after i fell for it big time. Would much rather test ride a bike before blowing a stack of cash on it!

    z1ppy
    Member

    The majority of test rides I’ve done previously to buying bikes, has been 5 minutes up and down the roads outside the sellers house… absolutely no use at all in handling terms but at least meant I knew if they fitted me.
    What was more use to me (or not maybe), was the leisure lakes huge demo at Cannock a couple of weekend back, as I got to try the two bikes that I had short listed back to back…. also tried another two, as they were there. The one bike I demoed to show how much better the others were, is now the bike I actually think I want the most…
    That’s not to say the demo setup was perfect (ride time too short), might not have the manufacturers you need & timing (dates) might not be convenient, but the back to back tests did give me the best feedback.

    daftvader
    Member

    Yup… did a year of testing everything possible , then bought a canyon. I am in the process of swapping bar,stem and other bits to get it feeling right. Didn’t tell expect perfection out of the box but it was closer than most.

    motozulu
    Member

    I test rode a Granite Chief on Wednesday at Ashton Court with Fin, the Rose UK rep.
    I found it really useful because not only did I confirm the size I need but on a site like Rose with it’s bike configurator and it’s extensive choice of parts, it was really handy knowing which stem/bar combo suited the bike – which means no fiddling with bits after.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    When I got my first full sus back in 04 I did demo’s

    First ride was blown away having come from HT, by the end of 6 rides picked the bike I wanted, rode a lot better than the first one.

    Over the years done a few lase one was a proper test of VPP/SC and decided I liked it. all demo’s were 2-3 hrs over serious terrain. Helped a lot.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    I think the most important thing to do is declare the bike you own to be teh best evarz and avoid riding anything else (because why would you bother? You already know ur biek is teh best evarz)

    philfive
    Member

    very true Northwind, mine is the best ever 😀

    stumpy01
    Member

    1st ‘proper’ mountain bike I rode around the car park for about 2 mins before declaring it was fine and parted with quite a chunk of cash. It was only after riding other bikes and riding more varied terrain that I realised this bike really wasn’t right for me and probably partly to blame for all my OTB crashes. I never felt that condident on it whenever the trails pointed downwards and got technical.

    When I replaced this with another full sus I demoed two. I wanted to demo a third, but the closest available bike was about a 5hr drive away.
    One of the demo bikes inspired confidence from the off, the suspension just worked as I expected it to, it had loads of grip and it just seemed right.
    The other one gave me very little confidence; felt too far forward on it, the suspension felt awful even though we tried improving the set-up for ages, it had no front-end grip etc.

    Yeah, maybe I could have got the bad one to feel better than it did, but the one that felt right from the off was the one I went for. I’d definitely want to demo my next full sus before committing.

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