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How important is a test ride? Tips for buying online.

I am going to buy a new bike this spring and thought it would be nice to get something different; Ellsworth, Turner, Yeti, Ventana, Maverick, etc... However with all of these bikes a test ride means traveling a minimum of 2-3 hrs. I could get a bike from my LBS; Trek, Giant, Specialized, C-dale, etc.. and have a decent test. Also I have had the same FS bike for the last 8 yrs (Schwinn s-10) which I love and never test rode, but anything I purchase is going to be an improvement.
Any Thoughts? Do I take another chance and order online for a unique bike, or go for a sure thing that everybody else rides?
If I do choose to purchase a bike online does anyone have tips from past experiences
(good and bad).
 

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Test for fit

miles0129 said:
I am going to buy a new bike this spring and thought it would be nice to get something different; Ellsworth, Turner, Yeti, Ventana, Maverick, etc... However with all of these bikes a test ride means traveling a minimum of 2-3 hrs. I could get a bike from my LBS; Trek, Giant, Specialized, C-dale, etc.. and have a decent test. Also I have had the same FS bike for the last 8 yrs (Schwinn s-10) which I love and never test rode, but anything I purchase is going to be an improvement.
Any Thoughts? Do I take another chance and order online for a unique bike, or go for a sure thing that everybody else rides?
Just be sure you buy a bike that fit's your dimentions and intended use.

If you are comfortable on your Schwinn then compare the geometry of other bikes to it and talk to the manufacture's reps at least to be sure you are buying the right size.

I've planned vacations around test riding bikes I'm interested in. And I have no buyer's remorse at all about the last bike I bought over 4 years ago.

- ray
 

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Man, I sure would ride the bike first. When I was buying a road bike I wanted someone to tell me the best bike to buy. Everyone kept saying "ride bikes" you'll know when you find the right one.

I thought it was a crappy answer and they weren't being helpful -- UNTIL I rode the right bike for me.

It was awesome. Compared to the other bikes I was testing, I just wanted to keep riding it around the parking lot. I didn't want to get off it. I love that bike.

Also, you need to test ride to find the right size. I'm 5'10" so I could ride a medium or a large in most brands. But the feeling on the bike is very different between the two. Do I want a more nimble/quick feeling where the front wheel pops around -- or a more stable fast feeling.


I don't think it will take long on a test ride, especially since you're used to riding a mtn bike. You'll know right away if you want to keep trying it. Just test all the local bikes first and know which one you like best. If you haven't found the right bike then go test the others even if you have to drive.
 

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miles0129 said:
I am going to buy a new bike this spring and thought it would be nice to get something different; Ellsworth, Turner, Yeti, Ventana, Maverick, etc... However with all of these bikes a test ride means traveling a minimum of 2-3 hrs. I could get a bike from my LBS; Trek, Giant, Specialized, C-dale, etc.. and have a decent test. Also I have had the same FS bike for the last 8 yrs (Schwinn s-10) which I love and never test rode, but anything I purchase is going to be an improvement.
Any Thoughts? Do I take another chance and order online for a unique bike, or go for a sure thing that everybody else rides?
It's important. That said, it's rare you get to take a bike outside the parking lot or behind the shop on some man-made smooth singletrack. Sometimes you can demo a bike for a few hours at select gatherings.

I purchase all my frames based on measurements I know work for me. Then stem and bar and crankarm length go with the geometry and fork I choose. I have not purchased a bike in the last 10 years that I test rode; always mailordered them and dialed things in.

That said I would not recommend against making a nice drive to another part of the state just to sit on some bikes and look things over. Maybe take a shock pump and your pedals/shoes, and make the most out of the 15 minutes spinning around the dirt lot.

Sounds like you have the money. Why not make some time to spend it wisely.
 

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I think this is an interesting question.

Last year a friend of me was into buying a new hardtail. He testrode 4 bikes with similar frame design and componentry. He initially disliked the looks of the GT Avalanche in the brochure, but he ended up buying one. We both agreed that it was definitely the best ride. (BTW: He now loves the looks of the Avalanche ;) ).

Currently I'm into replacing my 8+ year old hardtail for a full-suspension. Initially there were 4 bikes on my list:
- Specialized FSR XC Pro;
- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR;
- Giant Trance 2;
- Scott MC-50;

However, after long considering and reading an incredible amount of reviews I now only consider the Giant Trance 2. Eventhough I haven't rode -ANY- of these bikes.

I -WILL- testride the Trance 2 before I buy one, but I don't think I will testride the other 3. So in reality, I don't have anything to compare. But would that be a bad thing?

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miles0129 said:
Thank you all for your feed back. Just wondering if anybody out there has bought online without test riding, if so any tips/feedback good and bad. thanks again.
I'm guilty of it. The last bike, a Ventana was bought this way. I did talk with the dealer, checked out two online calcualtors, and compared the measurements of a bike I know I fit on.

I was able to get a bike that fit, and I'm extremely happy.

All that said, I would have greatly prefered to test ride one before purchase, but the nearest dealer was no-where to be seen from South Bend.

JmZ
 

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Test Ride

I havn't been on a test ride since 2000. I have bought 4 frames with no teat ride or even seeing one. I know what geometry and measurements I like and go with that. But make sure you know excactly what works for you. Fit is the biggest factor I look at.
 

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miles0129 said:
Thank you all for your feed back. Just wondering if anybody out there has bought online without test riding, if so any tips/feedback good and bad. thanks again.
My friend got a used Norco drop off pinkbike.com and he said it didn't feel right for a while. But he made it work. But if your spending that much money be sure you test it, or test your friends if you have a friend who has a bike you are looking at.
 

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Where are you going to take your bike when it needs service? I suggest sticking with one local bike store and making friends with them. If you purchase a bike locally chances are your store will help you with future needs.
 
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