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Have you ever had a shop refuse a test ride?

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Have you ever had a shop refuse a test ride?

Old 12-03-19, 05:31 PM
  #51  
big john
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
It's been said before, but I think every person on the planet should have to work a customer service job at some point in their life.
I agree with this 100%. Pisses me off when i see people abuse wait staff in a restaurant.

In the car biz we get sue-happy people. There are so many it's ridiculous.

Lady buys a used Suburban from my dealer. It's perfect and the previous owner had raised it a bit, put big tires, headers, etc. She brings it back for service and brags to everyone how she bought it with money she won in a lawsuit. Later, she claims while we serviced it we scratched it. They ended up giving her a complete paint job and it looked great. Later, she started dating a mechanic at another dealer and he told her the mods on the exhaust weren't legal so she sued us. The owner of the dealer told her to take it anywhere and have a new exhaust system installed and we would pay for it and give her $2500 for her trouble.
She wanted $200k for her mental anguish and we went to court. I had to testify that it was legal but her lawyer painted a picture of the greedy dealer taking advantage of the poor woman. She won $38k but she had to give the car back, pay her attorneys, and half the court costs.

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Old 12-03-19, 05:49 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I agree with this 100%. Pisses me off when i see people abuse wait staff in a restaurant.

In the car biz we get sue-happy people. There are so many it's ridiculous.
Same. Worked at food service in college, and right after graduating lived with a friend who was a waitress for a couple of years who would bring home nightmare stories of customer behavior. It doesn't cost you to be kind, and kindness often gets you way further in life than being a *@#$.

That said, I've noticed at my local chain bike shop, the employees who are lower down the hierarchy, and especially the newer/younger ones, are the most helpful. The older managers seem to be burned out and gruff, and can be unhelpful even when I'm making sure the interaction is as pleasant as possible. For example, just the other day I asked a manager at one of the stores if they had any extra brake bleed blocks I could buy for Shimano and he looked at me like I had just asked to slap him. He told me they had none to sell; so I knew, for a shop that does so much business, that he was just being difficult. I rode to a smaller one of their stores closer to my place, and saw a friendly young mechanic who'd helped me with a chain noise issue a few months ago. I asked the same question, offering to buy them, and he smiled and said "nah man we get plenty of them with the bikes and brake kits...here have a couple." Keep in mind I spent my first $5K at this LBS chain over the summer. But ever since discovering some other shops with much friendlier customer service (in SoCal I'm blessed with more bike shops than I can shake a stick at) they won't be getting much more of my money as I prefer to spend it at places that treat me with the same respect I give the employees.
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Old 12-03-19, 06:50 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I agree with this, although I also think you need to get rid of bad customers, especially when higher end sales are involved. A dick customer can hurt a business.
Agreed. I fired a customer \ client today. Just to avoid all the future headaches. Much better for the long run.
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Old 12-03-19, 08:13 PM
  #54  
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You don't need to test ride a bike. Riding it around a parking lot isn't going to tell you a single thing about it.
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Old 12-04-19, 04:58 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
SO this leads me to my question: How common is it REALLY to test ride a bike before you buy it?
Thanks!
In thinking over all my bicycles ... I've test ridden one. A tandem.

And that was after Rowan researched it and found one in a shop some distance away. We contacted them, they held the bicycle, and we booked a 3-day weekend in the area. When we got to the shop, they set us up on the bicycle, quite extensively, and let us go for a decent ride. Then we bought it.


I think of a "test ride" more as riding many different bicycles ... borrowing bicycles if you can, renting bicycles, buying likely-looking bicycles and riding them for a while. Then make a list of things you like and dislike. Measure geometry. And from all that information, buy a bicycle you really like.

Last edited by Machka; 12-04-19 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 12-04-19, 11:48 AM
  #56  
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I agree that a short test ride won't tell you everything you need to know about a bike. Fortunately, for one thing my LBSs now know me so I'm free to take it out on extended rides. Nothing crazy, but 20-30 minutes, enough to put it through its paces. And while yes you won't discover everything, what I find a test ride is invaluable for is finding out what you don't want or like in a bike. I've test ridden all of my current bikes and not a day goes by where I don't learn something new on each of them...mostly in good ways.

But what test riding did for me was to take quite a few makes and models off the table for consideration.

If you like (or really, really like) a bike on a test ride, chances are good that it will grow on you. Part of it is confirmation bias, sure. But if you're a seasoned rider, you know what ride characteristics you're looking for in a bike. But just as important...or maybe more importantly...you know what you don't like or want in one. When I was shopping for my gravel bike, I liked the Revolt ride the best and it's growing on me every day. But test riding also took the Grevil, Aspero, Checkpoint, Grail and Stigmata out of the running...whereas if I didn't ever ride those I would forever be wondering if I could have made a better choice with the others.
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Old 12-04-19, 12:42 PM
  #57  
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A shop I used to part-time at
Had a trainer/zwift-like setup, if anyone wanted to "test ride" a bike
We would start with a fitting. sizing, and have them spin for a while
Gave the sales guy time for a 1 on 1 with a potential new customer

An uncommon approach that yielded good results
Customers didn't always go for the bike, but usually purchased something they didn't know they needed, and many returned as regular customers over time
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Old 12-04-19, 03:38 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by RedBullFiXX View Post
A shop I used to part-time at
Had a trainer/zwift-like setup, if anyone wanted to "test ride" a bike
We would start with a fitting. sizing, and have them spin for a while
Gave the sales guy time for a 1 on 1 with a potential new customer

An uncommon approach that yielded good results
Customers didn't always go for the bike, but usually purchased something they didn't know they needed, and many returned as regular customers over time
This is exactly how I wound up with my Orca at a Trek mega-store. It worked great for me.
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Old 12-04-19, 04:00 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
About 15 years ago I went to Brooklyn's largest high-end pro shop, R&A Cycles. Yea, those guys. I was looking for something high-end myself, but they really couldn't get me a ride on the bike that I liked because it was a custom build. Instead, knowing that I hadn't been on carbon before, they set up a nice Giant TCR for me to take a loop around Prospect Park, about a 4 mile ride. I was hooked on carbon, and bought the bike I still ride today without test riding. They almost lost the custom sale to that Giant, but I don't regret for a moment buying the Kuota with Chorus.

I should add that after taking delivery about a week later, they did a custom fit and had the thing completely dialed in. You can only hope that you are treated that way in a lot of shops. Also they upgraded any parts they didn't have in stock, not a huge amount but enough.
not sure they still do test rides on their higher end bikes which are most of what they stock.when I bought my BMCwas told no test rides so ended up buying from PIERMONT bikes the shop thier is well stocked and any bike on the floor is no problem taking out for a test ride in fact the owner wants u to take for a longer ride so you can get a good feel for the bike. But if you ride enough you kinda know in a few minutes if the bike is what you want or not
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Old 12-04-19, 04:29 PM
  #60  
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I would never buy a bike from a place that would not let me test ride one...
Just a few months ago, I went to a shop down in Cape Girardeau just wanting to look, not planning on testing or buying.

After talking to a Sales guy and the manager for a bit and showing interest in a few, they suggested I take one for a ride. I resisted at 1st, but they coaxed me into it.

I ended up riding like 7 or 8 bikes, including a Ebike and a Super Expensive Carbon fiber job, that cost more than my last truck (which was used of course)...

They seemed nice, polite, very passionate about bikes and they seemed like they really cared that I got the right bike for me.
I visited 3 more stores over the next month and because of that I went back and bought from them.

I have one more to check out (much further North of me), buy they will most likely be my go to shop from now on.
I like to support local when I can.
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Old 12-04-19, 04:53 PM
  #61  
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I agree with those saying don’t buy without a test ride. For one thing a shop offering test rides tells loads about the shop and customer satisfaction. Some here say test rides aren’t needed if you know size and geometry you want. That’s partially true. But there’s lots more to a frame than geometry. Then there’s the feel of different groups, components, wheels, etc. I had one shop change wheels for me. Another offered for me to take home the demo bike over a weekend. Another shop told me to test ride but I declined at first because it was cold and wasn’t dressed for the weather. They had me take a jacket and gloves off the rack to go out for a 30 mile ride.
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Old 12-04-19, 05:46 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
Another shop told me to test ride but I declined at first because it was cold and wasnít dressed for the weather. They had me take a jacket and gloves off the rack to go out for a 30 mile ride.
This can be the next thread topic.. Have you ever had a shop refuse a test ride with their shelf bib shorts?
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Old 12-05-19, 02:42 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by RedBullFiXX View Post
A shop I used to part-time at
Had a trainer/zwift-like setup, if anyone wanted to "test ride" a bike
We would start with a fitting. sizing, and have them spin for a while
Gave the sales guy time for a 1 on 1 with a potential new customer

An uncommon approach that yielded good results
Customers didn't always go for the bike, but usually purchased something they didn't know they needed, and many returned as regular customers over time
This is a very good idea. Not sure why not all shops have a trainer set up so people could "test" the fit of the bikes.

Originally Posted by smullen View Post
I would never buy a bike from a place that would not let me test ride one...
Just a few months ago, I went to a shop down in Cape Girardeau just wanting to look, not planning on testing or buying.

After talking to a Sales guy and the manager for a bit and showing interest in a few, they suggested I take one for a ride. I resisted at 1st, but they coaxed me into it.

I ended up riding like 7 or 8 bikes, including a Ebike and a Super Expensive Carbon fiber job, that cost more than my last truck (which was used of course)...

They seemed nice, polite, very passionate about bikes and they seemed like they really cared that I got the right bike for me.
I visited 3 more stores over the next month and because of that I went back and bought from them.

I have one more to check out (much further North of me), buy they will most likely be my go to shop from now on.
I like to support local when I can.
This seems like a good shop. Perhaps I can find one like that around here.

Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
I agree with those saying donít buy without a test ride. For one thing a shop offering test rides tells loads about the shop and customer satisfaction. Some here say test rides arenít needed if you know size and geometry you want. Thatís partially true. But thereís lots more to a frame than geometry. Then thereís the feel of different groups, components, wheels, etc. I had one shop change wheels for me. Another offered for me to take home the demo bike over a weekend. Another shop told me to test ride but I declined at first because it was cold and wasnít dressed for the weather. They had me take a jacket and gloves off the rack to go out for a 30 mile ride.
Thanks, thats good advice. I will try and test ride some bikes and see which I like.
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Old 12-05-19, 03:57 AM
  #64  
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I sold a Centurion to a really nice guy through CL . I had the bike about two years and was selling it to fund another purchase, so when he showed up to look at the bike he wanted to test it out. I told him to take it for a nice long ride as a couple of laps up the street wouldn’t do much . I went with my gut on his character having just met him, and his pick up truck was in my parking lot . He was gone about half an hour while I made myself busy in my shop . When he returned with a grin on his face I knew the bike was sold ....for full asking price! He said it was the most fun he had in a while and put it in his truck and left with a smile.
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Old 12-05-19, 06:10 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
This is a very good idea. Not sure why not all shops have a trainer set up so people could "test" the fit of the bikes.
.
I would think there's a bit of a dilemma though. While the trainer helps you figure out the correct size/fit, my experience is also that riding a bike in a trainer is less comfortable than riding a bike on the road (ymmv). So... if a prospective customer is looking at more than one brand and shop, and one of them allows for real test rides, and the other only allows trainer rides?
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Old 12-05-19, 07:11 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I would think there's a bit of a dilemma though. While the trainer helps you figure out the correct size/fit, my experience is also that riding a bike in a trainer is less comfortable than riding a bike on the road (ymmv). So... if a prospective customer is looking at more than one brand and shop, and one of them allows for real test rides, and the other only allows trainer rides?
I would not consider it really a substitute for a test ride, but rather a good way to help customers figure out the proper fit of the bike / get them set up correctly. I would say it is better than nothing / better than refusing test rides.
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Old 12-05-19, 11:32 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
Waaaay back in the day I was a detail guy at a car dealership. Every person that got an oil change got a free car wash. The car was then delivered to a covered bay so the customer didn't have to be in the elements when they picked their vehicle up. I once delivered a car to the bay during an epic rainstorm, and the customer was waiting for me. I thanked her, and as soon as I started to walk away, she (very rudely) demanded that I dry her car off ...7-feet from the open bay door that she was about to drive out of into the MONSOONAL RAIN. I chuckled because I thought she was kidding with me, but it quickly became obvious that she was dead serious. She followed me around her car as I dried it off, pointing out spots that weren't dry. Once she was satisfied, she got into the car without saying a word, then honked the horn at me and pointed to her side-view mirror that still had a film of water on it. I wiped it off to perfection, looked at her with a smile and a thumbs up so as to say "we good?" and she deadass scowled at me and drove off...into the rain. .
Sounds like you handled it perfectly. Well done.
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Old 12-05-19, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
You don't need to test ride a bike. Riding it around a parking lot isn't going to tell you a single thing about it.
I respectfully disagree. You can learn a lot from a brief test ride, and a lot more from a longer ride. Short rides are a great way to narrow down several possible bites to the two or three that are contenders in your price/feature range. At that point longer rides are a great way to figure out which bike is the one for you and to confirm that everything is fitted properly and in working order.

Any information is better than no information, IMHO.
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Old 12-05-19, 11:40 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by smullen View Post
Just a few months ago, I went to a shop down in Cape Girardeau
Which shop in Cape? We're fortunate in SEMO to have two great shops in Cape that are owned and operated by active cyclists and genuinely nice folks.

FWIW, I've been a customer of Cape Bicycle & Fitness for several years, and in addition to being good folks, they've done an outstanding job of servicing the bikes they sell, offering great advice, and doing everything they can to keep me riding and racing.
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Old 12-05-19, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by maartendc View Post
"sure, you could take it around the block some time, when the weather is nice".
Was the weather really bad? If you were a bike shop, would you want the risk of someone test-riding a bike and falling on ice/snow/whatev? Seems kinda reasonable to me.
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Old 12-05-19, 12:48 PM
  #71  
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Yeah personally I don't step in bike shops anymore except to buy spares or try on clothing to see if they fit (which then I'll buy online for the most part cause it's cheaper)
I really don't care if people will try to guilt me by saying I should support local shops.
I've bought a bike ONCE in my life from a bike shop. Built it from scratch my own every other time. The one time I bought it from a bike shop a million things went wrong. Every time they would ask me to drive back 20 miles, leave the bike to get it sorted.
I explained I'm capable of swapping parts just let me take it off and swap it in shop cause I don't wanna leave the bike overnight. They would refuse it.
Wouldn't be an issue but the 3 times I took it back, left it and picked up next day, they either screwed something up, forgot to install back a piece of the bike or gave me a wrong part.


Yeah bike shops have 0 value to me. I have all the tools, build my bikes the exact way I want them and save a ton of money and time.
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Old 12-05-19, 12:50 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by gurk700 View Post
Yeah personally I don't step in bike shops anymore except to buy spares or try on clothing to see if they fit (which then I'll buy online for the most part cause it's cheaper)
I really don't care if people will try to guilt me by saying I should support local shops.
I've bought a bike ONCE in my life from a bike shop. Built it from scratch my own every other time. The one time I bought it from a bike shop a million things went wrong. Every time they would ask me to drive back 20 miles, leave the bike to get it sorted.
I explained I'm capable of swapping parts just let me take it off and swap it in shop cause I don't wanna leave the bike overnight. They would refuse it.
Wouldn't be an issue but the 3 times I took it back, left it and picked up next day, they either screwed something up, forgot to install back a piece of the bike or gave me a wrong part.


Yeah bike shops have 0 value to me. I have all the tools, build my bikes the exact way I want them and save a ton of money and time.
You are clearly superior in every way. We bow to your undeniable mastery of all things cycling.
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Old 12-05-19, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
You are clearly superior in every way. We bow to your undeniable mastery of all things cycling.
A lot of home mechanics are superior in every way. Cause we LOVE doing it. We're not underpaid and treated like crap to do our "job"
I probably watched 100s of hours of bike build videos troubleshooting videos random park tool how to use tools videos even if it wasn't relevant to me.
Genuine passion and interest always beats doing something day in and day out just to pay bills.

So I can't even blame most of those guys. It's just reality.
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Old 12-05-19, 06:59 PM
  #74  
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As someone who has recently had two very bad shop mechanic experiences, I can certainly sympathize. But I've had very good ones too, so I wouldn't cast aspersions on the entire bike shop mechanic industry. Sure, they all need to pay the bills, but some still very much take pride (and are good at) what they do. Unfortunately it's a learning experience...which can be unpleasant as my last two were...to learn good from bad.

But like gurk007 I'm also accumulating shop tools at home and watching tons of both Park Tool videos, as well as other resources. I have successfully changed rotors, cassettes, bled hydraulic brakes, changed handlebar and stem, pedals, bar tape, seat posts, brake pads, saddles and chains. I have aligned pads/rotors, and done full adjustments (H/L limit screws, B screws, physical alignment) of both front and rear derailleurs--mechanical and Di2/eTap. I can do basic maintenance like clean the drivetrain (both quick-clean and deep-clean). I have installed and seated tubeless tires. I wanted to be able to do all of this because 1) I want to know how what I ride for over 10 hours a week works, 2) I'd like to extend the life of my bike and associated parts by taking care of it.

The last things I haven't tackled, but will do once I am able to buy the tools, is install a bottom bracket and crankset. I also haven't serviced hubs and bearings, although I have upgraded the ratchet in my DT Swiss 240 hub from 18 to 54 tooth--that's the closest I've come to hub work.

That said, I trust the good mechanics I've run into (and will avoid the bad ones now that I know who they are) so if for whatever reason I can't do the job at home, I have a short list of people I won't be afraid to take my bikes to.
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Old 12-07-19, 07:22 PM
  #75  
rubiksoval
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
I respectfully disagree. You can learn a lot from a brief test ride, and a lot more from a longer ride. Short rides are a great way to narrow down several possible bites to the two or three that are contenders in your price/feature range. At that point longer rides are a great way to figure out which bike is the one for you and to confirm that everything is fitted properly and in working order.

Any information is better than no information, IMHO.
Bikes you're taking out for a test ride won't be properly fit to you in the first place.

Air pressure alone can make a bigger difference than anything else when it comes to "feel".

Working order is much ado about nothing. Any bike will work assuming there's not a defect and it's put together correctly.

All of the information is already available before even seeing the bike. If you don't know or understand that information, a test ride isn't going to change that. It's just going to give you a false sense of control in a choice that you're ill-informed to make. Fortunately for most, most bikes at most price-points are similar enough that it doesn't really matter which you go with.

Last edited by rubiksoval; 12-07-19 at 07:29 PM.
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