Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
burroc
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Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by burroc »

I wonder if anyone could suggest a retailer in the Hereford/Worcester/West Midlands area (or further afield if necessary) that might have a lightweight day touring (Audax?) bike I could try before purchasing?

Slightly longer explanation: I am after a lightweight bike for day rides. I don't need the strength of an out and out tourer but have no interest in a featherweight road bike. I do want mudguard clearing and the potential for a rear rack. My previous bike purchases have been before the days of the interenet. I would simply visit any bike shop I could find, try a bike or two, and choose whatever seemed most comfortable. Not managed to find a suitable bike locally yet. There are numerous suggestions on this forum for bikes around the £1000 mark, but I am not interested in ordering a bike I have never ridden.

I happened to see a chap on a Genesis Equilibrium a few weeks ago that looked interesting. I 'phoned the various local stockists and they all told me the same thing: they don't actually keep any in stock, but could order one in if necessary. Evans would let me have a no obligation ride, but firstly this would require me to be confident of the size I need and secondly I am uncomfortable asking anyone to buy in a bike on my behalf when I have no real feel for whether it is a viable option. Then I found that Epic Cycles at Ludlow have an Equilibrium in their store.......but to ride it I need to pay £95 for the full fitting service (deductable if I purchase the bike). A further complication with the Equilibrium is it is "off the shelf". As a slow but high cadence cyclist most bikes are too highly geared for my liking and changing the gearing would be an added extra.

As I say, any suggestions would be gratefully received. Thanks a lot.
Big T
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by Big T »

I'd go with Evans. My wife ordered 4 bikes in at the local Evans store to try out and see before buying. She eventualy bought a Specialized Dolce Elite from them but it was the 4th bike that they'd got in for her. We'd also been to the Specialized Concept Store in Birmingham, to try out various Specialzed bikes - they let you ride them around the large car park at Fort Dunlop. That's another option if you want to try a Specialized and live near there.

Evans is such a large organisation that they are almost bound to have the bike you want, in the size you want at one of their stores or at their warehouse, so they aren't buying it in especially, they already have it in stock. Also, if you are a CTC member, you can get 10% discount at Evans and you can also get interest-free credit.
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Ayesha
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by Ayesha »

J.D.s in Worcester,
Speeds Cycles, Bromsgrove,
Bricycles, Malvern Link.

Go to J.D's. If he hasn't got what you want, he'll build it for you.
Malaconotus
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by Malaconotus »

Take up Evans on the offer to get one in. It's a mainstream model available only in generally popular sizes, and they already carry some sizes and models in their range and stock. I work for a much smaller bike chain (unfortunately without a store anywhere near you) and I know we'd be happy ordering one in as long as we had a good idea of size and were happy you were serious about purchasing if the bike suited. Evans, like us, would have no difficulty shifting it if it does not suit you.
PH
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by PH »

Epic's fitting service may prove money well spent if you've never had one. Presumably they then change stem and adjust the bike to that fit, probably give a better test ride than one that isn't perfectly set up. They also stock Kenisis who probably have a model that fits the bill. I imagine they could sort your gearing out without too much extra expense. I've only dealt with them on the phone, I was happy with the advice and service, that to me would be more relevant than saving a few quid.
tatanab
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by tatanab »

Echelon in Pershore http://www.echelon-cycles.co.uk/index.html

Yes it is a super speedsters shop dripping in carbon fibre, but they also do machines with mudguards for Audax use. Look under their own brand name in particular. Nothing will be stock/off the shelf. They will build what you ask for and modify to suit so you will not be stuck with a ridiculously over sized chainring. So you almost certainly will not be able to walk in off the street for a test ride, they'd have to build it first. The owners/staff are all long standing local riders.
Moodyman1

Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by Moodyman1 »

If truth be told, I've never garnered much opinion about a bike with a test ride in a car park.

You get a much better feel for the bike after a few long rides - say 10/15 miles which most places are unlikely to agree to.

The custom-fitting service is something else that I don't always buy into. It's a good starting point, but I always find that I need to fine-tune the fit on the first few rides.

With regards to Evans, yes, they're the probably the best option as they've got a great range and are scattered nationwide. They also do a price-match which helps.
PH
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by PH »

Moodyman1 wrote:You get a much better feel for the bike after a few long rides - say 10/15 miles which most places are unlikely to agree to.


Yes, but the blame for the difficulty in getting decent test rides lies with some cyclists. A local bike shop is reluctant to let you have one because they've seen too many people try there then buy cheaper online. You even sometimes see such things recommended here, not just bikes, kit as well. If you expect a shop to let you take a bike out for a decent ride, you have to accept there's a cost involved.
The approach from Epic Cycles is nice and upfront, they charge you £95 for a fitting session, set up a bike/bikes for you, recommend a good long route, listen to your comments and make any adjustments, even ride a few miles with you, then if you decide to buy a bike from them knock the £95 off. I know they're not the cheapest to start with, but I think that represents pretty good value. And if you decide to then go elsewhere, at least you'll be better informed and they'll have £95 for their trouble.
diapason0
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by diapason0 »

Thorn do a 14-day money back offer if you don't like it.
karlt
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by karlt »

PH wrote:
Moodyman1 wrote:You get a much better feel for the bike after a few long rides - say 10/15 miles which most places are unlikely to agree to.


Yes, but the blame for the difficulty in getting decent test rides lies with some cyclists. A local bike shop is reluctant to let you have one because they've seen too many people try there then buy cheaper online. You even sometimes see such things recommended here, not just bikes, kit as well. If you expect a shop to let you take a bike out for a decent ride, you have to accept there's a cost involved.
The approach from Epic Cycles is nice and upfront, they charge you £95 for a fitting session, set up a bike/bikes for you, recommend a good long route, listen to your comments and make any adjustments, even ride a few miles with you, then if you decide to buy a bike from them knock the £95 off. I know they're not the cheapest to start with, but I think that represents pretty good value. And if you decide to then go elsewhere, at least you'll be better informed and they'll have £95 for their trouble.


Being £95 poorer if the bike doesn't suit and still bikeless seems a pretty bad place to end up in to me.
Ayesha
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by Ayesha »

tatanab wrote:Echelon in Pershore http://www.echelon-cycles.co.uk/index.html

Yes it is a super speedsters shop dripping in carbon fibre, but they also do machines with mudguards for Audax use. Look under their own brand name in particular. Nothing will be stock/off the shelf. They will build what you ask for and modify to suit so you will not be stuck with a ridiculously over sized chainring. So you almost certainly will not be able to walk in off the street for a test ride, they'd have to build it first. The owners/staff are all long standing local riders.


Can vouch for these.
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horizon
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by horizon »

A further complication with the Equilibrium is it is "off the shelf". As a slow but high cadence cyclist most bikes are too highly geared for my liking and changing the gearing would be an added extra.


burroc: taking you slightly out of context but staying with your original point, the gearing won't change whether you get to try it out or not. In fact, as someone has said above, you won't really know whether the bike is right for some time as you yourself will adjust to it, or not. I would like to put forward the idea that you don't try anything out: instead, work out exactly what it is that makes a bike right for you and go from there. You've already established that you want a lightweight tourer. Now check dimensions carefully and other finer points. In an ideal world we would all try out a bike for a couple of weeks but even then it may still have to be tweaked and adjusted. I presume that people who buy custom-built bikes have a a few anxious moments as they have never even seen the finished model let alone tried it out.
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burroc
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by burroc »

Thanks to everyone who posted a reply to my query.

I paid a £50 deposit to Evans who said they would let me know when the Equilibrium was ready for a test ride. I got a call today saying Genesis bikes were not kept in stock. To test ride one I'd have to pay approx £300 (ie 25%) as a non-refundable deposit. I declined.

Finally, just for my own peace of mind: I should like to make it clear (unlike my original post) that I would not dream of test riding a bike at a shop only then to purchase it off the internet. I have no hesistation in supporting my local bike shops (well, all except one, that is).
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Claireysmurf
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by Claireysmurf »

I was looking at some Genesis bikes in my local bike shop in Cathedral Road, Cardiff on Wednesday and they said they did free test rides. Maybe worth a call? http://www.bikeshedwales.com/bikes/
Cardiff is a nice day out and or the shop is very close to the Taff Trail (http://www.tafftrail.org.uk/) if you wanted a ride too.
Not the ideal location but you never know.
Claire
mattsccm
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Re: Suggestions for trying out possible new bike

Post by mattsccm »

I think you maybe hoping for something thats very rare. Bearing in mind the comments about trying then buying elsewhere most shops now are having to consider what they offer. Plus security of course. If they had a demo it would of course be the wrong size or model. Which suggest that they would need to have a huge range in stock. Now who would pay for that? The shop isn't likely to want a stock of second hand bikes at the end of the season are they? People ares so fussy now and the choice is so big that its hard enough selling a new bike let alone a used one. And thats what it would be. I have to be honest and say that I think a car park spin is a good deal looking at it from a shops perspective. It takes a staff member out of the shop and adds a polishing session.
Some people might counter this with the suggestion that if the shop wants sales it should jump through hoops. Maybe but there is a limit to what you can offer practically.
Buying a bike is fairly easy. After all its a frame with bits attached. If you are fussy enough ( and why not) to want deviations from standard its easy to do. A new cassette is peanuts when you look at the overall price. Reach to long. Bung on a longer stem.
I see the OP's point but practically what he is asking for is maybe just to much to hope for. OK, he wouldn't buy the bike from the web, but how does the shop know that? That is a rod that we have made for our own backs. The price of most new bikes is nothing nowadays and just doesn't warrant the extra expense that demos occur.
Sad and I wish other wise, but true.
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