Muddbunnies Mechanicals: Test Riding Bikes

As I perused the forum today I noticed a post from a rider enquiring about the policies and procedures with test riding bikes. Here’s what you need to know:

When looking at purchasing a new steed, there are three things you need to do: research, research, research! When you have so much information at your fingertips, why not use it? Online you’ll find product reviews, press releases and absolutely everybody’s opinion. Take it all with a grain of salt but keep the common denominator in mind. Also, if the bike you’re looking at is a brand new model, not a new version for the current year, be aware that any issues with the bikes are not well-known yet.

An example of a Demo Day flyer.


If at all possible, narrow your options down to 3 choices as this will ensure you don’t become over-whelmed. Then, once you have your top-three bike list, research the shop you may purchase it from.

Know what the warranties on the frame, parts and service will be. As noted in the last Muddbunnies Mechanicals, many shops offer the following warranties:

Frames – 3 years up to a lifetime
Parts – 1 to 3 years
Service – 1 year up to a lifetime

Also note the fit policy the shop will offer. Is there a fit guarantee?

Now that you have narrowed down your bike and shop list, go into the shops and have a look at the potential buy. Sit on the bikes, examine the parts, (some bikes will be spec’d differently than in the catalogue or online). Play with adjustments on the fork and shock, even have the mechanic set up the suspension for your weight.

Most bike shops will let you test ride a potential purchase and you need is ID and a credit card, (sometimes you only need one of the two). Most shops will also ask or even require that you take a helmet during your rip in the parking lot. Though riding in a car park, (as Aussies say) isn’t going to show you how the bike will perform on the trail. It does however, give you an idea on fit and basic pedalling and it’s always a good idea to help in the decision-making process.

Now you have a more certain idea on the bike you want, what about an on-trail demonstration? Some shops will rent bikes to help in the sales and some will even credit the rental charge to a new purchase.

If the shop does not rent or demo the bike you’re interested in, enquire about brand demo days. Most bike brands will offer this and will set various dates that allow potential buyers to test out the bikes on the trails. These events are usually a lot of fun and not only give you the opportunity to ride the bikes, but often provide the shuttles and involve factory team riders.

Hope this has helped!

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