Posted April 14, 2012 by Adam in buying a mountain bike

Buying Mountain Bike? – Make the Most of Your Test Ride

When buying mountain bike the general perception of test riding is that this will tell you if the bike is meant for you or not.

backBut first, if you don’t know the best place to buy your bike then click back to return to step 9

My thoughts on most test rides are:

  • The bike won’t be set-up correctly for you
  • They are too short to find out any useful information on a bike.
  • They are not conducted in the same environment you will be riding in.
  • They don’t tell you anything about how the bike will be when you own it. How will it be after an hour? How does it handle on the different trails you will come across? How will hold up on big climbs? and steep descents?…

Test riding of bikes when buying mountain bikes does have its place and it can tell you a lot about a bike, but only if:

  1. You can test ride on actual trails and not just the bike shop car park.
  2. You can take the time to set-up the bike correctly by following this guide
  3. You can test ride the bike for a good half day and preferably 2 days.

How do you do this?

Some bike shops will let you pay a security deposit with a form of “proof of identity” and will let you test ride a bike for a whole day or even weekend. If you can find a shop like this then test ride as many bikes as you can.

Take a little bit of time and set-it up correctly by following this guide. Then get out on your trail and really put the bike to the test. This will give you a long enough time to get a feel for what the bike is actually like.

If you can’t find a shop that will let you take a bike for a proper test ride then the next best options are either:

  • Get your mates bike and test ride theirs. OR
  • Hire a bike from a decent shop and take it for a spin.

If you are looking at buying a mountain bike and can find a way to do a proper test ride then by all means test ride as many bikes as you can in your price range and riding style category. You will soon be able to get a feel for the right bike for you. If you can’t test ride your bike then rest assured that most bikes that are set-up correctly will suit you very well.

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