How to demo ride a bike

The most insightful and fun part of buying a bike is demo riding. Here's our how-to on demo'ing successfully. 

One of the best ways to select your next bike is to demo ride the bikes in which you're interested. We're often asked by demo riders how to demo. The bike buying experience is different for everyone, so this isn't meant to be prescriptive, but helpful for those who would like to have a good starting place in understanding what to expect in the demo riding experience. 

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Bring your current bike. 

We take the positionals off of your current bike. Riding demo bikes in the same position you've been used to riding is helpful so you're not trying to compare a drastically different fit along with the frame material, riding, and handling qualities of the demo bike. Whether your current fit is appropriate for you or not, demo riding isn't the time to test a new position.

Once you decide which frame, parts, and wheels you want after you've completed demo'ing, then you can apply an updated fit to this setup to be sure everything still feels great to you. The fit of the future bike can be as similar or dissimilar to your current fit as you wish - starting with your current bike doesn't mean you'll be stuck with it if you aren't happy with it. 

If you don't have a current bike, that's fine, it's not necessary to have a current bike to have a great demo riding experience. 

Take the bike to where you usually ride.

It's helpful to ride the bike in the same places where you like to ride. Being in a new, unfamiliar area might distract you from paying attention to the bike and its ride qualities. 

Don't hesitate to roll the bike over rough surfaces, on dirt, even through pot holes. You don't want to ride any surface you're not comfortable with, but otherwise, try to simulate all of the surfaces and situations you're likely to encounter on future rides. Find hills, windy descents, take off on hard accelerations. See how the bike handles and responds in every situation.

Ride for the duration of one of your normal rides.

A bike will show itself over the course of a bike ride. Often, a bike will feel great in the first 10 minutes. For many bikes, what feels great immediately turns into harshness and discomfort with the frame after 20 or more miles. Unless the bike is meant for very short events or rides, it should feel as comfortable to you after 60 miles as it does in the first few miles.

When you work with us, you'll see how comfort and responsiveness are achievable in the same bike. Frame material and tube selection make a big difference in having a bike be fast and performance-oriented, without jarring the rider over every bump on the road. 

Ride every component & frame you want to ride. 

We encourage multiple demo rides on various bikes with a variety of components, depending upon what you tell us you're interested in riding wise. The kind of riding you want to do often helps point the direction to the bike model and components that will give you the experience you are looking for.

There are many different shifters, brakes, saddles, wheels, and tires out there. The best way to know which of these suits you best, is to see how they feel on the road. The hoods associated with a mechanical-shifting Shimano bike versus electronic Di2 Shimano are quite different from each other. A SRAM shifter feels very different in hand than that of Shimano. Which do you prefer? Most of what is on the market comes down to personal preference. Sometimes one's physical attributes such as hand size makes a difference as to which components make most sense. 

Ask questions. 

The bike world is full of rapidly changing technology and terms that can be confusing. We try to keep everything straight-forward and transparent. We are here to answer questions and help you discover what's right for you - not tell you what is right for you. If you have a question about something, we guarantee you that there are many others with the same question. The more questions you ask, the more you know and the more exciting it is to be buying your bike. We enjoy the process with you!

Don't rush into a purchasing decision.

The right bike for you with every feature you want, fit and geometry you want, handling qualities, road feel, proper gearing, and aesthetic is next to impossible to find sitting on a sales floor ready to go home. Be patient! A bike that is everything you want it to be with fit, function, and aesthetic is a bike YOU WILL RIDE year after year after year. A few weeks to have a frame built, to have the components ordered in, and to have this bike built for you is a small price to pay in order to have the ride you've been thirsting after. And having a bike that begs you to take it out for a ride? Nothing can replace the health, happiness, and joy such a bike adds to your life with the rides and experiences it treats you to.