Test the limits
Test the limits
Once you’ve established if the bike meets your needs, and fits – it’s time to really test it.
Different retailers will have different ideas of a test ride – some may just allow you to circle the car park, others will offer you a short circuit, but if you’re really lucky (and trusted) you might get a longer spin.
Think about how you want the bike to perform, and use the terrain you have available to put it through its paces.
If it’s going to be a commuter, ask yourself: does the bike feel comfortable, does the steering feel reliable, and how do the brakes respond to an emergency stop? Start by getting used to how the brakes work, and their responsiveness (this is important!) then test them in a sudden stop. Try lifting it, as well, if you might need to carry it up and down stairs, and make sure you check the mechanism on a folding bike is easy to use.
If you’re after a road bike, you really want to know how it feels on a hill, so if that’s an option, thrash it up the nearest incline. Test how the potential steed feels when you corner quickly, and experiment with it in an all-out sprint.
When buying a mountain bike, the test is a bit more difficult – you probably aren’t going to be allowed to thrash the bike on a local trail. You can establish how you feel about the shifting, the responsiveness of the bike, and how confident you feel with the fit. If you want to truly experience a bike you may have to look for demo fleets at trail centres – a bit of a trek – but a good excuse to ride somewhere new!
Before you set off, wallet in hand, check out these posts to make sure you get the the most you can with your hard earned cash: