When you're shopping for a new bike, we'd always recommend taking it for a test ride before you buy if you can. There's nothing quite like actually riding a bike, ideally for more than 5 minutes, to help you work out whether you are meant to be together.
Of course, you'll want to shop around too and look at different makes and models. Trawling between shops and arranging demos can be time consuming and tiring, which is another reason why you should consider popping along to The Cycle Show at the Birmingham NEC this weekend.
Firstly, they'll have a huge range of bikes from many different manufacturers on display. Secondly, a lot of those will be demo bikes, so you can take them for a spin. And thirdly, because there is both an indoor test track and outdoor demo trail, whether it's a mountain bike, commuter bike or road bike you'll be able to take a few for a spin and do a proper comparison.
A selection of the Test Bikes available to demo at The Cycle Show:
We asked some of the brands on display to recommend their most popular bikes for women, so enjoy these offerings from Whyte and Rocky Mountain.
Whyte 604 Compact - £525
"Whyte’s compact MTBs feature shorter geometry and components to better fit a smaller rider. The 604 may be its entry level model, but with carefully chosen parts and an exceptional frame it remains distinctly Whyte. Built around a lightweight aluminium frame with compact geometry for shorter riders, the bike includes a 100mm travel SR Suntour suspension fork and Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes."
Whyte 802 Compact - £750
"The 802 is available in the XS size, and all sizes sport more compact geometry than the 801 or 805. That means slightly less length for more comfortable reach suiting riders with shorter proportions. The bike features a compact geometry with a lightweight hydro formed aluminium frame for riders with shorter proportions, is available in size XS and has shorter 170mm cranks as standard."
Whyte 806 Compact - £999
"With compact geometry and shorter 170mm cranks as standard, the 806 allows shorter riders to get all the benefits of the intermediate 650b wheel size. Features a Shimano Deore 3x10spd drivetrain, compact geometry and sizing down to XS for smaller riders and an adjustable air-sprung Rockshox XC-30 suspension fork."
"All of Rocky Mountain’s bikes are designed to fit the individual, whether they be large or small, male or female. As cliche as it sounds, the right bike is the bike that fits! Frames range from Extra Large to Extra Small in order to accommodate all sizes and shapes of rider. The Small and Extra Small frames are particularly popular with women."
Rocky Mountain Altitude 750 MSL - £3599
"Featherlight, yet displaying all the ability of many all mountain bikes, the Altitude pushes the envelope of what a modern trail bike is capable of. Its revolutionary RIDE-9™ system allows riders to fine-tune their geometry and suspension characteristics to their precise riding styles, terrain, and weight, while the SMOOTHWALL™ carbon frame of the 750 MSL achieves a stunningly low frame weight."
Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt 710 - £1599
"Named after its lightning quick agility, the 2015 Thunderbolt balances XC efficiency and trail capability. It is equally at home on long, technical climbs as it is flowy singletrack descents, making it a versatile mountain bike. Short 422mm chainstays combined with a longer top tube and a relaxed head tube angle provide both responsiveness and control in this alloy-framed bike."
There are more bikes available to demo at the Mountain Bike Test Track, too.
There's loads more going on at the show too, including events, talks, activities, and amazing spectacles like freestyle MTB Dirt Jumping. Various stars of track and road will be about including Jo Rowsell, Sir Chris Hoy and new hour record holder Jens Voight.
It's also a perfect outing for families. Find out about some of the other activities going on with our rundown on the family events at The Cycle Show: The Cycle Show 2014: The Hotspot for Finding Your Family's Perfect Bike.
Don't forget, you can get a discount on the ticket price with Total Women's Cycling! Just use the code 'TWC' and you'll be able to get you and your family in for just £11.50, instead of the £13 advanced price (plus £1 booking fee) or the £16 door price. Visit the Cycle Show website for more info and to book tickets.
The show runs from the 25th to the 28th of September 2014, and we'll be there too - so pop by and say hi!
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