Sorry, you can’t test ride the bike

My daughter fell in love with an Electra Lil Betty cruiser. I went to my LBS to see if she could test ride it, but he their answer was “Sorry, she can’t test ride the bike, but she can sit on it”. I’ve been to about a dozen Bike shops and this is the first time I get this answer. I was a little surprised by their “No test rides” policy, how else would you be able to see if the geometry of a bike suits you?

So I’m curious, is the “No Test rides” policy common amongst bike shops?


  1. Logan December 1, 2007 6:12 pm 

    That’s ridiculous. You should buy it somewhere else and then ride it to that bike shop to rub it in.

  2. James December 1, 2007 6:18 pm 

    That’s just a dick who doesn’t like children… but it’s a bike for the kid, right?

  3. Moe December 1, 2007 6:20 pm 

    Yeah, the bike is for my 7 yr old, but they also won’t let you test ride the ‘adult’ bikes.

  4. Nuckin Futs December 1, 2007 6:36 pm 

    That LBS is the fuel for Nashbar, etc.

  5. RL December 1, 2007 7:46 pm 


    That’s dumb…I’ve never heard of such a stupid thing….Moe, which shop was it?

  6. Mike December 1, 2007 8:15 pm 

    That’s part of the whole point of an LBS.

    Although as a counterpoint, most motorcycle dealerships, especially the Big 4 Japanese producers, don’t allow test rides.

  7. James December 1, 2007 10:18 pm 

    That’s like saving it for marriage! You’re chances of ending up with a bum deal are better than not. Those days are over for me now, but I know I did not put up for not putting out: that LBS should go broke.

    What kind of bikes is that LBS selling? I can’t imagine they sell many real road or mountain bikes with that policy. On the other hand, I can see why motorcycle dealers don’t always allow test rides. The kind of testosterone poisoned goof who wants a crotch-rocket is liable to paste it to a wall.

  8. Moe December 1, 2007 10:42 pm 

    The Shop actually sells very nice and expensive Specialized and Trek bikes. I rarely go to the shop because they are on the expensive side, and more times than not, I know more about bike stuff than they do.

  9. Mike Myers December 2, 2007 12:14 am 

    I wouldn’t have a problem with a shop asking to hold your driver’s license if you’re test riding a super expensive bike—but not allowing a kid to test a bike? Stupid, and it’s probably some dick who doesn’t like kids.

  10. Moe December 2, 2007 12:21 am 

    The guy is actually pretty cool, he explained their policy to me which was actually pretty lame. When I asked why we couldn’t test ride a bike, the answer was because then the bike wouldn’t be new anymore and may look used since the tires would show some dirt. I think it is because of liability, but if my girl would have crashed the bike, well, I would have stuck to the old ‘you break it, you buy it” rule.

  11. Dominic Dougherty December 2, 2007 12:44 am 

    I can understand their policy about wanting to keep the bike brand new for somebody to buy eventually, but if that’s what they’re going to do, they need to have a designated bike that CAN be test-ridden.

    Are you allowed to try on shoes there? Helmets? Gloves? Or are those on a buy-it-first policy as well?

  12. Mike Myers December 2, 2007 7:03 am 

    That policy is lame. Do car dealerships do that? I think not. Shoe stores? No. And it’s far worse to try on a pair of shoes that someone else has, IMHO.

  13. James December 2, 2007 7:12 am 

    I think you should send him a link to this discussion, so that he gets feedback. If he doesn’t learn that many cyclists, of all levels, will not buy before riding, or buy from someone unknowledgeable about the product, he is going to sell too few bikes to stay in the black. He’s got to adjust his attitude and his knowledge.

  14. Max December 2, 2007 9:30 am 

    That is lame! My LBS would let me hit a nearby test trail with a bike, not a major trail but with some good roots and rocks so you can feel the suspension and balance. They let my daughter ride her Cannondale F7 before I bought it. I would ban your “No-Ride” LBS, spread the word.

  15. Max December 2, 2007 9:41 am 

    The more I think about it, your LBS sounds less like a bike shop and more like an art gallery. Feel free to look but don’t touch! Unless you buy it, then it is yours and not our problem, by the way no returns.

  16. Gabriel December 2, 2007 4:48 pm 

    With a policy like that, I wonder how they stay in business.

  17. Noah December 2, 2007 5:29 pm 

    My reply would also be “Fair enough. You can see my money but you can’t have any of it.”

  18. Jon W. December 2, 2007 5:39 pm 

    At least 2 bike shops in Portland, Veloce and Gateway almost INSIST you test ride the bike before you buy. There are limitations on time and you must have a valid DL & Visa.

  19. Arnie December 2, 2007 6:49 pm 

    Moe, that just plain sucks. I hope your little girl didn’t take being denied a test ride too hard. I like James’ suggestion to send a link to this discussion.

  20. Moe December 2, 2007 8:02 pm 

    I ended up going another shop, all she needed was a helmet and she was able to ride the bike in their parking lot:

    Let’s just say that Santa will be shopping at this shop and not the other…

  21. Ghost Rider December 2, 2007 8:10 pm 

    That’s what you gotta do — take your business to the place that understands how to sell a bike and please customers!

    That is a pretty BOSS bike. Cool boots, too.

    I agree with the others…you should email this thread to that offending bike shop so they can see how well their “policy” has been received.

  22. ad December 3, 2007 8:58 am 

    We have a LBS in Chicago that pulls the same BS. They claim it is due to liability because they are on a busy street (which actually has a bike lane on it). My wife liked a trek that was on sale, but they wouldn’t let her ride it. They offered a 30-day return instead. However, you could only exchange it for a different bike–not a full refund. The least those type of shops could do is offer to put it on a trainer!! Needless to say, we walked out and went to the LBS down the street who had no issues with test rides.

  23. Ghost Rider December 3, 2007 9:13 am 

    Wow…that Chicago LBS sounds even worse! No refunds, just exchanges…I’m stunned.

  24. Noah December 3, 2007 10:53 am 

    By the way, she’ll love the Electra. My wife got the Townie 3s back in July or so. She has a blast on it!

  25. Levi December 4, 2007 6:16 am 

    That’s pathetic. Even crappy bike shops usually allow test rides! (And if it’s a liability issue, get some liability insurance…)

  26. AnonymousJulie December 5, 2007 11:39 am 

    I’ve had the same experience with the same Chicago bike shop. Sure, you can spin on a trainer, but what’s the point if you can’t feel how it goes over bums and stuff?

    I bought at the LBS that sent me around the block on six different bikes in an afternoon, adjusted things for me, told me it’d be cheaper to get the next model up than replace a couple components on the one I was looking at, and generally were more interested in making me feel good about what I was buying than in selling me a bike.

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