Member Question: Comparing and Test Riding Bikes

author : FitWerx
comments : 1

Member Question from nevergivin

I am in the market for a new road bike, at several local bike stores I will test ride a Specialized Tarmac, Orbea Opal, Trek Madone, Scott Addict and a Pinarello FP3. Other than basic fit and components, how should I compare them while doing a test ride?

Answer by Dean Phillips
Lead Fitter FitWerx2

When test riding, you hit the nail on the head in making sure fit and components are addressed. Proper fit is going to impact your impression of how the bike rides and performs far more than the frame and components. Test riding bikes can bring up more questions than they answer if those bikes being test ridden aren’t set up properly to your position.

Once fit is addressed, you’re also correct that components and wheels need to be accounted for. Wheels, tire choice, and components can also impact how smooth a bike feels, how quickly it responds to accelerations, and how smoothly and crisply it shifts. If you’re interested in comparing frames against one another, it’s very important to keep the components and wheels as similar as possible.

As long as fit and components are accounted for, I recommend taking the bikes for a longer test ride than just a few minutes around the block. You may have a different impression of a bike after an hour of riding than you do in the first few minutes. Your goals and type of riding may dictate how long you ask to test ride that bike.

On the test ride, pay attention to how well the bike absorbs shock and vibration from the road. Observe how quickly it responds when you jump out of the saddle and also when climbing hills. If you have the opportunity, see how stable the bike rides while descending at fast speeds. When you’re cornering, some bikes will corner more effortlessly than others depending on geometry of the frame and how well the rider fits on the bike. Make sure the cornering of this bike matches what you’re looking for.

Again, I can’t stress how important it is to make sure the bikes you plan to test ride are matched to your position. One of these bikes may ride like a dream when fitted to you properly, but there’s a chance you won’t like it if the fit and components aren’t right.

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date: January 8, 2010

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FitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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avatarFitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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