How Do I know Where To Start When Demoing a Bike?
Check out a few different bikes and riding styles that interest you. Are you more into grinding up the hill? Or are you into flow trails with mild jumps and shorter climbs? Or are you just looking for a commuter bike to get around town?
All these questions must be addressed before choosing your bike. Knowing what terrain and how you ride is imperative. If you already have a sound idea then it is time to pick out three to five bikes that interest you. Whether they are dedicated cross country bikes or big bouncy downhill bikes, you need to know what you want before you can demo.
Where Do I Go to Demo a Bike?
The beauty of bike shops is that they should have a full range of demo bikes. Some shops are too small to support this practice but most will. And with a bike shop comes seasoned employees that work there because they love to ride bikes. Throughout the year the staff will go through educational clinics so they can provide better information to you.
Some bike shops will even allow you to take the price of demoing a new bike off of your purchase price. That could be in the hundreds of dollars off the price tag. Again, only some shops do this, so be sure to ask.
What Do I look For When I Demo a Bike?
The fit of the bike is key. A lot of people prefer a roomy front end with moderate length to the back end. If this doesn’t mean anything to you then be sure to jump on different demo bikes for extended periods of time. Be sure all your controls are adjusted to the position you prefer them to on your handlebars. And it is imperative that your saddle height is correct as well as having the proper suspension setup. When riding be aware of how far you are reaching. You may need to have tighter front end or have the bars raised to avoid neck and back pain.
Work with a shop tech to get all these factors dialed in. If you like to clip in, make sure to bring your own shoes and preferably pedals. All these small adjustments make big differences when it comes down to deciding if you like a bike.
Once you have a dialed fit, start taking note of the components. Does it shift smooth, are the brakes powerful enough for my style of riding? Is it too heavy? And cost is a big factor here. The lighter the parts and bike are usually means the bike is going to be more expensive. If you are picky about cost, you may have to make some performance compromises.
What if the Area I Live in Doesn’t Have What I Want?
At Jans and our sister store White Pine Touring in Park City, Utah, we have huge fleets of demo bikes from all the top brands like Specialized, Cannondale, Santa Cruz, Trek, and Scott. And from both our locations you can access technical single-track, downhill and flow trails, and beginner riding areas. If you want to explore a bit more you can hop on Park City’s free public transit system and access the rest. The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has also named Park City the first Gold Level Ride Center in the world. This award recognizes not only Park City’s amazing trail network but also the amenities that come along with it.
Park City has thousands of hotel rooms, over 100 restaurants and bars, a bustling Main Street, weekly free concerts and art shows all summer long, and the small mountain town charm you know. Park City is great for kids and adults alike. The best part is that Park City is only 35 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport, making traveling here a breeze.
And the Experts at Jans are just that, Experts. We have many years of combined bike knowledge. Most of us have taught indoor and outdoor bike classes, guided trips all over the world, raced as professionals, or have been engrained in the bike world for most of our lives.
So if you’re not sure about what bike to snatch up this spring, check out your local bike shops and talk to bike techs about what will work best for you. And if that doesn’t give you the answer you are looking for, come check out Jans and White Pine Touring. We are sure to be able to help you out.
– Paul Boyle, Marketing Specialist