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Aging & Worn
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Discussion Starter #1
Yeah, I know...........you get the chance to feel how the bike responds, but don't "new" bikes ALL "respond" well?!

I don't like the "Test Drive" as a rule. I like to go, sit on the bikes, (checking for fit, comfort, accessibility of the controls, and so forth........but aside from that, I EXPECT a "new bike" to be responsive and powerful.

I can see starting it, to hear the pipes, (although MOST bikes will have pipes that never truly satisfy me, since I want the louder, rumble sound), and talking with the Salesman about my Aftermarket pipe options.

I can see talking about what it DOESN'T have, that I want put on.

But riding it around, well.........you KNOW what its turning radius is going to be......you KNOW how its braking and acceleration will be like.........

For that matter, the "first ride" home, is nerve wracking too!!

-Soupy
 

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If you only ride one bike I can see how you would just be impressed with "new". But having ridden lots of different bikes, both new and used, you will notice a difference in ride and handling. IMHO the handling of a new Thunderbird far outstrips a new Star or HD of comparable size. (not that I ride a cruiser or own any of those bikes, I've just ridden them) This is what you get from a test ride. However, a good test ride should be on a variety of road types, curves, twisties, straight and highway. This way you can get a true feel for the bike. The shop I use to work with had a route we used. Starting on city streets, merging onto the BRP, running a bit of interstate and then back roads to the shop. You get a true feel for the bike under varying road types.
 

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Commute Racer
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I would need a test ride to last a month or so to get a real feel of whether or not I want a bike for keeps.
 

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Troublemaker
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I test drove the last couple bikes for one week and three weeks. I find how my back, knees, and neck feel before I buy it and then can decide what I need to do to make it more comfortable for my type of riding. I get a feel for vibrations, and mechanical condition. I also get to see how it handles me, the one that needs to be in control. I find out how it handles in traffic, on the highway, and how well everything works. Brakes that work to my standards in situations I can come up with.

Then, I have to find out how cool I look on the bike, I go downtown and purposely stop and look at my reflection in the storefront windows.

My comfort is #1 when it comes to riding, and you aren't going to find that out sitting on the bike talking to the salesman.
 

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Aging & Worn
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4,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I hadn't heard that Dealerships allow for one week or more lengths of time for Test Drives. Is that "typical?"

I wonder what kind of relationship you have to develop with a Dealership to have that length of time for "testing?"

The liability alone, scares me away from a Test Drive at ALL, let alone having the bike in my possession for a week or more!

-Soupy
 

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I would NEVER buy a new bike without a decent test ride. I can't even imagine thinking that you can truly evaluate a motorcycle merely on the spec and sitting on the bike in the showroom. I have found that most bikes have a distinct feel and give a distinct experience, and the only way to experience this is to actually ride it. I had a Triumph America and was encouraged to consider the Thunderbird. Just sitting on one in the showroom I was acutely aware of how much heavier it was than my America (over 200 pound difference). But a test ride showed me that the Thunderbird actually handled better than my lighter America. Making a sharp turn from a stop was so much smoother and easier that I found it hard to believe. And of course the power was so much greater with an almost doubling of engine displacement. The stock suspension was far superior and my wife noticed, as the passenger, the difference immediately. Just based on the showroom experience, I would not have bought the Thunderbird, but after a demo ride I was totally sold on this bigger bike.
 

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So long
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On almost every point you and I are on opposite sides of the fence on this one! Different strokes for different folks.

I enjoy test rides and they're an important part of my decision making when I shop for a bike. They help me establish a relationship with a dealer.

I don't care if a bike is comfortable while sitting in a showroom with the kickstand down. I need to know if it's comfortable hour after hour traveling down the road. That requires a test ride.

Some bikes are more responsive and powerful than others. Magazine reviews may give you a hint, but finding out for sure requires a test ride.

I don't like loud aftermarket pipes. I want to hear the engine. I want a street legal high performance bike properly engineered from the factory without having to add aftermarket parts. And, I want everything covered by the factory warranty. I don't spend a lot of time sitting around idling. I want to hear the engine perform on the road. That requires a test ride.
But riding it around, well.........you KNOW what its turning radius is going to be......you KNOW how its braking and acceleration will be like.........
This might be true if you were replacing a bike with the exact same model, but I've never done that. Every one of my bikes has been different. When I bought my current bike I took it out on three separate test rides over two weeks. Magazine ride reviews said the bike had fabulous brakes and a powerhouse engine. To KNOW for sure a test ride is needed.

My first rides home could be called exhilarating, thrilling, or joyous, never nerve wracking. If a bike made me nervous I wouldn't own it. My first ride home with my current bike was during my second test ride. I wanted my wife to know what I was buying and to tell me she liked the Cosmic Blue color. She gave me a thumbs up. She's happy that I asked her opinion. That's probably the best reason for a test ride! Happy Wife = Happy Life
 

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Last dealership I went to, I took a varied, speedy, twisty 45 minute test ride.
The salesman thought it was longer than anyone expected, but he was cool.
I ended up buying the bike.
 

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Charlie Tango Xray
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759 Posts
How can one really know if a pair of shoes will fit unless you put them on and walk around in them? I've never purchased a motorcycle, (or car) from a dealer that didn't throw me a set of keys and tell me to take whatever vehicle I was interested in out to lunch or dinner, and bring it back when I came to a decision. Motorcycles seem to be even more personal than a car. For me riding is a fun hobby, and I ride when I find time in my busy life. For others, riding is more important.
:71baldboy:
 

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On The Road Again!
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2,655 Posts
Bought my last NEW bike sight unseen, in 1974.
I had read that BMW was coming out with the R90/6.
First 900cc engine. First disk brake. First five speed trans.
Went to my local dealer and they hadn't even seen one yet.
Ordered it anyway and picked it up about 2 months later when
they finally received it.
Must have liked it. I put 172,000 miles on it over the next
30 years. In fact, it's still sitting in the back of my shed
waiting for a complete rebuild. (one of these days)
 

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How can one really know if a pair of shoes will fit unless you put them on and walk around in them? I've never purchased a motorcycle, (or car) from a dealer that didn't throw me a set of keys and tell me to take whatever vehicle I was interested in out to lunch or dinner, and bring it back when I came to a decision. Motorcycles seem to be even more personal than a car. For me riding is a fun hobby, and I ride when I find time in my busy life. For others, riding is more important.
:71baldboy:
Then don't buy any boots from LeatherUp....if you wear them at all and walk around, return is rejected
 

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American Legion Rider
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18,590 Posts
You can wear them to judge fit but stay on carpet just like you would in a store. They don't let you go out in the grass and run around so don't do that at home until you are going to keep them. Simple really.
 

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Yeah, I know...........you get the chance to feel how the bike responds, but don't "new" bikes ALL "respond" well?!

But riding it around, well.........you KNOW what its turning radius is going to be......you KNOW how its braking and acceleration will be like.........

-Soupy
It is easy.
Before I bought my Victory Vision I test rode a late model Goldwing and just hated it. It felt to me like it had almost no suspension and I really did not like the foot peg position or the fact that I had to use foot pegs instead of floorboards. I also rode a Yamaha Venture that was nicer than the wing but just did not feel right to me. When I rode the Vision and the Cross Country Tour, yes I tried out both, the Vision spoke to me in a way the CCT did not. Yes all of these bikes felt like new bikes with good brakes, new tires and such but each bike has its own personality and that is something you have to experience, not just look at a bunch of numbers on a chart.
 

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Nightfly
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3,719 Posts
Yeah, I know...........you get the chance to feel how the bike responds, but don't "new" bikes ALL "respond" well?!

I don't like the "Test Drive" as a rule. I like to go, sit on the bikes, (checking for fit, comfort, accessibility of the controls, and so forth........but aside from that, I EXPECT a "new bike" to be responsive and powerful.

I can see starting it, to hear the pipes, (although MOST bikes will have pipes that never truly satisfy me, since I want the louder, rumble sound), and talking with the Salesman about my Aftermarket pipe options.

I can see talking about what it DOESN'T have, that I want put on.

But riding it around, well.........you KNOW what its turning radius is going to be......you KNOW how its braking and acceleration will be like.........

For that matter, the "first ride" home, is nerve wracking too!!

-Soupy
I know where you're coming from Soupy. I'm kinda like that. Last bike I bought I first saw on the company website. Then went to see it in person. Sat on it, everything was just perfect for me as far as riding position. I started it, killer sound. It was a slightly used bike with all the extras I would have put on it. I bought it on the spot. First time I rode the bike was taking it home the next day. I never looked back, been a great bike.
 

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Aging & Worn
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4,517 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I know where you're coming from Soupy. I'm kinda like that. Last bike I bought I first saw on the company website. Then went to see it in person. Sat on it, everything was just perfect for me as far as riding position. I started it, killer sound. It was a slightly used bike with all the extras I would have put on it. I bought it on the spot. First time I rode the bike was taking it home the next day. I never looked back, been a great bike.

Hey, if the bike doesn't have any dents and scratches you can't live with; if you don't see any leaking anywhere (seals, gaskets, etc) and it runs smoothly; if it pleases your seat, your arms, your eyes............BUY the dang thing!!!

No sense in smashing it up on the Test Drive!! (lol)

-Soupy
 

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One great way to find out what bike or bikes are really for you is to go to a major motorcycle rally that offers manufacturer's demo rides. Years ago I went to at least one rally every year (I haven't done this since the last Honda Hoot in 2009 but hope to start again in 2015 with Americade).

Many of the major rallies include most if not all the major brands to show up with their demo fleets. You get to sign up for demo rides that are typically in small groups of bikes and are led by a company rider for about 30 to 45 minutes. Some companies, like HD, allow you to just take the bike for as long as you want and you get to pick your own routes. One year my son and I went to a rally where we each took 18 demo rides over a 3 day period. No where else would we ever have had that opportunity to sample so many different bikes.

And don't be so sure you know what brand or type bike is really for you. I was riding a standard (Honda Nighthawk 750)in the late '90's and was convinced that only a do-it-all standard was for me. I had never been on a sport tourer. At the Kawasaki table at the rally, the only ride available at that moment was for a Concours, a 1000cc sport touring bike that I had never considered. After that 40 minute demo ride I bought one and still remember it as one of the best bikes I had ever owned.

So I recommend demo rides or test rides both for what you learn about the bike and just for the fun of it. And remember that at big rallies you might have the chance to demo ride multiple bikes, and you never know where that will lead you.
 

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The dealers I've been to locally haven't been all that keen on allowing me to test ride anything. Should that be a red flag to me?
 

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Are you a red flag to them? My experience is that dealers are more likely to allow rides if they see you as a likely and responsible buyer. I.e., license, helmet, boots, etc.
 
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