Buying a new e-bike, test ride tips before making a purchase

by John Brown,

The best way to find the right bicycle is to research on the web before an e-bike test ride and purchase. Then verify their size to your body and test riding your choices a lot at a bike shop. With so many options, here are some tips to make the best use of your time while test-riding these bikes. Please read on for a complete list of suggestions to have fun and maximize your time on that next test ride.

Research plan before the e-bike test ride

Any suitable test ride begins with research. Like a regular bicycle, check out the latest e-bikes you would like on the websites of several brands. Please pay close attention to the prices of each e-bike and what it will buy you. Then, with a  check of the standard components (number of gears, type of suspension, tire size, frame material, and brake type), pay attention to the motor and battery size. Once you have a general sense of what is available, you can plan a trip to the bike shop.

Pick a shop

Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Before looking further, call a shop closest to you and verify they have the e-bike models you want to test ride.

Now, give your local or favorite dealers a call with a few bikes on your target list. If you don’t have a favorite shop, most brands’ websites have a dealer locator to help you find the closest shop. Call them to verify that they have the models you want to test ride. Not all shops can stock every possible model in every possible size. So call to ensure they have the correct model in a size close to what you are looking for.

Make a date to test ride.

Check the weather and your schedule, then pick a good time to head into the shop. Keep in mind that shops and roads are less busy during the workweek. Therefore, Monday thru Friday is the ideal time to test ride bikes. If you need to go in on the weekend, call ahead and see when they are least busy and make an appointment if possible.

Bring your ID

When test-riding bikes, you are potentially borrowing thousands of dollars from the shop. Therefore, it’s expected for shops to ask for some form of collateral. At the minimum, bring your ID and a major credit card.

The test ride

Test rides don’t need to take hours, but a three-minute spin is rarely enough time to make an accurate impression. Expect to take at least 15 minutes on each bike, with more time spent on the first few bikes you ride. When riding, try to focus on how the bike accelerates, how easily it changes direction, and how stable it feels. A great way to do this is to pick a set route with some flat area, some climbs, and at least one good descent. Riding the same course with different bikes makes comparing them easier.

Narrow the bike selection down

Once you get a feel for a few bikes, you can start narrowing down your choices. I find it best to pick two and then ride them back to back, concentrating on fit and comfort rather than speed and stability. Have the shop begin dialing in your fit on these two bicycles to see which one is the best for you. Once you have a bike that rides well and fits well, you are ready to buy.

Buy everything you will need

A bike that feels right is crucial in a great bike ride, but it’s not everything. Remember that your new bicycle or e-bike may need things like a water bottle cage, kickstand, lights, and maybe clipless pedals, or a better-fitting saddle. Consider all the situations you may run into on your new bike and buy the necessary products.

Hopefully, your next bike purchase will be fun and informative.