How to Test a Road Bike (girl test)

I wanted to respond to a question I was asked, namely “How do I test out a road bike, when I’m only allowed about 15-20 minutes on it?” So here’s what I look for, with little time allowed.

How to test a road bike

First thing, before you test it out, make sure the bike is adjusted for you. That includes:
1. Saddle height and tilt, and fore/aft adjustment
start out with the saddle in a neutral fore/aft position, tilt for testing should be almost horizontal, with the nose pointed “one click down. Seat height is generally about 85% of your inseam.
2. Handlebars should be absolutely level. Sometimes guys tilt the handlebars upwards for women because they think it will make it easier to ride; they could not be more wrong. You will not be able to reach the brakes while in the drops, and when going downhill at a fast speed, this is downright dangerous.
3. Have them put on your own pedals if you have them.
4. Make sure your fingers can reach the brakes easily, both on the hoods, and in the drops.
5. Test the brakes, quick release skewers, and shifters, before you take it out, as a safety check.
6. Check the tires and make sure they are pumped to the right psi for you.
7. Always wear a helmet.

So now the bike is ready to go, and your out of the parking lot. Here’s how you test it.

1. Take it on a flat road for about 1/2 mile. You should be able to settle into a comfortable position while on the tops, on the hoods, and in the drops. While in the drops, switch into a higher gear and sprint (stand up slightly, move your weight forward, and try to spin the pedals as fast as you can). The rear end should stay stable. It should not feel uncontrollable or unwieldy.
2. Take it on a sharp curve. If the bike is a good match for you, you should feel confident going into the curve, and comfortable taking it at a reasonable speed, rather than slowing down to a crawl.
3. Take it on a slight incline, and go on the hoods, or on the tops. This should be a very comfortable position, like something you can ride all day long.
4. Take it on the steepest downhill that you feel comfortable with about 1/4 mile long, and go into the drops. Your index fingers should be on the brakes. Tuck down (boobs to the top tube), and try to make yourself as aerodynamic as possible. The bike should pick up speed quickly, and easily. This should be a fun and comfortable position, and the front end should be rock solid stable, and easy to control.
5. Now turn around and go up the hill. Change to a gear that you can climb “out of the saddle” with. The bike’s geometry should allow you to climb out of the saddle for at least 20 strokes easily, and you should feel like you can really get over the front end, without the back end feeling sluggish, or fishtailing. If the front end is too high, it will be uncomfortable to do this, and you will consistently feel like you are behind the front end; it will feel like the bike is forcing you to sit down. For carbon bikes, the bike should not feel mushy when you push down on the pedal; if it does then the frame is too soft for you, and you’ll waste energy in your stroke.

If the bike feels good on all of these tests, chances are, you’ve found a good bike for you.
Do you have a method I’ve left out? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Happy testing girls!!!


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