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Are there any issues with buying a floor/show room bike that was other people rode on test rides?

If the shop can't get that model but still has one on display, then it may be the only choice.

What do I need to check/consider before buying?

Example: I'm looking at a CAAD Optimo 4 priced at $820 USD / 746 Euro / 655 UKP / 112671 Yen, so a pretty good deal.

Edit: For this specific shop looks like most/all their bikes for sale are floor bikes but this one in particular looked like it went through a couple test rides at least.

enter image description here Stock photo from Cannondale's website

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    Hi, welcome to bicycles. This question is too specific to your particular shopping scenario to be broadly applicable, so it's likely to be closed as a shopping question. If you could ask a more general question about demo models it might work, but I can't guarantee it still won't be closed.
    – DavidW
    May 2, 2023 at 1:28
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    Welcome to the site - I'll have a go at making this a more-generic question. As it stands this is a one-time shopping question only applicable to you, now, in one bike shop for one bike.
    – Criggie
    May 2, 2023 at 1:48
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    Really, it's up to you. There are good parts and bad parts. It's already ridden in but you don't know without any certainty what has happened to it while on demo. My only concern would be it being crashed so would look for scuff marks in the frame. Might also pay to check warranty status as well, that may have been voided being a demo but shop might pick up the slack
    – Hursey
    May 2, 2023 at 1:59
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    This is a good question applicable for many, if it is kept generic.
    – Ted Hohl
    May 2, 2023 at 15:01
  • I have bought this bike and its pretty sick but minor noise when pedaling hard from the chains no compaints other than that
    – Bigbob23
    May 4, 2023 at 18:49

4 Answers 4

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It highly depends on the mileage it has done as a demo. Keep in mind: as a demo, the bike should be leaving the shop as good a bike as it can be for each demo customer. It will therefore have been well looked after though its short life.

Downsides

  • Slightly used, so you miss the "all new and shiny" thing. It might have some marks and other minor, cosmetic damage you missed seeing before buying.
  • Might have non-standard parts (which might be upgrades—e.g. saddle, stem etc).
  • Consumable parts will need first replacement a bit sooner than if you buy brand new (tires, chain, cassette, etc.).

Upsides

  • Price should be good.
  • Bike should be "dialed in." Things like shifter and brakes cables will be less likely to need a tune up within the first few rides you do.

I am a fan of a bargain and tend to go for value for money, less concerned about "shiny new" things. A shiny new bike is not a shiny new bike for particularly long. In a year, the shiny new bike or slightly-used demo will be the same bike.

If I'm buying from a reputable shop and the bike is sold with new-bike factory warranty, I would not hesitate to buy an ex-demo for a discount. Without a new bike factory warranty, I would hesitate, more because of what it says about the shop and its relationship with the supplier than the bike itself.

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    +1. My little sister recently bought a show room Rose road bike (directly from Rose). It was in perfect condition and they even threw in some Ultegra 6800 pedals (those had some marks) which were probably used for the demo rides. Great bargain and the only bike which was available without >1 month lead time.
    – Michael
    May 2, 2023 at 7:40
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    This is the essence: "In a year, the shiny new bike or slightly used demo will be the same bike." If you purchased the bike to ride, and not just for display, a floor bike is brand new, and a demo is a great deal, as long as it's the right fit of the right bike for you.
    – SamA
    May 4, 2023 at 14:53
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WARRANTY

Check with the seller that the bike comes with the same warranty that would be applied to a new bike. For some brands/models, that's a "lifetime of original owner" on the frame against faults. If the bike shop is nominally the First Owner then you might get less, or even no warranty.

SAVING?

Your example bike has a RRP of 900 UKP. Based on that you're saving 245 pounds, or 27% which sounds reasonable.

However RRP is rarely the sale price. A quick google returns Sigma Sports selling the same bike for 649 UKP which is very slightly under your cost. You're paying more than retail for a used bike.

However if the bike is not otherwise available, then paying "over the odds" may be required. Only you can decide if this is reasonable.

WEAR

Check the brake pads and tyres for wear. They should be almost brand new. Tyres should have sprues and even traces of the mould flashing visible, indicating under 10 km of travel. Brakes should function perfectly.

A minor scratch or ding may be acceptable in the paint, but anything that shows carbon fibres or metal may be too much.

MTB

I can't really comment here but if the bike is designed for off-road, how much force/impact has it already taken?

Some bike shops hire out their bikes, vs your description of being a showroom bike only. Personally I'd always try and take a bike for a test ride outside, which may explain the traces of road-dirt.

On the positive side, you'll find all the cables should be well bedded-in already.

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  • Alot of shops have optimo 4 on clearance? I wonder why.
    – Bigbob23
    May 2, 2023 at 2:13
  • @Bigbob23 you'd have to ask the shop on that - expect they might say anything to sell a bike though.
    – Criggie
    May 2, 2023 at 3:47
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    I wouldn't really expect under 10km of use except in the sense that zero is less than 10. Either it's been used as a demo bike or it's just been displayed, and a total of only a few km of demo use means no one has had a proper test ride. So it's important to get some clarity on what it's been used for
    – Chris H
    May 2, 2023 at 7:37
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    Given that you've found a new one cheaper, maybe this gives the OP leverage to go back to the store and offer an even lower price for the floor model?
    – WhatEvil
    May 2, 2023 at 22:00
  • @WhatEvil maybe - but the random link I found is for a UK supplier so may have little relevance to OP's location. If OP is elsewhere, it could be an area where the supply chain is empty. Plus haggling isn't a common thing for most western countries.
    – Criggie
    May 2, 2023 at 22:11
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My answer comes from the perspective of a MTB rider, though it likely applies to road and gravel bikes as well.

There is a difference between a floor bike and a demo bike.

In the case of an MTB I'd expect the floor bike had at most been ridden on pavement, mainly to check sizing and maybe whether the suspension can be set up properly for the rider weight. It should have a full warranty and I'd expect to pay retail unless it's nearing end of season, or last season's model etc. It should be in perfect running order and fully checked before leaving the store.

A demo bike would be one taken out on trails, similar to a rental bike or a staff bike (sometimes staff are given a bike to ride for the season). It will have bumps and bruises, some parts may have be replaced with non-stock items and it likely will be without warranty (very few manufacturers offer a warranty to the second owner). This category should come with a deep discount. Depending on the store they may offer some amount of free service with the purchase (e.g. tune-ups for a year) to sweeten the deal.

I'd never hesitate on the first category even at full retail (if it's new that season). I expect interested buyers to sit on the bike and ride it down the street or what have you. Good as new as far as I'm concerned.

As for a demo, that's basically just a used bike but with a store standing behind it as being fit for sale. I'd definitely buy a demo from my favorite LBS assuming it was a good value. I know if I had any issues they'd stand behind the bike. I know and trust their service department and I know the bike will be good to go. Plus I'll get a free tune-up and likely a discount on accessories at the same time. I'd be hesitant to buy from a bike rental company. It is really a matter of maintenance, and with how rental bikes are treated I'd want to be very certain everything had been gone over.

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It's normal to buy a fully assembled bike from the sales floor if one is available. Many shops will build their entire inventory immediately. If the bike is dirty or there are any other issues with it, the bike shop should address all of that right at the point of sale, and guarantee the sale so that you can come back if adjustments are needed or if there's an undetected fault. Don't go take the bike on a punishing ride immediately and fault the shop if something happens; take the time immediately after purchase and get familiar with the bike completely, to resolve any issues, dial it in, and really make it your own.

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  • Only time I've bought an unassembled bike it had to be ordered (none in stock). As you mentioned if the entire inventory isn't already built up, they'd generally have one of each size they have built up (attempting to have the full size range in the model in at least one build level).
    – shox
    May 4, 2023 at 18:12

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