The Value of Bike Reviews

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
c60rider
Posts: 386
Joined: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:12 pm

by c60rider

Reviews of bikes are a total waste of time they won't want to upset the manufacturers in the first instance and give a bad review or else they'll not send them another bike in future thereby putting themselves out of a job! The reviews will always talk about how much better this years bike is than last years trying to get you to think you've now got something horribly inferior and need to buy the latest. This benefits the industry again and just keeping the journos in a job. It's a constant push to get people to think they need something new and what they've currently got is now rubbish. It bores me so much that like others have said I just look briefly at the pictures. But my pet hate on the reviews I have read are how they talk about fast handling that really annoys me, what they mean is the front end is too short and steep so giving a very nervous riding frame thereby making it unstable and pretty much rubbish!

by Weenie


wintershade
Posts: 187
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

by wintershade

Okay — so bike reviews are of pretty low value, at least with respect to ride characteristics and feel. So how does one choose a bike?

Mr.Gib
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Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

Bikes are pretty simple things. A couple of triangles and some wheels. If you get a bike that is well manufactured and designed to suit your intended use, chances are pretty good that it will work well. The little things that may not be ideal are usually easy for the rider to adapt to.

IMO the differences between bikes is much less then manufacturers would have us believe. Seem bike reviews tend to rate bikes all about the same - perhaps the reviews are valid after all.

I like a light bike that feels stiff out of the saddle with room for 28 mm tires. I need a reach of 385 - 395 and stack of 570 - 585. I couldn't imagine not enjoying a bike that is in the ballpark on my requirements. So I just go with a brand that appeals to me. Easy.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

RocketRacing
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am

by RocketRacing

Reviews are a mix of opinion and fact tainted by the experience/inexperience (what experiences does the writer have to compare?) of the writer and possibly money. No two reviews are equal.

I agree with others that reviews help me justify what i already know i want. But they can help me decide once i narrow choices down to 2-3. New products... i look at pro reviews. More mature products, i look at pro and amateure (forum) reviews.

What is in a good review? Nice pictures, Facts (specs), and a justification/basis of any opinion (“it is better” compared to what?). Also, as mentioned before... unique features and designs, be they good or bad. I think the last is the most key. Like the review of the eebrakes that noted the barrel adjustment screw damaged the frame if the bars twist. I would have damaged my frame 10x over if i had those specific brakes.

I must say, that i value reviews that are quantatative. Rolling resistance for example has a lot of influance on my tire choices. Maybe rollers are not 100% relatable to road, but it is objective numbers for me to interprit.

Same goes for aero data... but that has a high degree of spin, so i usually favor info from independant testers.

Should a reviewer give an opinion? Sure... that is why i am reading. But no bike is perfect. Let me know tha good and bad. Just be sure to justify your opinion.

robeambro
Posts: 249
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:21 pm

by robeambro

One can’t rely on magazine/online test reviews, as they are sponsored.

Even if they weren’t sponsored, one can’t rely on them as how a bike feels and fits is very subjective.

Personal reviews of friends/acquaintances/whatever are also unreliable - when you spend gazillions on a new bike you will want to justify your choice, to yourself and to others.

I personally just try and find patterns, and more or less hidden hints that something may not be 100% great. Other than that, it’s all very much useless.

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wheelsONfire
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Location: NorthEU

by wheelsONfire

An engineer probably have worked on his project for awhile. I guess if he's happy with the outcome, it'll reflect in the description?
Looking at the spec/ info and drawings and pics of ex gen Madone VS new, it seems the ex bike has tiny flaws (purely from reading), and the new gen is "i sell my mother" because i need this bike. Have anyone ever seen a negative review of a bike / frameset which has been custom built for that rider?
I think not!
My guess is that you either get the better from custom, or pick that brand which actually fits you best (stack height, reach and ride feel).
To a lesser extent, don't pick a bike due to it's fancy lines and shapes. Today many go for a pure aero machine, when in fact they might not even handle the pose this machine is built for. A light nimble bike bike with great fit, is probably more fun for most riders. Those who actually are fast, may enjoy the benefit of aero (aero=require all in).
Bikes:

Ax Lightness Vial EVO Race (2018.12.21)
Paduano Racing Fidia (kind of shelved)
Open *UP* (2016.04.14)
https://opencycle.com/showcase/the-xplo ... eelsonfire

Ex bike; Vial EVO D

RyanH
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by RyanH


wheelsONfire wrote:Have anyone ever seen a negative review of a bike / frameset which has been custom built for that rider?
I think not!
You don't see negative reviews because purchasing custom frames is a very intimate process and posting a public negative opinion on them requires confrontation. It's the same reason a lot of bike fitters have stellar reviews but if you talk to some of the clients, they'll tell you their real opinions. I'm guilty of this myself. I've had poor bike fits and won't post a negative review. I know quite a few people who have negative reviews of custom builds but will only share that among friends.

jih
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:54 pm

by jih

Hawkwood wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:11 pm
"Instant power transfer" is a particular pet hate of mine. Still I don't think bike reviews have quite got down to the level of hi fi ones which is a relief.
Agree. Has any bike ever seen a measurable delay betwen pressing the pedals and the wheels turning? Could it be timed? Measured? Compared? It must be milliseconds.

RocketRacing
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am

by RocketRacing

jih wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:19 pm
Hawkwood wrote:
Mon Dec 25, 2017 7:11 pm
"Instant power transfer" is a particular pet hate of mine. Still I don't think bike reviews have quite got down to the level of hi fi ones which is a relief.
Agree. Has any bike ever seen a measurable delay betwen pressing the pedals and the wheels turning? Could it be timed? Measured? Compared? It must be milliseconds.
“Instant power transfer” is also code for “rattle your fillings out”. I like to read reviews to find such hidden complaints from the reviewers. I always read multiple Reviews on a bike/component and look for the trends. A stiff bike will expose itself, even if reviewers try to spin negatives as other adjictives, or they truly see it as a positive.

I completly disagree that reviews are useless. We just need to be aware of the limitations they have (and they are many). But they can be helpful... just dont expect to choose a perfect bike from one.

jfranci3
Posts: 438
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

This is why I like Roadbike.de and Tour Int - actual f-in numbers. After I decode German, I can know for sure if a Specialized Allez Sprint frameset is more or less brutal than my Trek Crockett.

RocketRacing
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am

by RocketRacing

To further my view that written reviews are not useless (but not the “answer all” either...) lets flip this on it’s head:

For a beginner to new rider... a test ride of a bike is almost as equally unvaluable. As a written review. If you have nothing to compare to, or very little to compare to... how do you know if the bike “feels right?” I have seen many a novice rider chose geometry that is “comfortable” for their skill level, only to change a month later once they realize geometry was designed that way for a purpose... and it does not match with their purpose. Case in point... my wife who wanted a large frame comfort bike for a very errect position (she is a size small). Case #2... a rider who insisted on a bike with a low saddle where they could touch their feet on the ground comfortably. They had to adjust in time. Case 3: person buys frame that is too large because they did not ride a size small to compare. Case #4: person goes from 100$ bike to 2000$ dollar bike, and gets the “wrong bike” because the first bike the sit on feels great. Case 5: guy tests two bikes... says one is to stiff... choses the other. Tire pressures were not the same on the test ride. Etc, etc.

A good lbs employee can be a lot of help in chosing the right bike. A good review(s) can be helpful in distinguishing between a few bike options, if the reader is savvy. A test ride can be helpful... if the rider is savvy.

Novice: get the right bike for the type of riding you are doing (aka no tt bike for xc riding). Don’t stress the rest. Dont pay for a 500$ fit on a 10,000$ bike because you may not be in the sport in 6 mths anyway. Get help from a reputable lbs employee or experienced friend. Listen to what they say because you have no framework for comparison. Trust their opinion/experience, because you are famous for buying “the wrong bike” and realizing it a few months later.

Intermediate: you now know enough to start to spot crap from good info in written reviews. You can start to spot a crap lbs employee who is just trying to make a sale. You have some framework of what you want, and how different geometry changes will help/hurt you. But you are no expert, even if you think you are. You now have a pretty good idea of what you need/want.

Expert: you are old, jaded, and know so much that you are borderline being foolish again. Reviews are useless. Lbs employees are all morons. You know it all, frequent forums, and spout your wisdom. You have tried just about everything, and your experience is vast... but it is now clouded by your unique idiosyncratic preferences. You can be heard quoting such things as “rim brakes or die” or “9 speed for life”. Your opinion is hard to change because “they did it better in my day” is your mantra.

RocketRacing
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am

by RocketRacing

jfranci3 wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:30 pm
This is why I like Roadbike.de and Tour Int - actual f-in numbers. After I decode German, I can know for sure if a Specialized Allez Sprint frameset is more or less brutal than my Trek Crockett.
Numbers, like reviews, can be helpful, or be abused. Is a stiffness of 13 better than 34? Maybe you just need to lower tire pressures a bit.

I am ignorant enough to think that most bikes of similar geometries (say two crit bikes) can be made to feel near identical with the right choice of setup and contact points (saddle/seatpost, bars/tape, wheels/tires). I can turn it into a punishing race bike, or give it an all day endeuro feel... or something in between.

For me, a new bike is a starting point. Get the frame/geometry you want, at the price you can afford, and then customize to fit your unique needs over time.

AJS914
Posts: 2653
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

Expert: you are old, jaded, and know so much that you are borderline being foolish again. Reviews are useless. Lbs employees are all morons. You know it all, frequent forums, and spout your wisdom. You have tried just about everything, and your experience is vast... but it is now clouded by your unique idiosyncratic preferences.
That's pretty funny!

I think novices should do a lot of test riding, like 6 or 10 bikes at 3 or 4 different stores. It's valuable experience. Maybe even rent a bike or two for a whole day. An experienced cycling buddy can eye-ball you for positioning to make sure you are at least on the right size or close to it. Then the novice should buy a $1000-1500 bike and start riding. Making a mistake on a $12,000 super bike will cost the novice $4,000-5000 in just once year of depreciation. If the novice loves riding, they could upgrade to a nice wheelset. It's still way cheaper than superbike depreciation. The novice could even buy that $1500 used for $800, ride it for a year and then sell it for $600. It's a cheap education.

RocketRacing
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 am

by RocketRacing

Agreed, but i will say that test rides for a novice are mostly wasted beyond basic fit.

When you are on bike test ride number 6 or 10, do you really remember how bike 2 felt? Was it geometry, fit, tire pressures, or just your fatigue/irritability level that is influencing your opinion?

On bike #6 you had a better night sleep and the pavement outside the shop is smoother... so it felt like it rode the best. And by bike #10 you are just getting annoyed by your experienced friend making you drive to all these shops to ride bikes... they are all starting to feel the same, and you liked the color red on bike #4 anyway... but bike #7 was 50% off so you will probably get that instead.

Get a bike that roughly fits your riding style... get help to find the “correct” Frame size/saddle height... and fine tune later.

by Weenie


kode54
Posts: 1462
Joined: Tue May 23, 2006 9:39 pm

by kode54

i never even considered the different groupsets are different in reach. I've had Campy SR on my IF, then swapped it out for Shimano 9100 mechanical and it did handle differently, or so it seemed.
- Parlee Altum + DA9150 + Enve SES 4.5 Ene carbon hubs
- Parlee ESX + DA9150 + THM SRM PM + Enve SES 7.8 carbon hubs
- Moots Vamoots Disc RSL Titanium + DA9170 + Enve 4.5AR CK CL hubs
- Argonaut Spacebike 2.0 + DA9170 + Enve SES 5.6 DT Swiss 240 CL hubs

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