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  1. #1
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    New question here. Are professional bike reviews trustworthy?

    tl;dr: Can you trust professional bike reviews?

    People seem to give a lot of weight to professional bike reviews such as those found in magazines and on websites, and probably with good reason, for how else are you gonna compare 10 different bikes against each other without traveling around half the country?

    I would also suspect that those bikes who come out on top in the reviews sell a lot better than those who do less well, and the fact that mountain bikes are big business, you can start to wonder if the bike reviews are actually fair and objective and not just based on who's willing to pay the most for a good review. And if the reviewers gets paid to write a good review, are they even obliged to tell us that they were paid? All of these questions makes me think that the road from authentic bike magazine to advertisement disguised as bike magazine isn't very far. Does anyone else know anything about how trustworthy bike reviews are?

  2. #2
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    Bike magazines are printed through advertising dollars. If a bike mag gives a bad review of a particular brand, is that brand going to renew the following advertising contract?

    This is the case in most industries. I'm familiar with the firearms industry as it has been one of my hobbies for many years. You'll read a glowing review of a product, then on the next page a full page ad for that same reviewed product. Coincidence?

    In the firearms' world there is a review magazine independent of advertising, but it is expensive as there are no advertising dollars to support the printing and distribution of the magazine. The total cost falls on the consumer. I'm not aware of any magazine like that in the bike industry.

  3. #3
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Don't believe everything you read. Believe everything you ride, yourself...
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  4. #4
    AZ
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    Ask me, you can believe me.

  5. #5
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    Advertising and editorial content are constantly at odds with one another. I don't know of any mainstream mags that will come right out and say.."save your money, this bike's a POS."

    With that said....there are very few POS bikes out there now days. Its a wonderful time to be a consumer. Another item to consider is that many riders who are a year or two or three into the sport don't really have a clue as to what they really want or need. So these folks are influenced by the oftentimes mindless editorial cheerleading by some magazines. As I mature as a rider I have become aware of what my riding style and trails direct me towards regarding equipment. Hope that makes sense.
    Monte
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  6. #6
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    I don't put too much weight on any single review. I scour the web and use the consensus review of a bike as a more accurate measure. Throw out the high and the low and look at the majority opinion in the middle. I suspect most bike (and gun, and car, etc) magazines try to honestly separate content from ads, but they are human. Unintentional bias probably creeps in despite their efforts to avoid it. How many of us root for the home team simply because we are familiar with it and it's what we see all the time. Same with enthusiast magazines. If they end up testing/riding a lot of Specialized bikes they probably get used to Specialized and become friends with the manufacturer simply by frequent association. Unintentional bias is a byproduct of that relationship. Human nature. That doesn't make them corrupt. It makes them human.

  7. #7
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    Who knows?

    I do know that the last two bikes I've owned (Spesh Enduro and Jamis Dakar XLT) received very high mag reviews, and more than matched those reviews in my opinion. For whatever that is worth ...
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

  8. #8
    nimble biker
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    I read about a dozen reviews online and test ride it myself before buying it.

  9. #9
    Pro Crastinator
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    a lot of times, reviews are written by people like us. (i have written up many) i've never worked for a mag and never received a dollar for any of them. just the pleasure (or dis-pleasure) of having the bike to abuse for a few weeks. every review i've written up has been published pretty much word for word as i'd written it...


  10. #10
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    I'll tell you the truth for $65.88.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  11. #11
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    Depends...

    The mountain bicycle industry is a lot like the windsurfing industry in that it really doesn't matter what the "pros" use. And most times it doesn't really matter what rag-reviews say. Entry-level stuff comes in a package. By the time someone reaches "mid-level" they are picky and know what works for them. Then if you are a pro, most times someone else is deciding what you ride and you choose the details. If you are handy and like building things, odds are you are picky and are going onzeee-twoozee on equipment.

    In the end, rags usually don't matter to the majority of folks. Their LBS or their friends matter far more. What they have direct access to is usually what they end up with. The Internet broadened the reach and access to product brands and pricing. But still, people tend to trust a good LBS.

    I have been riding since 1990 and I have never purchased an MTB rag. I do research online when I am looking for something a little different. But I'll never open a mag... two reasons:

    1. There isn't a book store that carries them.
    2. The Internet is better.
    - The only thing that keeps me on a bike is happiness.

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