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  1. #1
    gravity curmudgeon
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    Reviews - what's driving the feedback??

    Reading through a lot of the Interbike reviews, here and elsewhere, it seems to me that setup, geometry, and shock/fork are the primary factors influencing on-dirt feedback. Assuming the geometry isn't way off for the rider, shock and fork, in particular dominate. Rarely does a reviewer think a bike is terrible in terms of its performance; rather, reviewers note how something felt odd or couldn't get the setup dialed or the geometry was twitch for their interests or ...

    This kind of stuff fits my own experience. For example, this summer I test rode 2 5-spots. Loved one and was unimpressed with the other. Different forks and overall setup made the same frame more different than I could imagine. And on my current ride (a flux), I found that I needed a few weeks and several hundred miles to start to get the bike setup for my interests. There were a few rides at first where I thought I had perhaps made a mistake. In the long-term, I love the bike. I suppose at some level, the rider adapts to the bike.

    When it comes to different suspension designs, most of the commentary, if there is anything relevant, appears to stem from more conceptual notions of suspension design than on-dirt feedback. In that context people start to sound more like a mechanical engineering text book than a rider telling how a bike felt and performed.

    So this all makes me read reviews with a grain of salt. I typically expect reviewers to prefer bikes that fit and ride ... most like their current bike. And I now look closely for what is driving the reviewer's feedback. In fact, one can often guess which bikes a reviewer will like based on the reviewers current bike. This isn't surprising, but it does make objective reviews very difficult.

    This also tells me that anymore differences in suspension design are rather easilly mitigated by components and setup, if the geometry works for the rider.

    What says the Homers? Did I inhale too many wax fumes tuning skis last winter or does this make sense?

  2. #2
    what a joke
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    That seems logical to me.

    The best test would be two identical builds on the frames in question over a period of a few months riding a variety of trails.
    blah blah blah

  3. #3
    Natl. Champ DH Poser/Hack
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    it could be the multi stage prossess of ultra hard, cold temp waxes or....

    naa. i think yer onto it. i can tell ya its easy to get confused by one thing as it affects another unless yer a seasoned test rider. ive been ridin bikes for colse to 40 years, racing them for 30 and doin the mtb thing for 13, mostly on a 2nd gen burner. when i first got my flux a month ago i had one small complaint. i thought i felt some minimal brake jack but after a few more rides id say it was more like fork dive. same feel if yer not a expert but im tryin hard to get better at it. just the diff between a semi stiff earlyer gen air fork and the newer plusher air forks. it fooled me.

    oz has it cold. what are the chances of that goin down? would david send cheese, zilla, ramma, bob or crash 2 bikes? id be happy to put the bug in his ear and see if he flinches.
    No, I'm NOT back!

  4. #4
    Brass Nipples!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowDawg
    Rarely does a reviewer think a bike is terrible in terms of its performance; rather, reviewers note how something felt odd or couldn't get the setup dialed or the geometry was twitch for their interests or ...

    ...I needed a few weeks and several hundred miles to start to get the bike setup for my interests. There were a few rides at first where I thought I had perhaps made a mistake.

    ...So this all makes me read reviews with a grain of salt. I typically expect reviewers to prefer bikes that fit and ride ... most like their current bike... it does make objective reviews very difficult.

    This also tells me that anymore differences in suspension design are rather easilly mitigated by components and setup, if the geometry works for the rider.

    ...does this make sense?
    It makes perfect sense to me. Unfamiliar trails and setups don't allow certainty when comparing bikes that are pretty close in performance. If something sucked, that was evident. Telling great from good or especially best from great isn't really possible for me with that kind of demo.

    I think one thing I noticed in all the bikes I rode is that the new generation of platform shocks does tend to make long travel bikes ride better as a class than they did a few years ago.

    I was looking for a fairly steep section with sizeable bumps and decent traction on my ride and never really found it. Riding up and down a trail like that would have answered some of the questions I still have.
    {Principal Skinner} Hmm. Whoever did this is in very deep trouble.
    {Martin} And a sloppy speller too. The preferred spelling of 'wiener' is w - i - e - n - e - r, although 'e - i' is an acceptable ethnic variant.

  5. #5
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    You're not wrong CW.

    I never give any particular review too much weight by itself, no matter how detailed it is. I always compile as many test opinions as I can and try to take the average impressions.

    Whatever comments and feedback I see the most of tends to be experience I will likely encounter. I also give strong consideration to the positive and minus fringes to look out for special conditions others may have missed. That's how I get an overall impression of what to expect and/or look for.

    Also bear in mind differences in riding style, trail terrain, etc can make the world of difference.

    And while I would never turn down an opportunity to test ANYTHING, I'm probably the least qualified to give an informed opinion on anything past the color of a particular product. But I do try to give the everyman's hack point of view since that's about the best I can do.

    "I duzen't knows bikes much but I knows what I likes"
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowDawg
    Reading through a lot of the Interbike reviews, here and elsewhere, it seems to me that setup, geometry, and shock/fork are the primary factors influencing on-dirt feedback. Assuming the geometry isn't way off for the rider, shock and fork, in particular dominate. Rarely does a reviewer think a bike is terrible in terms of its performance; rather, reviewers note how something felt odd or couldn't get the setup dialed or the geometry was twitch for their interests or ...

    This kind of stuff fits my own experience. For example, this summer I test rode 2 5-spots. Loved one and was unimpressed with the other. Different forks and overall setup made the same frame more different than I could imagine. And on my current ride (a flux), I found that I needed a few weeks and several hundred miles to start to get the bike setup for my interests. There were a few rides at first where I thought I had perhaps made a mistake. In the long-term, I love the bike. I suppose at some level, the rider adapts to the bike.

    When it comes to different suspension designs, most of the commentary, if there is anything relevant, appears to stem from more conceptual notions of suspension design than on-dirt feedback. In that context people start to sound more like a mechanical engineering text book than a rider telling how a bike felt and performed.

    So this all makes me read reviews with a grain of salt. I typically expect reviewers to prefer bikes that fit and ride ... most like their current bike. And I now look closely for what is driving the reviewer's feedback. In fact, one can often guess which bikes a reviewer will like based on the reviewers current bike. This isn't surprising, but it does make objective reviews very difficult.

    This also tells me that anymore differences in suspension design are rather easilly mitigated by components and setup, if the geometry works for the rider.

    What says the Homers? Did I inhale too many wax fumes tuning skis last winter or does this make sense?
    Tscheezy's review of the Ventana X5 falls into this category. He basically didn't like the Manitou fork and shock. I suspect there was something wrong with the shock or it was setup badly, but that's not the point. His feeling of the bike was dominated by the fork and shock.

    Moving away from the above example, I often cringe when magazine reviewers with little or no engineering background start pontificating about suspension designs. The Horst Link in particular is a classic for such mis-guided pontificating. I hope this move to what is perceived to be a markedly inferior design will teach people a lesson in avoiding marketing BS and just report on how the bikes actually ride. They should leave the design theory to professional engineers.

    Having said that, I do understand that most keen bike owners are interested in how their bikes work and demand explanations. Unfortunately they usually get fed by marketing BS rather than true engineering knowledge. Perhaps the real engineering doesn't seem interesting enough!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by uktrailmonster
    Tscheezy's review of the Ventana X5 falls into this category. He basically didn't like the Manitou fork and shock. I suspect there was something wrong with the shock or it was setup badly, but that's not the point. His feeling of the bike was dominated by the fork and shock.

    Moving away from the above example, I often cringe when magazine reviewers with little or no engineering background start pontificating about suspension designs. The Horst Link in particular is a classic for such mis-guided pontificating. I hope this move to what is perceived to be a markedly inferior design will teach people a lesson in avoiding marketing BS and just report on how the bikes actually ride. They should leave the design theory to professional engineers.

    Having said that, I do understand that most keen bike owners are interested in how their bikes work and demand explanations. Unfortunately they usually get fed by marketing BS rather than true engineering knowledge. Perhaps the real engineering doesn't seem interesting enough!
    very well said!

    NB: Tscheezy did note that the geometry change in the '06 X5 seems to suit him a bit better than the ''05 geometry did. Since I rode an X5 last year and sold it ONLY because I didn't like the geometry (for pretty much the same reasons he did not), I would imagine that I would agree with Tscheezy's observation on this point.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzostrike
    very well said!

    NB: Tscheezy did note that the geometry change in the '06 X5 seems to suit him a bit better than the ''05 geometry did. Since I rode an X5 last year and sold it ONLY because I didn't like the geometry (for pretty much the same reasons he did not), I would imagine that I would agree with Tscheezy's observation on this point.
    Thanks. Yes, his review was still valid for his comments on geometry. I was using it more as an example of how shock setup can affect ride i.e traction, pedalling etc more than linkage geometry (Horst Links, VPP, etc). I very much doubt the new Turners will be any different with a seatstay pivot. I'm not going to call it TNT since that's just more marketing BS!

  9. #9
    PSI
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    thats how i got my 5 spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    I never give any particular review too much weight by itself, no matter how detailed it is. I always compile as many test opinions as I can and try to take the average impressions.
    since i couldnt get one right away i followed mag and forum reviews of the 5 spot for over a year. in fact i had a "press kit" ready for a friend that ended getting a 5 spot too. to the best of my knowledge i is the only bike that never got a less-than-perfect review.... lets hope the new turners do as well

  10. #10
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    Suspension / Frames

    Quote Originally Posted by uktrailmonster
    Tscheezy's review of the Ventana X5 falls into this category. He basically didn't like the Manitou fork and shock. I suspect there was something wrong with the shock or it was setup badly, but that's not the point. His feeling of the bike was dominated by the fork and shock.

    Moving away from the above example, I often cringe when magazine reviewers with little or no engineering background start pontificating about suspension designs. The Horst Link in particular is a classic for such mis-guided pontificating. I hope this move to what is perceived to be a markedly inferior design will teach people a lesson in avoiding marketing BS and just report on how the bikes actually ride. They should leave the design theory to professional engineers.

    Having said that, I do understand that most keen bike owners are interested in how their bikes work and demand explanations. Unfortunately they usually get fed by marketing BS rather than true engineering knowledge. Perhaps the real engineering doesn't seem interesting enough!
    I cannot agree most about this thread. My experience is that it takes weeks to dial a bike, and that suspension has an overwelming effect. Short tests runs can and are completely biased by differences in suspensions, tires, and geometry in respect to your body ... good last comes the frame.

    I have very extended experience on only three frames (by extended I mean long years on them using different tires and suspensions). Just to stick with Spotty and simplifying for the sake of the example: it is a a mediocre performing bike with a Fox Float rear shock (no matter what in front), a pretty good one with a Romic/Fox Vanilla Statos ID or Fox Vanilla Pushed, and an a very good one with a Pushed Vanila/ Pushed Rp3. What I am really end up evaluating in the 18 months it took to draw these conclusions are the shocks ... not the frame.

    (and than of course there are Tcheese's test-rides: If the Ventana had a TNT sticker on it it would have been fantastic - overcoming the limitations of the shocks. Same bias shown in a famous review on MB-UK that raved on the 5-spot even if the Romic blew up at the beginining of the test ... who knows what they were evaluating!)
    Last edited by Davide; 10-01-2005 at 02:10 PM.

  11. #11
    deez nuts
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    Quote Originally Posted by uktrailmonster
    Tscheezy's review of the Ventana X5 falls into this category. He basically didn't like the Manitou fork and shock. I suspect there was something wrong with the shock or it was setup badly, but that's not the point. His feeling of the bike was dominated by the fork and shock.

    Moving away from the above example, I often cringe when magazine reviewers with little or no engineering background start pontificating about suspension designs. The Horst Link in particular is a classic for such mis-guided pontificating. I hope this move to what is perceived to be a markedly inferior design will teach people a lesson in avoiding marketing BS and just report on how the bikes actually ride. They should leave the design theory to professional engineers.

    Having said that, I do understand that most keen bike owners are interested in how their bikes work and demand explanations. Unfortunately they usually get fed by marketing BS rather than true engineering knowledge. Perhaps the real engineering doesn't seem interesting enough!

    Perhaps the magazine reviewers "pontificate" on how the bikes actually do ride. Why do you think DT chose to use the HL until this point? Is he too an "pointyheaded armchair engineer" as gonzo-gee likes to proclaim in each in every post.
    D!ck I tell you, D!ck.
    Last edited by shaft; 10-01-2005 at 03:04 PM.

  12. #12
    No, that's not phonetic
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowDawg
    Reading through a lot of the Interbike reviews, here and elsewhere, it seems to me that setup, geometry, and shock/fork are the primary factors influencing on-dirt feedback.
    We tried taking all the parts off the frames and then evaluating them naked so not as to be influnced by the components, but the reviews were kind of boring:

    Rocky Mountain Slayer 50: Blue and white.

    See what I mean?
    My video techniques can be found in this thread.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaft
    Perhaps the magazine reviewers "pontificate" on how the bikes actually do ride. Why do you think DT chose to use the HL until this point? Is he too an "pointyheaded armchair engineer" as gonzo-gee likes to proclaim in each in every post.
    D!ck I tell you, D!ck.
    I didn't say there was anything particuarly wrong with a Horst Link. I always thought the chainstay pivot was a bit of a weakness, but otherwise it's a perfectly good design. There may even be a tiny geometrical advantage over a seatstay pivot, but I don't happen to think it's either significant or worth compromising the stiffness for. But hey, I'm just an engineer (not the armchair type by the way - a real one) with lots of theoretical and practical experience of suspension dynamics. I'm fairly new to mountain biking and thought WTF after reading all the BS about HL dynamics. I'm amazed anyone managed to patent what is in effect a simple 4-bar link, probably the most commonly used linkage in the world. I have to take my hat off to that for sure. DT is obviously a practical engineer and has come to the conclusion that the whole HL thang isn't worth all the hassle. Every review of a Turner I've read makes a big deal of the HL and how it transforms the pedalling, braking and traction. What are they going to say when the TNT version performs exactly the same?

  14. #14
    Bodhisattva
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    Quote Originally Posted by tscheezy
    We tried taking all the parts off the frames and then evaluating them naked
    a. The thought of you guys riding naked is scary
    b. I hope you at least wore your helmet
    Last edited by The Squeaky Wheel; 10-01-2005 at 04:36 PM.
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel
    I hope you at least wore your helmet
    Yeah, on both ends!
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  16. #16
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    Just glad the homer principle of posting pictures was NOT applied

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob the Wheelbuilder
    I was looking for a fairly steep section with sizeable bumps and decent traction on my ride and never really found it. Riding up and down a trail like that would have answered some of the questions I still have.

    Yeah, from the description of the riding it appeared to be more DH oriented. I live for the nasty/steep/techical climbs, and it's really tough to get a feel for how a bike would do on that w/o actually doing it.

    Dave

  18. #18
    Flyin Canine
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    For those of you who have not ridden too many different bikes in their time this would certainly be the case. Davide's asertation that it takes weeks to dial in a bike is true for most people. That's exactly why I trust Tscheezy's, Larry's, and Crash's opinion more than Davide's. As a group they seem to frequenty change and upgrade equipment. This leads to a level of expertise in setting up equipment and an element of speed at doing it that would allow them to make it happen at the dirt demo. It also creates an awareness of how each part change will affect the overall package. I myself can tell, for example, when I ride a friends bike or a rental bike if the reason I feel cramped or stretched is because the top tube is the wrong length or if it's the stem that is the wrong length. These things come with experience. Sure, during the dirt demo you don't have time to get a bike dialed perfect, but if you're an skilled at tuning and have a shock pump, tire pump and some allen wrenches it doesn't take much to dial a bike pretty close to as good as it will get given the design. Then you can get a pretty good feel for the bikes.

  19. #19
    gravity curmudgeon
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    Well, I don't think subjectivy is a bad thing (we're all different, thankfully), and I very much doubt even the most seasoned and test-ride experienced riders can buck it. For example, I have my doubts that a person who rides a trailbike 90% of the time will find a lot of review interest in an XC bike. In my experience, the best riders (pros to serious fun hogs) are often the most gear and setup neutral. Their talent perhaps transcends those little details so many of us emphasize. My average talent and aging work-too-much legs, however, keep me with a close eye on all the techy details that might give me an edge.

    I certainly don't want to take away anything from people like the cheezy, who gives enough feedback on a review that I can often dissect it for the kinds of things I am interested in. There are many people around here (long list, really) who provide very useful feedback, from my perspective. It is fair to say that I am regularly educated on topics by many around here. That is very helpful.

    I am mostly surprised at how the FS playing field is leveling in terms of riding performance. I think the reivews somewhat reflect that.

    OT: snowed here in town this morning. Needless to say, the ski bug has now overtaken the bike bug for this rider.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowDawg
    ...I am mostly surprised at how the FS playing field is leveling in terms of riding performance. I think the reivews somewhat reflect that.
    And that sums up a great many things. There's a lot of very good bikes out there in all price ranges. I recall back in engineering school my prof drilling a point in to our heads: The last 10% improvement takes 90% of the effort.
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  21. #21
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well

    [QUOTE= What are they going to say when the TNT version performs exactly the same?[/QUOTE]

    Probably gonna say "sherwood was right" Its funny how many turner owners felt that the HL had slight advantages to other designs ie.. faux bar seat stay pivot bikes and that is why turners stood above all others along with geometry - now DT says" well there is basicly no difference" and everyone agrees with no real world testing sure, its fine out in the desert - but there needs to be more of this tnt design on peoples home turf. I personaly dont care either way i am happy with my HL spot. But if I was in the market for a new frame & I needed a HL I would look at Titus, other wise I think the turner is still at the top of the list no matter where the pivot. But I think I would look at Ventana a bit more since ya get a bit more bike & quality for the same money - for years we have heard how the 2 designs have some differences - now all of the sudden they dont - lets here from some people who have owned both with some long term riding on both. I know someone who has owned a spot & a titus - now has a x5,I think he should give his opinion - (C'mon you know who you are - your on these boards doing alot of reading) lets here it

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