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Old 06-21-05, 05:33 AM   #1
Al K
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Bad Reviews

Hi MTBers,

If you look on for almost any mtb with a lot of reviews, you'll find reviews that praise the particular mtb and that find may problems with it. One trend is that new owners with little use say mtb is great, while those with a lot of use point out frame and comonent reliablilty problems. You do have to be careful to look at model year of mtb being reviewed, not just model.

And even the top brands (Specialized, Kona, etc.) and models of mtbs get these kinds of reviews. Maybe it's more in how hard the mtb is used and how well it's maintained and how many complex components it has?

Here's my problem. I'm really interested in a new 2005 Jamis XLT 2.0. But if you look at you'll see some very bad reviews, and some very good ones.

What do you think about these reviews and about getting this mtb?
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Old 06-21-05, 10:00 AM   #2
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only look at the products with the greatest number of reviews, only read the bad reviews, test ride a couple of times, talk to the mechanics/salesmen at your good LBS and take it all with a pinch of salt before making your mind up.
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Old 06-21-05, 10:10 AM   #3
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In my opinion, the value of sites like is questionable because 99.9 per cent of the reviews are submitted by people who have already bought the product they're reviewing. It's a proven fact that once you go ahead and purchase something, you subconsciously want to justify the purchase to yourself, so you no longer look at the product from an objective point of view. In general, the only bad reviews are from people who have had significant problems with something, so you tend to see a lot of extreme opinions in the reviews (i.e. those who love the product and see nothing wrong with it and those who had problems and now hate the product/company). There's not a lot of middle ground like you might get from a magazine review where the product was supplied for testing purposes and the reviewer had no financial investment in the product.
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Old 06-21-05, 11:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Team853
There's not a lot of middle ground like you might get from a magazine review where the product was supplied for testing purposes and the reviewer had no financial investment in the product.
While I agree that MTBR reviews are not accurate most of the time, the reviews in magazines are not any better. They are basically advertisements. The test rider(s) might not own the bike, but the bike & part companies basically own the magazines. ''Give it a good review or we pull our ads'' leverage is easy for the big companies.

I agree with markhr that the negative reviews on MTBR are helpful when trying to look for product weaknesses.

the positives are less than helpful, since every xc hardtail is nimble and climbs like ''a angry goat on crack "
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Old 06-21-05, 05:31 PM   #5
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that's "an angry goat on crack" there is an N there because it precedes a vowel.
Sorry, pet peeve.
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Old 06-21-05, 07:14 PM   #6
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User reviews are useful up to a point - they offer little more comment than "get this bike, it's great/bombroof/takes anything i throw at it" which is more about the user's subjective experiences and general performance. They give a good frame of reference based on common experience (including problems that may arise after awhile) but are more useful when more reiviews are given (good or bad). Suggest you keep this in mind of the mtbr reviews of that jamis.

For something more objective, you might look around for reviews that comment on the bike's attributes e.g. balance, suspension balance, pedal-friendliness, seating position, cockpit length, manouverability, component choice etc.
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Old 06-22-05, 10:27 AM   #7
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MTB reviews are one piece of the puzzle. What I like about that site is after you've filtered out all the non-specific praise ("this thing rocks!!!!") and the knucklehead complaints ("duude, I bought this 18 pound cross country racer and the front triangle broke after just one 8-foot drop!!!) you can get a broad sense of what people are thinking about a product, and it's helpful when you see a bunch of people who've had the same specific problem, pointing to some design or production fault to avoid.

Magazine reviews are tricky, for the advertiser reasons noted above, but I think they are still valuable as tools if you don't rely on them exclusively. Mountain Bike Action, for example, are certainly opinionated about the brands they like and don't like, and I know that colors some of the reviews, but they've never seemed shy about pointing out a products' faults, and there are some things they really pan, so I don't think they're complete slaves to their advertisers.

I think the best strategy is to read the reviews online, read the reviews in the mags, talk to friends/people on the trail that have a product you want, and most importantly, ride the bike and make your own opinion. It's more likely to be the right opinion if you've found out everything you can about a product.

As to Jamis, I've got a couple of friends who ride Dakars, and they speak very highly of them, FWTW. One more tidbit; apparently '03 was the last year Jamis used a true Horst link rear. Supposedly they tired of paying Specialized their royalty and moved the pivot up onto the seatstay in '04, and it doesn't pedal quite as well as the older ones. But hey, don't listen to me - get out and ride one!
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