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Are there any real product reviews out there?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Are there any real product reviews out there?

Old 11-12-18, 05:56 PM
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FlashBazbo
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Are there any real product reviews out there?

I'm sure we all have our favorite online and / or magazine product reviewers. Sadly, more and more, it appears that all the reviewers now have their reviews written by the manufacturers' marketing departments. Why do I say that? Well . . . perhaps because 95% of the text of the various reviews is precisely the same as everybody else's reviews. It comes out on pretty much the same day. And, no matter where the reviewer is located, the perceptions and conclusions are exactly the same. You can easily read / watch a half dozen reviews and find that they all convey exactly the same information in pretty much identical words.

And it's not unusual to have ALL the initial reviewers "miss" some glaring issue with a product at its introduction only to ALL bring it up when the next year's new-and-improved products come out.

Is anyone else weary of advertising posing as "reviews?" Is there anyone out there who gives honest reviews these days?
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Old 11-12-18, 06:25 PM
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cyclingtips.com is one of the few that gives honest reviews.
bloggers/vloggers nowadays don't even give bad reviews because the goal is to sellout and get sponsored.
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Old 11-12-18, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cruiserhead View Post
cyclingtips.com is one of the few that gives honest reviews.
bloggers/vloggers nowadays don't even give bad reviews because the goal is to sellout and get sponsored.
Generally with bikes/gear...yes...although when it comes to workout electronics, DCRainmaker is one I trust to be in depth and call out annoyances.


The problem with bikes/gear...is that for the most part stuff is designed and implemented well enough that there's not much to gripe about.
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Old 11-12-18, 06:44 PM
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I wanna live wherever bicyclerollingresistance lives.. every tire, no matter the brand, was bought in a store. I wish I could find that selection around NYC.
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Old 11-12-18, 06:54 PM
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There are many factors I consider to all my cycling purchases. Much of it is personal preference, like clothing and shoes, but they give a lot of good honest feedback that is really helpful in purchasing decisions.
Stuff nowadays is marketed well but there is plenty that is not worth the money, or has some faults or issues that could be a real problem for some.
They are really good at being honest if it works as advertised, and where it doesnt. Unfortunately, that is rare.

I like DCRainmaker. And of all the bike stuff you can buy, the electronics are the ones that have a very short shelf life and are considered crap within a very short time.
For electronics, I watch DCR but also find independent youtube reviews helpful because they will point stuff out that is really "on the ground". You have to go through a lot of junk, but there are a lot of guys that take the time to run through computers and powermeters, etc
Sometimes DCR is like many car reivews... in depth but not really putting out a genuine opinion. I get it, there is a whole video industry built around pseudo-reviews (GCN is another).
Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Generally with bikes/gear...yes...although when it comes to workout electronics, DCRainmaker is one I trust to be in depth and call out annoyances.


The problem with bikes/gear...is that for the most part stuff is designed and implemented well enough that there's not much to gripe about.
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Old 11-12-18, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I wanna live wherever bicyclerollingresistance lives.. every tire, no matter the brand, was bought in a store. I wish I could find that selection around NYC.
Purchased from an online store, is the same thing as a brick and mortar store.
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Old 11-12-18, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
Purchased from an online store, is the same thing as a brick and mortar store.
hmm.. their actual wording is "bought in store" -- is that today's wording for bought online?
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Old 11-12-18, 07:53 PM
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Even impartial reviews are worse than useless if they consist of someone riding around on some piece of equipment and describing it in meaningless, subjective terms. The usual descriptions of how frames and wheels feel are simply laughable. No technical testing, no data, no benchmarks, no comparisons. The rolling resistance site is an illustrative counter-example.

Last edited by MoAlpha; 11-12-18 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 11-12-18, 08:15 PM
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All of the wingless' topics in the linked forum are my product evaluations, written by me, of products I purchased with cash from my pocket.
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Old 11-12-18, 08:26 PM
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dcrainmaker is the best I've seen.
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Old 11-12-18, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
dcrainmaker is the best I've seen.
For the products he covers, I would agree. But his range is really limited to electronics / trainers and related products. And when he treads lightly around a subject, he at least acknowledges that he's giving the manufacturer a lot of the benefit of the doubt. [I don't blame him. I used to write golf product reviews. And when you tell the truth about an inferior product, it becomes extremely difficult to get information and advance products from that manufacturer ever again. If you tick them off, they can put you out of the review business -- so I understand that it's a difficult balance.]
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Old 11-13-18, 07:31 AM
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I used to love Bicycling Magazine when Geoff Drake was an editor. They actually Tested bikes. Measured flex. Weighed them, etc. Now the mag tells you how to get sexy legs. I agree with DCR for electronics. I also love Cycling Plus Magazine from Britain. I believe they have the best reviews of bikes and equipment. Well worth it to me for the extra money to get it here in the states. (and they have awesome photos!)
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Old 11-13-18, 07:54 AM
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I know magazines are dead but I still like to sit and read them. I get Cyclist Magazine, a UK publication. Reviews are alright but I don't buy it for that.
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Old 11-13-18, 10:44 AM
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I read a lot of Apple product reviews and inevitably 98% of them absolutely fawn over every product. Hey, never mind that that $7,000 loaded Macbook Pro has a defective keyboard, we will just keep pretending it's fine.

Reviews are all garbage because reviewers don't want to get blackballed by manufacturers.
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Old 11-13-18, 11:09 AM
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Bicycle Quarterly often rides a bike for months to figure out what does and doesn't work and shake loose anything not on tight. Their reviews can sometimes seem harsh and nit-picky but they'll acknowledge that most of the bikes they choose for review are well designed, well made and often expensive to begin with so they hold them to a higher standard.

After riding it awhile they also change out the OEM tires that are usually cheaper to meet a price point and replace them with better tires that often allows a bike's performance to improve. Tires are often the first thing to wear out and get replaced so it more closely matches a user's ownership experience.
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Old 11-14-18, 01:25 PM
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Agreed that Cycling Tips and DC Rainmaker are both very good.
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Old 11-14-18, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
hmm.. their actual wording is "bought in store" -- is that today's wording for bought online?
I believe so, yes. As differentiated from supplied by manufacturer, i.e. may not be the same as "bought in store" meaning randomly chosen from stock.
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Old 11-16-18, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Even impartial reviews are worse than useless if they consist of someone riding around on some piece of equipment and describing it in meaningless, subjective terms. The usual descriptions of how frames and wheels feel are simply laughable. No technical testing, no data, no benchmarks, no comparisons. The rolling resistance site is an illustrative counter-example.
One problem you have is that there is still a lot of debate about what qualities should be tested, and about how the testing should be done. "Industrial-grade testing" almost always requires an "industrial-grade budget", but they want to see the results for free, thanks.

The other problem is really the big one: that being that manufacturers have found out that user reviews are the most-convincing advertising that they can control themselves (astroturfing).
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Old 11-16-18, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
One problem you have is that there is still a lot of debate about what qualities should be tested, and about how the testing should be done. "Industrial-grade testing" almost always requires an "industrial-grade budget", but they want to see the results for free, thanks.

The other problem is really the big one: that being that manufacturers have found out that user reviews are the most-convincing advertising that they can control themselves (astroturfing).
Yup.

In the sailing world, which is only slightly less full of hype, nonsense, and astroturf, we have Practical Sailor, who put out an ad-free, paper monthly, for about 40 bucks a year. They seem to have the budget for bench and on-water testing of products, generically and comparatively, and routinely push and pull stuff to failure. Of course, big boat sailing is a lot higher budget and less casual than cycling and a lot more sailors die or suffer big money losses from gear failures, so they're more willing to pay for good info.
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Old 11-16-18, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
And when he treads lightly around a subject, he at least acknowledges that he's giving the manufacturer a lot of the benefit of the doubt. [I don't blame him. I used to write golf product reviews. And when you tell the truth about an inferior product, it becomes extremely difficult to get information and advance products from that manufacturer ever again. If you tick them off, they can put you out of the review business -- so I understand that it's a difficult balance.]
What I see from him is, he tests a product. If something is wrong with it he will contact the manufacturer to try to resolve it, and will work with them to get it right. Often times that works and he is pretty careful to explain the issue he had and process to resolve it. When it doesn't work out, he doesn't hide it. He will say something like "they promised they would address it in the next firmware or next iteration." That sort of response is about as damning as a review is going to get. I think less professional reviewers wouldnt bother trying to resolve it, they would either 1. lie and fawn over it or 2. trash the product without trying to resolve the issue. So yeah, I trust him but you have to read between the lines sometimes to intuit when he is super frustrated with a product.
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Old 11-17-18, 08:35 PM
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dcrainmaker seems to give the best reviews out there. At least IMHO.
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Old 11-18-18, 12:10 AM
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I reviewed some prototype lights a few years back. The reviewers who "missed" some of the more obvious flaws got repeat business.
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Old 11-18-18, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Is there anyone out there who gives honest reviews these days?
Sensah Empire review
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Old 11-18-18, 04:02 AM
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I've written over a dozen reviews to Amazon so I can vouch that theirs are authentic. Of course that doesn't mean that it is 100%, but at least it give you some place to start from. The best way is to visit a number of sites, both professional and user reviews.

That's what I do, especially when the purchase is really important/expensive. I rarely get a product that doesn't measure up to what I expected.
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Old 11-18-18, 06:23 AM
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Hi-fi and stereo reviews are equally as bad. They've all become fluff pieces.
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