Are bike mag reviews corrupt

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  • Are bike mag reviews corrupt
  • Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    are bike mag reviews corrupt? just firing the question as a huge amount of money from the manufacturers are spent to advertise through them.

    I can’t imagine “Giant” for example being pleased if they spend thousands promoting there new model for it too be slated by the review section.

    just putting the question out there

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Popcorn at lunchtime? Yeah, I reckon I could do that.

    j_me
    Member

    Goddamit this is going to clash with Doctors….decisions decisions

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Subscriber

    I remeber a review in MBR many years ago that ended with a photo of the bike in question being thrown off a cliff.

    GlitterGary
    Member

    Yes. I bought a SodaStream on a review in Bella from 1987. I sent the cheque off to the company and have not yet recieved said SodaStream.

    Premier Icon sefton
    Subscriber

    was it the actual bike though? could just be a Photoshop 😆

    I remeber a review in MBR many years ago that ended with a photo of the bike in question being thrown off a cliff

    …and it survived! That made it the best choice in the hardcore hardtail section! Now a word from our sponsors…

    clubber
    Member

    tea please. Earl Grey.

    To the OP – no, not usually I reckon. Hopelessly ill informed (particularly talking about materials/etc), yes, often. Influenced by lavish press launches and their pals in the industry, to a greater or lesser extent, I reckon, yes.

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider
    Subscriber

    It was a Peugeot IIRC and it was the magazine editor that launched it.

    damo2576
    Member

    Someone should do a study. Count total amount of adspace, count adspace for various firms, group together so co-owned count as one (eg CRC/Hotlines), then do a pie chart.
    Then do a correlation between that and review scores.

    Shibboleth
    Member

    Only a fool would slate a bike that is advertised in his own magazine. I bet a lot of bike reviews don’t even make it to print so as not to upset advertisers.

    Having worked in similar magazines in the motor industry, there’s an attitude of “if you can’t think of anything nice to say, best to say nothing at all”.

    Not pointing the finger at Singletrack, but there’s an obvious air of preference towards certain brands/distributors in MBR.

    sssimon
    Member

    I like the dirtmag renthal chainring phenonmenon, renthal make nice chainrings, ddirt give good review to chainring, renthal pay for back cover ad everymonth, dirt mention rental ring in every bike review “best trail bike ever, blah, blah, blah, would love to try it 1 x 10 with a 34t renthal ring, blah, blah”

    take it all with a pinch of salt, I think the days of shit products getting good reviews have gone but there is still money involved and as such it’s not going to be objective

    Dave
    Member

    are bike mag reviews corrupt?

    No.

    Just putting the answer out there.

    In 10 years of reviewing products for Singletrack I’ve never had a clue whether said product is advertised in the mag nor have I had my opinions edited. HTH.

    Influenced by lavish press launches and their pals in the industry,

    I’ve been on one “lavish press launch” for Sram XX, I didn’t write my opinion of the groupset until I’d had an opportunity to use it on hometurf and for long enough to see if it actually worked/lasted okay.

    clubber
    Member

    Quite right. Which was why I didn’t say always and caveated it. FWIW, I don’t think that the ST mag reviews are particularly influenced (though IMO it’s nigh on impossible to be completely objective even if subconsciously).

    b r
    Member

    Many, many years ago Bike magazine wrote a crap review on a Honda, and Honda pulled their adverts for a considerable period…

    racefaceec90
    Member

    well i wanted an anthem x2 after reading all the good things about it in mag/internet forum reviews.the bike is fantastic (best bike i have ever owned/ridden) to be honest have only had one bike that i didn’t really connect with (2007 stumpjumper fsr comp/that got some pretty great reviews in the mags)most cases the reviews have been pretty spot on.

    rocketman
    Member

    MTB manufacturers and the comics are Premier League when it comes to perpetrating the myth that what we bought last year doesn’t work any more. Anything that’s new but is, really, a bit sh*te is categorised as pre-production and reviews of the very worst tend to focus on peripheral features such as ‘forward facing seat post clamps’ and ‘two bottle cage bosses’ like they’re really important.

    The truth usually emerges six months down the line when a replacement comes out and the original is slated for being the very crappiest of the crap.

    retro83
    Member

    Cup of earl grey and some bourbon creams please.

    I think some probably are a bit ‘influenced’ by the name on the downtube, but more importantly I think that a lot of reviews are just completely random based on how the reviewer feels on that particular day.

    After buying a frame which got all 5* reviews, and finding it to be rubbish I checked a lot of frame reviews to find its replacement.

    Imagine my surprise to find frames with virtually identical geometry (max of 0.5deg difference on the head tube and 15mm on the top tube length/BB height to be described as various things between ‘far too cramped’/’too stretched out’, ‘too many pedal strikes’/’feels more perched on the bike than in it’, ‘head angle far too steep’/’slack angles make for a competent descender’).

    In fact some described as being ‘twitchy’ actually had half a degree shallower head angle than the ‘brilliant descending’ turd which I bought on their recommendation.

    Not to mention the suspension performance which if you’d actually ridden would surely realise is absolutely useless. Gah.

    Edit: that turned into a bit of a rant 😳 but I stand by it!

    Used to work on “Guitarist” and “Total Guitar” magazine. Yamaha placed huge pile of advertising with both, Yamaha products never got bad reviews. Even the pile of crap that is the pacifica got good reviews, even though the hardware was cheap crap and the electr……well you get the point.

    mk1fan
    Member

    The problem with any review is that they are based upon the views and requirements of the reviewer.

    I think it’s just easy to assume that someone who publishes a view different to your own must be doing so because they are recieving some form of kick back.

    joao3v16
    Member

    Maybe what’s needed is for ‘Which?’ magazine to do some reviews, by people with no direct connection to the bike industry…

    Then we could be certain of totally impartial reviews.

    Pigface
    Member

    TBM criticised the Yamaha WR as being hard to start when hot, made a real point of it so Yamaha pulled all ads for a while. Became a bit of a running joke. The editor of said magazine is a “difficult” individual.

    Premier Icon fatmax
    Subscriber

    I don’t think corrupt, but influenced by, yes.
    I often flick through WMB, and think Worland and Kesteven offer good reviews etc. However, a year or two back Kesteven reviewed a new year model FSR/Stumpy/Enduro and gave it a glowing review. Fair enough. But he was dressed in top to toe Specialized…helmet, shades, clothes, shoes…the works. And those pics subsequently ended up in adverts for Spec. Did make me think that it wasn’t necessarily the most impartial review.
    FWIW I did some reviews for Trail magazine (windstopper tops, rucksacks, boots etc) years back and they printed my chat word for word.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    The best review I ever read was in the April 2008 edition of MBR, in which they compared £1000 hardtails. Of the Gary Fisher Big Sur (made, of course by Specialized’s main competitor), they said such things as:

    ‘…there was just something loveable about the Fisher straight off the bat. Riders pounced on it instantly…’

    The review went on to say absolutley nothing negative about the bike at all. But the final score? An 8.

    Thank goodness it was only up against a Boardman, Marin, Rocky Mountain, Mongoose, and Saracen, or the Fisher would have been sunk.

    Gachet
    Member

    MTB manufacturers and the comics are Premier League when it comes to perpetrating the myth that what we bought last year doesn’t work any more.

    I agree with that. I remember when the ISIS splined bottom brackets and cranks first came out, MBR said in a group test on bikes that on the only bike still with square taper cranks, the left hand crank came loose and rounded the taper, thus ruining the cranks. It’s strange how everyone had managed to this point with square tapers. They said a similar thing about v-brakes being dangerous in comparison to disks.

    iDave
    Member

    i wrote an honest review on 2 products for a certain comic many years ago. both critical. the companies had a hissy fit, one threatened to sue, one withdrew £50k of advertising and in both cases the editor backed me up 100% – he said the mag was there for the benefit of their readers, not the advertisers.

    Gachet
    Member

    In the past, I’ve seen a review for a 10/10 rated component (think it was Outland bars or stems or something like that) on one page of MBR, with an advert for said component on the opposite page, quoting the 10/10 rating and an extract from the review!

    Trimix
    Member

    A few years ago a motorcycle mag I read (TBM) they did a review of Yamahas latest off road machine – it would not start when warm and the mag slated it saying it really was not fit for purpose. They reviewed it properly and printed what they thought.

    Yamaha then wrote to the mag and told them they would no longer advertise or let them test anymore bikes.

    The mag actually printed the letter from Yamaha – brilliant move.

    slugwash
    Member

    I took part in a photoshoot/review for one of the big publisher cycling mags a few years back. We were all strongly ‘encouraged’ to change our cycling kit for different apperal with manufacturers logos on them (including the mitts!) provided by the magazine and they more or less totally disregarded any of my opinions/feedback regarding the bikes we ‘tested’. They all got good reviews, as did their choice of components & tyres, which I had some strong disagreements with.

    They were also worried as it was raining (very slightly) during the shoot and, apparently, wet weather pictures don’t help sell bicycle magazines.

    BTW, some of the bikes did come from smallish manufacturers and the kit logos didn’t necessarily match the bikes being tested but I couldn’t help thinking that there was something more behind the window dressing than just making us look like ‘proper’ plastic cyclists.

    Premier Icon midlifecrashes
    Subscriber

    Having taken part in market research and testing on a few bits and pieces, that has all been done anonymously, with the samples being de-branded etc. Does this ever happen for bikes/component tests? I do remember one test where the steel/titanium version of a bike was tested back to back, but that’s about the closest I’ve heard of.

    rocketman
    Member

    I remember when the ISIS splined bottom brackets and cranks first came out, MBR said in a group test on bikes that on the only bike still with square taper cranks, the left hand crank came loose and rounded the taper, thus ruining the cranks. It’s strange how everyone had managed to this point with square tapers.

    Also strange how it’s gone full circle and the wise are reminiscing about how reliable square-taper BBs were and how rubbish these new-fangled external BBs are.

    MrSparkle
    Member

    Trimix, have you read pigface’s comment above?

    tom84
    Member

    Money corrupts everything, no need for dodgy back handers. Speculative justifications for new bits is greed thinly veiled. We are all totally doomed and will go to our deaths mourning time that could have been spent with our loved ones or out on bikes instead of online shopping. Our last thoughts on the issue will be to imagine a world where bike mags were a true extension of a now lost public sphere, where justice was done and where people could read great writing; eloquent and thoughtful enough to stand in the way of our gluttonous and misplaced desires.

    Jus’ sayin’ like

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    few years ago a motorcycle mag I read (TBM) they did a review of Yamahas latest off road machine – it would not start when warm and the mag slated it saying it really was not fit for purpose. They reviewed it properly and printed what they thought.

    Hmm, sounds like a fault with that particular bike, surely? And therefore an unfair basis for a slagging off?

    After buying a frame which got all 5* reviews, and finding it to be rubbish

    Well there’s your mistake. Just because reviewers say it’s good doesn’t mean it’s the right bike for you.

    When people ask me what bike’s best, I say ‘the one you like’ and tell them to go and test ride a few. The idea that there’s a ‘best; bike is a bit silly.

    iDave
    Member

    possibly linked to the thread, I’ve been involved in the sports ‘industry’ for the last 20 years and would never dream of buying any kind of magazine linked to the sports I do. endless repeated mis-information, subjective opinion and marketing bull. i don’t really want to read about any aspect of mountain biking.

    i think the people behind singletrack are great, love their passion and efforts but just can’t read consumer magazines without nausea…..

    Pigface
    Member

    Molgrips A bit off topic but single 4 strokes are a bitch to start when when hot, hence electric starts. My old XR400 had all sorts of carb mods and stuff done to it and it was still a nightmare. The TBM thing was a bit strange why they singled out Yamaha as I said the owner/editor is a bit odd.

    retro83
    Member

    Well there’s your mistake. Just because reviewers say it’s good doesn’t mean it’s the right bike for you.

    When people ask me what bike’s best, I say ‘the one you like’ and tell them to go and test ride a few. The idea that there’s a ‘best; bike is a bit silly.

    Maybe, but 5* given various glaring design flaws is inexcusable really. I mean a quick ride up and down a kerb is enough to expose some of them.

    Besides which like I said, a number of other bikes with very similar geo got utterly slated to the point where on some manufacturers responded with upgraded linkages to alter the angles more to the mags liking (and so moving it further from the allegedly perfect 5* bike ?!)

    Regardless of whether the bike suits me or not, the mag should be consistent. You can’t say that one bike with 343 mm BB height is perfect, but that one with a 342.9 BB height is far too high. (well you can but you’ll get some chunt moaning on forums about it). And yes, those are the actual figures. 0.1 mm difference!

    slugwash
    Member

    would never dream of buying any kind of magazine linked to the sports I do. endless repeated mis-information, subjective opinion and marketing bull.

    Amen. Too frickin’ true.

    and it’s not just sports mags, all ‘hobby’ related magazines are more or less a ‘front’ to raising revenue from advertisers ‘cos hobbies are about equipment, and the drooling over of, and the constantly buying of more and more of it.

    The magazines I enjoy the best are things like Mojo, The Economist and History Today etc, where you can read for hours undisturbed without coming across the endless articles about what equipment you ‘need’ to pursue your sport properly and all that crap. Most cycling, kayaking and outdoor mags that I occasionally buy provide me with about 15 minutes of initial interest and after that might get flicked through whilst in the bath or on the bog.

    And don’t start me on lifestyle mags like LivingETC, with their formulaic, idealistic, media-family-Suffolk-farmhouse-renevation articles and reviews based solely on rehashed manufacter’s press releases. Grrrr.

    PJM1974
    Member

    There’s a lot of BS going on in certain magazines, which is why I don’t generally buy them anymore.

    One thing that really irks me is the constant implication that xyz new standard will render your existing cranks/frame/fork laughably obsolete and will endow you with Peat like bike abilities, which is good because if you don’t buy into it your girlfriend/wife/dog will leave you.

    Yes, 20mm forks are a great idea and I liked it even more when I discovered that my existing hubs could easily be converted at minimal cost. No, I don’t think that going 10 speed will change my life and have no current plans to do so.

    Gachet
    Member

    The trouble is there are alot of gullible people out there that are taken in by the hype of the magazines 10/10 reviews. I remember when the Whyte 46 came out, it was lauded as being revolutionary as it was a 6″ travel bike that weighed under 30lbs with almost faultless performance. After that review I saw loads of people out riding them, who probably would have been having more fun on cheaper 5 inch travel bike.

    The next year, the bike is unchanged but; the forks are too flexy, the head angle is too steep, the bottom bracket is too high and there isn’t enough standover clearance. So those people that have spent £3000 now have to move on to the next big thing.

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