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Do Pepsi / Coke bike reviews exist?

Thigh_burnThigh_burn Posts: 489
edited December 2017 in The cake stop
What I mean is, has anyone seen any reviews of bikes that have been de-stickered and are therefore blind tests? I'm sure that it must be very difficult to ride a bike worth say c£4k and not have an inherent bias that leads to a that review it as great in one way or another. But would love to see direct comparisons of very expensive vs reasonably priced bikes. I wondered if any exist.
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  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    The cheap vs expensive components might be a bit of a giveaway.
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  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 11,089
    A debadged Pinarello will still obviously be a Pinarello.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    Interesting idea. It may be possible to come up with a protocol for a blinded test. I suppose you'd have to cover the frame to make it unrecognizable whilst not affecting the performance. Difficult. You'll effect aerodynamics if you cover the frame with much, but perhaps it could work to a degree. Is there a way to 'stop' the rider from looking at the bike, maybe using some kind of blinkers? Also tricky, but probably not impossible.

    You'd also need to consider whether you standardize the cockpit so that the rider can't recognize the bike from the points of contact.

    I'd like to see someone with access to a lot of bikes take a stab at it.
  • Only way it could possibly work, would be to strip a bike back to just the frame and stick on a benchmark setup. Say Shimano 105 with the same saddle, bars, stem, wheels tyres etc for every test so the only difference is the frameset. End of the day, you are testing the frame not the same DA Di2 groupset seen on a dozen other bikes. It is a bit dumb to say in a review that bike x has fabulous brakes or it shifts like a dream when they are components made by a 3rd party.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    or just blindforld the person ..... but then I fear the bike with the most laid back geometry and 42mm rubber on it will feel the nicest
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,177
    A groupset on an expensive bike is going to be pants if it's not set up correctly.

    I can't see that anyone would go to great lengths to do a review like that.

    Rest assured that an expensive bike will be a bit better than a cheaper bike - its impossible to quantify it meaningfiully though.

    I do think some reviews end up being pointless - journalists arent spending their cash on the kit. It would be much different if they had to fork out a grand for a set of training wheels - then lets see what they make of them. Unless journalists salaries are suddenly six figures I think it might be a bit different to their current mindset. CW has had some ridiculous reviews.
  • fenix wrote:
    A groupset on an expensive bike is going to be pants if it's not set up correctly.

    .

    If its done by a magazine/website im pretty sure they will have someone who knows how to set up a bike correctly.

    It doesn't have to be a budget groupset. It could be Ultegra 6800. Its found on a hell of a lot of bikes that cost 3-4 grand. all that needs to be done is negate the groupset from the equation. But to be frank, its really not likely to happen since bike reviews are always going to be subjective.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,365
    Back in the 1980s when custom steel frames were the ultimate top end buy, there were some interesting articles in US cycling mags doing blind tests of identical looking frames produced by custom builders out of different steels. I can remember one article - although I can't find a link - in which testers tried out otherwise identical bikes built with several different Columbus steels from low to high end. From memory, the surprising result was that they preferred the ride of the lower end steel.

    Here's an article I found from 1987 in which testers tried identical custom frames built with Columbus SL (a popular road racing set of tubing) and Tange Prestige (a much stronger heat-treated set of tubing which can be built slightly lighter). Interestingly, they preferred the bog standard Columbus rather than the fancy Tange in a blind test. Have a look at:
    http://www.bgcycles.com/new-page-1/

    It would be a fascinating exercise to see this sort of testing applied to modern carbon bikes.
  • Mercia Man wrote:
    Back in the 1980s when custom steel frames were the ultimate top end buy, there were some interesting articles in US cycling mags doing blind tests of identical looking frames produced by custom builders out of different steels. I can remember one article - although I can't find a link - in which testers tried out otherwise identical bikes built with several different Columbus steels from low to high end. From memory, the surprising result was that they preferred the ride of the lower end steel.

    Here's an article I found from 1987 in which testers tried identical custom frames built with Columbus SL (a popular road racing set of tubing) and Tange Prestige (a much stronger heat-treated set of tubing which can be built slightly lighter). Interestingly, they preferred the bog standard Columbus rather than the fancy Tange in a blind test. Have a look at:
    http://www.bgcycles.com/new-page-1/

    It would be a fascinating exercise to see this sort of testing applied to modern carbon bikes.

    Thing is, a steel frame stripped of all markings would look pretty much the same as any other frame even today. But carbon bikes are so diverse in shape that you can tell a brand just by looking at some of them. Im sure you could pick out a BMC with no branding or a Pinarello with asymmetric frames.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    One of the German bike magazines are good at proper testing. I know they've done tyres to death a few times. British Mags just seem ride the bike and rave about them. It's quite hard to buy a bad bike now.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Back in the 1980s when custom steel frames were the ultimate top end buy, there were some interesting articles in US cycling mags doing blind tests of identical looking frames produced by custom builders out of different steels. I can remember one article - although I can't find a link - in which testers tried out otherwise identical bikes built with several different Columbus steels from low to high end. From memory, the surprising result was that they preferred the ride of the lower end steel.

    Here's an article I found from 1987 in which testers tried identical custom frames built with Columbus SL (a popular road racing set of tubing) and Tange Prestige (a much stronger heat-treated set of tubing which can be built slightly lighter). Interestingly, they preferred the bog standard Columbus rather than the fancy Tange in a blind test. Have a look at:
    http://www.bgcycles.com/new-page-1/

    It would be a fascinating exercise to see this sort of testing applied to modern carbon bikes.

    Depends on how low and high. I have two old Kona mountain bikes. A 1995 Hahanna (bottom end) I use for commuting and a 1996 Explosif (very much top end) The difference is night and day.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,365
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Back in the 1980s when custom steel frames were the ultimate top end buy, there were some interesting articles in US cycling mags doing blind tests of identical looking frames produced by custom builders out of different steels. I can remember one article - although I can't find a link - in which testers tried out otherwise identical bikes built with several different Columbus steels from low to high end. From memory, the surprising result was that they preferred the ride of the lower end steel.

    Here's an article I found from 1987 in which testers tried identical custom frames built with Columbus SL (a popular road racing set of tubing) and Tange Prestige (a much stronger heat-treated set of tubing which can be built slightly lighter). Interestingly, they preferred the bog standard Columbus rather than the fancy Tange in a blind test. Have a look at:
    http://www.bgcycles.com/new-page-1/

    It would be a fascinating exercise to see this sort of testing applied to modern carbon bikes.

    Thing is, a steel frame stripped of all markings would look pretty much the same as any other frame even today. But carbon bikes are so diverse in shape that you can tell a brand just by looking at some of them. Im sure you could pick out a BMC with no branding or a Pinarello with asymmetric frames.

    You are quite right. It's easy to identify brands by sight. Nowadays, cycling is largely about branding. With virtually all carbon frames made in the same massive Far Eastern factories, distinctive styling lets the world know you are riding, say, a Pinarello or Bianchi with decades of Italian "heritage". Ownership joy is perhaps more down to pride of riding a high end brand rather than simple performance. Or am I being cynical?

    I still think blind tests would be an interesting exercise. Sadly, as a retired journalist myself, I feel that most tests in modern magazines are shallow - they read like PR puffs. Having said that, I do respect road.cc tests by knowledgeable journalists like Mat Brett and David Arthur. It would be good to see them try the blind test idea.
  • Being cynical myself a bit, There are a lot of reviews that are so blatantly sponsored by the manufacturer that they will always sound magnificent. Cycling Plus are very guilty of this (im sure)
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,365
    Being cynical myself a bit, There are a lot of reviews that are so blatantly sponsored by the manufacturer that they will always sound magnificent. Cycling Plus are very guilty of this (im sure)

    To be fair to my fellow journalists, I must point out that sponsored articles in newspapers and magazines have to be labelled as such - for example, under the heading "advertisement feature".

    However, cutbacks in staffing mean that many journalists no longer have the time to do thorough tests. They do their best under difficult conditions. Regurgitating press releases is common, as is the knowledge that upsetting advertisers can have serious consequences for profitability and jobs.
  • I think with bike mags (as well as many other consumer items) since they rely heavily on manufacturers loaning them the bits to review, there is a little bit of you scratch my back..... It must be very difficult to get hold of brand new unreleased bikes or components on the cheap and if the manufacturer "offers" to lend it for free in exchange for a favourable review nudge nudge wink wink then everyone is happy.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,607
    There are plenty of good riders that couldn't tell the appearance of a Bianchi from a Planet X if you took the stickers off, not everyone is that into the latest models. Yes a Pinarello wobbly fork (do they still do them) is a give away but it would be possible to desticker a lot of bikes. I haven't really followed the bike market for a few years, I've got bikes I'm happy with and I've been in this long enough to no longer crave the latest model and the claims it's ever stiffer, ever lighter and will surge forwards ever faster as I press on the pedals with my ever decreasing fitness.

    I don't know about the economics of it, are manufacturers happy to provide anonymous bikes for testing, and so much of a bike is about the set up that arguably you aren't really just judging the frame but the fit, the way the frame works with the components etc. It'd be interesting admittedly but I'm not sure it'd actually tell us much more.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    Only way it could possibly work, would be to strip a bike back to just the frame and stick on a benchmark setup. Say Shimano 105 with the same saddle, bars, stem, wheels tyres etc for every test so the only difference is the frameset. End of the day, you are testing the frame not the same DA Di2 groupset seen on a dozen other bikes. It is a bit dumb to say in a review that bike x has fabulous brakes or it shifts like a dream when they are components made by a 3rd party.

    Yes, it's probably the most pointless part of any review using ink to say that the 6800 shifters work nicely. They work exactly as well as they do on the next bike.
  • There are plenty of good riders that couldn't tell the appearance of a Bianchi from a Planet X if you took the stickers off, not everyone is that into the latest models.

    I agree with that, but average rider man on the street doesn't review bikes for a living. The people who are probably will know every little detail from at least the most popular brands. Treks Isospeed decoupler won't be seen on any other brand, nor BMC's little fin under the top tube, Pinarello asymmetric etc etc. This doesn't account for every brand out there but I could quite easily point out a Giant Propel from a 100 yards without branding. Its so bloody obvious.
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,436
    There are plenty of good riders that couldn't tell the appearance of a Bianchi from a Planet X if you took the stickers off, not everyone is that into the latest models.

    I agree with that, but average rider man on the street doesn't review bikes for a living. The people who are probably will know every little detail from at least the most popular brands. Treks Isospeed decoupler won't be seen on any other brand, nor BMC's little fin under the top tube, Pinarello asymmetric etc etc. This doesn't account for every brand out there but I could quite easily point out a Giant Propel from a 100 yards without branding. Its so bloody obvious.

    For this blinded testing to be useful, it would have to involve testing by a lot of riders (100+?). The useful information would be whether most riders (preferably riders just like me riding on censored roads like my local ones) can tell the difference between a Bianchi and a PX.
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,939
    pblakeney wrote:
    A debadged Pinarello will still obviously be a Pinarello.

    unless it's a 'chinarello', be good to see a genuine debadged test between the 2 on GCN :D
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 11,089
    pblakeney wrote:
    A debadged Pinarello will still obviously be a Pinarello.

    unless it's a 'chinarello', be good to see a genuine debadged test between the 2 on GCN :D
    Finally, a blind test that could prove conclusive.
    One way, or the other!
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • bianchimoonbianchimoon Posts: 3,939
    pblakeney wrote:
    pblakeney wrote:
    A debadged Pinarello will still obviously be a Pinarello.

    unless it's a 'chinarello', be good to see a genuine debadged test between the 2 on GCN :D
    Finally, a blind test that could prove conclusive.
    One way, or the other!

    Don't think Pinnarello will play ball with this one tho, and GCN wouldn't have the balls to risk killing the golden goose :lol:
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,177
    I'm sure I've seen lab tests done with Chinarellos vs genuine. It came out that they were less strong than the genuine frames. No shocks there. http://www.velonews.com/not-all-frames- ... feit-bikes
  • fenix wrote:
    I'm sure I've seen lab tests done with Chinarellos vs genuine. It came out that they were less strong than the genuine frames. No shocks there. http://www.velonews.com/not-all-frames- ... feit-bikes

    That confirms everything I have said about counterfeit frames. It’s looks only and that’s where the similarities end. They will never offer the same performance as a genuine frame. And to those who say they own one and say different they either have no idea how different they are, don’t actually ride much and spend all their time posing outside coffee shops or are lying to save face.
  • Thanks for the thoughtful responses.

    To be clear, I wasn't talking fakes vs genuines, I was thinking more like comparing a Pinnarello to a Planet X, or a Parlee to a £1.5k Giant. So both are serious bikes, but one is in super-bike category, the other much more run of the mill.

    In the end, it would be about trying to judge in some way, value for money.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 11,089
    Thigh_burn wrote:
    In the end, it would be about trying to judge in some way, value for money.
    It would conclude that you get diminishing returns on investment.
    As it is with all sports/hobbies. Not what the graph below shows, but similar...
    For accuracy, read performance. For effort, read money.

    diminished_returns.jpg
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • FatTedFatTed Posts: 1,214
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Back in the 1980s when custom steel frames were the ultimate top end buy, there were some interesting articles in US cycling mags doing blind tests of identical looking frames produced by custom builders out of different steels. I can remember one article - although I can't find a link - in which testers tried out otherwise identical bikes built with several different Columbus steels from low to high end. From memory, the surprising result was that they preferred the ride of the lower end steel.

    Here's an article I found from 1987 in which testers tried identical custom frames built with Columbus SL (a popular road racing set of tubing) and Tange Prestige (a much stronger heat-treated set of tubing which can be built slightly lighter). Interestingly, they preferred the bog standard Columbus rather than the fancy Tange in a blind test. Have a look at:
    http://www.bgcycles.com/new-page-1/

    It would be a fascinating exercise to see this sort of testing applied to modern carbon bikes.

    here you go
    http://www.habcycles.com/m7.html
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,365
    Thanks, FatTed. That's the article I remembered. An interesting piece. Far more detailed and thoughtful than the shallow tests you read in cycling magazines today. We fondly imagine we would prefer the ride of the most expensive top end frame yet a true blind test such as this one suggests otherwise.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 11,089
    A good article no doubt. He did pick one of the most expensive framesets though, and I would have thought 1/2 pound weight difference would have been noticeable.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,365
    Deciding whether you like a bike is a subjective thing. Even with seven bikes looking virtually identical, the Bicycle Guide writer described how he felt he might have been influenced by the larger diameter top tube on some of the Columbus tube sets. Psychology comes into it. I'm sure most people would think they preferred the ride of an expensive frame to a cheaper one if they knew what they were riding. And changing tyres would no doubt have far greater effect than changing from higher to lower end steel.

    Another question to puzzle over is whether a stiffer frame is better and/or quicker. The received wisdom is that stiff frame, wheels, stem etc are the best. Yet here is an article that suggests frames built out of super light, thinner and more flexible tubing are quicker than stiffer frames. All steel, of course. https://janheine.wordpress.com/2011/02/ ... stiffness/

    It's the configuration of the frame - tube thickness, butting and diameters - which determines the stiffness of a steel bike. Expensive steels are stronger but no stiffer in themselves.
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