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Bike reviews aren't being helpful

I'm in the market for a new Gravel bike to commute to work. I've been reading all the reviews, speaking to all the local bike shops and scouring the forums for hints of an unbiased and honest opinion.

Bike reviews online do not help. The majority of them score the bikes around 4/4.5 stars. It seems you can't get a bad bike these days nor can you get an exceptional one. I understand that it depends heavily on what the bike will be used for but I feel as though the reviewers, while brilliant at their jobs don't make it easy for the unsure customer by scoring so many bikes such similar scores.

Discuss

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,258
    Maybe it's because they are actually 'not' brilliant at their jobs - and are in fact no more qualified than anyone else.
  • "It seems you can't get a bad bike these days nor can you get an exceptional one"

    You're right here IMO, it's very hard to make a bad bike nowadays. Stuff like groupsets all work well now, no matter how cheap you go.
    The only thing I'd avoid is mechanical disc brakes.
  • arlowoodarlowood Posts: 2,520
    tomedward said:

    I'm in the market for a new Gravel bike to commute to work. I've been reading all the reviews, speaking to all the local bike shops and scouring the forums for hints of an unbiased and honest opinion.

    Bike reviews online do not help. The majority of them score the bikes around 4/4.5 stars. It seems you can't get a bad bike these days nor can you get an exceptional one. I understand that it depends heavily on what the bike will be used for but I feel as though the reviewers, while brilliant at their jobs don't make it easy for the unsure customer by scoring so many bikes such similar scores.

    Discuss

    If you want some suggestions then it would help to give an indication of the budget you have to spend. I'm presuming that since you'll be using it to commute to work then you won't be planning to spend big bucks on something that will have a high theft risk.

    Also on the question of reviews - the majority are produced by publications/websites that have a vested interest in securing advertising revenue from bicycle and components manufacturers. As a result, they are unlikely to jeopardise that revenue stream by totally trashing anything in a published review.

    As many have said in the past, there is no substitute to getting out there and test riding as many bikes as possible and forming your own opinion.

  • As many have said in the past, there is no substitute to getting out there and test riding as many bikes as possible and forming your own opinion.

    I agree completely, which I guess is why I made this thread. The reviews can only give you a very rough guide to if it's the right bike for you or not. All the flowery language and technical talk means nothing if the bike doesn't feel right for you, which then makes the reviews even more superfluous.

    I've made a short list of three bikes which I'm in the process of finding stockists for so that I can ride them before making a final decision.

    Interestingly there isn't one shop that stocks all three makes of bike and I've had to take a few off the list because there aren't any UK distributors. Plus when I've rung the bike shops they (just like the reviewers) want to push the bikes they sell. When asking do you stock A,B and C. It's, yes we stock A but B,C are the worst bikes we've ever had to work on or have ever ridden. It's a minefield of bias buying a new bike these days.
  • rwooferrwoofer Posts: 128
    At 6'6" I depend on reviews a lot as I don't have the luxury of demo's or borrowing other's bikes. I tend to study all the reviews and look at comments on forums. It is often the forums that give a more accurate picture, if you can sift out the obvious biases.
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 8,282

    "It seems you can't get a bad bike these days nor can you get an exceptional one"

    You're right here IMO, it's very hard to make a bad bike nowadays. Stuff like groupsets all work well now, no matter how cheap you go.
    The only thing I'd avoid is mechanical disc brakes.

    Oi. Not necessarily, have cable disks on both the summer bike and the tourer / winter. Never had a problem, bar upgrading the rotors on the summer bike, braking efficiency then back on par. Have had the tourer, a Kona Sutra, for 8 years now and 100% effective braking throughout.
  • My main problem with bike reviews is the lack of context. I'd like each reviewer to list all the bikes they've reviewed in the last few years of the same type and place the current bike they are reviewing in there somewhere - doesn't have to be exact, just give an idea of whether they think bike x is better overall than bike z or whatever
  • amrushtonamrushton Posts: 936
    edited December 2019
    Bike reviews don't mean much. Chances are the maker is paying for ad space or content e.g. gcn with assos/cadex so those brands will be golden. Bikes are often made in in the same factory. Isn't the ti Ribble cgr the same as the planet x?
  • New Space Chicken Free Ranger takes 700*50 tyres, improving on the 45mm standard of recent times, almost matching the Salsa Cutthroat that can take 29*2.35 (~58mm) G Ones.

    Boardman 8.9 looks decent if you grab it in a promo for ~£900 or less, Tiagra hydraulic brakes.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • LongshotLongshot Posts: 935
    Unless the bike is completely unadjustable, it's likely that you can get any of the leading brand models to fit you pretty well as long as you buy the right basic size frame.

    Many will disagree with me but I'm going to say that most cyclists can't really tell the difference between main brand bikes of a similar spec and price if they're set up well for the rider.

    Therefore, pick the one you like the look of the most.
    You can fool some of the people all of the time. Concentrate on those people.
  • Longshot said:

    Unless the bike is completely unadjustable, it's likely that you can get any of the leading brand models to fit you pretty well as long as you buy the right basic size frame.

    Many will disagree with me but I'm going to say that most cyclists can't really tell the difference between main brand bikes of a similar spec and price if they're set up well for the rider.

    Therefore, pick the one you like the look of the most.

    Yep, agree with this.
    One thing, I'd look for a bike without too much propitiatory nonsense that may become a pain in the backside to repair/replace in a few years time.
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