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Correct, Cam is no rogue agent. But none of us think that article was
Confession: I had to look that word up.
Conclusion: you should too, because we see value in the article, and if it
were meretricious to us, we wouldn't. Stoked to have learned a new word today,
In the case of buying review bikes, you open a different can of worms. There
are many small sites out there started by enthusiasts who test what they own -
sometimes they buy something solely with the intention of testing and writing
about it, but usually that is not the case. I doubt I have to explain the
inherent bias of tests performed under those conditions. Then there are very
moneyed sites that buy all review samples…yet I fail to be able to list one
off the top of my head. The bike industry has exactly zero publications that
work that way. Globally. Car industry - I can't say for sure but I'm going to
guess it's the same, because they routinely test cars whose value comparison
obliterates the difference between a 4k and 10k bike, and I doubt they're
paying for 150k Porsches for reviews and then selling them.
As for bias: yes, it's impossible to ignore. Cam wrote a great piece about
We don't hide from it, but by being up front about the fact that a review has
bias, it helps a reader understand it better. In fact I recently read a great
article by a tech reporter that claimed that without bias his reviews would
have zero value - and he was right. The word bias is like the words ignorant
or selfish - they have negative connotations but shouldn't always be taken
On traffic: yep, we're getting good numbers on this article. But there are
also people saying things like "shame on NSMB" or "I'm going to stop reading
your site as a result of this article". And that's fine - not because we want
to lose readers or because we get upset when people don't agree, but because
we welcome open debate and expression here (and secretly we think even the
haters will be back to read something. sometime. boy we sure hope so, anyway).
But sticking our head in the sand rather than looking into this issue for
ourselves would not be doing our readers any favours, We can't have an
educated opinion before becoming more familiar with the issue, and regardless
of how contentious this is, it will be coming to a head at your local Trail
network one day. We could pretend this doesn't exist, or we could examine the
issue, and doing that is not as simple as one opinion piece. Tackling an issue
responsibly requires examination from multiple angles, even if some of those
opinions aren't popular. Reviewing at least one bike of this type is a
necessary part of that process. By all means take a pro or con stance, but
let's not be so insecure that we can't fathom being able to do the diligence,
come to intelligent conclusions, and then mobilize our numbers to defend our
trails and access and maybe figure out whether these bikes have a place for
some people in some places - even if those people are different than we are
and those places are specific trails designed to handle increased traffic and
access is heavily regulated.
Testing a bike can be seen by some as 'promoting' and I won't deny there is
value for Haibike in having their bike tested here. But anyone that reads this
article is also going to read the comments - and having participation in the
discussion around these bikes is important. Writing that we only write
positive reviews is a little unfair to us, I think. We point out problems with
bikes or components, and a lot of people respect the reviews we publish as a
result. I also have had several product managers and engineers tell me that
they would rather see us pick something apart than gloss over it - they like
to be challenged to be better, too, and the good ones have enough confidence
to know that they're not perfect, but are always trying to get better. I'd
like to think we're like that, too, which is another reason why we welcome our
critics, as long as they're reasonable.
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