Testing new bikes and bike products is an important part of what Ride On does to keep readers up-to-date. The reviews appear in the magazine, which goes every two months to members*, to subscribers and is sold on Australian newsstands. Back issues are available online to members. The products we recommend are listed below, after an explanation of how we test and rate them.
How we review
Products reviewed by Ride On (all products featured except those in the First Look pages) are used and assessed by reviewers selected by Ride On. The reviewers must assess according to our four areas and put ratings against their assessment. In fact, reviewers are instructed to complete their ratings before writing their review because their language must match their ratings. This is because most people tend to be generous or enthusiastically positive in language but when scoring according to a predetermined scale they feel compelled to award more modest ratings.
The four ratings are:
- Function: how well does it work?
- Quality: will it last? Is it appropriate for intended use, extensive use or limited use?
- Price: Is the price appropriate to the quality? Is it appropriate to the category?
- Appearance: Is it visually appealing?
See the table below for a breakdown of score out of ten for each rating.
Most products, such as bikes, lights, locks, etc, need to be rated in these four aspects to be fully assessed. For some products though, such as books or films, these four ratings aren’t useful, so they are simply given a score out of one hundred.
The four ratings are weighed differently and add up to an overall rating out of one hundred. The Function and Quality ratings are multiplied by four to each become ratings out of forty. Price and Appearance remain ratings out of ten.
This is because Price and Appearance are factors in our decision to buy something but they are more subjective than Function and Quality. So they have a part in the overall rating, but a lesser part. Ride On reviewers give their subjective rating for Price and Appearance but readers can judge for themselves if an item is fine looking or reasonable value in their opinion and whether for them the product deserves a higher overall rating.
The main product assessments are the ratings of Function and Quality, because what matters most to the buyer is “Does it work?” and “Will it last?”.
We find the right reviewer for testing each product because it’s important when assessing Function and Quality that the reviewer:
- is familiar with other products of the type of the one on test, and
- has a reasonable expectation of what the product is meant to do.
For instance, a Gazelle city bike is not meant to go fast, so there’s no point in complaining that it’s slower than a flat-bar roadie; the purpose of a Shimano Nexus hub gear is to be low maintenance, so it’s inappropriate to point out the range of gears and shifting is inferior to a road bike drivetrain.
“Will it last?” is an elastic concept for different riders. Someone who doesn’t ride much might not wear out a low quality product. For general appropriateness of the product, however, we ask reviewers to think of a person who rides every day or most days of the week or every weekend.
Other points to consider
The reviewer must try to think of who this product is most of use to and address them, for instance, “This is a dependable rack for the MTB touring adventurer”.
They also must think about the following and mention their assessment, with evidence, in the text where appropriate:
- How adjustable is it?
- How adaptable is it?
- Does it perform a variety of tasks or one task well?
We know our readers want frank and fearless reviews. Readers are right to be cynical: inclined to believe that magazines give exposure and favourable reviews to companies that advertise. We strive to ensure this is not the case, for the sake of the magazine remaining a worthwhile reference. We request product for testing from Australian distributors according to the categories we want to test and regardless of advertisers the Ad Sales Manager brings in. Furthermore, we test products to destruction if appropriate and products that are serviceable after testing are usually given to Bicycle Network Victoria volunteers, put into a general Bicycle Network Victoria gear library or returned to the supplier. Our reviewers don’t usually request to review a product or get to keep products they review.
The ratings table
Every issue our tests turn up great bikes and accessories that we can recommend. We tag them with ‘Ride On recommends’ in the mag and we list them all together in each issue and here. Suggest other products we should review via comment below or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Commuters||Kona Dew Plus||$859||Apr-May 12|
|Focus Aventura TR 2.0||$1,399||Jun-Jul 12|
|Allegro W1x9||$899||Oct-Nov 12|
|Under $500||Reid City 2||$299||Apr-May 13|
|Road bikes, carbon||Giant TCR Advanced 2||$2,499||Apr-May 13|
|Trek Madone 3.1||$1,999||Dec 11 – Jan 12|
|Road bike, women’s||Trek Lexa SLX||$1,599||Apr-May 12|
|Road bike, steel||Rikulau 931 Ultegra||$4,300||Oct-Nov 13|
|Road bike, disc||Specialized Secteur Expert Disc||$2,199||Dec 12 – Jan 13|
|City bikes||Gazelle Medeo Plus||$1,699||Apr-May 11|
|TokyoBike Bisou||$770||Dec 13 – Jan 14|
|Reid Ladies Vintage||$369||Dec 13 – Jan 14|
|Electric||Ezee Forza||$2,449||Jun-Jul 13|
|Ordica Classic||$1,899||Jun-Jul 13|
|Bionx conversion kit||$1,984||Jun-Jul 13|
|Dahon Bullet Ezee||$1,995||Jun-Jul 13|
|Folding bike||Brompton M3L||$1,495||Dec 11 – Jan 12|
|Touring bike||Vivente World Randonneur||$1,949||Apr-May 11|
|Kid’s first bike||ByK E250||
|Kid’s bike 7–10 years||Fourty Bikes 540||
|Cargo bike – long bike||Yuba Mundo V4||
|Cargo bike – box trike||Christianiabike Model Light||
|Cargo bike – box bike||Christianiabike 2wheeler||
|29er||Giant XTC 29er 2||
|Cyclocross||Focus Mares CX 4.0||
|Merida Cyclo Cross 4||
|Chain lube||Green Oil||$20||Feb-Mar 11|
|Child trailer||Croozer Kid for 2||$875|
|Child seat||Yepp Mini||$169||Oct-Nov 13|
|Combination pedals||Shimano M324||$85||Aug-Sep 10|
|Electrolyte replacement||Hydralyte Sports sachets||$20||Feb-Mar 12|
|GPS||Garmin Edge 500||$299||Dec 10 – Jan 11|
|Home storage||Steadyrack||$99||Dec 09 – Jan 10|
|Kid’s helmet||Nutcase Little Nutty||$100||Oct-Nov 10|
|Knicks, mens||Sugoi Evolution||$125||Feb-Mar 12|
|BBB Squadra Shorts||$70||Feb-Mar 12|
|Bib knicks, womens||Assos F1 13 Lady s5||$299||Oct-Nov 12|
|Netti Ladies Elite email@example.com||Oct-Nov 12|
|Knicks, womens||Ground Effect Sirens||$149||Oct-Nov 12|
|Lights, compact||Moon Mask front||$60||Apr-May 13|
|Moon Shield rear||$60||Apr-May 13|
|Lights, high-powered||Moon Power 500 front||$149||Apr-May 12|
|Lights, dynamo||Busch and Muller Lumotec IQ-Fly front||$149||Apr-May 11|
|Supernova E3 rear||$130||Apr-May 11|
|Light, supplementary||Skully||$22||Apr-May 11|
|Locks, D-lock||Krptonite New York Fahgettaboudit||$110||Dec 13 – Jan 14|
|Abus Granit X-Plus 54||$199||Feb-Mar 11|
|Vulcan VSL101B Supreme 2000||$40||Feb-Mar 11|
|Locks, flexible||Knog Straightjacket Fatty||$36||Dec 13 – Jan 14|
|Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit chain with New York mini d-lock||$150||Dec 13 – Jan 14|
|Lock, supplementary||Kryptonite Krypto Flex||$20||Feb-Mar 11|
|Mudguards||SKS Chromoplastics||$110||Jun-Jul 09|
|Multi-tool||Topeak Mini 20 Pro||$60||Jun-Jul 11|
|Panniers||Ortlieb Back Roller Plus pair||$399||Oct-Nov 10|
|Pumps, portable||Lezyne Pressure Drive||$55||Tel: 03 83278080||Jun-Jul 10|
|Tioga Alloy Road Pump Dual Action||$40||Jun-Jul 10|
|Pumps, floor||Serfas FMP-500||$125||Feb-Mar 10|
|Topeak Joe Blow Turbo||$120||Feb-Mar 10|
|Rack||Topeak Explorer||$50||Feb-Mar 11|
|Rain jackets||Endura Luminitefirstname.lastname@example.org||Aug-Sep 13|
|Ground Effect She Shell||$229 and $5 postage||Aug-Sep 09|
|Netti D4 email@example.com||Aug-Sep 12|
|Rain pants||Ground Effect Helter Skelters||$129 and $5 postage||Aug-Sep 12|
|Ride guides||Where to Ride||$35||Feb-Mar 11|
|Riding trousers||Outlier 4season OG pants||$190||Oct-Nov 10|
|Shy shorts||Ground Effect Supertankers and Underdogs||
$89, $59 & $5 postage
|Serfas Carma Womens||
|Sunglasses||Addidas Evil Eye||$350||Dec 11 – Jan 12|
|Serfas Mirador||$89.95||Dec 11 – Jan 12|
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