How We Rate Bikes

Bike review can be a useful tool in evaluating your next purchase, keeping track of industry trends, or just some good off-season reading. That being said, all review need to be viewed with a critical eye, considering the motives behind those writing them.

In our case, we don’t have industry hook ups, bikes to sell, or advertisers to keep happy. We are just a couple of guys who buy their own gear. We don’t have any ulterior motives to rating a bike higher than it deserves. That is not to say that we are without bias, but we will try to be as transparent as possible in addressing our biases, and do our best to explain where they come from.

 

So, before we can start posting bike reviews, we would like to explain the criteria we intend use in evaluating said bikes. 

Get the whole scoop after the break.

In most cases, we will be evaluating each bike ‘as is’ from the manufacturer, not what it could be with a few tweaks. So if a bike has a terrible set of wheels, the whole bike score is going to suffer. When situations like this arise, we will do our best to explain our issues, so each reader can tease out which parts are important to them. The main reason for this is to keep the concept of value as level as possible.

 

 

We rate bike based on our own riding style and needs. It is possible to use the individual criteria (rather than the weighted final score) to see how a given bike meets your individual needs.

 

Our main criteria will be the following:

 

Comfort (rated out of 4):  Ride comfort and road dampening. Range from a 1 (harsh, jarring ride) to a 4 (smooth, comfortable ride).

 

Handling (rated out of 4): Road manners and feel, including braking. Basically trying to flush out how confident the bike makes you feel. Front end stiffness will play a role in how grounded the bike feels. A stable, predictable bike that allows you to push harder without feeling like you are at the limit will rate higher than a twitchy bike.

 

Acceleration (Rated out of 4):  Power transfer; how much pedal force feels like it is being put to forward motion. This is noticed most while accelerating and climbing.

 

Total out of 20: We take each individual criteria and weight them to get a total out of 20. It is to this score that we add and subtract bonus points.

 

Bonus: Bonus points are awarded in an attempt to tease out certain features that we feel contribute to making a quality bike.

 

Build - A bonus based on build kit of a given bike. For example, a bike that is an Ultegra build but has a 105 cassette and chain will get a -1.

 

Appeal – This is a subjective measure both of the bike and the brand. Considers desirability and sex appeal (for lack of a better term). For example, we tend to have a soft spot for the historic European companies, or bikes with racing heritage. An appeal bonus will usually be an indication of improved resale value as well.

 

Value - This is a very important consideration for us. This is a measure of the the amount of performance that you are getting for your money. This is for bikes as a whole and compared to bikes in its class

 

User Friendliness - Does the frame accept both Di2 and Mechanical? Is it easy to work on?


All of this is computed and a final weighted score out of 10 is given.

 

 

 

What about weight?

We don’t have an actual category for bike weight. While we understand that weight is important, it is not a measure of how a bike performs. A few hundred extra grams can sometimes scare people off of what could be a great bike based on all of the other characteristics that matter. In addition, we feel that our rating system indirectly covers the differences that weight can have on ride qualities, without having to consider weight directly. For example, all things being equal, a lighter bike is going to tend to feel quicker, both in terms of handling and acceleration, and probably be rated high because of it. Finally, a simple weight rating does not consider where on the bike the weight is located. A light frame with heavy wheels is not going to feel as snappy as a heavier frame with light wheels. Alternatively, a light bike may ride poorly because of flimsy wheels.

 

We hope you will find this helpful in understanding how our reviews work, and welcome any feedback in order to improve on our system. We look forward to getting reviews up soon!


The Bicycle and Rider team.