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Discussion Starter #1
Do you see value in them, other than comparing specs, features, and prices? Do you respect the opinions of any particular magazines, websites, etc., or would you pay more attention to actual owners giving feedback in the comments section?

As I am checking out new bikes, I often check the reviews, and I suspect that many of them are just shills for the manufacturers. It may not be that they are paid to review favorably by any bike maker, but they no doubt take ads from them, and get chances for extended 'test rides' on nice new bikes.

Am I way off on this, or do you also see too many rosy write ups, and few legit criticisms of any bike? There is a lot of good value to be had these days, but they can't all be big winners, right?
 

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Gone.
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Several years ago I dated a woman that owned a motorcycle magazine, and I can tell you that every review or article that was in there was sponsored and paid for by someone. I don't know if the entire magazine industry is like that, but the part I saw certainly was.

I think articles that give specs and raw data would be useful to some extent for a comparison, but anything else is likely going to be subjective and biased.
 

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American Legion Rider
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Several years ago I dated a woman that owned a motorcycle magazine, and I can tell you that every review or article that was in there was sponsored and paid for by someone. I don't know if the entire magazine industry is like that, but the part I saw certainly was.

I think articles that give specs and raw data would be useful to some extent for a comparison, but anything else is likely going to be subjective and biased.
I subscribe to Motorcycle Consumer News for that very reason. Not one advertisement in there. Could it be better? Sure. But I like that generally they are not pandering to any company. At least not on the surface. What goes on behind closed doors who knows.
 

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I like the "review" articles mostly for the info on the bike that they give. They are simply entertaining and informative in that respect. But I take any opinions the author gives with a grain of salt. Someone can tell me a seat is too soft, or that the throttle feels too abrupt, but until I try it for myself I won't know if I will like it or not.

Head to head reviews are sometimes a little better. But even then the author often doesn't declare one or the other a winner. They'll tell you that one bike is great for this or that, and the other bike is good for that or this. Unless a bike is really, really bad, they just don't seem to want to offend any manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
every review or article that was in there was sponsored and paid for by someone
I notice some sites are simply cutting and pasting manufacturer self-love:

http://www.totalmotorcycle.com/motorcycles/2016/2016-Moto-Guzzi-V7II-Racer-ABS.htm

"THE NEW V7 II RANGE, RAISES THE BAR IN TERMS OF SAFETY AND STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND RIDING COMFORT.

V7 II RACER COMPLETES THE V7 II RANGE, BOASTING A COMPLETELY NEW..."

http://www.motoguzzi-us.com/motorcycles/v7-ii-racer-abs.html

"THE NEW V7 II RANGE, RAISES THE BAR IN TERMS OF SAFETY AND STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND RIDING COMFORT.

V7 II RACER COMPLETES THE V7 II RANGE, BOASTING A COMPLETELY NEW..."


Someone can tell me a seat is too soft, or that the throttle feels too abrupt, but until I try it for myself I won't know if I will like it or not...
Yes, I see conflicting reports on the same bikes:

"Throttle response is sluggish..." vs. "Fueling is perfect through the entire range..."

...they just don't seem to want to offend any manufacturer.
^This seems to be the case in most reviews, though it seems a bit unethical.
 

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Retired twice: Navy and as a govt contractor
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There is a lot of good value to be had these days, but they can't all be big winners, right?
There's all kind of people just like there's a lot of different bikes. Pointing out a bike's strengths and weakness might help others narrow the field in terms of what somebody wants. There's probably very few truly bad bikes, so what works for you may be a bad fit for someone else and vice versa.

So much of a bike is ergos too, which is difficult to ascertain from a review, I'd never buy based on reviews. There have been bikes I thought I liked that didn't fit well and bikes I never would have considered, but when I sat on them I thought, hey, this fits pretty good.
 

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I used to subscribe to Cycle World and Motorcycle Consumer News, if you look through Cycle World when they have a "test" of a bike there will be at least five or six advertisements from that company, just not of the particular model being tested. Are they buying a good review with advertising dollars? Kind of hard to believe anything else. MCN on the other hand doesn't accept ads, now I only subscribe to MCN. Do I trust everything I read when they never really "pan" anything? Not really but they also give you some of the warts or not so good so you can then go look at it for yourself to see if you find it good enough. I believe the specifications, dynamometer readings, weight full of gas and gas mileage can be very important in narrowing down choices as well, and oh yeah prices as tested to.
 

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I subscribe to Motorcycle Consumer News for that very reason. Not one advertisement in there. Could it be better? Sure. But I like that generally they are not pandering to any company. At least not on the surface. What goes on behind closed doors who knows.
Don't be so sure they aren't. It would be pretty hard for a magazine to publish based on subscriptions alone. Just because you don't see an advertisement doesn't mean they are't getting sponsorships from several different companies. And, (in other magazines, not MCN,) even if an article favors one brand or product you may not see a single add from that same company in that particular issue.

One thing I have seen happen was that a company buys, for example, a front page article. When you pick up the issue and read it you're thinking that the magazine staff somehow discovered this product or company by accident or through insider connections. Often you think they got a "sneak peak" ahead of time at something. You'd think there was a bunch of people sitting around in an office, talking and writing about motorcycles and running back to their private shop and test track, and that manufacturers are beating a path to their door to let them try out their products.

The reality is that the magazine made a sales call to the featured company and sold them the front page spot, (or any other spot they could sell,) and often times that package will include additional advertising. A favored tactic is to run the article but hold the adds until the following issue. The private test track is usually the neighborhood street and the shop is some guy's home garage.
 

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MCN admits up front that their test track is the streets where they get ticketed. And you can publish without advertisement if you don't have stockholders that are only interested in profits. Exactly where MCN sits I don't know as I've only subscribed recently after I discovered they didn't have advertisement. Are they accepting funds under the table? I have no idea. I do suspect they are getting some from someplace and I suspect it might be from forums of all places but I don't know anything about the operation yet. Just the fact I see no advertisement in their magazine and I like that and will continue with them until I learn different. Do you have inside info there Eye_m_no_angel?
 

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Swamp Rat Rider
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Some Reviews are Pretty Good, but most have at least some Bias to them that take with a Grain of Salt .. People are different and what to some might be everything you wanted in a Motorcycle to others does not even come close to what you are truly looking for in one ..
 

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I tend to distrust published reviews of just about everything, including motorcycles.

I look to online postings etc , and I don't usually even read the rosy write ups from delighted riders of a new bike, everyone knows that a happy new owner always has the best machine in the world and overlooks the flaws he finds as he tries to get validation of his choice.

My technique is that I scour the help forums for that brand etc looking for what people are bitching about, complaining about, and looking for help with. You will quickly see patterns emerge if there are any issues with a given bike...and learn how to deal with them if you do make the choice to buy it anyway.
 

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Several years ago when I still subscribed to Cycle World I was invited to participate in the "Cycle World Ten Best Riding Experience". As some of you may know Cycle World lists the "ten best" bikes in various categories such as motocross, touring, superbike, etc. each year. This list comes out in the spring about the time most bike sales happen, I thought I would get to ride at least a couple different bikes on the list. When the day came it turned out it was a "partnership" of Cycle World and Ducati to sell their Diavel model, A test ride, Ducati sales reps, a Cycle World editor and some Umbrella girls were on hand to try to complete the sales pitch. It was a nice bike, just not for me, if you didn't slobber over the bike and act like you were ready to buy right now you wouldn't "get" the girl or any attention from anyone else. Basically that is when I decided to cancel my subscription to that magazine. I think all Motorcycle journalists have to kiss a little butt if they want to keep being invited to bike companies press opportunities, but if there is such an egregious lack of integrity it should not be rewarded with my subscription dollars.
 

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I have read several bike magazines for many years. I can not recall a single article where they just came out and said, "Do not get this bike' It is poorly made/designed" Even in a comparison between bikes they all have nice things to say about all the competitors. Still I like to read them just to see what is going on in the industry. And because they often talk about nice touring areas and ideas.
 

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You need to take reading commercial magazines for what they are. Basic info and news on bikes, parts, and accessories. Read them for entertainment, not for gospel like reviews. I enjoy Cycleworld, Motorcyclist, etc, for pure enjoyment. If you haven't read a Joe Gresh article in Motorcyclist, you're missing some pure and simple entertainment writing. Read his Motorcycle of the Year article to see what I mean, it answer the very question that this thread is asking: http://www.motorcyclistonline.com/authors/joe-gresh
 

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Conditions aside, this ride to Daytona was a brilliant idea. The rotten weather showcased the Scout’s strengths: stability, smoothness, a comfortable seat, and unflappable high-speed mile eating that left me free to concentrate all my attention on not freezing to death.
That's a quote from the very guy Lurch mentioned and points out why people have trouble with reviews. He praises the Scouts stability, yet the one complaint I see over and over about the Scout is the tires which equates to poor stability.

It's impossible to give an honest review if you are being courted by the manufacture. I like many go to forums related to a particular model and look for the complaints and problems. There's the real review.
 

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I have subscribed to Cycle World Magazine since about 1966 and I look forward to every issue with this caveat: If they keep taking content and pages away the RAG will disappear in about 5 years. The one I'm holding in my hand has only 82 pages maybe 30% of what it was a one time. Of that, 42 pages are Advertising!:mad: April 2014 Edition.

Between the Internet where I can normally read about the new bikes and their technology long before it's in print in the MC rags and the ones I do subscribe to, I manage to keep abreast :)p) of what's being offered.

I don't so much blame the testers and writers for their maybe biased reports as I do the Sponsors that plan a route that brings out what they want out and hides what they don't want known, just by the very geography and road conditions involved.

I don't blame BMW, Ducati, Aprilia or MV Agusta for showcasing their products in the Alps or in the wine country of Spain or a place where the bikes can shine.

I don't blame HD, or Victory or Indian or the JAP cruiser MFG's for not hosting their bikes over the same roads!

You know what I mean here, a test of a 1 ton, diesel dually pulling a 13,000 lb trailer will be orchestrated by the MFG to bring out the best in their offerings, by driving in the hills and mountains etc.

You can't do a I hour, 50 mile test on a bike under ideal conditions and have your opinion mean anything in the REAL world.

I have often thought that BMW and Ducati are sure spending their venture capitol and entertainment budget on certain mag's and especially Cycle World.

Sam:coffeescreen:
 

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Shaper Of All Things Metal
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It's the same for car magazines, airplane magazines, gun magazines... whatever your interest. Read them for whatever entertainment value you find or staying current.

Years ago before the internet, I would find favorite writers that you got to 'know' through reading their columns regularly. Often over time you came to trust their reporting when you discovered they had the same mindset. Today's writers are a different breed... most seem to have a price.
 

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They had a price then too but they had integrity. Something not well known anymore.:)
 
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