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2017-1-22: It's time to do something else than just review. I've been working on various new ventures unrelated to bicycle stuff which took up my time, but I want to make a change with improved components, such as better rear-racks, pumps, lights with better beam shape, better electronics, tools, kickstands and more. From analysing anything that I come across, I always get ideas to improve that thing, and I have lots of ideas to improve lots of things in bicycling. If you know a company who might be interested (the ones I tried have so far not replied), let me know...
Very extensive tests:
The following tests/experiences are not as extensive but definitely interesting:
Each donation is appreciated, but even better is to buy a Brooks saddle or bicycle lighting parts!
2014-8-6, with addition 2017-2-13: Over the years I have received various questions and comments, such as that a bicycle manufacturer should have hired me in relation to kickstands, or 'why hasn't Philips hired you?', etc. Well, these comments are good (the naysayers need not comment) but the reason is obvious: First of all note that I am interested in doing things right, according to proper test criteria. This means giving criticism... In products my ideas would also change from product-only to product family.
I will give an example, if Philips had hired me: The ball-head debacle with the Saferide 80 would have been avoided as I instantly knew this would be a bad idea. What else I would have done is to steer developments towards a non-StVZO killer dynamo headlamp based on the Saferide 80 which would undoubtedly have wiped out all other top dynamo headlamps, but also, I would have put a lot of emphasis on a very cheap headlamp (much cheaper than the Saferide 40) so as to cover the most important segments: High priced/high performance for advertising and status symbols that will give the entire brand's image a boost, then very low priced lamps for OEMs, as I think this is where most money is made. There is not much to convince manufacturers to use such cheap lamps: Price, and simple criteria for advertising are everything. Lowering prices beyond already available budget models means almost no money made, so the effort should go into convincing manufacturers these lamps are the ones to get, despite possibly lower test values (while still being a better lamp). For this you need a change in reviews, and/or influence from the 'status symbol' of the brand.
However, the people who make the decisions in the bicycle business are generally not interested in doing it right, but in making the most money as quickly as possible, which is of course true in all businesses, not just those in bicycling. This means that to make designs better than they are now, or even 'optimal', is in their view not a priority unless they can get ahead of the competition in some predetermined benchmark (such as StVZO's lux rating), and to get ahead in lower production costs and thus OEM prices which means more sales direct to bike manufacturers which means lots of sales, and to get ahead in reviews which means as long as reviews are poorly done, emphasis on the wrong matters... Longer term strategies such as above with the high class+very cheap range, is something they are not interested in, obviously, as most people and businesses do not plan ahead in such a way.
For those companies that are interested in doing it 'the right way' there is a huge obstacle to overcome, manipulation and misleading reviews, and the wishes from buyers resulting from that. This is why I suggested the 2 way strategy above, but it may not be enough.
Also note that those benchmarks such as lux-rating, are only important because most reviews are not well done. I found in forums that various people don't even see (or should I say 'notice'?) the unevenness in the beam of say the Edelux-II, just to give an example, and having uncritical people as reviewers means that lamps are rated only with criteria which are important to them and as various people don't see the unevennes, they will look for other critera. The same effect happens of course for any other type of bicycle components... When more competent reviewers are chosen to do reviews that have influence with the general buyer (i.e. when the testing criteria I use to evaluate components are used by such reviewers), then the naysayers and manipulators (manipulating others to follow them in their criteria/ratings etc.) will not have an influence any more, and things will finally change, but not sooner...
Then we have the problem that many people and businesses cannot deal with criticism. Imagine hiring someone who criticises your product! And yet, only from criticism will there be improvements. Praise means nothing. For my own website I am, by the way, not interested in praise, but only in (1) criticism which will make me think and analyse more on a topic, and (2) stimulation, ideas and suggestions to do something else or to do it differently.
Doing something myself: Well, this could come, but lots of issues have delayed some designs I have played with... This year (2017), the manufacturers that I contacted so far with a summary of improvement suggestions have not expressed an interest, most have not even responded...
I recommend buying from a local dealer that you think is good. In the same spirit as my test pages, a year after my review pages, in 2009, I started selling some of the components that I think are good, in particular leather saddles but still not much. I expanded this in 2010, then in 2011 I began in earnest selling dynamo lighting.
I give the option of trying them out where appropriate and of comparing them. See here. Each sale support this website, or if you want to support my site directly, see below. The influence of my website is clear in particular in lots of aspects of bicycle lighting, where my criticism has caused change and knowledge about the problem areas, but a lot still needs to be done... And the cost of all experiments and tests, especially when taking the time needed for them into account, still far outweigh the sales...
See here. You will also learn on those pages, about human nature, i.e. why people complain about my site, why they disagree, why they even get angry when products they bought, are rated low by me.
Summary: People who want to believe in fairy tales, and people who want to believe in advertisements, and people who want to follow 'authority figures' in forums they frequent, will either see the truth after reading my site, or criticise me for various invalid reasons. Usually the people who criticise are jerks which is why I am not friendly to them in responses...
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Last modified: 13-2-2017