You know, what I was going to do for today was a “top bikes of 2014”, and I was going to scour through a bunch of “best of” lists from various sources and try to get a good cross-section of bikes that seemed to be agreed upon as “the best”.
Then I came to my senses.
Unless there is a clearly defined criteria with few or no variables (like who is the best at running the fasted over 100m in a particular race), there is no “best”. There is only, “this one is pretty good, and that one is also pretty good”. Usually, there is “I liked this one the best”.
The trouble with “I liked this one the best” is that everyone will have a different answer, which is why today is not a best bike of 2014 post. It was immediately apparent that every top 5, 10, 25, etc list included different bikes. That’s because everyone has different criteria for what makes the best bike, and even within that criteria there is the infinite variation of preference between those doing the judging. So, whereas we can say who is the best at running the fastest over 100m in a particular race, we cannot judge from that that the shoes that person was wearing were the best shoes.
It’s the same with product reviews. It’s the same with everything. Everyone has an opinion. Not everybody is right, but not everything is one-dimensional, either.
So, where am I going with this, then? I think I’ve said what I have to say about “the best”, but maybe I shall comment on how I think that information should be considered.
Everyone has a few cents jingling around in their pocket that they can’t wait to dispense to others on various matters. If they are selling something, often times that opinion is biased, but in reality, even people who aren’t materially invested in a product pledge allegiance to it that may or may not have a well-reasoned or objective thought process behind it recommending it. I can’t help but to roll my eyes at the guy who says, with great conviction, “those tyres are the worst – I had a pair and they punctured nearly straight away!”. That’s wonderful, friend. Thank-you for playing, but that’s not a reliable piece of advice.
Last year I rode home on a brand new set of (expensive) tyres and one of them had the nerve to collect a giant cut in it about 2km in. I was furious! The other one? I’m still running it, and I’ve had 3 tyres on the other wheel just wear out in that time.
Am I suggesting that you just shouldn’t trust anyone? I was going to, actually, but then that would include me and my opinion of people’s opinions, and then there truly wouldn’t be any point in reading this (less than usual, anyway). Plus, that would be stupid. It’s about who you trust, but even then, that’s hard to know. You simply have to use your best judgment after weighing up the variables of how much information is available and from what sources, what you are looking to get out of the product (which can be wildly different from what the person dispensing advice), and how much you care.
Even if you trust the source, there are likely going to be competing opinions between other trusted sources, so you still have to use your brain and just go with something. We have far too many choices these days, and it sometimes drives me nuts how much people agonize over even the most mundane decisions. Just choose something already!
So, opinions are great and reviews are cool, but both can be totally different from your experience. Don’t put too much stock in them (except for mine. Those are pure gold). Get a bike, ride the bike, and enjoy the bike. Choose something that makes you happy. If you like the bike and it makes you want to ride it, then nothing else matters. You have your reasons for liking it, and those reasons will be different from the next persons.
I review things on The Sticky Bidon from time to time (I’d like to do more of that, so we shall see), but, if you have read any of them so far, I try to stick to observations, rather than declarations, so that you can make up your own mind.
If I bring you an assortment of bikes from the past year, it will be the ones I find interesting. The one’s I think are worth your time, or at least your ridicule. One thing they will not be are the best.
Header image: source