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Old 04-21-2003, 07:26 AM   #11
jaypuck
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

I disagree with the statement that it's creative advertising and that they just gave opinions on the ergonometry of the vegas. it was a rather well written piece and went over lots of interesting information. someone mentioned that part of what makes some bikes better than others (in their opinion) is braking and accelerating while cornering. I don't think this is a consideration on a cruiser as you don't normally do a lot of trail braking while running with the r1's on a mountain road; however, I do believe that braking and how well it works with the suspension is very important on any bike that is on the road. this was presented very well with the following statement:



"In fact, I gave the shocks an impromptu test by intentionally guiding the bike over a mild pothole under fairly hard braking, and squeezed only a tiny chirp out of the front wheel."



that is what I like to see in my motojournalism and MO does this very well in my kind of language.
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Old 04-21-2003, 07:45 AM   #12
rsheidler
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

I am guessing that the average "fat papa/mama cruiser" rider DOES care about how fast the bike will get to the next light, but doesn't plan to drop the clutch at 6k rpm or shift at redline to do so. Thus, that cute little dyno chart, and the subjective comments of Ebass et al are the best indication -- short of actually test riding one yourself.



Probably a 1/4 mile test would be *some* useful data, but as I said, no owners are likely to actually ride them that way, so it is only partially an indicator of real world acceleration.



For a sportbike, lap times (especially if competitors are tested at the same time) on a track probably is a good statistical indicator of performance that is at least somewhat related to how the bikes might actually be ridden, but even there, the subjective comments are at least equally important.



For a cruiser, or a standard or touring bike, it is harder to identify meaningful data elements. Certainly dyno charts, fuel economy, ergo measurements etc could be meaningful, and perhaps some acceleration figures would add something.



Face it, aside from a pure sports bike (and then only for a small minority of riders), what will determine whether you like one bike more than another is going to be based on factors which are very hard to quantify. Such things as the vibration (or lack therof), riding position, comfort (including passenger), throttle response, brake feel, steering response, and image are what you will notice every time you ride. It would be nice to find a way to quantify these things, but I'm damned in I know how one could do that.
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Old 04-21-2003, 07:55 AM   #13
wwalkersd
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

Well, MO may not give all that data, but Motorcycle Consumer News gives most of it. They have a very Road & Track-like data panel in their tests. In addition to quarter mile times, they give 0-60 and 0-100 acceleration, and 60-0 braking. Dyno charts, ergo measurements, full specs, even maintenance costs.



I don't think you'll see anybody doing lateral acceleration tests on a bike. The methodology is that you go faster and faster around a circular skidpad until you can't hold your line anymore due to understeer or oversteer (i.e., loss of traction at front or rear). If bike books starting running this test, pretty soon they wouldn't be able to get test bikes any more, because they'd wreck every one! Not to mention that test riders might get a little hard to find, too!
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Old 04-21-2003, 08:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

I believe I've seen exactly one motorcycle skid pad test in the 25 years or so that I've been reading the magazines. Understandably, they'd rather not risk crashing and getting hurt or wadding the manufacturer's bike.



Motorcycle Consumer News reports acceleration (0–60, 0–100, quarter-mile), braking (60–0), top speed, dyno curves, and specifications on every road test. Their consistent format makes their tests best for comparing numbers between different motorcycles.



OTOH, Cycle World has dropped much of the actual data they used to report in favor of photo spreads featuring their knee-draggin, mono-poppin, color-coordinated fancy-boy staffers. The low point was their April (Fools?) 2003 issue, which featured pieces on 13 bikes, each accompanied by a small table (different for each) that included such vital data as average buyer age and the number of tickets collected by staffers.
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Old 04-21-2003, 08:19 AM   #15
rsheidler
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

In both business and engineering, it is often stated that you can never have too much data. In my experience, this is patently false. What is important is having reliable, relevant date. Unreliable data, or irrelevant date just gets in the way of a good solution.



As you state, if you have the same rider doing similar roll ons, braking and turning tests day after day, you start to build up a useful database. That is what we get when we read the ride review from an experienced, objective tester (such as JB or Sean). If they report that the front-end feel of the R6 is a bit vague, that is based on comparisons to the many other bikes they have tested. If they opine that the cause is likely the particular brand of tire fitted, they are basing this on this database. I won't take this as having been handed down on stone tablets from God, but when I do my own test prior to buying it, I will look out for those things they observe to see if I find the same thing.



Hell, even for such a narrowly focused application as Supersport racing, where you would thing hard data might clearly indicate the superior machine, that seems not to be the case. If it were, you would see the entire field made up of whatever bike happens to score the best in the last MO comparison!



I know, if we reduce all performance factors to data elements, we can plug it into PlayStation and run all the races virtually. That way, we don't have to make the racers actually travel around the world, dealing with all those foreign languages and strange food, and when someone crashes into the wall at Suzuka, he doesn't die!



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Old 04-21-2003, 08:55 AM   #16
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

Back in the 70's and 80's printed rags presented a lot of data very similar to C&D, R&T etc. Although interesting it did not help much. Test different tires, brake pads, shocks, fork oil or hire a top gun racer and all stock data was now yesterdays news (literally). Besides when I'm passing herds of cruisers in my 4 banger car how important is the data?



I'd like to see some reliability data. Surf some owner forums and you learn about high speed wobbles, incurable surging and other real important stuff to know before you buy. Although these are sometimes alluded to in editorials as an occurance that happened sometime in the past specific to a single bike no journal incorporates, summarizes or even gives a heads up that owners and potential buyers shoulld checks out the forums.



Honda is to be commended for taking the initiative when it was reported that Interceptor batteries were failing.



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Old 04-21-2003, 09:42 AM   #17
elecbill
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

I can not understand why simple data lolike a bikes weight is not mesured? Give us the actual wet weight!
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Old 04-21-2003, 09:42 AM   #18
elecbill
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

I can not understand why simple data like a bikes weight is not mesured? Give us the actual wet weight!
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Old 04-21-2003, 10:37 AM   #19
rsheidler
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

Cycle World really has *de-contented* its "road tests" lately. This seems to be a trend lately in all the motor magazines. R&T has pared down its data page recently, and it seems like everyone else is going with the short, quick driving/riding impression with a couple of factoids (usually manufacture-provided rather than measured).



Seems as if they are now more entertainment than real information. It is not only the amount of hard data that is curtailed, but the subjective part is scaled back as well, or real information is replaced with entertaining information.



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Old 04-21-2003, 10:50 AM   #20
maladg
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Default Re: Why don't motorcycle journals present hard data?

Some of you kids that may have a fuzzy memory of the great CYCLE mag will recall that they did complete teardowns (with ab fab B&W photos) of all test bikes. Those were the days....high inflation, higher taxes, Carter in the White House...ooops, no politics; please.

The objective vs. subjective is there in all the hobbies...especially Audio. Just try and find some writers who are sort of on the same general planet as you and stay with that. Take the time you would spend in numerical analyis and GO RIDE.
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