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Discussion in 'The Pub' started by nadski, Feb 17, 2011.
'course it does!
That's why it's often a good idea to by the test bike.
I know for certain that a certain importer (12 years ago) put a motor from an entirely different model (sports bike) into a naked model test bike. Larger capacity, higher state of tune etc. I know this because I bought the test bike and was subsequently given the details, and looked after, by the mechanic
Prob why schumacher was the only person allowed to drive the fxx on top gear. Good read tho.
Would definetly happen, alot of the stats for reviews come straight from factory / claimed etc, some prob dont even get to ride / drive them i reckon.
I take it car reviewers also must ask before doing dyno runs, since HP figures are always a little too neat and rounded.
Sometimes it's not for the reasons you think. VW underestimated the output of the Golf GT because it turned out, in many samples, to be better than the more expensive GTI! I recall Morley unexpectedly finding this out when doing a review and doing a dyno run unannounced.
1. I'd be surprised if there isn't some sort of intervention from other manufacturers (including bike manufacturers) when it comes to testings/reviews. Obviously these have the ability to influence a market to a greater degree than mere advertising, its in their interest to make sure a vehicle provided for testing is the best they can produce.
2. Are people really that obsessed with owning what is the "fastest" or whatever. I don't buy a bike just because it has the greatest BHP its class etc.
3. Could this not just be the rantings of a man who owned a Ferrari, found that he was deeply disappointed with some of their service (or whatever) and decided this was the best way to get back at them?
I thought it was driven by Schumacher because it was his...
Goes back a long way too.
The famous John Bolster test in the early 1950s which established the Vincent Black Shadow 125mph figure was of a bike which had been very carefully blueprinted at the factory. Production machines would rarely be capable of it.
And, in the car world, the famous 150mph Jaguar E-Type in 1962 was a special, with lots of aluminium panels, perspex windows and, again, a blueprinted drivetrain. Not only that, but the road testers used some fairly dubious speed measuring techniques and a bit of extrapolation to get the magic 150mph figure. Once again, any production model owner hoping to replicate the test figures would have been deeply disappointed were it not for Smiths' instruments legendary inaccuracy.
I'd say they are, for sure. For example, all the learners who MUST have a 15-20 year old 40hp CBR250RR or ZX2R or similar cobbled together from used bike parts found rusting in a in Japan warehouse and resold for $8000 when they could own a brand-new 33hp VTR250 for the same price. Even though in 12 months time they'll be able to ride a bike with quadrouple the horsepower.
(Ashamedly, I was in this category for a while but ended up getting a VTR250 because I couldn't believe the prices people wanted for the race-reps)
People love to have "the best", whether that's the most powerful, the newest, the biggest, the fastest. In fact there's usually crazy discounts to be had by purchasing "last year's" model brand-new just as the near-identical new model (with a spanking never-before-available pinstriped paint finish!) is released. :S
Does it happen in the bike world? Oh sh!t yeah!
Find somebody who worked for Two Wheels mag (AU) in the early 90s, and ask about their test of the GSXR1100, and how they never got another suzuki to test again for about 8 years... The test certainly wasn't all that negative and damning, but it was no glowing rap either. I forget whether they made the point explicitly or just left the reader to draw the conclusion, but the bigger heavier GSXR had a slightly better engine than the '87 ~ '90 model, but it was heaps bigger and heavier, didn't handle as good, and over-all - wasn't as good as the model it replaced. Suzuki hit the roof, and started demanding a written retraction. When they didn't get it, they took Federal Publishing to court.
Somehow the key point in court ended up being whether or not the bike had been properly tested. Track days were just getting started, and the tester went to one. At higher lean angles, the bike dragged the fairing, in a visible spot. I forget whether there was just a worn patch or whether it actually wore a hole through, but suzuki tried first to claim that the bike had been crashed, and that all subsequent assessment and opinion was invalid because the bike had been damaged... When that didn't wash, they claimed that no sane owner would lean a bike over that far or push it that hard and because it was being used outside its intended design function, it was unfair and slanderous to publish opinions on how it performed in that unintended role. This was a king of the hill sports bike, let's not forget...
Whether Federal Publishing backed their staff or caved in, I don't know, but I get the whiff that the publisher settled with suzuki, and shortly after, there was an administrative reshuffle at the magazine... I know there was a long time when TW did not test a single suzuki, and all their tests when it did start up again were gush fests, and for that matter, criticism of anything was a lot more subtle and tactful.
I have evolved the principle, over the years, of reading road tests and looking for the things they don't mention. For example, if you read a test about a sports bike, and they don't mention the front brake, ask yourself why. Of course, that won't help if a bike has (let's say) an iffy frame, and about one in ten is fine, three are so-so, and the rest are just wrong. So the company checks / measures and jiggs about 50 frames to find a good one, gets their own engineers to rebuild a set of shocks, and then slips it to the tester, who tells the world the bike has stability that's beyond reproach, and how Suzuki have clearly moved the game forward in a way all other manufacturers need to emulate. (TW again, 1980 GSX11.) (Take it from me - I've owned 5 of them. The frame was no step forward for stability and composure.)
Kawasakis at world press releases and multi brand shoot-outs have traditionally had WAY more get up and go than what the customer gets. Everybody is guilty of this one, but kawasaki in particular tune their test bikes. If you can get hold of one of those examples later, grab it! It won't be easy - the racers track them down...
There is a benefit to the mags as well as the manufacturers from getting the biggest numbers out of test vehicles. A significant proportion of the target readership will buy the mag that best backs up their own exaggerated claims to their mates. The 100mph test of the Suzuki X7 sold an awful lot of Suzuki X7s but it sold even more copies of Motorcycle Mechanics which, IIRC, published the figure.
Holden did it with the supercharged six in the VS series.
Unfortunately it outperformed the V8 in both performance and fuel economy.
The figures were 'rationalised ' for public consumption so the V8 had better results than the SC Six.
Most often the results are skewedby careful manipulation of tyre pressures, sizes,brands, so that the desired result is achieved for each individual test required.
You would be amazed to see the difference that 5 psi makes to the performance of a tyre, and therefore a vehicle.
I found it interesting that Ford didn't heavily object to the XR6T being in a class of it's own, most particuarly well outshining the XR8. The fact that cops use the 6T's as chaser vehicles and not the 8's spins a tale of it's own. I don't mind being cynical and so think that ford only allowed it because it was make or break after miserable AU and welcomed a good rap of any kind.