I read Guitar Ted’s recent post on the Salsa Warbird, which included this prominent disclaimer:
This is not a review: I don’t believe that ride tests, demos, or whatever you want to call them are in any way, shape, or form a “review” of a bicycle or component. This is merely more of an impression of mine regarding this Warbird rig. Want a review? See the guy that has ridden the bike in the heat of a race, or done significant time with a component for a long time, (my thinking is more than a couple months), and get his take. Obviously, there are very few that can say this about a Warbird now, and they are all Salsa Cycles sponsored riders and employees. (Not that they wouldn’t know, but…..) I don’t typically ever do a review here. I will give my opinion though. You may find something different, but be that as it may….
I completely understand his perspective on the issue, and I’ve struggled with what terminology to use in describing my interaction with products. In some instances, I just get to put hands on a product and don’t get to really evaluate its functionality in any way (e.g. 45NRTH’s Wölvhammer). In some instances, I get a brief demo (maybe 5-10 minutes). In some instances, I get an intermediate demo (maybe 30 minutes). In some instances, I get much longer demos, and in some instances, I get a product that I get to keep and live with. Some of my reviews are based upon really brief interaction, like a first date, and some are based upon multiple year relationships. I’ve contemplated calling them mini-reviews, or impressions, or something different, but haven’t liked the semantics of any of those terms. So for now, I’m sticking with reviews where I’m reviewing–and as always, you can count on the post to indicate the extent/duration of my experience with a given product. I don’t think that’s misleading, provided that an indication of experience is provided. Once there’s an established blogger convention with terminology appropriate for different types of interaction with products, I’ll become a treaty signer and conform.