There are many articles written here, and some of them are clearly made to funnel traffic to an affiliate partner and earn a commission. So why exactly should you trust anything that’s been published on this website?
That’s a good question and a healthy attitude towards anything written online. For starters, personally, I basically start out with a healthy distrust towards online content and product reviews, especially if affiliate marketing comes into play.
It’s part of the reason why I started this website in the first place. Among others it became a place where I started to post my own product research and reviews.
I have a penchant for older bikes in general and vintage mountain bikes in particular, and for obvious commercial reasons none of todays product reviews cover components and parts you need to repair and restore those bikes. So some of the earliest topics of product reviews included:
as well as digging through complete catalogs of vintage mountain bikes to learn what original parts were used I needed for my latest bike restoration project
I already reviewed a number of newer products and when I started dabbling in affiliate marketing I create a number of popular articles like
- best puncture resistant road bike tires
- best road bike saddles for endurance riding
- lightest mountain bike flat pedals
- best cycling gloves for hand numbness
How product research is done at restoration.bike
There’s no denying product research done for the purpose of affiliate marketing is skewed and biased. Almost all big sites are either being paid for product reviews, and/or are offered free products to be reviewed.
If you don’t at least provide a neutral review or counterbalance negative points with positive, you’ll lose that privileged position of being paid or offered products. So it’s a sort of I scratch your back, you scratch mine.
I recently spoke to the senior sales executive of Schwalbe Europe on a cycling convention, where I asked him if an affiliate partnership is possible. The basic answer is “no”, and my guess is I’m just not interesting enough and don’t have the right connections, or both.
That means that all content created for this website was payed for out of my own pocket, since I obviously don’t get paid for my reviews. Not yet at least.
It means that product research at restoration.bike is done differently from other websites.
- I decide which product brands I want to consider within a certain product category
- I create a database of all products of all selected brands within a certain product category, which holds relevant information related to that product category.
- I establish benchmark parameters about product data and cross-reference them with personal experience (I own 10 bicycles from various cycling disciplines), existing reviews, and online research (think crash tests for bicycle helmets)
- I select a number of products to match the demand from a target audience and create the product list review. All data that was taken into consideration is added to the article for quick reference.
For all categories I have product data for thousands of individual items, and there’s simply no one who tackles the product reviews as can be seen on restoration.bike.
If you take that much product data in account, you begin to see patterns you’d otherwise miss. You begin to see the forest for the trees so to speak. In term that means that you won’t see me calling a certain product “lightweight” when it’s not, or “puncture resistant” when there’s no tech to support such notion.
And that kind of non-sensical analysis is something I definitely do see in a lot of other articles.
Whether I feel the content published here is good or not doesn’t really matter. It’s what you think. And I feel that by only providing the best I have to offer in terms of research and analysis will I keep engaging people with relevant content.
A wordt on ChatGPT and AI-created content
ChatGPT has never been used to either aid with or create any content written for this website.
What I also found was that ChatGPT sometimes provides information, which is simply not true. This can be so small that even I might not detect it. After all, I don’t know everything, and I certainly know less than an all powerful AI tool.
But sometimes it was downright wrong, and I would deem it nothing else than misleading when offering the information on this website.
Here’s an example
I have written a number of buying guides on several of the product categories you’ll find here: road bike saddles, tires, helmets etc. What I found was that ChatGPT is incredibly powerful in generated highly informative information about general topics.
I tested these articles by asking ChatGPT for information and paragraphs of text with bulleted lists about the exact same topics I chosen by hand.
Although the information was superbly written in all cases, when asked about the different shell materials of road bike saddles, ChatGPT came back with the answer that there are nylon and carbon offerings (true), besides fiberglass (not really; there’s fiberglass injected nylon), steel, aluminium, and titanium offerings (not true at all).
The information itself is true; steel is indeed known for its durability and affordability for instance. So it comes across as very believable. Within the context of road bike saddle shells however, it doesn’t make sense at all.
I will keep creating what I feel to be valuable content for the reader without the use of ChatGPT. Content based on my own research and experience.
The only hope I have is that I don’t get caught in the crossfire of a world where not everybody will make that same choice, and those other choices are valued more by the Google god.