Understanding and choosing technology

Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

Contents
Discovery phase
page 2 page 4 page 5 page 6 page 7 page 12 page 16 page 20

User analysis Buying process Market analysis: - Advertising - Product catalogues - Product reviews - Online purchase Discovery stage conclusions

Transformation phase
page 22 page 23 page 27 page 29 page 30 page 34

The five bicycles User test comparison Component comparison Original bicycle test Individual bike concepts Test summary concepts

Making phase
page 42 page 44

Individual bike test: Final Bike test summary: Final

Appendices
page 46

Appendix A - Component comparison

Background to the project
Shoppers are often confronted with a multitude of options when choosing an item of technology, and now there are so many channels for gaining information on a particular process, it makes it more and more difficult to decide. As technological advances are made, they filter down into the products the consumer is purchasing, causing older models to become obsolete and improving performance in new items. Information design is a tool in which the manufacturer can explain these technologies and their benefits to the buyer in order to advise, educate and inform.

The challenge
This project will focus on why, where and how we make the decision on which racing bicycle to buy. Racing bicycles have been chosen as they are often the first type of bicycle to be effected by new technologies, and are at the forefront of research and development with high-end users often requiring high specification models. Researching current methods used by suppliers and retailers, and studying the psychology of selling, this project will aim to develop an effective means for the buyer to compare bicycles from different manufacturers.

Project goals
Ÿ understanding of user habits and requirements To gain Ÿ Analyse how the products are sold and compared Ÿ a design that guides the user through the buying Create

process, focusing on the stage of like-for-like comparison

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Understanding and choosing technology

1

User analysis
In order to successfully improve how bicycle technology is explained to the user, research needed to be carried out to define user groups and ascertain what information is most valuable during the decision making process. A few short questions were asked to local bicycle shops, and users of racing bikes; results of these can be seen here.

Shop questionnaire
Action Bikes

Berkshire Bikes Most people get racing bikes to train on for fitness, not just specifically for bicycle racing, but for other sports like motocross or rowing. We have bikes that range from £500 to £2k+, the lower end are for people having a dabble in cycling, and the higher end are for people taking a step up in training – they might even be in a club. We don't get people who want to commute on a bike. The most popular bikes are always the ones seen winning the Tour de France. People are always after the same thing; the lightest bike for the cheapest amount. Everyone is looking for carbon, STI gears, and a good group set. How much are they going to use the bike and what is their budget.

1) What type of people are interested in racing bikes and what is your bike range?

People come here because the manager rides road bikes so is keen to get best value, good prices in the shop, so people who want a good deal come here. Prices range from £300 to £600 on the shelf, but we do have £2.5k bikes around the back for the higher end customers. People either want £300 or £2.5k so the £600 bikes are slower to sell.

2) What do different user groups want?

£300 bike users want a fast road bike for commuting, whereas the £2.5k customers are more interested in weight and gear specifications.

3) How do you find out what bike would suit the user?

We'll ask what sort of budget the customer has, explain the specifications they'll get for that amount, and then use a sizing chart to find out leg length etc before trying them on a bike. We offer a 6 week service for free in order to check brakes and gears slacking since purchase.

4) What benefits does the user get from buying a bike from you?

A bike is a mechanical object that people want to see in the flesh and get sized up on. Each manufacturer uses different sizing so one size fits all does not apply. If you went to somewhere like Halfords the service wouldn't be as good as the staff don't have the knowledge or time.

Findings: User analysis
In this table I have grouped users into four categories. The key differentiator is the amount people are willing to spend. Reasearch has identified that most users essentially desire the same things; the best specification and lowest weight for the least amount of money. The ‘feel’ of the bike is also a key element, but this could only be assessed in certain buying situations.
User group name Experience level Use (miles per week) Spend Beginners LOW 20-50miles Up to £500 Improvers MEDIUM 50-100miles £500-£2,000 Club members HIGH 100-150miles £2,000-£4,000 Professionals VERY HIGH 150+miles £4,000+

*

Most magazines, spend they * NOTE: therefore, you mayand people interviewed, say that buyers should on theiras much as their can afford; get beginners spending much more than £500 first bike if budget can sustain this.

Fit

Group set

Feel
Comfort

Price
Weight

Specification
Wheels

Frame

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User questionnaire
Person 1 1) How often you cycle and how far? 1.5 hours four times in the week, and then for 3 hours at the weekend. I guess approximately 27 miles for 1.5 and 48 miles for 3 hours. Ÿ set Group Ÿ Frame Ÿ Wheels Person 2 I bike 150 miles a week and run, plus circuits. I train so I can compete in events that are at least 60 miles up to 110 miles Ÿ important is your Most budget, you can get decent entry level bikes that are full carbon but you get lower spec gear on them. Ÿ Weight Ÿ Handling Ÿ Comfort Person 3 Every day, most days just to work. Training a couple of times a week - distance up to 100 miles. Person 4 Once a month, between 25 to 50 miles

2) Provide a list of the most important features of the bike (most important at the top).

Ÿ Fits well Ÿ quality group set Good (minimum Shimano Ultegra - preferrably Dura Ace) Ÿ Comfortable ride quality some materials (i.e. carbon/titanium) are more comfortable than others that produce a harsher ride (aluminium) No favourite brand

Ÿ Wheels Ÿ Frame Ÿ Forks Ÿ set Group

3) Do you have a favourite brand, and why?

No favourite but specialized would be up there along with Giant and Bianche.

Colnago; the ultimate bike! It's got pedigree.

Specialized. It's a famous old American brand: famous American is cool and means good products, old brand is positive for me because racing bikes is something like vintage. There could also have been Sunn (French) and Bianchi (Italian), but the Specialized one I had seen was dark, shiny blue (like old Renault Alpine sport cars), with the name written in red. I thought I would take this one because the image it sent was very good; thanks to the colours it looked sportive and unique. I wouldn't pay more than 1000 euros.

4) How much would you spend on a new racing bike?

I've just spent £850.

As much as I can afford; probably up to £4k. I'd buy from a bike shop as opposed to off line for back up and service; I wouldn't buy from say Halfords. You can get something for say £500-800 that will do, but if you end up enjoying it (cycling) you will want to up-grade. I would have thought £1500-2k should get you something quite decent.

I have spent £2300 in the past. At the moment I can't afford a new one, but wouldn't object to paying up to £3500 for the correct bike if I had the money to buy it.

Understanding and choosing technology

3

The buying process
As the user progresses through the buying process they will start with many options and work their way down to the one bicycle that fulfills all their primary needs. During the process the user is likely to seek social validation of their choice by asking other users, or get the feeling that they have made the correct decision from expert reviews or intelligent product placement/branding in the racing bicycle competitions, e.g. Tour de France. If there is too much choice in the marketplace then the user will be confused by the multiple options and is more likely to feel they have made the wrong decision.

Stage 1: Desire
Ÿ A requirement for a new racing bike: need to get

“I need a new bike”

fit/train, or an upgrade etc. Ÿ Product advertising: often with a focus on sporting idols and speed - promoting emotional buying tactics.

Stage 2: Explore and investigate
Ÿ Reading reviews and tests in magazines or on the

“which bike do I want”

internet. Ÿ Requesting and observing product catalogues. Ÿ opinions of other trusted users such as Asking friends or perceived ‘experts’. Ÿ Preliminary shop browsing.

Stage 3: Decide and purchase
Ÿ in a trusted shop: the type of shop will depend Often

“I want this bike”

on the user group, e.g. beginners or professionals. Ÿ purchase after physical testing within a shop. Web

The process of drilling down to your ideal bike from a multitude of bike options.

Models Ranges

Sizes

Bike types

“I need a bike”

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Market analysis
To analyse different methods of bicycle comparison I have used an approach to usability defined by the 5 E’s: effective, efficient, engaging, error tolerant and easy to learn (Quesenbery, 2001). By using the tool as part of the human-centred design process it will be possible to assess the effectiveness of each individual method. The tool can be modified to suit the user’s needs when choosing a bicycle and any final product can be based on this. Over the next pages I shall compare the different approaches used during the buying process of a new racing bicycle; each shall be scored against their approach to the 5 E’s using the following scale: Effective: The completeness and accuracy with which users achieve their goals. The goal in this project is to find the correct racing bike for the user, or to aid them in the decision making process. Efficient: The speed (with accuracy) with which users can complete their tasks. When comparing bicycles the efficiency will depend on the time taken to review multiple options; time to purchase will be a factor for the last stage of the buying process. Engaging: The degree to which the tone and style of the interface makes the product pleasant or satisfying to use. This area would have a greater impact on web pages, but is still useful to measure in print. Web comparison of bicycles could promote a shop ‘feel’ to the process, whereas print would have to engage on a purely visual level. Error tolerant: How well the design prevents errors, or helps with recovery from those that do occur. Errors could result in the bicycle user choosing the wrong number to call, or on a bigger level, order the wrong bicycle that did not match their needs, e.g. size. Easy to learn: How well the product supports both initial orientation and deepening understanding of its capabilities. On first use of the bicycle comparison the user must understand how to use the system, but once understood must not become bored or desensitised to the help messages. Comparison should be consistent throughout.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
n/a

Poor effectiveness Good efficiency Good user engagement Not applicable in this instance OK easy to learn

Effective Effective

These diagrams show the balance of the 5 E’s. Far left illustrates a product where all the dimensions are even, i.e. each one is 20%. The model to the left shows a product that more reflects this project at the comparison stage. There is little need for the product to be efficient as the user will be taking their time during comparison due to the high spend (efficiency is more closely related to online purchasing), however, they should enjoy the experience and feel like they are making an educated conclusion therefore the product must be engaging. Most importantly the approach must be effective in the way information is made available and usable by the prospective buyer.

Easy to learn

Efficient

Easy to learn Efficient

Error tolerant

Engaging Error tolerant Engaging

Understanding and choosing technology

5

Advertising
Even though these advertisements are not used in the buying stage of product comparison, they are designed to initiate a desire for the product. The advert on the left expects the reader to know that Continental make tyres; it’s drawing you in with a large hero image of Mark Cavendish. With no mention of the actual product details this advert works on the principle of association. Milani cycles are focusing on build quality and heritage, sitting on a speedy image and a modern product shot. Both methods are excellent at promoting an emotional attachment to a product, but neither offer any form of comparison.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
n/a n/a

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
6 n/a n/a

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Product catalogues Genesis Bikes

This is a difficult brochure to navigate due to undistinguished bike types and similar branding throughout. Comparison of bike specification is difficult as there are no areas to see features together, and all features are in the same text format.

The only place to see all the bikes together is found in a large geometry table. The bike diagram is useful but the table is difficult to use due to it’s size and lack of bike group differentiation.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
Understanding and choosing technology n/a

7

Product catalogues Cinelli

An illustrated cover is an interesting contrast to the high specification bikes inside.

Cinelli is an Itallian manufacturer so they have produced a bilingual brochure in Italian and English, using colour as the differentiator. Product shots focus on elements the user would be interested in, however, product naming is confusing and not intuitive.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
8 n/a

Technical data is layed out well but there is still an element of confusion with the naming. Coloured columns should be used to highlight different ranges rather than individual bikes.

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Product catalogues Scott
References to racing successes on the brochure cover. As most users of racing bikes buy them to ride faster, racing team imagery is a good method to prove the quality of the bike. Once the user has been attracted by this original image (on an emotional level), they are shown more specific close-ups of quality components, mixed with whole bikes shown from the side. This addition of detail allows the user to review the bike on a rational level.

A useful guide at the front of the brochure provides information on bike types and their purpose. It is a shame location within the document is not mentioned.

Double page spreads on bike innovation and specification explain features using data graphics.

Bikes within the same group can be viewed next to each other, with highlights on the number of gears and bike weight. Specific details on specification are not so easy to compare as they sit in rows of text under each image.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
Understanding and choosing technology 9 n/a

Product catalogues Giant
An excellent start to the brochure, this colour coded diagram aids the reader to find the correct section (note the subtle background images), then once in that section the reader will find another similar diagram giving further guidance.

Technology spreads break up the brochure with relevant information to that particular section. Written in a ‘news story’ style they are informative and interesting.

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Individual model groups are compared together on one spread, with a description of the range located near an inspiring image. Model specification is compared in bullet form and includes logos of particular features, however, the up-spec models are difficult to understand, i.e. which one is best?

Specification charts are easy to navigate and compare by grouping similar elements together.

Colour coding on the pricing chart allows the user to find their relevant section quickly.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
Understanding and choosing technology 11

Product reviews Procycling magazine
Leaning type mimics the riding position and bold title to attract the reader - already a positive start to the test.

Clear specification layout and good use of detailed product shots. I would have preferred to see the specification grouped into sections though.

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A pullout to give the reader some information concerning the brand history. A useful addition to add a emotional connection between the brand and the potential user.

Captions on the images enable a clear link between usage and illustration, e.g. ‘The 595 offers great descending characteristics’ is linked to an appropriate image. The conclusion is brief and heavily text based, with only a simple plus and minus system it is difficult to compare to other bicycles. I believe the reader would need to read the whole review to get a better understanding, but they must be aware of the potential bias of the tester as they admit in the first paragraph that this was their ‘one-time dream bike’.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
Understanding and choosing technology 13 n/a

Product reviews Cycling Active
A review of five bikes with a £1000 price tag. There are no shots of the bikes in use but I think this is due to the similarity of use between them, even though they offer very different specifications. Only the first and last spreads in the test display all the bikes together.

The test gives each bike a double spread and uses similar methods of comparison. All have a ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ bubble, and also a scoring system. The scoring system contains a mix of rational (e.g. value) and emotional characteristics (e.g. wow factor) to give an overall rating as a percentage. Each spread also has an alternative or upgrade pull out. This would be a useful tool for the reader to customise their purchase if needed.

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Hierarchy of elements: Ÿimage Bike Ÿ We like/dislike bubbles Ÿ and price Name Ÿ Upgrade tips Ÿ body text callout Main Ÿ Score Ÿ text/specification Body

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
n/a

The verdict spread is a conclusion to the test and illustrates the winning score as a percentage (note the percentages are not in order and do not show by how much the bike is a winner). ‘The right fit’ box is an interesting addition and may be in place presuming that the reader has made a decision and is moving to the next stage of the buying process.

Understanding and choosing technology

15

Online purchase Halfords
Index page for bicycles catagorises bikes into different groups according to use. Note the top rated section which incidentally has the winner from the magazine review previously discussed.

Choosing the right bike page gives descriptions of bike types. This would be useful to complete beginners.

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Once the user has located the racing bicycle section of the website the results may be sorted as per their requirements, or refined by size, price, brand or gears. Customer review star system is an easy comparison.

Ticked items can be compared in detail but the features do not seem to be in any particular order. Due to the amount of features it is difficult to define outstanding items so requires the user to study the table thoroughly.

Reserve and collect, and delivery icons are detached from the tick or cross saying if they are available or not; for this reason they do not work very well.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
Understanding and choosing technology 17

Online purchase Cycle Store
The title page for racing bikes on this site expects the user to find their item by brand. This would be ok for users who know what they are looking for, but terrible for beginners. There are no options to sort the bikes in any other way.

Once the reader has clicked on the brand, they must then know what range of bicycle they need. 18 Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

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On the range page the reader starts to get an idea of the product with a general range description, photos, and prices.

It isn’t until you get to the actual product that you get any information on the item, and then all the information is bulked together making it not only difficult to digest, but impossible to compare with other bicycles.

Effective Efficient Engaging Error tolerant Easy to learn
Understanding and choosing technology 19

Discovery stage conclusions
Research has shown that price is one of the key factors involved when buying a racing bike, then specification (with weight attributed to this) effecting the rational decision process, and feel being the emotional side. Manufacturer heritage and racing success also has an influence on buying behaviour. There are many different options for the user which can make the buying process quite daunting by making the bikes difficult to compare, i.e. for the same price some bikes may be very lightweight (frame materials) but have poor component specification, or they could be heavier but have superior components. Bike literature (user magazines and brochures), online sales and bike shops all use slightly different approaches to comparison, and each has its own pros and cons, as can be seen in the table to the right. Literature
Time to digest information or review products Clear focus on individual models - good imagery Out of date quickly Bias to manufacturer brochures Little interaction with user

Online sales
Often the cheapest Ability to compare many options and personalise search Poor imagery Little interaction or impact on emotional buying process

Shops
Experience the emotional buying process by close inspection and interaction Personal service Fewer options Highest price

Next steps
Ÿ assume the user has arrived at the stage in the I shall

buying process when they know a racing bike is needed and they’ve given themself a budget around £1,000. The review by Cycling Active (page 14) shall be redesigned and a new comparison method used. Ÿ Develop a hierarchy of data importance to the user. Ÿ a fresh approach to bike comparison that enables Identify the user to compare models easily with a feel of interaction and emotion.

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Understanding and choosing technology

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The five bicycles
In the table below I have entered the specifications of each bike reviewed in the Cycling Active magazine article. The original article only provided a limited amount of information in a table format, the reader would have to read the whole article to get all of the specifications. The specifications have been re-ordered to accommodate the readers requirements found in my previous user research. They’ve also been grouped into areas/features on the bicycle.

BIKE

Make Model Price Frame Fork000000000 000000 Wheels Weight Groupset 0000000000000 0000000000000 0000000000000 000000 Chainset Gear ratio Riding position Size range 0000000000000 Colour Extra notes 0000000000000 0000000000000 0000000000 Comfort Value Handling Wow factor Build quality OVERALL

Boardman Team Carbon £999.99 Carbon Carbon00000000000000 0 Ritchey Pro 17.7lb SRAM Rival 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 53/39 with 12-25 Neutral S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Black Collaboration between Chris Boardman (Olympic Gold Medallist) and Halfords 19/20 20/20 20/20 17/20 19/20 95%

Cinelli Xperience Sora/Excite £964.99 Alloy Carbon00000000000000 0 Miche Excite 20.4lb Shimano Sora 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Red and white Legendary Italian name with racing heritage 00000000000000000000 0000000000000000 17/20 12/20 19/20 20/20 19/20 87%

Focus Cayo 105 £879.20 Carbon Carbon00000000000000 0 Shimano RS-10 19.0lb Shimano 105 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-27 Racy XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL Red, black and white Just available online at Wiggle 00000000000000000000 0000000000000000 17/20 20/20 19/20 14/20 19/20 89%

Genesis Aether £799.00 Alloy Carbon blades, alloy steerer Alex R450 rims 20.2lb Shimano 105 (rear mech), Sora (compact crankset) Tiagra (levers and front mech) Tektro (brake calipers) FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 White Built for comfort more than speed. Unusual styling and design 000000000000000000 18/20 19/20 18/20 12/20 15/20 82%

Giant Defy 2 £825.00 Alloy Carbon blades, alloy steerer Mavic CXP22 20.0lb Shimano Tiagra with Sora brake calipers 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Neutral S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Blue, white and black Entry level bike from Giant aiming towards fast commuting 000000000000000000 20/20 19/20 18/20 13/20 18/20 88%

BODY

BITS

USER

TEST

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User test comparison
Each bike tested within the magazine is scored on five factors, this equates to an overall score and winner of the test. This percentage approach is useful (even if it may be bias) as a comparison, but it’s difficult to see by how much each bike differs. I want to create a graphic to solve this issue.
Example:

Comfort Value Handling Wow factor Build quality OVERALL

17/20 12/20 19/20 20/20 19/20 87%

ORT MF CO

CO

CO

WOW!

M

FORT

A V L

WO

W!

M

FORT

A V L

WO

W!

IDEA: Potential methods for illustrating the human/emotional scores in the test results.

UE

UE

HAN

HAN

DL

I NG

DL

I NG

CO

CO

CO

M

FORT

A V L

WOW!

M

F OR T

VA L

WOW!

M

FORT

A V L

UE

UE

UE
WOW!

Sans serifs do not seem to work as well in this illustrative format.

HAN

TY

A

LI

Q

U

CO

W!

W!
1
20 9/

CO

CO

M

FORT

TY

Y

LI

LI T

U A

U A

Q

Q

Q

87%

87%

87%
Graphical inspiration from diagrams found in David Macaulay’s book, The Way Things Work (1988)

Understanding and choosing technology

U A

19
/20

LI

TY

BUILD

HAN HAN

HAN

DL

I NG

DL

COMFORT
Helvetica Neue 75 bold

IN

G

DL

BUILD

I NG

COMFORT
Palatino Linotype Vesta regular Vesta bold

COMFORT COMFORT

87%
20 12/

A V L

20 17/

WO

M

FORT

A V L

2
20 0/

17
/20

12
FORT
A V L
/20

UE

UE

WO

UE

M

WO

W!

20
/20

HAN

HAN

DL

I NG

DL

BUILD

I NG

DL

BUILD

I NG

19
/20

23

A technical ‘feel’ to the score results. Placing the information on a photo of the bike makes it more relevant, however, there is a loss of contrast.

BUILD QUALITY

HANDLING VALUE WOW FACTOR

COMFORT

Increased contrast by taking the scales outside the photo. This is causing difficulty in reading.

BUILD QUALITY

VALUE
24 Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

WOW FACTOR

HANDLING

COMFORT

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION u MAKING

19/20 17/20
COMFORT

/20

V LU A

C

17 OM
F
/20

HANDLING

12
E

BUILD QUALITY

VALUE WOW!

12 /20 20/20 19/20
87 %

Signpost method on a flattened bike silhouette. Similar approach and inspiration can be seen on page 27.

O

WO W!
/20

RT

20
AN
B UI L D

19
/20

A more dynamic bike silhouette provides interest to the reader. Score text presented on circles linked in size to the value.

DL
I NG

U AL I T Y

19
/20

Q

Comfort Value Handling Wow factor Build quality

17/20 12 /20 19/20 20/20 19/20 OVERALL 87 %

Using a bar scale provides the reader with visual cues on the test value.

VALUE COMFORT

12 /20 17/20

Applying a bar scale to the dynamic image relates the scores to actual areas on the bike.

WOW FACTOR 20/20 HANDLING
19/20

BUILD QUALITY 19/20 TOTAL SCORE
Understanding and choosing technology

87

%
25

82%

87% 88% 89%

95%

To compare user test scores it is important to see the difference between the bikes, not just numerically, but visually too.

75

80

85

90

95

100

Boardman

Genesis

Cinelli Giant Focus

Adding another dimension and removing redundant information makes the graphic clearer.

82

87 88 89

95

Boardman

Genesis

Cinelli

Focus

Giant 13 20 19 18 18
Using colour to compare test results for all the bicycles.

Wow factor 17 Comfort 19 Value 20 Handling 20 Build quality 19 OVERALL 95%

20 17 12 19 19

14 17 20 19 19

12 18 19 18 15

87% 89% 82% 88%

Boardman

Genesis

Cinelli

Focus

Giant 13 20 19 18 18
A ‘test-tube’ approach links the bike manufacturers with the final score, including individual scores in the tube. Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

Wow factor Comfort Value Handling Build quality

17 19 20 20 19

20 17 12 19 19

14 17 20 19 19

12 18 19 18 15

OVERALL 95%
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87% 89% 82% 88%

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Component comparison
A number of the components found on the bicycles are made by different manufacturers so it is difficult for the reader to make an accurate comparison of quality. In the diagram below, I want the reader to be able to compare components from different manufactures on a quality scale system. For this example I have used component price as the quality indicator (see Appendix A for details). I am aware that price is not the best way to assess the quality of a product as this does not indicate brand name allowances; but for this concept I find it a useful judgement.

Giant Genesis Cinelli Focus
Alloy

Boardman
Shimano Sora, Tiagra Shimano
Sora, Tiagra, 105

Alloy Carbon FSA Gossamer FSA Gossamer FSA Gossamer Alloy Alloy & Carbon Alloy & Carbon Carbon Carbon

In this concept the typeface has been modified in a rough way using a perspective modifier. If used for the final version a more systematic approach and different typeface would be required. This concept is engaging but at the cost of legibility and easy comparison.

GROUPSET

Mavic CXP22 Alex R450 rims Miche Excite

Shimano 105 SRAM Rival

Frame

Shimano Sora

Carbon

CHAINSET

Forks

FSA Gossamer FSA Gossamer

Carbon

WHEELS

Shimano RS-10 Ritchley Pro

Even though the data in this illustration from the Feltron Personal Annual Report is designed like signposts, I like the way the information is layed out over the washed out map.

Understanding and choosing technology

27

Table comparing bicycle specifications. The quality standards comparison from the previous page have been removed except for the most important Groupset.

BIKE

Make Model Price Frame Fork000000000 000000 Wheels Weight Groupset 0000000000000 0000000000000 0000000000000 000000

Boardman Team Carbon £999.99 Carbon Carbon00000000000000 0 Ritchey Pro 17.7lb

Cinelli Xperience Sora/Excite £964.99 Alloy Carbon00000000000000 0 Miche Excite 20.4lb

Focus Cayo 105 £879.20 Carbon Carbon00000000000000 0 Shimano RS-10 19.0lb

Genesis Aether £799.00 Alloy Carbon blades, alloy steerer Alex R450 rims 20.2lb

Giant Defy 2 £825.00 Alloy Carbon blades, alloy steerer Mavic CXP22 20.0lb

BODY

BITS

Chainset Gear ratio

SRAM Rival 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 53/39 with 12-25 Neutral S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Black Collaboration between Chris Boardman (Olympic Gold Medallist) and Halfords

Shimano Sora 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Red and white Legendary Italian name with racing heritage 00000000000000000000 0000000000000000

Shimano 105 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-27 Racy XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL Red, black and white Just available online at Wiggle 00000000000000000000 0000000000000000

Shimano 105 (rear mech), Sora (compact crankset) Tiagra (levers and front mech) Tektro (brake calipers) FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 White Built for comfort more than speed. Unusual styling and design 000000000000000000

Shimano Tiagra with Sora brake calipers 00000000000000000000 00000000000000000000 00000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Neutral S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Blue, white and black Entry level bike from Giant aiming towards fast commuting 000000000000000000

BUYER

Riding position Size range 0000000000000 Colour Extra notes 0000000000000 0000000000000 0000000000

Increasing the legibility of the bicycle brands and prices.

Genesis
Aether

Giant
Defy 2 Alloy Carbon blades, alloy steerer Mavic CXP22 20.0lb
Quality level

Focus
Cayo 105 Carbon Carbon00000000000000 0 Shimano RS-10 19.0lb
Quality level

Cinelli
Xperience Sora/Excite Alloy Carbon00000000000000 0 Miche Excite 20.4lb
Quality level

Boardman
Team Carbon Carbon Carbon00000000000000 0 Ritchey Pro 17.7lb
Quality level

BIKE

Frame Fork000000000 000000 Wheels Weight Groupset 0000000000000 00 Chainset Gear ratio

Alloy Carbon blades, alloy steerer Alex R450 rims 20.2lb
Quality level

BITS

Shimano Sora, Tiagra and 105 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 White Built for comfort more than speed. Unusual styling and design 000000000000000000 £799.00

Shimano Sora and Tiagra 00000000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Neutral S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Blue, white and black Entry level bike from Giant aiming towards fast commuting 000000000000000000 £825.00

Shimano 105 00000000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-27 Racy XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL Red, black and white Just available online at Wiggle 00000000000000000000 0000000000000000 £879.20

Shimano Sora 00000000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Red and white Legendary Italian name with racing heritage 00000000000000000000 0000000000000000 £964.99

SRAM Rival 00000000000000000000 FSA Gossamer 53/39 with 12-25 Neutral S, M, L, XL 000000000000000000 Black Collaboration between Chris Boardman (Olympic Gold Medallist) and Halfords £999.99

BUYER

Riding position Size range 0000000000000 Colour Extra notes 0000000000000 0000000000000 0000000000

28

Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION u MAKING

Original bicycle test
Slab serif stands out but is not ‘light’ like the rest of the article, or in fact the bicycles themselves Bicycle specification is too small and badly placed

Inconsistent placement of captions

Scoring system needs to be more prominent

Too large and placed in areas where they could mix with other elements of the spread

‘The Right Fit’ pull-out is too prominent

Very narrow columns with large gutters

Not enough information on the actual spread of the scores - winner is not clear enough

Quotes should not be at the bottom as they get lost within the article

Understanding and choosing technology

29

Individual bike concepts
The next 10 pages show two concepts for the individual bike test, one of which has two variants for the right page), and three concepts for the test summary spread.
Pull outs set within the text are not the normal convention, but they save space and are read in the correct location

Individual 1

Bike test £1,000 road bikes

Cinelli Xperience Sora
The Cinelli, with its Ferrari-red paint and racy graphics fairly screams ‘thoroughbred’ at you. Cinelli is as Italian as
espresso, and the legendary name has a similar effect on the heart of the bike lover. Beneath the bright red paint is a Columbus alloy-tubed frame, with sloping geometry. The down tube is oversized to stiffen up the ride, ovalised at the head tube turning to box section at the bottom bracket. Cinelli supplies a Columbus carbon fork. Bar, stem and seatpost are Cinelli as expected - the area the Milan-based comapny has traditionally specialised in. The groupset is Shimano Sora - the bottom of the Shimano roadgoing groupsets - with a compact chainset and 170mm cranks. Miche Excite wheels are nice looking, but not particularly lightweight. Likewise, when you pick it up, the Xperience is not light - in fact, it’s hard not to be slightly disappointed by its 20.4lb, making it the heaviest in this test but on the road, it’s a different story. The ride is firm, precise and nimble, and if you hadn’t given the bike the obligatory lift in advance, you wouldn’t know you weren’t on something three or four pounds lighter. The angles are fairly steep and the wheelbase short, so handling is racy. The Columbus fork in particular is excellent, so that confident cornering is always on, despite the longest head tube on test. However, this does make for a more upright, comfortable position on long rides. Alloy frames have been criticised as being harsh, but we would say the amount of road ‘feel’ from the Xperience is just right. It’s a bit rattly on bumpy descents, but this is not a deal breaker. The Cinelli bar and stem can’t be faulted, and the Selle Italia XR saddle is a great compromise between race performance and comfort. The only let down is the Sora shifters. These have a thumbshifter for changing up (i.e. moving down the cassette) and the first problem with it is that it gets in the way when you’re riding the hoods, rubbing on the insides of your thumbs. The second problem is that you can’t reach the thumb-shifter from the drops, unless you can somehow add an inch and a half to your thumb. The third problem is with the lever throw on the right-hand shifter - you need huge hands to change down (up the cassette) from the drops. Sora braking is not very powerful, either, but we won’t pin this one on the levers, as the different brake block compound might make all the difference, and after a few gritty winter rides, you may find that stopping happens in a shorter space of time anyway. To sum up, we

liked everything about the Cinelli, except the Shimano Sora levers. Tiagra, the next model up, uses the

same lever system as the more expensive Shimano groupsets up to Dura-Ace, so we recommend upgrading to them. The difference in the price is something like £65, which pushes the Xperience over the £1,00 mark.

34 CYCLING ACTIVE

30

Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION u MAKING

Detail shots relate to the users rational sense

If each bike on the test had this specification column to the right, the reader could flick through the pages to compare the bikes quickly and efficiently.

Minion Pro - 9pt The Cinelli, with its Ferrari-red paint and racy graphics fairly screams ‘thoroughbred’ at you. Cinelli is as Italian as espresso, and the legendary name has a similar effect on the heart of the bike lover. Book Antiqua - 9pt The Cinelli, with its Ferrari-red paint and racy graphics fairly screams ‘thoroughbred’ at you. Cinelli is as Italian as espresso, and the legendary name has a similar effect on the heart of the bike lover. Times New Roman - 9pt The Cinelli, with its Ferrari-red paint and racy graphics fairly screams ‘thoroughbred’ at you. Cinelli is as Italian as espresso, and the legendary name has a similar effect on the heart of the bike lover. Cambria - 9pt The Cinelli, with its Ferrari-red paint and racy graphics fairly screams ‘thoroughbred’ at you. Cinelli is as Italian as espresso, and the legendary name has a similar effect on the heart of the bike lover.
Typeface tests for the main body text. Cambria looks clean and legible, and should complement a sans serif used for feature elements and illustrations.

Individual 1A

Specification
We liked: Italian thoroughbred racy ride

Cinelli
Xperience Sora/Excite

BIKE

Frame Fork Wheels Weight Groupset Chainset Gear ratio Riding position Size range Colour Extra notes

BITS

BUYER

£964.99
We disliked: Sora shifters

Individual 1B

Test scores
WO W!
/20

12
/20

V LU A

COM F

17
/20

E

O

RT

20 19
/20

We liked: Italian thoroughbred racy ride

19
/20

Specification
BIKE
Frame Fork Wheels Weight Groupset Chainset Gear ratio Riding position Size range Colour Extra notes

Cinelli
Xperience Sora/Excite

AN
LD

DL
I NG

BU I

Upgrades

U AL I T Y

BITS

BUYER

Cinelli with Campagnolo If you want a Campagnolo groupset and an extra sprocket, Chicken Cycles offers the Cinelli Xperience with a Veloce 10speed groupset and Campagnolo wheels for £999.99. Shimano Tiagra levers - £215 Any dealer worth its salt will be prepared to swap the Sora levers for the excellent Tiagra versions at point of sale. Tiagra shifters will improve the overall ride experience of the, um, Xperience, no end. We simply can’t understand why Shimano put those thumb shifters on the Sora shifters where they did. Riding on the hoods is the default position these days, but if you’re descending it’s much safer on the drops, and riders may well find they want to change gear while they’re there...
We disliked: Sora shifters

Q

£964.99
Test
Wow factor 20 Comfort 17 Value 12 Handling 19 Build quality 19

CYCLING ACTIVE 35

Overall 87% Upgrade options
Cinelli with Campagnolo If you want a Campagnolo groupset and an extra sprocket, Chicken Cycles offers the Cinelli Xperience with a Veloce 10speed groupset and Campagnolo wheels for £999.99. Shimano Tiagra levers - £215 Any dealer worth its salt will be prepared to swap the Sora levers for the excellent Tiagra versions at point of sale. Tiagra shifters will improve the overall ride experience of the, um, Xperience, no end. We simply can’t understand why Shimano put those thumb shifters on the Sora shifters where they did. Riding on the hoods is the default position these days, but if you’re descending it’s much safer on the drops, and riders may well find they want to change gear while they’re there...

CYCLING ACTIVE 35

Understanding and choosing technology

31

Orange is a poor contrast with the grey, and main body text too small

A large image of the bike in use can relate to an emotional sense, but it is difficult to fit in close up shots within this layout

Individual 2

Bike test £1,000 road bikes

Cinelli Xperience Sora
The Cinelli, with its Ferrari-red paint and racy graphics fairly screams ‘thoroughbred’ at you. Cinelli is as Italian as
espresso, and the legendary name has a similar effect on the heart of the bike lover. Beneath the bright red paint is a Columbus alloy-tubed frame, with sloping geometry. The down tube is oversized to stiffen up the ride, ovalised at the head tube turning to box section at the bottom bracket. Cinelli supplies a Columbus carbon fork. Bar, stem and seatpost are Cinelli as expected - the area the Milan-based comapny has traditionally specialised in. The groupset is Shimano Sora - the bottom of the Shimano roadgoing groupsets - with a compact chainset and 170mm cranks. Miche Excite wheels are nice looking, but not particularly lightweight. Likewise, when you pick it up, the Xperience is not light - in fact, it’s hard not to be slightly disappointed by its 20.4lb, making it the heaviest in this test - but on the road, it’s a different story. The ride is firm, precise and nimble, and if you hadn’t given the bike the obligatory lift in advance, you wouldn’t know you weren’t on something three or four pounds lighter. The angles are fairly steep and the wheelbase short, so handling is racy. The Columbus fork in particular is excellent, so that confident cornering is always on, despite the longest head tube on test. However, this does make for a more upright, comfortable position on long rides. Alloy frames have been criticised as being harsh, but we would say the amount of road ‘feel’ from the Xperience is just right. It’s a bit rattly on bumpy descents, but this is not a deal breaker. The Cinelli bar and stem can’t be faulted, and the Selle Italia XR saddle is a great compromise between race performance and comfort. The only let down is the Sora shifters. These have a thumbshifter for changing up (i.e. moving down the cassette) and the first problem with it is that it gets in the way when you’re riding the hoods, rubbing on the insides of your thumbs. The second

34 CYCLING ACTIVE

32

Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION u MAKING

Quality level

Experimenting with component quality illustration. The middle example would appear to be most understandable, but is not effective when multiple components are used within the same groupset. Icons are a nice reference to the topic, but these look a little detached

problem is that you can’t reach the thumb-shifter from the drops, unless you can somehow add an inch and a half to your thumb. The third problem is with the lever throw on the right-hand shifter - you need huge hands to change down (up the cassette) from the drops. Sora braking is not very powerful, either, but we won’t pin this one on the levers, as the different brake block compound might make all the difference, and after a few gritty winter rides, you may find that stopping happens in a shorter space of time anyway.

Specification
BIKE
Frame Fork Wheels Weight Groupset Chainset Gear ratio Riding position Size range Colour Extra notes

Cinelli
Xperience Sora/Excite Alloy Carbon Miche Excite 20.4lb Shimano Sora FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL Legendary Italian name with racing heritage

BITS

liked everything about the Cinelli, except the Shimano Sora levers. Tiagra, the next model up, uses the same lever
system as the more expensive Shimano groupsets up to DuraAce, so we recommend upgrading to them. The difference in the price is something like £65, which pushes the Xperience over the £1,00 mark.

To sum up, we

BUYER

£964.99

12
/20

V LU A

C

17 OM
/20

E

F

O

WO W!
/20

RT

20 19
/20

19
/20

AN
U I LD
Q
Understanding and choosing technology

DL
I NG
U AL I T Y

B

33

Test summary concepts

Compare 1

Bike test £1,000 road bikes

Our verdict
It’s harsh to have to score the bikes by only the five criteria in this test, but we reckon the cream should still rise to the top. So let’s quickly sum up. The alloy Cinelli Xperience has a high wow factor due to its paintjob, its massive down tube and the fact that it’s made by a classic Italian bike manufacturer. However, there’s no doubt that you’re paying for the Cinelli name, as the groupset is the lowest specced in this test, with the Sora levers and their poorly placed thumb shifters not doing it any favours at all. Thumb issues aside, the Cinelli rides well, though it’s the heaviest bike on test. Giant’s Defy 2, also alloy, impressed us with its emphasis on comfort. The Taiwanese company has accepted that at this price you can’t build a 14lb race bike so you might as well work with what you have and include mudguard eyes and rack mounts, and put on some tougher, wider tyres, a comfier saddle and some thick bar tape. It weighs 20lb dead, and if you did decide you wanted to make a couple of inexpensive modifications and change the contact points, you could knock a good few ounces off the weight and end up with something that feels a lot faster. We aren’t sure if we ‘got’ the Genesis Aether at first, but once you’re used to the slightly odd graphics, stark white paint and big welds at the tube junctures, you begin to realise that even though it has a drop bar, it’s miles away from being a race bike and doesn’t want to be one either. It’s aimed at commuting, and weighing a perfectly reasonable 20.2lb you will have no excuse for not getting to your desk for 7.30 sharp every morning, while your colleagues are stuck on the tube with their faces in a stranger’s armpit. The Aether’s equipment is a bit off the wall - a Pro stem here, a 105 rear mech there, a Sora chainset...but it all gels nicely and produces a good, solid ride. With the Focus Cayo we’re into carbon race territory and Shimano’s 105 groupset - a step up from what we’ve seen so far. The German bike really looks the part, with its monster down tube and the shortest head tube on test giving a low, aggressive rider position. The Cayo produces a very firm ride, is the second lightest on test and offers excellent value for money.

If the Boardman weren’t in this test the Cayo would win hands-down on all counts, but the Boardman Team Carbon really is something quite special. It comes in at one penny under the £1,000, but if
you paid double that and got a bike like this you would still be grinning from ear to ear. It’s a superb machine - the lightest on test by a long way - with SRAM Rival groupset and extremely well judged finishing kit. The carbon frame, with its rear wishbone stay, feels sporty and quick, but nicely damped, and the angles aren’t as steep and the head tube not as low as the Focus’s, so the Boardman is not necessarily an out-and-out race bike. Basically, it’s good for whatever type of riding you want to do on it, whether that’s racing, sportives, training or fast commuting, and it’s a joy to ride. Giant Defy 2

Cinelli Xperience Sora

Genesis Aether

www.madison.co.uk

www.chickencycles.co.uk

www.giant-bicycles.com

42 CYCLING ACTIVE

34

Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION u MAKING

‘The right fit’ is taken from the original article - this example has simplified the image to cut out the elements that are not required in the fitting proceedure

Increases in bike size may influence the perception of the score - they are not an accurate representation

The right fit
Top tube

Stem length

What is the best set-up for you? It goes without saying that buying the correct frame size is vital, but for various reasons, there’s more to it than just checking the size sticker. Prioritise ‘Frame size’ relates to a measurement of the seat tube, but the actual points being measured between are not standardised across brands. Much better is to check the top tube length, and head tube height, i.e. what affects your reach, and ultimately your riding comfort, as this is much harder to adjust if you get it wrong. And don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve with the bike. If it’s long day rides, sportives and the like, then a relaxed comfortable reach is likely to prevail over a low slung position.

Head tube height

Seat tube

Score

%
Boardman Team Carbon

95%

Focus Cayo 105

89% 88% 87%

82%

www.wiggle.co.uk

www.halfords.com

Genesis

Cinelli

Giant

Focus

Boardman

Wow factor Comfort Value Handling Build quality

12 18 19 18 15 82%

20 17 12 19 19 87%

13 20 19 18 18 88%

14 17 20 19 19 89%

17 19 20 20 19 95%

CYCLING ACTIVE 43

Understanding and choosing technology

35

Colouring the right fit box increases its contrast with the rest of the article - this is a good point as it is a separate element

Compare 2

Bike test £1,000 road bikes

Our verdict
It’s harsh to have to score the bikes by only the five criteria in this test, but we reckon the cream should still rise to the top. So let’s quickly sum up. The alloy Cinelli Xperience has a high wow factor due to its paintjob, its massive down tube and the fact that it’s made by a classic Italian bike manufacturer. However, there’s no doubt that you’re paying for the Cinelli name, as the groupset is the lowest specced in this test, with the Sora levers and their poorly placed thumb shifters not doing it any favours at all. Thumb issues aside, the Cinelli rides well, though it’s the heaviest bike on test. Giant’s Defy 2, also alloy, impressed us with its emphasis on comfort. The Taiwanese company has accepted that at this price you can’t build a 14lb race bike so you might as well work with what you have and include mudguard eyes and rack mounts, and put on some tougher, wider tyres, a comfier saddle and some thick bar tape. It weighs 20lb dead, and if you did decide you wanted to make a couple of inexpensive modifications and change the contact points, you could knock a good few ounces off the weight and end up with something that feels a lot faster. We aren’t sure if we ‘got’ the Genesis Aether at first, but once you’re used to the slightly odd graphics, stark white paint and big welds at the tube junctures, you begin to realise that even though it has a drop bar, it’s miles away from being a race bike and doesn’t want to be one either. It’s aimed at commuting, and weighing a perfectly reasonable 20.2lb you will have no excuse for not getting to your desk for 7.30 sharp every morning, while your colleagues are stuck on the tube with their faces in a stranger’s armpit. The Aether’s equipment is a bit off the wall - a Pro stem here, a 105 rear mech there, a Sora chainset...but it all gels nicely and produces a good, solid ride. With the Focus Cayo we’re into carbon race territory and Shimano’s 105 groupset - a step up from what we’ve seen so far. The German bike really looks the part, with its monster down tube and the shortest head tube on test giving a low, aggressive rider position. The Cayo produces a very firm ride, is the second lightest on test and offers excellent value for money. grinning from ear to ear. It’s a superb machine - the lightest on test by a long way - with SRAM Rival groupset and extremely well judged finishing kit. The carbon frame, with its rear wishbone stay, feels sporty and quick, but nicely damped, and the angles aren’t as steep and the head tube not as low as the Focus’s, so the Boardman is not necessarily an out-and-out race bike. Basically, it’s good for whatever type of riding you want to do on it, whether that’s racing, sportives, training or fast commuting, and it’s a joy to ride.

The right fit
Top tube

Stem length

Head tube height

Seat tube

What is the best set-up for you? It goes without saying that buying the correct frame size is vital, but for various reasons, there’s more to it than just checking the size sticker. Prioritise ‘Frame size’ relates to a measurement of the seat tube, but the actual points being measured between are not standardised across brands. Much better is to check the top tube length, and head tube height, i.e. what affects your reach, and ultimately your riding comfort, as this is much harder to adjust if you get it wrong. And don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve with the bike. If it’s long day rides, sportives and the like, then a relaxed comfortable reach is likely to prevail over a low slung position.

If the Boardman weren’t in this test the Cayo would win hands-down on all counts, but the Boardman Team Carbon really is something quite special. It comes in at one penny under the £1,000, but if
you paid double that and got a bike like this you would still be

87% Cinelli Xperience Sora

88% Giant Defy 2

82% Genesis Aether

www.madison.co.uk

www.chickencycles.co.uk

www.giant-bicycles.com

42 CYCLING ACTIVE

36

Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION u MAKING

This spread has lowered the bikes to give a more grounded feel, balancing the spread more than the previous concept.

Less grey is used in this spread to make it less heavy

Racing, sportives, training or fast commuting, the Boardman’s a joy to ride

Genesis

Cinelli

Giant

Focus

Boardman

Wow factor Comfort Value Handling Build quality

12 18 19 18 15 82%

20 17 12 19 19 87%

13 20 19 18 18 88%

14 17 20 19 19 89%

17 19 20 20 19 95%

%
100 99 98 97 96 95 94 93 92 91 90 89 88 87 86 85 84 83 82 81 80

95% Boardman Team Carbon

89% Focus Cayo 105

www.wiggle.co.uk

www.halfords.com

CYCLING ACTIVE 43

Understanding and choosing technology

37

An attempt to portray the difference in scores. Bunching of the middle range bikes shows a closeness of scores but becomes illegible

Compare 3

Bike test £1,000 road bikes

Our verdict
It’s harsh to have to score the bikes by only the five criteria in this test, but we reckon the cream should still rise to the top. So let’s quickly sum up. The alloy Cinelli Xperience has a high wow factor due to its paintjob, its massive down tube and the fact that it’s made by a classic Italian bike manufacturer. However, there’s no doubt that you’re paying for the Cinelli name, as the groupset is the lowest specced in this test, with the Sora levers and their poorly placed thumb shifters not doing it any favours at all. Thumb issues aside, the Cinelli rides well, though it’s the heaviest bike on test. Giant’s Defy 2, also alloy, impressed us with its emphasis on comfort. The Taiwanese company has accepted that at this price you can’t build a 14lb race bike so you might as well work with what you have and include mudguard eyes and rack mounts, and put on some tougher, wider tyres, a comfier saddle and some thick bar tape. It weighs 20lb dead, and if you did decide you wanted to make a couple of inexpensive modifications and change the contact points, you could knock a good few ounces off the weight and end up with something that feels a lot faster. We aren’t sure if we ‘got’ the Genesis Aether at first, but once you’re used to the slightly odd graphics, stark white paint and big welds at the tube junctures, you begin to realise that even though it has a drop bar, it’s miles away from being a race bike and doesn’t want to be one either. It’s aimed at commuting, and weighing a perfectly reasonable 20.2lb you will have no excuse for not getting to your desk for 7.30 sharp every morning, while your colleagues are stuck on the tube with their faces in a stranger’s armpit. The Aether’s equipment is a bit off the wall - a Pro stem here, a 105 rear mech there, a Sora chainset...but it all gels nicely and produces a good, solid ride. With the Focus Cayo we’re into carbon race territory and Shimano’s 105 groupset - a step up from what we’ve seen so far. The German bike really looks the part, with its monster down tube and the shortest head tube on test giving a low, aggressive rider position. The Cayo produces a very firm ride, is the second lightest on test and offers excellent value for money.

If the Boardman weren’t in this test the Cayo would win hands-down on all counts, but the Boardman Team Carbon really is something quite special. It comes in at one penny under the £1,000, but if
you paid double that and got a bike like this you would still be grinning from ear to ear. It’s a superb machine - the lightest on test by a long way - with SRAM Rival groupset and extremely well judged finishing kit. The carbon frame, with its rear wishbone stay, feels sporty and quick, but nicely damped, and the angles aren’t as steep and the head tube not as low as the Focus’s, so the Boardman is not necessarily an out-and-out race bike. Basically, it’s good for whatever type of riding you want to do on it, whether that’s racing, sportives, training or fast commuting, and it’s a joy to ride.

82

87 88 89

95

%

42 CYCLING ACTIVE

38

Boardman
Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

Genesis

Cinelli Giant Focus

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION u MAKING

An isotype method of illustrating the scores is tested to prevent bias from re-sized bikes. In this example it produces too much wasted space and little interest for the reader

Wow factor Comfort Value Handling Build quality

12 18 19 18 15

20 17 12 19 19

13 20 19 18 18

14 17 20 19 19

17 19 20 20 19

The right fit
Top tube

Stem length

Head tube height

Seat tube

What is the best set-up for you? It goes without saying that buying the correct frame size is vital, but for various reasons, there’s more to it than just checking the size sticker. Prioritise ‘Frame size’ relates to a measurement of the seat tube, but the actual points being measured between are not standardised across brands. Much better is to check the top tube length, and head tube height, i.e. what affects your reach, and ultimately your riding comfort, as this is much harder to adjust if you get it wrong. And don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve with the bike. If it’s long day rides, sportives and the like, then a relaxed comfortable reach is likely to prevail over a low slung position.

82% 87% 88% 89% 95%

CYCLING ACTIVE 43

Understanding and choosing technology

Boardman

Genesis

Focus

Cinelli

Giant

39

40

Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION w MAKING

w SFORMATION w MAKING

Understanding and choosing technology

41

Individual bike test Final A4 spread
Lightening the orange to a more yellow colour has increased contrast and legibility, and linking the icons in the specification table (under the Bike, Bits and Buyer sections) has reduced the number of ‘floating’ elements. The bike being used is emotive and the issue of highlighting particular elements has been solved using overlaid windows. For the other bikes tested I would use different angles for the main photo on each to promote interest, but keep the same cyclist for consistency. The right hand technical bar will remain in the same position to aid comparison as the reader flicks through the other bikes on test.

Bike test £1,000 road bikes

Cinelli Xperience Sora
The Cinelli, with its Ferrari-red paint and racy graphics fairly screams ‘thoroughbred’ at you. Cinelli is as Italian as espresso, and the legendary name has a similar effect on the heart of the bike lover. Beneath the bright red paint is a Columbus alloy-tubed frame, with sloping geometry. The down tube is oversized to stiffen up the ride, ovalised at the head tube turning to box section at the bottom bracket. Cinelli supplies a Columbus carbon fork. Bar, stem and seatpost are Cinelli as expected - the area the Milan-based comapny has traditionally specialised in. The groupset is Shimano Sora; the bottom of the Shimano roadgoing groupsets, with a compact chainset and 170mm cranks. Miche Excite wheels are nice looking, but not particularly lightweight. Likewise, when you pick it up, the Xperience is not light, in fact, it’s hard not to be slightly disappointed by its 20.4lb, making it the heaviest in this test, but on the road, it’s a different story. The ride is firm, precise and nimble, you wouldn’t know you weren’t on something three or four pounds lighter. The angles are fairly steep and the wheelbase short, so handling is racy. The Columbus fork in particular is excellent, so that confident cornering is always on, despite the longest head tube on test. However, this does make for a more upright, comfortable position on long rides. Alloy frames have been criticised as being harsh, but we would say the amount of road ‘feel’ from the Xperience is just right. It’s a bit rattly on bumpy descents, but this is not a deal breaker. The only let down is the Sora shifters. These have a thumb-shifter for changing up (i.e. moving down the cassette) and the first problem with it is that it gets in the way when you’re riding the hoods, rubbing on the insides of your thumbs. The second problem is that you can’t

We disliked: Sora shifters

We liked: Italian thoroughbred racy ride

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Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION w MAKING

reach the thumb-shifter from the drops, unless you can somehow add an inch and a half to your thumb. The third problem is with the lever throw on the righthand shifter - you need huge hands to change down (up the cassette) from the drops. Sora braking is not very powerful, either, but we won’t pin this one on the levers, as the different brake block compound might make all the difference, and after a few gritty winter rides, you may find that stopping happens in a shorter space of time anyway. To sum up, we liked everything about the Cinelli, except the Shimano Sora levers. Tiagra, the next model up, uses the same lever system as the more expensive Shimano groupsets up to Dura-Ace, so we recommend upgrading to them. The difference in the price is something like £65, which pushes the Xperience over the £1,00 mark.

Specification
BIKE
Frame Fork Wheels Weight Groupset Chainset Gear ratio Ride position Size range Colour Extra notes

Cinelli
Xperience Sora/Excite Alloy Carbon Miche Excite 20.4lb Shimano Sora FSA Gossamer 50/34 with 12-25 Upright XS, S, M, L, XL Legendary Italian name with racing heritage

BITS

BUYER

£964.99
V LU A

Test scores

12
/20

COM F17
/20

E

O

WO W!
/20

RT

20 19
/20

AN
LD

DL

BU I

/20

Upgrades

Q

Cinelli with Campagnolo If you want a Campagnolo groupset and an extra sprocket, Chicken Cycles offers the Cinelli Xperience with a Veloce 10-speed groupset and Campagnolo wheels for £999.99. Shimano Tiagra levers - £215 Any dealer worth its salt will be prepared to swap the Sora levers for the excellent Tiagra versions at point of sale. Tiagra shifters will improve the overall ride experience of the, um, Xperience, no end. We simply can’t understand why Shimano put those thumb shifters on the Sora shifters where they did. Riding on the hoods is the default position these days, but if you’re descending it’s much safer on the drops, and riders may well find they want to change gear while they’re there.
CYCLING ACTIVE 35

Understanding and choosing technology

U AL I T Y

19

I NG
43

Bike test summary Final A4 spread
The colours and element placement match the layout of the individual bike tests, with a consistent use of the windows to highlight areas on the images, and also the right fit box. The bike images are the same size to prevent visual bias, but the ruler-type scoring allows for accurate and instant comparison of out-right winners and losers.

Bike test £1,000 road bikes

Our verdict
The alloy Cinelli Xperience has a high wow factor due to its paintjob, its massive down tube and the fact that it’s made by a classic Italian bike manufacturer. However, there’s no doubt that you’re paying for the Cinelli name, as the groupset is the lowest specced in this test, with the Sora levers and their poorly placed thumb shifters not doing it any favours at all. Thumb issues aside, the Cinelli rides well, though it’s the heaviest bike on test. Giant’s Defy 2, impressed us with its emphasis on comfort. The Taiwanese company has accepted that at this price you can’t build a 14lb race bike so you might as well work with what you have and include mudguard eyes and rack mounts, and put on some tougher, wider tyres, a comfier saddle and some thick bar tape. It weighs 20lb dead, and if you did decide you wanted to make a couple of inexpensive modifications and change the contact points, you could knock a good few ounces off the weight and end up with something that feels a lot faster. We aren’t sure if we ‘got’ the Genesis Aether at first, but once you’re used to the slightly odd graphics, stark white paint and big welds at the tube junctures, you begin to realise that even though it has a drop bar, it’s miles away from being a race bike and doesn’t want to be one either. It’s aimed at commuting, and weighing a perfectly reasonable 20.2lb you will have no excuse for not getting to your desk for 7.30 sharp every morning, while your colleagues are stuck on the tube with their faces in a stranger’s armpit. The Aether’s equipment is a bit off the wall; a Pro stem here, a 105 rear mech there, a Sora chainset; but it all gels nicely and produces a solid ride. With the Focus Cayo we’re into carbon race territory and Shimano’s 105 groupset - a step up from what we’ve seen so far. The German bike really looks the part, with its monster down tube and the shortest head tube on test giving a low, aggressive rider position. The Cayo produces a very firm ride, is the second lightest on test and offers excellent value for money. If the Boardman weren’t in this test the Cayo would win hands-down on all counts, but the Boardman Team Carbon really is something quite special. It comes in at one penny under the £1,000, but if you paid double that and got a bike like this you would still be grinning from ear to ear. It’s a superb machine, the lightest on test by a long way, with SRAM Rival groupset and extremely well judged finishing kit. The carbon frame, with its rear wishbone stay, feels sporty and quick, but nicely damped, and the angles aren’t as steep and the head tube not as low as the Focus’s, so the Boardman is not necessarily an out-andout race bike. Basically, it’s good for whatever type of riding you want to do on it, whether that’s racing, sportives, training or fast commuting, it’s a joy to ride.

The right fit
Top tube

Stem length

Head tube height

Seat tube

What is the best set-up for you?
It goes without saying that buying the correct frame size is vital, but for various reasons, there’s more to it than just checking the size sticker.

Prioritise
‘Frame size’ relates to a measurement of the seat tube, but the actual points being measured between are not standardised across brands. Much better is to check the top tube length, and head tube height, i.e. what affects your reach, and ultimately your riding comfort, as this is much harder to adjust if you get it wrong. And don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve with the bike. If it’s long day rides, sportives and the like, then a relaxed comfortable reach is likely to prevail over a low slung position.

87% 82%
Genesis Aether

Cinelli Xperience Sora

88%

Giant Defy 2

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Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

DISCOVERY w TRANSFORMATION w MAKING

Boardman

Genesis

Cinelli

Focus

Giant

Final scores
If the Boardman weren’t in this test the Cayo would win hands-down on all counts, but the Boardman Team Carbon really is something quite special.

Wow factor Comfort Value Handling Build quality

12 18 19 18 15 82%

20 17 12 19 19 87%

13 20 19 18 18 88%

14 17 20 19 19 89%

17 19 20 20 19 95%

Racing, sportives, training or fast commuting, the Boardman’s a joy to ride

Boardman www.halfords.com Focus www.wiggle.co.uk Giant www.giant-bicycles.com Cinelli www.chickencycles.co.uk Genesis www.madison.co.uk 100%

95% 89%
Focus Cayo 105

Boardman Team Carbon

90%

80%

70%

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Appendix A Component comparison
In the tables below I have grouped components together by manufacturer. By including the price (found online at www.wiggle.co.uk) I am hoping to assess like for like and include this within any comparison graphics. Prices correct at 10/11/2009.

Groupset
Manufacturer
Shimano

Wheels
Model
Dura-Ace Ultegra 105 Tiagra Sora

£price
Rear derailleur

Manufacturer
Miche

Model
X-press Pistard Race Excite

£price
170 set 162 set 121 set 85 set 220 set 62 each 81 each 88 each 97 each 106 each 212 each 220 each 344 – 845 each Not found but reviews comment on a ‘budget choice’ Not found but reviews comment on a ‘budget choice’

119 – 432 58 – 76 48 – 50 42 25 210 95 47 – 56

Ritchey Shimano

Pro R500 T565 RS10 RS20 RS30 Ultegra 6600

SRAM

Red Force Rival

Chainset
Manufacturer
FSA

RS80 Dura Ace

Model
Omega Gossamer K Force SLK Neo Pro

£price
90 153 322 360 540

Alex rims

R450

Mavic

CXP22

Frame and fork material
Material
Steel Aluminium Alloy Carbon

Weight
Heaviest Middle weight Lightest

£price
£ ££ £££

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Oliver Tomlinson - Autumn term 2009

Understanding and choosing technology

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