Bike Ratings on EBR

Shoud EBR's Numerical Rating System be Modified?


  • Total voters
    10

bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
Court has done a tremendous job setting up this EBR resource. Kudos Court! I particularly like the comparison feature! Even as I am happy owning one e-bike, a second e-bike surely is in my future.

Last April after much research here and elswhere I made my e bike purchase. I have been completely pleased with all factors regarding acquiring the bike. After 2000 miles, I am equally impressed with the performance of the bike. So I know I've got a decent commuter e bike, which I attribute to having gained some knowledge through Court, EBR and this blog.

After evaluating the reviews of similar commuter e-bikes, I question the rating bias accuracy. The EG ZURICH 350 was rated an 8.5 out of 10. How can 3 bikes, specifically the iGo Metro, the IZIP E3 Path, and Emazing Bike Daedalus 72pd be rated higher? The e-bikes mentioned have an assortment of features which fall short of the EG Zurich 350 when comparing them side by side. All factors considered, I feel the lower rating on the EG ZURICH 350 is inaccurate when compared to the other bikes mentioned, and a disservice to people who consider these reviews in making a purchase.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
John,

I agree. Court has done a tremendous job. He is probably bursting at the seams. We all benefit from his efforts. I am grateful.

Court tries to give an overall rating. Each person has different goals. I found that I need to list the components(i.e., costs) against the benefits for my situation. I finally resorted to a spreadsheet, because my brain cannot handle all the information. Anyone can freely access the spreadsheet and example.

I wanted to understand the difference between Haibike S and X Duro, or Yamaha vs. Bosch. Links to the SDuro and XDuro.

I came to the following approach:

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 
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Chandlee EBS

Active Member
@bikerjohn, I think it just comes by having actually tried everything out there, as well as knowing the history of the companies and their reputation. I don't necessarily agree with all of Court's scoring, but I trust him a heck of a lot more than anyone else. People like/want different things with ebikes. It's entirely subjective and it's going to be with Court's scoring as well. At least he's actually tried everything and can take it all into account.

I can tell you with certainty that objectively breaking the bikes down to pure specs isn't always going to give you the best bike. Go to a good demo day and test out evenly spec'ed bikes in one class and you'll find that you clearly prefer some to others. ...Actually, you wouldn't believe the differences in ride. Of course, you'll only know this by riding them and perhaps Court is inferring this in his ratings.

Some bikes have incredible specs for the money, but aren't reliable. Some companies are terrible with warranties. Some bikes have good electrics, but are poorly executed mechanically (actually, we've found this to be the case with a local costumer's 2012 EG). Some are great mechanically and weaker electronically. Court is trying to take this all into account. It can't be easy.

Ultimately, while Court does a better job than anyone, it falls to you to find your own perfect bike.

...However, my perfect bike is still better than your perfect bike. Obviously.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
John,
I read the EG Zurich and iGo metro reviews. So, what accounts for the 1.0 rating difference?

I think the front vs. Rear motors are worth 0.5 points by itself. To me, the front is for steering and the rear for power. The front fork is light and weak compared to the strong frame on the rear hub. The front fork is easy to turn because it is light. The rear must be strong to support pedal forces. The front wheel power design is backwards in my view.

If you compare the other components individually, I think Court gave the Zurich a generous rating. I am sure that if I took the time to rate the major components, the score would be 7.5, or lower. Court is being diplomatic.

For example, check out the design Felt took to separate power in the drivetrain from suspension action on a mountain bike.

 
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bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
John,
I read the EG Zurich and iGo metro reviews. So, what accounts for the 1.0 rating difference?
...
Well, Mike, I'm glad to have your assessment on this matter.
I think the evaluations comparing the two bikes overlook substantial differences in overall component quality. The two bikes are extraordinarily similar in basic features. But looking at the differences that stand out in Court's review, without assigning a numerical rating system, I don't see how anyone can draw the conclusion that the iGo is the superior bike.

First consider the superior Nexus drive hub on the Zurich. It is low maintenance with proven reliability.
As far as front wheel drive, I guess you have never experienced riding a Cruzbike.
An all-wheel drive system seems like a superior method to rear-wheel drive -consider the Zurich over the iGo on that count.
The video you posted on rear suspension doesn't pertain to either bike. Neither bike has a rear suspension...
Also, having experienced "basic" front fork suspension on a hybrid commuter, my perspective is that the solid front fork is more reliable and essentially maintenance free.
Weight and Watt hours favor the Zurich.
Another consideration is the lack of a "throttle only" mode on the iGo.
The Zurich's CST city tires are superior for commuting purposes.

Perhaps, give an advantage to the iGo for disc brakes, although the Zurich's Promax Mechanical V-Brakes and Tektro Levers with motor cutoff -are superior quality brands and function perfectly.
Then there is the $100 dollar difference in list price, that is a mute point understanding basic bartering practice in today's marketplace. However, the list price for the iGo stated in Court's review is inaccurate! The current list price for the iGo is $1799.

Finally, noting quality differences as stated and summarized in the reviews, it would seem that the Zurich is the higher quality commuter bike. The numerical rating shows the opposite. So, what other considerations are involved in the rating difference?
 
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bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
Anyway, I am not trying to make a review discrepancy and differences in observation into some sort of contest. I would just prefer a little more accuracy and a little less bias in the rating evaluations. I realize that reviews can be a matter of conflicting interests at times. Certainly Court has done a reasonable job limiting bias in his reviews. But when there is actual, extended hands-on experience from other EBR members, there should be some sort of reassessment on a review. All I'm trying to do here is let other folks know in a qualified way that the Zurich 350ix is a great commuter bike.

Deliberately, I have not compared the Zurich to higher priced machines, although a case can be made that some of those higher priced machine reviews clearly have bias weighted assessments. I would like to see costs on all e-bikes more in line with realistic values.

There is much good that has been accomplished by Court with his EBR blog. I am grateful for Court's initial review of the Zurich. The chance is I would not have found the EG line without his reviews. Finally, I consider it my obligation to the EBR community to share a perspective on quality. As a biker with nearly 50,000 commuter miles, I remain open-minded to the evolution of e-bike technologies. And as a cost conscious consumer, I continuously seek accuracy on the part of other's assessments in order to reach a clear perspective on value. This EBR blog is a great place to gain knowledge and make a continual reassessment of e-bike commuter and recreational options.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Well, Mike, I'm glad to have your assessment on this matter.
I think the evaluations comparing the two bikes overlook substantial differences in overall component quality. The two bikes are extraordinarily similar in basic features. But looking at the differences that stand out in Court's review, without assigning a numerical rating system, I don't see how anyone can draw the conclusion that the iGo is the superior bike.

First consider the superior Nexus drive hub on the Zurich. It is low maintenance with proven reliability.
As far as front wheel drive, I guess you have never experienced riding a Cruzbike.
An all-wheel drive system seems like a superior method to rear-wheel drive -consider the Zurich over the iGo on that count.
The video you posted on rear suspension doesn't pertain to either bike. Neither bike has a rear suspension...
Also, having experienced "basic" front fork suspension on a hybrid commuter, my perspective is that the solid front fork is more reliable and essentially maintenance free.
Weight and Watt hours favor the Zurich.
Another consideration is the lack of a "throttle only" mode on the iGo.
The Zurich's CST city tires are superior for commuting purposes.

Perhaps, give an advantage to the iGo for disc brakes, although the Zurich's Promax Mechanical V-Brakes and Tektro Levers with motor cutoff -are superior quality brands and function perfectly.
Then there is the $100 dollar difference in list price, that is a mute point understanding basic bartering practice in today's marketplace. However, the list price for the iGo stated in Court's review is inaccurate! The current list price for the iGo is $1799.

Finally, noting quality differences as stated and summarized in the reviews, it would seem that the Zurich is the higher quality commuter bike. The numerical rating shows the opposite. So, what other considerations are involved in the rating difference?
I learned several new things from your viewpoint. Points duly noted!

I posted the video as an illustration of the immense amount of subtle features that go unstated on paper. I did not mean that it applies to your situation. Rather, to express how much intuition plays a part in judgment.

The main problem I expeience is information overload. Working memory is the part of the brain that processes comparisons. WM is limited to about 6 pieces of information.

I do not own a bike. I must make an extra effort to focus my comparisons. I am also unfamiliar with all the bike you mention.

What mental process do you use to compare two bikes?

side by side comparisons in a spreadsheet is most effective for me. When the information is in two separate spec sheets or in paragraph text, I start experiencing "cognitive load".

The strategy I resort to is associating features with higher level benefit categories. I score the benefit, rather than the feature. For example, a front wheel motor might be associated with "Ease" or "Economy". I limit the categories to 5-10.

Do you find two side-by-side pictures or spec sheets more useful?

Do you mind starting with a format we can discuss all these bikes in?

I want to learn how to compare bikes better. The skill applies to many other products, too.
 
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bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
So much has already been said about comparisons.
Whether comparing bikes or cheddar cheese, I think a great way to evaluate similar products is with side by side comparisons.
Reputation and quality of a product should be a major factor in determining what suits you best.
Some weight must be given over to personal preference and price too.
Finally, balancing other people's assessments with an eye to understanding those assessments limitations by personal preference and bias, -all help to arrive at an educated choice of a preference.
Then, after all, like everything in life, experience counts, too! "You pay your money and take a chance."
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
So much has already been said about comparisons.
Whether comparing bikes or cheddar cheese, I think a great way to evaluate similar products is with side by side comparisons.
Reputation and quality of a product should be a major factor in determining what suits you best.
Some weight must be given over to personal preference and price too.
Finally, balancing other people's assessments with an eye to understanding those assessments limitations by personal preference and bias, -all help to arrive at an educated choice of a preference.
Then, after all, like everything in life, experience counts, too! "You pay your money and take a chance."
I agree. I try to keep close tabs on my FIBs. Fallacies, Intuition and Biases.

If you care to discuss the four bikes with regard to your criteria, I am happy to join in the conversation. For me, it is a learning experience.

Give me a few minutes to prepare a Google Sheet for your 4 bikes. I will fill in the preliminary details.

I filled in the preliminary information, based on your criteria. The cells of interest to you are colored blue. Click on the bike name to browse Court's review for that bike.

Could you please fill in your ratings? Google Sheet link here.

I made the link writable to anyone. Should I limit permission just between us?

BTW - how would you characterize Court's bias?
 
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J.R.

Well-Known Member
I try to keep close tabs on my FIBs. Fallacies, Intuition and Biases.
@Mike leroy I agree very much with your FIB sentiment. And I must always think, check my motives, research, set it aside for a moment and then think some more before coming to a conclusion. FIB's will always be involved but you must try to limit them.
@bikerjohn these are early days for the ebike industry. I think @Court has done an amazing job but I think the one glaring fault in his reviews is the numerical ranking. Given they are all within a couple points of 10, the rank holds no value in the review for me. I expect that his ranking system will be refined with time, money to invest in EBR and more bike releases. To be fair to Court, he has said the rankings are skewed a little too high, so I expect he has already implemented changes for future rankings. It is very much early days.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
I put the four bikes in a Google Sheet. I think this could be a constructive way to help Court get some valuable feedback.
I converted Court's rating to a scale of 1-5, which is more simple than 1-10.

John, could you please fill in the numerical ratings of interest to you? I believe you are interested in the cells colored blue background.
 
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Mike leroy

Active Member
@Mike leroy I agree very much with your FIB sentiment. And I must always think, check my motives, research, set it aside for a moment and then think some more before coming to a conclusion. FIB's will always be involved but you must try to limit them.
@bikerjohn these are early days for the ebike industry. I think @Court has done an amazing job but I think the one glaring fault in his reviews is the numerical ranking. Given they are all within a couple points of 10, the rank holds no value in the review for me. I expect that his ranking system will be refined with time, money to invest in EBR and more bike releases. To be fair to Court, he has said the rankings are skewed a little too high, so I expect he has already implemented changes for future rankings. It is very much early days.
JR, Have you read Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow? He is a professor of Paychology at Princton and won a Nobel Peace Prize. I got the FIBs from his book. He uses Illusion for the letter I, not a intuition.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
One should keep in mind that when Court tests 2 bikes with similar specs, there might be weeks, months, or years that have elapsed between both reviews. Unlike other tests, such as those conducted by ExtraEnergy.org, the bikes are not compared side by side in identical conditions at an instant T in time. This poses some challenges. A bike that was rated as a 10 on EBR in July 2014 might only be worth an 8.5 in March 2015... And so a competitor to the July 2014 offering could very well get a 9 if it was reviewed today, even if the specs of the newer bike are superior to the 2014 offering.

No matter what system you put in place, it's always going to be flawed, and given that the rating is partially based on a subjective impression, perhaps the best would be to drop it altogether.
I am not trying to put any system into place.
I am trying to improve my personal technique. I find comparing something as complex as an ebike very difficult and error prone. I am trying to find the flaws in my own mental processes.

I am actually applying Daniel Kahneman's mathematical psychology to real life situation.

I respect Court's ratings and not seeking change.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
I am not trying to put any system into place.
I am trying to improve my personal technique. I find comparing something as complex as an ebike very difficult and error prone. I am trying to find the flaws in my own mental processes.

I am actually applying Daniel Kahneman's mathematical psychology to real life situation.

I respect Court's ratings and not seeking change.
Just came here to upvote "Daniel Kahneman".
:)
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Some very thoughtful comments in here, thanks for understanding things like timeframe (what's available in the market when rating bike A vs. bike B), manufacturer reputation, availability, price and personal "feeling" about ride quality. I actually put a lot of thought into the numbers I choose and always consider comparable ebikes when deciding on a score. I moved to a 10 point scale late last year to allow for more fine-tuning within the higher score levels (7 to 10) which is where I like to stay. My ground floor is closer to 5 and even that rarely happens. Instead of railing on a bike with the rating number I'll often thoroughly list "cons" as a more concrete way to warn prospective buyers. I'm not grading on a curve at all and you may notice that companies like Haibike are getting nearly all 10's for 2014/2015 and that really makes me think hard... Yep, they're a sponsor but that's not why the bikes score so well. To me, they are the best balance of availability for Bosch right now, lower price point and high quality. I don't want to punish one of their models to simply show that I'm "unbiased". My knowledge of bicycles is constantly growing but my time with each model is limited so it's often difficult to knock a bike down... that's why comments and long term feedback are so important (and will be highlighted to a greater extent with the next version of EBR as I redesign the site and this forum). My hope is to bring more user data and feedback into reviews in a way that won't be overrun with spam. If we take a look at Felt now, which is also a sponsor and also uses Bosch, the scores are mostly high like Haibike with the exception of the SPORTe. This model receives a 9/10 based on the availability of competing products (Haibike Trekking) for this specific type of ride which operated more comfortably and had way more features (lights, fenders, suspension). This scoring only holds for the moment that the review is published. The subjective part of the SPORTe is that some riders might prefer a lighter frame to the great accessories of the Trekking and hopefully then, the 9/10 would still be high enough for them to trust the bike and make a purchase. That's why so many bikes get the 9-10 score because it's basically me saying "yep, I trust this bike and the company" but allows some wiggle room for pushing models around when compared directly :)
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
Court,

I read and watch your reviews for education and the insight it provides me. I am only interested in the final score to eliminate the least desirable bikes. I pay attention to the holistic message.

When I first started the Google Sheet, I only wanted about ten features. Ten factors quickly grew to 50. Now, I am willing to accommodate 100. All bike components or features are part of the whole bike. No single feature entirely makes or breaks a bike. The tradeoffs are so vast, that no single rating can represent the entire set of tradeoffs.

To me, the hardest and most important exercise is to relate the individual features to the bigger benefit categories. An economical bike must be evaluated in relation to low cost parts and price. A fast bike must be evaluated in terms of power-to-weight and energy consumption.

In other words, the benefits represent the forest. The bike features are the trees. The hard part is seeing the big picture, without losing grasp of the details. I find this type of mental processing extremely difficult. In this regard, Court does an excellent job.

The reason I made the Google Sheet for John's four bikes is to divide the bike price by Court's rating. I want to see is the cost-benefit ratio comes closer to John's assessment. The iZip and EG Zurich are pretty close.
  1. IGo Metro - 781
  2. I Zip - 520
  3. EG Zurich - 484
  4. Emazing - 378
Felt sporte - 444, Haibike XDuro RX 490. John, from a cost-benefit ratio, EG Zurich is the same as XDuro. The issue may be that iGo is overrated, or:

"This is an amazing bike for the money and I could see many friends and couples buying two in order to ride together."
A set of eBike metrics is needed. The financial world has the all-important P/E ratio. Perhaps, eBikes need a P/R ratio, price-to-rating. The price should be excluded from the overall rating, to cleanly separate the analysis.

John, What you noticed is statistics. The ideal way to double-check is to correlate price and ratings in a graph. Right now, price is "co-correlated" with the overall rating.

Which site does Google list in the top five for: "cost benefit electric bicycle", today? EBR.com, of course. So keep the discussion flowing. No other site has gotten that far, yet.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)
 

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Ann M.

Well-Known Member
One subtle point here, @Mike leroy Court actually rides the bikes, makes videos of them to be able to review the performance of a bike with a person on it. A set of comparisons of components and frame style/material/ angles only provides a 2 dimensional exploration of a particular ebike. And that is of value if you have already got an idea of how various bikes feel when you ride them.. A set of components does not necessarily translate into what the real world experience is when you get on the ebike. The dynamics or quirkiness, take your pick, of how the electronics operate are part of the actual ebike ride, so the lists are great, but they are no substitute for a test ride. I can't tell you how many times people have come into my shop after researching the internet, demanding to buy on particular product--sometimes a price factor, sometimes a performance or style factor, and then after a test ride they start to figure that their intellectual perception of the ebike did not match what they truly desired from the bike. So they end up buying something other than what they had preconceived. It is really handy to have all the specs in one place for the purpose of comparison and refining where to start on an ebike purchase and that effort is truly appreciated.
 

Mike leroy

Active Member
I am sure you are right. The specs are only reference points. Making the effort to understand the information is a step in the right direction. It is a way to associate physical and mental -- concrete and abstract -- aspects.

Unfortunately, the bike which is most likely to work for me in unavailable in USA. Haibike SDuro:

https://www.haibike.com/de/de
 
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bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
Before an individual can evaluate whether a specific bike is right for their needs they have to define that need specifically.
With regard to the evaluations by Court, there is no question of their importance in helping others in the determination of whether a certain bike fits an individual's specific needs. But as Court goes on to elaborate:
"...that's why comments and long term feedback are so important (and will be highlighted to a greater extent with the next version of EBR as I redesign the site and this forum). My hope is to bring more user data and feedback into reviews in a way that won't be overrun with spam. ...scoring only holds for the moment that the review is published. ...so many bikes get the 9-10 score because it's basically me saying "yep, I trust this bike and the company" but allows some wiggle room for pushing models around when compared directly :)"
 
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