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Equipment reviews?

by Carl Brewer last modified 2007-05-01 00:38
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Does an 'Equipment review' section belong on this website?

I'm tempted to start a section of this site devoted to equipment reviews.  This is a dangerous area, because a lot of reviews are very poorly written and either biased towards (I bought it, therefore it's good!) or against (I bought it, it had a minor problem, so it's terrible!) the product being reviewed and it's difficult to be objective, especially with things as subjective as bikes.

So, if I was going to put up a section with reviews, I'd want some form of editorial control over it and I would want sensible reviews.


Here's an example - I got a set of Ay-Up headlights this week, here's a basic review (without photos ... they'll come if and when I do this properly) :

AYUP headlights - available from

I've only just put them on my wet weather roady, haven't actually used them yet.  I was most attracted to the handlebar mount, which is the best of any I've seen in terms of not getting in the way. It's a 'bridge' over the stem faceplate/clamp and that's a great idea.  Very clean and unobtrusive. I have my computer on my stem, which does cause an issue with the velcro-on battery but I suspect that's an unusual case.  If your stem is clean and at least 70mm long it should fit beautifully.

The light heads come in a range of colours, so you're in with a reasonable chance of them matching your bike. I chose electric blue to match aboc colours (of course!).

The design choice to make the light and battery easy to remove is a blessing.  It's great for avoiding stuff getting nicked.  You do have to remember to take the bits though, if you're planning (or it just happens!) to be out after dark.

Not having a switch is a pain because to turn the light off, you have to remove the lamps and battery pack, or have a live wire flapping around and a plug and a socket that can get crap in them. I think it can be tucked into the strap, but that's still messy.  I understand the decision, switches are chronically unreliable, but it's still a PITA.  It is easy to remove both, except if you have a populated stem. I might have to hack into my velcro strap so it doesn't foul on my computer mount (Sigma BC1200). If you were trying to set it up at night in the dark you'd need a torch or a decent moonlit night, no
'grope for the switch' here.

I'm very impressed by the construction of the thing, it seems sturdy and robust, and the 2 3w luxeons seem significantly brighter than my old 10w halogen Vistalite (now residing in the 'lend to friends' bucket :) ).  Compared to the "seeing"[1] lights we sell in the LBS, the ayup is great value and I think, a better solution than most I've seen in terms of mounts. I'm going to see if it's possible to sell them through the shop, as they're really good.  My 'roady' kit cost about $240 delivered to my door in a sturdy box from the supplier.

[1] seeing lights - ie: see where you're going, as opposed to 'be
seen' lights, which are generally LED flashers.

My only other suggestion to the makers is to redesign your website, it's a huge flash animation site and thus not good web manners.

Objective review...

Posted by richardgrace at 2007-05-01 04:32
I reviewed your hard case in an objective manner. Maybe you could link things like that?



Posted by Carl Brewer at 2007-05-01 11:25
Yes, it was a good objective review, but also (and I'm not saying you are, but it could be seen as ...) as the case is a product I'm essentially selling, reviewing it here may reduce the credibility of the site's content. I dunno ... it's a bit of a minefield if I take it too seriously, but if we just go with it ... I might see if I can cobble together a Plone product to enforce some structure to a review item - could be a good bit of practice with developing Plone products. I'll have a bit more of a think about the best way to fit it into the site.

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