About The Scores

Maybe you’ve had the same experience we have. A hot new bike is announced. You look it up with a few simple questions in mind:

  • “How will it handle burly descents?”
  • “How easy is it to jump, turn, jib, and throw around?”
  • “How well does it pedal and climb?”
  • “How does its price compare to all the similarly spec’d bikes out there?”

But when you try to answer these questions, you’re confronted with a sea of charts and numbers. None of it intuitively answers your basic questions.

Our scores are an attempt to remedy that. The scores take all those charts of numbers and specs and translate them into a simple output, from 1-100, that measure a bike across 4 dimensions:

Rowdiness measures how well a bike descends through gnarly terrain. The formula is:

  • Wheelbase 30% (based on medium sized frame, longer is rowdier)
  • Head tube angle 20% (slacker is rowdier)
  • Front suspension travel 20% (more travel is rowdier)
  • Rear suspension travel 20% points (more travel is rowdier)
  • Wheelsize 10% (larger wheels are rowdier)

Nimbleness measures how nimble a bike is; how easy it is to turn, flick, and play around on. The formula is:

  • Wheelbase 50% (based on medium sized frame, shorter is more nimble)
  • Front suspension travel 10% (less travel is more nimble)
  • Rear suspension travel 10% (less travel is more nimble)
  • Wheelsize 30% (smaller wheels are more nimble)

Climbing measures how well a bike pedals and climbs. The formula is:

  • Bike weight 75% (lighter climbs better)
  • Front suspension travel 10% (less travel climbs better)
  • Rear suspension travel 10% (less travel climbs better)
  • Angles 5% (head tube angle + seat tube angle, higher climbs better)

Value measures how a bike’s price stacks up against its peers, controlling for the cost of its components. The formula is:

  • (Total cost of a bike - Bike’s retail price) / Bike’s retail price

The cost of a bike is determined by adding the publicly available retail cost of all the components used on the bike. Note that we are not gathering information on some small parts like headset, bottom bracket, grips, cables and housings etc. so for each bike we have a placeholder value of $200 for those items. We are also using placeholder values for bike frames.

  • Carbon full suspension $3000
  • Carbon hardtail $2000
  • Alloy full suspension $1500
  • Alloy hardtail $500

Are these scores perfect? Of course not. There’s just approximations--but we think they’re reasonably good ones. They capture the handful of inputs that are most responsible for how a bike rides. The scores take those inputs and turn them into a simple number, from 1-100, that you can use to compare bikes. But the scores (just like some else’s bike review) can only take you so far--in truth, the only way to really judge a bike is to ride it yourself, probably for more than one ride, on varied terrain.

Happy researching and happy riding.

Kirk and Shane