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September 30, 2011
Everyone knows I’m a bit of a gadget freak and I enjoy posting the odd product review and news just as much as I love reading about it. Cycling is a sport that has a massive product industry built around it and there are some fascinating things to talk about.
Unfortunately product reviews have been tarnished and people are often skeptical that they’re paid advertisements. This is detrimental for both the publisher and the product manufacturer. Reviews are sometimes meaningless and there are always a question marks around how legitimate it is. There are definitely credible magazines out there, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to find good reviews on the wild-west of the web.
It’s getting hard to keep up with all the products sent to me (and Mrs CT is starting to crack it with our spare bedroom being full!). I also foresee a need to separate the task of handling relationships with advertisers and reviewing their products in order to remain credible. Last month I put the call-out for a Technical Editor and received an overwhelming response. I spoke with many people very well suited and one man stood out amongst them all. His name is Matt Wikstrom. He’s fanatical about bikes and has a very scientific mind but a fun outlook. By day he’s an Immunologist, but insists we don’t call him Dr. His love for all things bike related is something really special and I’m excited to have him take on the role as the Techical Editor. This will include tech news, product reviews and interesting snippets of all things product related. Matt is a wealth of knowledge and I’m excited to have him on board.
Enough from me. Here’s Matt with a brief introduction:
Introducing Matt Wikstrom…
I’m the new guy in the bunch and we all know what that’s like. I feel like I’m pedalling squares and I’m bound to bump into someone, while the guy behind me is bound to worry I’ll cause a crash. Best thing I can do is roll through, take my turn on the front and let the road take over. I’m sure I’ll find my rhythm soon enough…
I’ve been in love with bikes since I was 7 years old (which makes for three-and-a-half decades of punctures). I’ve owned all sorts of bikes, raced them, crashed them, repaired them, and sent a few to the grave. As a professional mechanic, my hands have known a whole lot more, 15 years worth, from absolute junkers gasping for breath, to gleaming beauties that I’ve had pleasure of assembling from the ground up, including the wheels. I’ve never grown tired of working on them; if anything, my passion is burning brighter than ever. It inspires my riding, and my riding feeds my interest in all things bike, so it’s a positive feedback loop of desire upon desire.
With so many bikes assembled or repaired, and thousands of kilometres behind me, what is there to look forward to? More bikes, of course, to build and repair, and more roads to travel (plus, my ongoing dream-bike project, which evolves to keep pace with the market). One item that has been high on my cycling bucket list is to work as a tech editor, so here I am, at last, crossing that off the list in the name of CyclingTips. It’s an awesome opportunity and I’m looking forward to working with Wade, sampling products, and sharing my thoughts with you, the CT bunch.
When I look at a bike, I see it with the eyes of a mechanic. I take in the little things, like a missing cable end, a brake caliper that needs to be centred, or a tire label that is not sitting over the valve stem. There’s also the automatic diagnosis of maladies, like jockey wheels that need fresh grease, a wheel that needs truing, or a creaking bottom bracket. And when I come across a new innovation, the first thing I’ll wonder about is whether it’ll have an impact on the serviceability of the bike. It’s that same eye for detail that I hope will serve me well as CT’s tech editor. I’m not blind to a bit of bling and I have a deep appreciation for the art of bike design, but I am a pragmatist with a preference for function over form. (In the interests of transparency and full disclosure, I have to admit to one bias: when it comes to cycling’s holy groupset war, my sympathies are decidedly Italian.).
So where is the tech coverage at CT headed? I don’t want to duplicate the efforts of others; I’d rather refine CT’s approach so as to develop a distinctive voice on product news and reviews. Perhaps the key lies in our interaction with the CT bunch. CT enjoys a high level of feedback from you, the readers, and without fail, your comments expand and enhance the content of any post. I hope my posts inspire the same level of interest, and in fact, you can help me out now: tell me what you have liked about CT’s product reviews and where you think they can be improved. What do you expect from a product review, and how much interaction would you like to have with our tech posts?
Feel free to have a word with me in the bunch or drop me a line after the ride (CTech@cyclingtips.com.au). I’m lousy with names but I’ll always remember your bike.