Putting together the Bible of Bike Tests isn't as easy as preaching to a crowd or fitting every species on the planet into a boat. There is a dizzying amount of logistics to organize on top of the daily cat-herding required once the staff and contributors are all together in one location.
Over the past two weeks in Marquette, Michigan, Bike has had 15 people gathered to make the Bible a reality, with the entire editorial staff, photographers and testers all working together. Ryan Palmer, the Bible event manager, is conducting the organization of it all and arrived a week early to process the mountain of bike boxes arriving at our staging area, Blackrocks Brewery. Palmer enlisted help from Lakeshore Bike Shop in order to build some 36 bikes before the rest of the testers arrived.
With bikes built and testers revved up to ride, the review process begins in earnest. With nine full-time testers and 36 bikes, each tester is assigned three bikes per day to ride on the prescribed test loop. Each test loop is followed by diligent note-taking on characteristics such as climbing, descending, build value, technical prowess, design features, who the bike is for and how it compares to others are all on the testers' minds for each bike. Testers ride each bike on the same trails—a mix of tech and flow on Marquette’s South Trails system—to maintain a baseline.
As the sun sets on Marquette, testers come together to discuss the merits of the bikes they rode and prepare to film that night’s Roundtable Reels debates. Each day, while riders are testing, filmers have a second crew on the trails to film B-roll that will eventually be edited into the Roundtable Reels videos, which will start coming out on bikemag.com in early January.
As the two weeks wind down and testers start heading home, Bike's editorial team starts the long process of distilling the wealth of content gathered ahead of the magazine launch on Dec. 28. All of this will culminate in a full issue of Bike dedicated to the Bible of Bike Tests, 36 Roundtable Reels posted to Bikemag.com accompanied by a review for each model collectively written by testers.