Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Fallacy of Long-Term Product Reviews

A phenomena I've noticed in the motorcycle product placement word involves the review of products for the so-called long-term.  As a motorcyclist of almost a quarter-century, the use of a product for a prolonged period of time takes on a fundamentally profound new meaning.  I still have my first leather jacket, hanging cracked and faded from a peg on the wall of my garage.  Though I haven't worn the jacket in years - my midsection no longer permits this - that jacket endured miles of highway, freezing temperatures, rain, and a battalion of high-speed insectoid invaders.  

While the leather aged remarkably well - conditioned as it was by the elements - the lining all but disintegrated with years of regular use.  The jacket's also a bit stiff.  The arms are permanently bent at the elbows and the cuffs of the sleeves molded into crests of leather to accommodate gloves long since  retired to the rubbish bin.  Considering the abuse and the long march of years, my original leathers have withstood the test of time.

When considering long-term product reviews, I'm less interested in a jacket, pants, gloves, or boots which have been worn for three months in relatively stable conditions than those products I see other riders wearing which have withstood daily and, oftentimes, brutal testing.  I want to know the story behind the Roadcrafter with faded impact panels, smudged with road grime from the knees to the lower cuff.  I desire the tale of the boots resoled after three years, the leather pliable as soft cloth.  How many times has the liner of that favorite helmet been washed, rewashed, and replaced simply to preserve that fantastic outer shell now out of production.  

And don't get me started on motorcycles.  Three to six months in fabulous weather on a machine acquired with an odometer reading zero should be called "A Nice Beginning" rather than long-term review.  Long-term testing involves standing under a bridge overpass watching the lights of the instrument panel fade to black, the death of a ten year-old electrical system by thunderstorm.  What suffices as long-term motorcycle testing for product placement would likely only scuff a new set of brake pads.

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