Here's an excerpt from Tim's post.
...over the last couple of months...I’ve run across a couple of bike reviews where the reviewer admitted to only taking the bike on a couple rides. I’ve heard rumors of different magazines getting paid to review a product...and other publications only reviewing products once the company has purchased advertising with them...
This was made clear to me recently when we were talking to a certain bike manufacturer about reviewing a bike for them and they would only allow us, at most, a month to review their bike. Unless I lived on this bike for that month there is no way we could give an honest review. So we turned them down. We’ve already had people tell us they have bought bikes based on our recommendation and the last thing we are going to do is compromise that trust just because some company says “that’s not how other people do it.”
I don't have a ton of knowledge about this because I've only worked with one bike brand and reviews weren't a part of the plan. But, I have thought about this issue and I'd love to know more about how it all works. Are bike magazines being paid to review bikes? I know advertising plays a part, but to what extent? Whose responsibility is it to ensure objectivity and honesty in the review process? The magazine editors? The manufacturers? The PR/marketing people? The readers?