The December issue of Men’s Journal magazine features their ‘Gear of the Year’ section, showcasing items it considers the best of the bunch in a variety of categories.  While I normally hold Men’s Journal in very high regard, this has made me rethink just how much the editors might use such products.

Why?  What’s wrong with the Felt F4 SL and Santa Cruz Blur XC Carbon?  Nothing, they’re both stellar bikes.  But something else is wrong with this picture…two things, actually.  Click to enlarge, then hit ‘more’ to see the answers if you’re stumped…

Did you get them?

  1. The suspension fork is installed backward.
  2. For 2010, Shimano is no longer making Ultegra SL.

OK, so that second one is debatable as being an error, but given that this is end of the year, any new road bikes (ie. 2010 models) aren’t going to be spec’d like the one shown.  The one here is likely an ’09 model.

The bigger issue is the fork.  My guess is they didn’t ride this bike, or they were already at press by the time they figured this out.  Either way, guys, don’t hire the stock clerks from Wal-Mart to build your bikes.

Feature stories and interviews, though?  Top notch.


  1. If you’re Hyper anal about set-up, the QR lever on the road bike is pointing forward and down. That is construed as a safety issue by some folks.

  2. the bike in the photo is highly unlikely to be the bike that was actually ridden. The copy was likely written by a freelancer who knew his stuff (or at least asked someone who knew their stuff), and the photo was likely taken by a hired photographer who was sent the bike by the company for the shoot. This is the guy who was clueless about the bike. Of course, the on-staff editors didn’t catch it either, but there is no guarantee any them actually ride either…

  3. It’s highly unlikely that either bike had any meaningful testing. Publications like this will rely on copy supplied by the source or agent. The generic copy is laughable to the serious cyclist… That is usually the mandate for a non enthusiast publication, make it simple & attractive to the uninitiated…dumb it down to its’ essence. The Ultegra SL mistep may have been a slip from the 2009 F4SL model (a clue that some of the copy may have come from the ’09 website) (?) since Felt has dropped the “SL” from the F4 in the 2010 line. But that is a 2010 model (with Ultegra 6700) in the photo.
    AT is correct, the Shoot staff is likely to blame on the fork snafu, if no one knows better, they just guess… the editiors are looking for other things, not whether the bike is correctly assembled (they assume it is, and if they don’t know better…)
    That’s why some companies (automotive, high end consumer goods) send out representatives to photoshoots, to prevent mistakes like this.

  4. Really didn’t see anything wrong on the Felt Bike. If you really look at the Santa Cruz first thing that will show up is the front disk brake system is on the wrong side of the bike. So yes you can say they did put the fork in backwards but wait look again. If you look closely to it you will notice the front and back tires and rims they are not the same and why would you put a grey brake cable on the bike when your back brake cable and your shifter cables are black. Someone had did a crappy photoshop on this bike. If you notice the shock the is different.

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