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Old 03-02-08, 05:35 PM   #1
KayGee
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MTB Magazines

I'd like to get your input on the various mountain biking magazines out there (including any web only magazines). Specifically, I am curious about:

- Their reputation;
- Any interesting history (e.g., "they were good until X happened", etc.);
- Their biases;
- Their positives and negatives;
- Your opinion about which is best and why;
- What type of audience each caters to; and/or
- Any other information you'd care to provide.

The magazines I had in mind were Mountain Bike, Bike, Bicycling (not really mtb but they sometimes have mtb related stuff), Dirt Rag and Mountain Bike Action. I know there are many others, so feel free to share your opinions on those as well.

Thanks.
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Old 03-02-08, 06:16 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayGee View Post

MTBA
- Their reputation; They mostly do reviews and tips, I don't see much coverage of events.
- Any interesting history (e.g., "they were good until X happened", etc.); Nope
- Their biases; Once they find anything that's even the slightest bit different than mainstream, they rave about it forever. They've been going on about the 08' Trek Fuel EX's for three issues.
- Their positives and negatives; Depends on what you like....
- Your opinion about which is best and why; Only MTB magazine I read, the rest of my biking magazines are for road.
- What type of audience each caters to; and/or Everyone. You see a lot of XC related stuff, but there's DH/Freeride and a whole slew of random crap as well.
- Any other information you'd care to provide.
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Old 03-02-08, 06:27 PM   #3
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Wrong thread.

Ignore my double post.
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Old 03-02-08, 07:51 PM   #4
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A couple I like are Decline and an internet mag NSMB.com.
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Old 03-02-08, 09:14 PM   #5
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Dirt Rag - reader contributed culture type magazine. Reviews, etc... No bull**** in this one.
Bike - I really like the industry visits and bike biz talk that occasionally appears here.
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Old 03-02-08, 09:16 PM   #6
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Onlines:
Sicklines - I like this site. They do very thorough reviews of gravity-oriented stuff. They even have a section devoted to actual weights of components (with picts of parts on the scale). He's a little caustic on the RideMonky downhill forum, but JV Nixon is a pretty good journalist

NSMB - another good one. Good tests with a gravity orientation.

Transcend - Not as good as Decline and Fraser Britton is no Scott Hart; quality of the writing is not as good IMO. Fraser is another RM regular and kind of an industry apologist in manner.

Printed Mags:
Bike - Nice photos; bad typography and layout; and somewhat amateurish writing; but still an entertaining read. Geared toward junior high/high school reading/attitude level (IMO). My son used to get it and really liked it.

Decline - Large format, stunning photography, odd layout and weird typography sometimes. All-in-all, I think Scott Hart does a good job; just don't look too closely at typos and grammar and just enjoy the read.

Mountain Bike - Proof positive that Rodale Publications should stick to Organic Gardening and other hippie rags that it knows something about and stop publishing something just to cash in on a niche market.

Mountain Bike Action - The 'gold standard' of cycling journalism, brought to you by Hi-Torque Publications - - the same company that shook the world with Dirt Bike and then Motocross Action when they first hit the newsstands. Written by professional journalists who also happen to be mountain bike enthusiasts. Reads like it's written by adults and, in long-standing Hi-Torque fashion, is not afraid to piss off an advertiser by panning an iffy product (contrary to popular misconceptions about them).
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Old 03-02-08, 11:17 PM   #7
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I had subscriptions to Mountain Bike and Bicycling. I cancelled both, but Bicycling keeps on sending me issues anyway. Both mags tend to write about the extremes of the sport, rarely about the mainstream.
Their reputation is, if a product gets reviewed, you will find their ad in that issue or the next. Reviews are typically very complimentary. It makes you wonder if the reviews are objective.
If you decide to get a subscription to either of these mags, DO NOT give them your credit card number, pay by check. I received a letter from them telling me if I did not write CANCEL on the subscription renewal, they would automatically bill my credit card. I've never had this happen before.
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Old 03-02-08, 11:20 PM   #8
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Currently only subscribed to Bike.
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Old 03-03-08, 12:40 AM   #9
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Australian Mountain Bike mag for the printed versions, its the only way. R[E]volution is pretty good too, i guess, but i prefer AMB.

- Their reputation; Some may think theyre a bit bias in product reviews, but thats opinion based
- Any interesting history (e.g., "they were good until X happened", etc.); Negative
- Their biases; product reviews are sometimes a bit iffy, but most of the time theyre pretty good
- Their positives and negatives;Positives: Great journalism, quality writing. Negatives vary
- Your opinion about which is best and why; Uh what?
- What type of audience each caters to; and/or Gravity, trail and epic/endurance riders, not so much the hardcore XC
- Any other information you'd care to provide. Not really

I also read NSMB a lot.
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Old 03-03-08, 12:50 AM   #10
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Dirt Rag kicks ass. Their online forum is a real eye-popper - sort of one enormous inside joke, and the mods are decorative, at best.

I used to read MBA many moons ago, but found that it was just one long ad. I flip through it once in a while at Safeway to see what the new bling is.

Bike magazine started off really well, with great articles and awesome photography. I lost interest when they started focusing on shuttling and big stunts. Their photography issue is still really good, and I miss "The Grimy Handshake".

Pink Bike [no relation] is an online forum and blog site. It's not really an online mag, but there are a lot of articles posted daily. If you're 15 and your folks just got you a $7000 DH ride, it's the best place in the world to start claiming.
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Old 03-03-08, 02:49 AM   #11
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Dirt Rag is a well written mag with a good vibe.
Bike has a few good items from time to time, but nowhere near as good as it was years ago. Sad really.
MBA is just a poorly written advertisement with the same "how to's" and "53 things every mountain biker must know" b.s articles recycled every year.

I tend to read Dirt Rag, it's forum, and sites like this and mtbr.com for my mountain bike fix.
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Old 03-03-08, 11:55 AM   #12
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Interesting, thanks everyone. I actually subscribe to Bicycling / Mountain Bike, Bike and Dirt Rag, and it seems like you can find good articles in each magazine every now and then. I have noticed that often their advice about riding techniques, mechanics, etc. contradict each other, even on relatively simple stuff, e.g., proper leg extension. Considering that bicycles have been around for a long time, you would think that there would be more agreement on these issues.

Plus, it seems like in many of these magazines, the majority of their bike and gear reviews range from "very good" to "awesome", and you rarely ever see a bad review. Maybe that has more to do with idea that most real mountain bikes and components nowadays are of good quality (or maybe they just review stuff they like), but its very difficult to make any meaningful decision based on the reviews.

Last edited by KayGee; 03-03-08 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 03-03-08, 02:37 PM   #13
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I like "Bike" and "Decline."
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Old 03-03-08, 02:44 PM   #14
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I am a subscriber to the Dirt Rag. It is by far the most interesting bicycle magazine out there, with articles ranging from product reviews to short fiction. Very cool publication. I too agree that MBA is a 100 page advertisement, but i still get it every now them so i can stay up to date with all hip kids and new products.
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Old 05-21-08, 12:36 AM   #15
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I have a favorite mag. Guess which one. This photo was taken last week in Boise, Idaho.

I also have an article in the current issue, entitled, "Thank You, Skidtown."
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Old 05-21-08, 10:17 AM   #16
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I am looking for a MTB mag that is race oriented. I made the mistake of subscribing to Bike. Its nothing more than a big air - shredding mag. I dont care about DH or AM, just XC. There really isnt anything geared to XC.
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Old 05-21-08, 12:43 PM   #17
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I like Dirt Rag for its reviews and stories - they lean to the left a bit.
MBA is OK but their buyers guide is really 50 pages of ads only - they review alot and people complain they are in the pocket of the big bike companies.

Singletrack is expensive but very well written and a GREAT read. Excellent reviews. I buy it on the news stand for 10 -12$ and issue worth every penny.
Bike - I have a sub but letting it lapse they seem to be slipping.
Bicycling - don't even read it for free at Barnes and Noble.
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