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Bike Magazines?

Old 02-23-13, 09:46 AM
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TomD77
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Bike Magazines?

Someone a few years back gave me a subscription to a magazine with a primary target audience of 20-40 year olds. I found it to be written for people with the attention span of a squirrel, almost everything in the magazine was a single short paragraph. Their feature articles were several paragraphs, absolutely nothing that would take more than a minute or three to read. I recently subscribed to a bicycle magazine and found it to be on the same level. I have 3 decade+ magazine subscriptions, Smithsonian, Scientific American and Car & Driver. I was hoping to find a bicycle version of Car & Driver with in depth reviews, interesting features and, most importantly, they will tell you in detail if a particular vehicle sucks or is just mediocre and why. Everything in my bike magazine reads exactly like advertising copy.

Recommendations for a literate, in depth and honest bike magazine?

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Old 02-23-13, 10:15 AM
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After buying copies for several months at the supermarket, I bought a digital subscription to "Peloton". It is nothing like "Car & Driver", (or any other bike magazine for that matter).
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Old 02-23-13, 10:27 AM
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I've been in the magazine business for 30+ years (even did some work for Car and Driver back in the day), and I think you're out of luck. One problem is that there just isn't that much to say about bikes--I found all the magazines interesting and informative for the first year I rode, but as you get more knowledgeable, you find yourself reading yet another story about the effects of head tube angle on handling or the best way to fix a flat (or "Quads Of Steel In 10 Minutes A Day!"). The stories seem to repeat in about a 12- to 18-month cycle.
Also, you're dead on about stories reading like ad copy. Many of them ARE ad copy--I used to get the press releases, and I'd often see phrases and even paragraphs from them in the magazines a month or two later. Real reporting costs money, and it's cheaper just to let the PR people do the work. When was the last time you read a test where a magazine said, "Well, you can do a lot better than this"?
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Old 02-23-13, 10:28 AM
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You are absolutely right. Probably 30 years ago I was subscribed to over a dozen magazines. Now it is down to three. The reason is as you stated. They are all glitz, and have no substance. They are mainly a picture magazines with one or two sentences attached. There is nothing to be learned by reading them anymore.
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Old 02-23-13, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
You are absolutely right. Probably 30 years ago I was subscribed to over a dozen magazines. Now it is down to three. The reason is as you stated. They are all glitz, and have no substance. They are mainly a picture magazines with one or two sentences attached. There is nothing to be learned by reading them anymore.
I quit subscribing years ago for the same reasons. One of my favorites (Stereo Review) was sold to a big publishing corporation who decided to combine my mag with a couple of other "media" magazines. Results? Glitz with no substance. I demanded and received my subscription money back.
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Old 02-23-13, 11:49 AM
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Most are pretty awful, for the reasons given above.
I used to subscribe to Cycling +, but gave it up years ago as it morphed in a slightly longer/heavier version of Bicycling.
At present, I like the following, fwiw:

Off-road: Bike and Singletrack (U.K).
Road: Peleton
Racing: Cycle Sport (good coverage, reasonable price in N.A.)

Lastly, if the first (free!) issue is anything to go by, the new digital Bunyan Velo might become a favourite:

https://bunyanvelo.com/
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Old 02-23-13, 02:22 PM
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I've been reading Bicycle Times recently. Here's a small excerpt from one of their reviews that offers at least a modest level of honest review:

"My only misgiving about this bike is its poor braking performance. The XXXXX XXXX long-reach calipers are underpowered. Yes, they will bring you and your bike to a stop safely, but they have very poor modulation and did not inspire confidence during high-speed descents, as I could not discern the point at which they would lock up. I attribute this to flex in the brakes’ thin arms. I swapped the XXXX for XXXXXXX XXX brakes and the improvement in power and modulation was significant—if I were purchasing this bike, I would make this upgrade before leaving the shop."
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Old 02-23-13, 02:47 PM
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When I read the OP's post, I knew exactly what magazine he was referring to. Unfortunately, I subscribe to it, but I don't think I will be renewing it for the obvious reasons already stated. My other grip with this magazine is that the editors must feel that everyone involved in cycling lives in Bill Gates' neighborhood.
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Old 02-23-13, 07:00 PM
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i go to barnes and noble coffee shop and read the mags for free.
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Old 02-23-13, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by TomD77 View Post
Recommendations for a literate, in depth and honest bike magazine?
That pretty much describes Peloton Magazine. The web site stuff is just a little taste. You can subscribe to either the digital or dead-tree versions for the full monty. I subscribe to the digital version. The reader program is excellent and knows exactly what to do with my 1980x1200 displays. It lays out the mag two-pages side-by-side so I never have to scroll.

I like the writing, the stories, and the interviews. There's some equipment review in the back, but the main thrust of the magazine is cycling, rides, and cyclists.
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Old 02-23-13, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
I've been reading Bicycle Times recently. Here's a small excerpt from one of their reviews that offers at least a modest level of honest review:

"My only misgiving about this bike is its poor braking performance. The XXXXX XXXX long-reach calipers are underpowered. Yes, they will bring you and your bike to a stop safely, but they have very poor modulation and did not inspire confidence during high-speed descents, as I could not discern the point at which they would lock up. I attribute this to flex in the brakes’ thin arms. I swapped the XXXX for XXXXXXX XXX brakes and the improvement in power and modulation was significant—if I were purchasing this bike, I would make this upgrade before leaving the shop."
Why the "XXX"? Is there a reason to avoid the brand names here..?

Similarly - the OP's post that disguises the names of the magazines.

Unless there's some rule that outlaws brand-specific critiques, I would appreciate knowing peoples' opinions of good or bad products.
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Old 02-23-13, 08:15 PM
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I read Bicycling magazine out of habit. It has a good article every now and then and its not expensive. Peloton is good magazine for the reasons given. I also take the digital copy - although it comes out after the hard copy (in the newsstands). The others I occasionally read when in the book store (B&N). I realize most magazines have large helpings of add copy but I don't mind this so much.
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Old 02-23-13, 10:17 PM
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Many of the Bicycling Magazines listed above seem to think I should go to Spain and eat Jamon laced with cloves and brandy in the curing process. They also think I need to use artisinal olive oil in my cooking, and ride a bike that costs more than $3,000 dollars and dress like a spaceman when I ride. I sure hope the magazine industry can figure out a place in the new, digital world. Hopefully content will be a much bigger part of the answer than it is now. It used to be that the bicycle was viewed as a vehicle of the everyman. I believe it still is.
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Old 02-23-13, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
Why the "XXX"? Is there a reason to avoid the brand names here..?

Similarly - the OP's post that disguises the names of the magazines.

Unless there's some rule that outlaws brand-specific critiques, I would appreciate knowing peoples' opinions of good or bad products.
That's why they sell subscriptions
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Old 02-24-13, 05:34 AM
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Dirtrag magazine has managed to keep it real(mostly)for over 20 years and is currently my only subscription. Cycling Plus is IMO the best magazine overall but when US subscriptions went over $100 a year I dropped it.
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Old 02-24-13, 05:38 AM
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Cycling plus seems to be the popular magazine over here. Won't say the best but it is the one thatsuits what I want to read. The Mags that are more orientated to racing are not my cup of tea but If you are race orientated- Cycling plus will not suit you.
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Old 02-24-13, 06:57 AM
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Cost vs. value is the issue (pun intended).

I have 19 grandchildren and great grandchildren. Whenever one of them has a magazine subscription fund raiser, the "Bicycling Magazine" cost vs. value factor inches above my gag point. Other years, no.
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Old 02-24-13, 10:05 AM
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As mentioned most of the cycling magazines are just vehicles for advertising hugely expensive bikes and clothes. Most regular people myself included can not afford the products advertised. It is the same with car magazines they "test" $100,000 cars that 99.99% of the readers cannot afford. But of course the writers of the car magazines get their kicks driving all those cars they can afford either.

Bike magazines telling us how wonderful a $6,000 carbon frame bike is, and how light it is goes over the heads of most of us. We simply cannot afford them, and since they are actually rather delicate for the hard knocks of every day useage, they are not the bike for the average cyclist. Professional road racers that are supplied those CF bikes can simply point out the dents or cracks and have them thrown away, and a new one provided. Yet the bike magazines keep pointing out (wrongly) that they are bikes you should be riding if you are a "real cyclist"!!!!
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Old 02-24-13, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
As mentioned most of the cycling magazines are just vehicles for advertising hugely expensive bikes and clothes. Most regular people myself included can not afford the products advertised. It is the same with car magazines they "test" $100,000 cars that 99.99% of the readers cannot afford. But of course the writers of the car magazines get their kicks driving all those cars they can afford either.
Who wants to read about how the latest bicycle offering from WalMart? I think that car magazines, and bike magazines, write about the products that the people who buy car magazines and bike magazines want to read about. Otherwise they wouldn't sell any magazines and the company would go out of business. What's wrong with that?

You and me just don't happen to be in their target marketing group.
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Old 02-24-13, 03:05 PM
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Having given up all my bicycle magazine subscriptions years ago, I have found that these forums are the best place for "substance" about bicycling. Not only are there subcategories to suit just about every aspect of cycling, but each forum is interactive. You can ask your own question WHEN YOU NEED AN ANSWER, rather than waiting for your magazine to run an article that's useful to you.

As a hobbyist writer, I hate to see journalism shrivel up and die, but I don't see a lot of journalism in the cycling mags anymore, anyway.
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Old 02-24-13, 03:47 PM
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I get a free subscription to Bicycling when I donate to one of the cycling groups I support (honestly don't remember which one). It sometimes has some useful information or interesting articles. Even they have gone downhill, IMO. It used to be that their buyer's guide listed most of the major bikes in a category, equipment, cost, weight. Now they just pick one or two from each category and give a capsule review.
Car magazines have also, for the most part, dumbed down as well. At least with a car, you know that if you buy the bigger motor you will go faster. Not so with bikes. I always smile when the bike testers write that they can really feel the extra 2 pounds!
The problem is that, like any equipment-based sport, those of us who are not great like to think that buying better equipment will make us better. Think skiing, golf, tennis, biking, less so running (although I see a lot of people in my neighborhood dress up in >$100 worth of technical fabric to jog 2 miles), or photography (I know, not a sport). All of those support multiple magazines extolling the virtues of ever more expensive equipment, and I would guess that most of their readers can't or won't spend the kind of money needed for that equipment.
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Old 02-25-13, 07:50 AM
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To me, Bicycling is a joke. It's like a Saturday Night Live skit of a bike magazine. However, it evidently keeps selling. I'm guessing people who are new to cycling keep it going. I like Road Bike Action much better.
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Old 02-25-13, 08:13 AM
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retro

What you say is true. However look at the fact that almost all magazines are losing subscribers. The subject matter is of almost no educational value. BTW the scant amount of information I feel is due to what is going on in the country these days. Schools dont teach basic facts or reading, and younger people are limited by twittter. What are you allowed on a tweet, isnt it 140 characters? The fact is todays magazine are picture books and printed twitter.
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Old 02-25-13, 09:08 AM
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I subscribe to Bike magazine. It's off-road only but has columns by writers I can identify with. Sometimes it's funny and sometimes it's "oh, I know exactly what that is like".
I also like seeing the latest designs, even though I have a low end mtb. I've always enjoyed seeing the high-end stuff, going back to my motorcycle days and sometimes I read Road Bike Action and I want to see the latest and greatest road stuff, too.
I also like to read Zapata Espinoza in RBA because I think he gives an "everyman" view of things. He's been like that since his days on motorcycles, too. In fact, Saturday I rode with a guy who has spent time with Zapata and he confirmed my suspicions.
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Old 02-25-13, 12:29 PM
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