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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What would you want to see in a "perfect" MTB monthly magazine? It seems like there's something bad about all of them so let's put together what the perfeft one would be:

Here's the start of a list:
1. Bike Reviews - Multiple bikes in each one, targeting different types of riding and diffent price ranges.

2. Product reivews - relevent to the current riding season and the upcoming one

3. Ride reports with lots of good pictures.

4. How to articles - Bike maintenance, riding tips, dressing tips, trail building, etc.

5. Girls

6. LIfestyle - How about some other cool stuff, like music reviews for riding, street clothes, real life riders who balance family, work and riding

THat's it.
 

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bloodyknee said:
Bike Reviews - Multiple bikes in each one, targeting different types of riding and different price ranges.
When will you publish your first issue?

I published the first MTB magazine in the world, and later worked for most of the mainstream publications. If there is one area I take issue with, it's "bike reviews." Could there be any more total crap than purporting to "review" a bike? Every bike I ever climbed on for the first time felt strange until I rode it for a week, and then it felt perfect. No two people are shaped exactly alike, and no two people ride exactly alike, so someone else's opinion on a bike is worthless.

A few years ago Joe Breeze built an experimental bike with a ridiculous head angle, something like 80 degrees. He said it felt weird at first, but after he got used to it, his original bike felt just as strange to him when he climbed back on it.

Over 20 years ago I wrote the Universal Bike Review, and it holds up to this day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, so in your perfect magazine there would be no bike reviews. And for the record, I'm not publishing a bike magazine. I just think there should be more threads about bike magazines.
 

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bloodyknee said:
Ok, so in your perfect magazine there would be no bike reviews. And for the record, I'm not publishing a bike magazine. I just think there should be more threads about bike magazines.
Can't be too many threads, can there?

I wrote for every major bike publication in the US for ten years. During that time I realized that the mags planned for about a three-year cycle, after which they could run the same articles, because that was about as long as any beginning rider would keep reading. The magazines mostly focus on new riders, because experienced riders don't read them. The only new stuff was the widgets and bikes whose approval by the editorial staff depended largely on how much advertising the company bought.

I'm as hardcore a rider as they come, and I have little use for bike magazines even though I used to take their money. What sort of "information" do they convey that you can't get more of right here?

Dirt Rag is the only mag I pay attention to, because they don't focus so much on products as the experience, and DR is coincidentally the only mag I care to write for. I'll have a story in an upcoming issue about the Appetite Seminar.
 

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Repack Rider said:
A few years ago Joe Breeze built an experimental bike with a ridiculous head angle, something like 80 degrees. He said it felt weird at first, but after he got used to it, his original bike felt just as strange to him when he climbed back on it.
Tony Foale did something similar with motorcycles almost thirty years ago -- the end results were interesting.

http://www.tonyfoale.com/Articles/RakeEx/RakeEx.htm
 

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Hmm, I've been involved with and around many of the leading pubs throughout the years (coming in, oddly enough, from the automotive journalism scene). It's a tough call. A lot of the trouble with the domestic mountain bike magazine scene stems from the way the industry itself works even over the agendas of the editors.

See in the automotive biz, the magazines rarely if ever actually dealt with the manufacturers of the vehicles tested. There were PR firms that were allotted a given number of vehicles each year from each company and setting up a test was as simple as picking up the phone and telling them what you needed and for how long.

What this did in essence is it allowed for far more honesty in said reviews because the PR firms weren't directly affiliated with the companies in question. It didn't really matter to them what the magazine had to say because next year GM would be getting a few dozen models to them regardless. These people literally got paid by getting publicity to these models and were almost always quick to accommodate the press to make it happen.

Additionally, this method put quite a big gap between the editorial content and the advertisers influence since again, the manufacturers themselves had no idea what the editors were working on at a given moment.

The other way to get honest reviews is to go the Consumer Reports route where there is no advertising and any products tested are purchased by the publication (no PR favors in other words).

Here in the bicycle industry neither method of getting honest reviews is common. Most magazines are struggling to break even each month (you would be just blown away at what peanuts most mountain bike journalists work for). hence purchasing all of the bikes tested is out of the question. Making matters worse is that many mountain bike companies work directly with the publications (rather than sourcing their test fleet out through PR departments). As such, slam a given product and pretty much count on the company refusing to issue test bikes in the future. Do this enough and pretty soon you'll have nothing to test! Worse still, since many manufacturers are small enough that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing at all times, the risk of having a company yank its advertising is very, very real.

I've been doing it close to ten years now and I've never witnessed an industry as wacky as bicycle journalism. The whole way the industry works would have to be changed for the Ideal mountain bike magazine to come into existence (that or the publisher would have to be a multimillionaire going in). Ever hear the line that the way to reach a million in the bike industry is to start with two million? There's a lot of truth in that.
 

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I just remembered--one of my alltime favorite mags was this crappy newsprint rag from NorCal called California Bicyclist. It was run by Chip Baker and it was packed with more enthusiasm and love for all things bike than almost any other mag that I've seen since. That's what I want out of a mag--stoke. I want it written by lifers for lifers--forget the beginners--and it's writers need to be given enough freedom to write about whatever they want in whatever way they want. In this sense, the first few years of Bike were a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Vlad said:
Bike magazines don't need band reviews or other such "lifestyle" sh!t. The last thing I need is an article going on and on about the re-release of the Jesus Lizard's catalog and how I need to listen to them to shred adequately.
I disagree. I think that's what is missing from the current publications. I don't need a long article about a new realease either, but a page or two dedicated to a dozen or so rececent releasese would be pretty nice. And it doesn't just need to be for riding, I listen to music every day in the car, at home and at work so I'm not limiting myself here to just when I'm on my bike.

Same for non bike related clothing. I'm not talking GQ level stuff but how about some info about companies that sells cool T-shirts or nice post ride shoes?

Nutrition as well, it would be cool to see a few simple pre-ride, post ride or race day meal plans every now and then. Something besides burritos, oatmeal and beer would be great.

Complimentary training guides for non ride days?

Bike specific weight training? Stretching?

Maybe I'm way off base, but I think broadening the scope would be great.
 

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bloodyknee said:
I disagree. I think that's what is missing from the current publications. I don't need a long article about a new realease either, but a page or two dedicated to a dozen or so rececent releasese would be pretty nice. And it doesn't just need to be for riding, I listen to music every day in the car, at home and at work so I'm not limiting myself here to just when I'm on my bike.

Same for non bike related clothing. I'm not talking GQ level stuff but how about some info about companies that sells cool T-shirts or nice post ride shoes?

Nutrition as well, it would be cool to see a few simple pre-ride, post ride or race day meal plans every now and then. Something besides burritos, oatmeal and beer would be great.

Complimentary training guides for non ride days?

Bike specific weight training? Stretching?

Maybe I'm way off base, but I think broadening the scope would be great.
Sounds like you're not reading Bicycling.

BB
 
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