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Superzoom 09-25-2012 03:49 PM

Your favourite/least favourite motorcycle magazine, and why.
My two year subscription to Motorcyclist is about to expire, and I have no intention of renewing it. I think it's a dull publication. I'd like to hear from people here what magazines they read and love, or have read and really disliked. I'm going to subscribe to a new magazine based on your input. And I like hearing criticism of bad things, because, who doesn't?

So to start off, I don't have a favourite, hence why I'm asking you guys. For my least favourite, I guess it's the one I'm reading now, Motorcyclist. Here's what I don't like about Motorcyclist:

- It's absolutely chock full of boring, one-page editorials that feel like they were written the day before they were due. Lots of reminiscing about first bikes, buying used bikes, new technology, old technology, the bike that got away, etc, etc. Nothing wrong with that, but you've gotta have a good story to tell, and you've got to tell it well. That seldom happens. And if you're going to ramble on about something I barely care about, put in some interesting pictures!

- They include a few token cruiser reviews, usually written by some guy who hates cruisers.

- They have more and more articles on electric bikes and scooters. I shouldn't mind that, but I often just skip or skim these articles.

- They are full of really uninteresting insider news about the staff of the magazine, about who went to what show and who met this famous motorcycle dude from the sixties, and who bought his favourite 90's bike. Seriously.

- The last page is devoted to a goofy picture and half a page of really, really unfunny writing, often referencing someone from the staff (more unfunny inside jokes).

- There is a section called "Doin' Time" where they list off all the expensive mods they've done on a particular motorcycle that they are evaluating long term, and then they say nothing about how fun the bike is to ride, or where they've ridden it, or anything close to a personal, interesting observation about the bike.

Anyways, you get the point. Motorcyclist replaced their Editor In Chief, and I hoped for some changes, but it's been the same old boring articles in the same old template.

EetsOK 09-25-2012 04:21 PM

Yes, inside jokes in a magazine. You know they are not funny if the people reading them aren't in on them.

I haven't bought Motorcyclist or Cycle World in some time now. Boring BORING articles. I've also noticed (along with Cycle Canada too) a trend towards immature writing. I don't really expect to read so many "fuck"'s from self proclaimed professional journalists.

Grainbelt 09-25-2012 04:56 PM

Anything British is pretty good. That would be BIKE and TWO.

There isn't anything particularly compelling in the US right now unless you have a very specific interest, such as the ADV rag or sometimes Rider, if you catch them on a good month.

PhilB 09-25-2012 05:19 PM

The only one I subscribe to is Cycle World, and that is specifically because they have two good writers: Peter Egan, and Kevin Cameron.

There are several mags, British and American, that I will get an issue of once in a while off the newsstand, if it happens to have multiple articles I am interested in (or if I'm in an airport without enough to read).


ThumperStorm 09-25-2012 05:32 PM

+1 for Rider. I can identify more with their writers.

danketchpel 09-25-2012 05:33 PM


Originally Posted by EetsOK (Post 19679109)
I've also noticed a trend towards immature riding. (liberty taken here)

This is what I'm getting sick of. Half the pages are about wheelies, stoppies, triple digit speeds, pretty much everything that will land a hefty ticket. Talk about being irresponsible and blatant about it.

I also notice the brevity of the articles. Go back and read reviews from cycle magazines in the 70s, they were complete reviews, not 2 page overviews with thumbs up or down and skimpy editorial side bar comments.

I was really disappointed in CycleWorld's recent ADV bike comparison article, it hardly made 3 pages, barely 1 page per bike and no individual editorial comments, it was like it was written in an afternoon over coffee.

I don't know if it's a matter of budget or what, but it's becoming a joke to me. I recently received a promo offer from Motorcyclist who'd I written off a few years ago. They offered the year's subscription for $7 and that's probably what it's worth. I decided to give it a shot for that price.

Jim K. 09-25-2012 05:48 PM

+1 on the Brit mags. I don't know how they manage it, but BIKE & Visordown (in it's paper days) seem able to level real criticism, of both bikes & gear. Our mags over here (MCN excepted) are pretty much in the pockets of their advertisers. Any critical commentary is verboten. Flaws with a bike or piece of gear have to be discovered by the relative strength of the glowing adjectives used to praise it. In other words, the range of grading runs from A+ to A-. For some reason, the Brits seem to be able to call something crap & still keep their jobs. Unfortunately, BIKE costs $9.00 here, even with a B&N discount. That said, Kevin Cameron is worth reading wherever he appears in print.

KungPaoDog 09-25-2012 05:55 PM

I agree with you. I too want to hear what else is out there.

I did pick up a few issues of motorcyclist over the last year and I did like some of the look back stuff they did. The rest, meh.

Cycle World still gets my $ for Kevin Cameron and Peter Egan. I don't think I'm old enough to identify completely with Egan, but still nice thoughts on bikes & life.


xrcris 09-25-2012 06:09 PM

Cycle World
Well I subscribed to R&T just to read Peter Egan's columns. For him and Kevin Cameron, that's worth the price alone. I subscribe to Motorcyclist as well but really didn't like Catterson, seems like they couldn't take any criticism. I also thought it was funny that he burned his bridge when he left CW because they were running too many features on choppers and other non-sport bikes, but lo and behold MC does the same thing, and then even copies CW and adds dirtbikes back in. I agree that the language became too ahem "common", I cuss but really don't want my kids reading that. I like Gresh's column and Jack Lewis since they don't seem as full of themselves like the fulltimers.

For what the subscriptions cost, I think I paid around $15/each for two years, they're worth it to have something to read on the crapper.

danketchpel 09-25-2012 07:00 PM


Originally Posted by Jim K. (Post 19679706)
+1 on the Brit mags. I don't know how they manage it, but BIKE & Visordown (in it's paper days) seem able to level real criticism, of both bikes & gear. ......... For some reason, the Brits seem to be able to call something crap & still keep their jobs. Unfortunately, BIKE costs $9.00 here, even with a B&N discount.

I suspect the Brit mags rely more on subscription fees for income rather than the US mags looking to adverts to support them. I suppose the higher price is what we need to pay to get a higher quality of journalism.

I think I'd be willing to pay more to get more in depth content, plus less sugar coated reviews. I really wish all the reviews/comparisons were done with bikes picked up at local dealerships. Too many of the comparisons are done with bikes that come from the mfgrs with tack on goodies or full boat upgrades. I want to know how the bike works as I roll it off the floor. If they want to do a side bar on upgrades/accessories, fine that's good, but don't include it in the main comparison with other bikes.

I really want some depth to the reviews, how many times have I read a review that included a passenger's opinion, or how hard is it to do basic service work, say change the oil, airfilter, or plugs. I don't need to see them do it, but have some feedback from Pros etc. How was the bike was to live with on a daily basis, not just blasting up some local canyon roads.

I don't give a rat's ass if it trips the meter at 120 in the quarter mile, but I sure as hell care about glitchy fueling, turbulent airflow, hard to deal with instruments/electronics, or how the bike handles with a passenger.

garrett the nerd 09-25-2012 07:25 PM

Another Peter Egan/Cycle World subscriber here. :D I do e-zines on the kindle for the rest of them, which at a dollar/month is pretty reasonable.

dogjaw 09-26-2012 07:08 PM

Motorcycling Sports and Leisure; my favorite mix of articles, reviews, racing and writers from both sides of the pond... Bike also a favorite; would
like to subscribe, but right now finding at Barnes and Noble

KTMmiker 09-26-2012 07:35 PM

Bike baby!
Been reading all the US rags since the early 70's. most of them have become pretty skimpy content wise these last few years. Now my favorite by far is the Brit mag Bike. Their tests are much more in depth, their reviews are straightforward honest and the best part really funny.
I hate paying 10 dollars an issue at B n M and would subscribe if I could. but I do it anyway because in the end, it's worth it. I do still keep Motorcyclist and Cycle World in the crapper. At a buck an issue it could come in handy in an emergency.:1drink

JohninVT 09-27-2012 08:05 AM

I hated Catterson. What a complete suck-ass he was. If I never read another "motorcycle" story involving Rush or Neil fucking Peart, I will die a happy man.

I used to enjoy Peter Egan but now I find Jack Lewis and Joe Gresch more fun to read. I also tend to save Cameron's piece for last as it's the only article in the magazine that has educational value.

There is no US magazine that is worth the newstand price. They review solely from the perspective of a potential buyer. The entire review is designed to help you make a purchasing decision. There is NEVER anything about the ownership experience. For example, I don't think I've ever read a review that mentions how the headlights are at night, how the paint finish lasts under a tank bag, what the first service costs or whether a bike has quality fasteners. They don't talk about insurance rates, maintenance costs, recalls, potential issues or past problems with bikes until the new model is introduced. In short...they fucking suck. A US motorcycle magazine is nothing more than an ad slick paid for by multiple vendors.

scrannel 09-27-2012 08:17 AM

Cycle Magazine, before its consolidation (and demise in 1990). Pretty good at not kissing ass. Amazing staff.

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