Your favourite/least favourite motorcycle magazine, and why.

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by Superzoom, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. Superzoom

    Superzoom Been here awhile

    Mar 7, 2007
    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.
  2. EetsOK

    EetsOK Been here awhile

    Jan 28, 2012
    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.
  3. Grainbelt

    Grainbelt marginal adventurer Super Moderator

    Feb 14, 2006
    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.
  4. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

    Sep 8, 2012
    New Hampshire
    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).

  5. ThumperStorm

    ThumperStorm Long timer

    Jul 3, 2012
    St. Cloud, Minnesota
    +1 for Rider. I can identify more with their writers.
  6. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

    Jun 1, 2010
    Camarillo, CA
    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.
  7. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

    Jan 14, 2011
    New Haven, Ct.
    +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.
  8. KungPaoDog

    KungPaoDog Been here awhile

    Apr 17, 2010
    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.

  9. xrcris

    xrcris Been here awhile

    May 1, 2009
    Everett, Socialist Republic of WA(aaaaaahh)
    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.
  10. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

    Jun 1, 2010
    Camarillo, CA
    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.
  11. garrett the nerd

    garrett the nerd Sprocket Protector

    Apr 27, 2010
    Kalamazoo, Mi
    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.
  12. dogjaw

    dogjaw plays well alone

    Jul 13, 2008
    between the Ozarks and the Ouachitas
    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
  13. KTMmiker

    KTMmiker Moto Junkie

    Apr 30, 2006
    NH- Home of the frost heave
    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
  14. JohninVT

    JohninVT Long timer

    Dec 18, 2009
    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.
  15. scrannel

    scrannel Scrannel

    Oct 29, 2006
    Malibu, CA
    Cycle Magazine, before its consolidation (and demise in 1990). Pretty good at not kissing ass. Amazing staff.
  16. rs42sport

    rs42sport Been here awhile

    Jan 3, 2010
    glenview, il
    I like roadRUNNER motorcycle touring & travel.... To me it seems like the magazine has a higher maturity level than the other magazines out there... I like the real reviews on gear that ppl will actually wear and use, and they usually have a camping section too.... There mini RRs are great to read and have some interesting locations around the world here's the linky.....
  17. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

    Jan 29, 2005
    Texas, I know, right?
    Easyriders. Great in depth articles on gear and bikes.:deal:wink:
  18. Jetpilot5

    Jetpilot5 Been here awhile

    Jun 26, 2008
    Bloomington, IL
    The UK bike magazines are available by subscription in the US through Motorsport Publications. BIKE is $64 a year. Not cheap, but a lot better than buying from a news stand. They also have RiDE, Performance Bikes , Motorcycle Sport and Leisure and many classic motorcycle mags. I have used these folks before and gotten good service.
  19. ZZ-R Rider

    ZZ-R Rider Captain Fantastic

    Jun 2, 2011
    Far East of the Western World
    Fave would have to be Canadian Biker ... not only 'cause I'm a Kanuck, but 'cause it's generally a good rag ... another good Kanuck motorcycle mag is Motorcycle Mojo. Don't really have a least fave ... always manage to find something interesting to read in every motorcycle magazine I've ever had in my hands!:D
  20. 2whl-hoop

    2whl-hoop Long timer

    Jan 12, 2008
    Cottage Grove, the ragged edge of suburbia, MN
    Cycle also was my favorite when I first got interested in motorcycles around 1990, and then I turned into a serious magazine junkie throughout the nineties. Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Superbike, Performance Bike, Bike, TWO and the occasional Rider and Fast Bikes. I've also had intermittent subscriptions to Motorcycle Consumer News.

    I still pretty consistently buy Cycle World and Motorcyclist. For British mags I usually pick up Bike if it has something of interest to me. Performance Bike, if you like to read about sportbikes, has really come around in the last few years. It went through a kind of cartoonish phase for awhile and wasn't worth reading.