Your favourite/least favourite motorcycle magazine, and why.

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

  1. Gonzodog

    Gonzodog Been here awhile

    Aug 20, 2005
    NW PA
    Long time ago there was Dirt Bike with Rick Seiman as editor. They called it like it was, and paid the price. I miss that attitude, and the valuable information.

    Now, places like this and other sites specific to your bike or interest are the place to go.

    BTW, MCN is worth the money.
  2. vicster

    vicster Long timer

    Aug 22, 2007
    Subscribe to Cycle World, 'cause I like it, Motorcyclist 'cause it's cheap. I subscribe to enjoy Motorcycle Consumer News because it's honest, but every year I swear it's the last time because I'm sick of the medical columns taking up space in a very expensive MOTORCYCLE magazine.
    I also buy Classic Bike every month at B&N because I really like the magazine and the rides going after them.
    I do miss the in depth articles of the old Cycle. Everything seems to aimed at the 2 minute attention span.
  3. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

    May 16, 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    Hooray, I was wondering whether anybody on this road warrior forum would mention Dirt Bike in that era. Cycle around the same time was very, very good but in a cultured, we-went-to-college kind of way, whereas Dirt Bike was good in a we-were-too-busy-riding-or-talking-about-riding-to-ever-make-college sort of way. Not that Dirt Bike wasn't smart, not at all, in the days of Rick Sieman and Chet Heyberger it was very smart, but they cut straight to the chase, no fooling around.

    They published probably my favourite moto magazine headline of all time, on a review of Yamaha's first foray into 500cc two-stroke singles wth the SC500:

    "It's gray and black. So is a turkey ..."

    Not that I think the point of a magazine should be to sneer at their test bikes. But the Dirt Bike crew didn't like this one, and they let us all know about it in big print, and backed up the headline with plenty of evidence in the report.

    The upside for the manufacturers was that when they did like something, they let themselves rave on at length about it with little qualification. And you could credit the rave, because not every review was a rave.

    PLUS, if a bike didn't work out of the box, often they would modify it until it did work or until they knew any reasonable owner would give up on it, and then write about the results. And they would ride, and sometimes race, the test bikes very hard and A LOT, often until the cheaply built off-road bikes of the day started falling to bits, which meant that they could say relevant things about the durability too.

    Different market then, tho. Bikes were relatively cheap, and generally of poor quality compared with today's. I am sure plenty of Americans would have bought a new dirt bike each year. So reader interest in new-bike testing was stronger. But their columns were often great, too. Heaps of humour and inventive topics. "If there were baseball cards for motorcyclists." "How inconsiderate riders are punished in Hell."

    Cycle was great too, of course. Just that much more sober.

    These days, like many of you I like Bike, from Britain. Their photography is very good at the moment and the writing often is too. Read Simon Hargreaves and it's as though you're on the ride with him, or can be when he is on his game, which is most of the time. They dream up interesting story ideas, also. Like riding an S1000RR and a GS nose-to-tail from Spain back to England and asking which was more fun. (The RR, Hargreaves reckoned, but then allegedly he refused to get off it, pointedly ignoring the pleas of his GS-mounted companion.) It's the only mag that I read for the pleasure of reading it, rather than merely to troll for information.

    I have cheap digital subscriptions to Cycle World and Motorcyclist. Usually there is something of interest but as someone said earlier, a lot of the stuff reads like it has been whacked together on deadline, by someone who is also on deadline for some other mag (maybe about RVs or caravans).

    I look at Motorcycle Consumer News online when they review a bike I am interested in. The writing is workmanlike but, in general, not as much fun to read as I'd hope for in a subscription-paid publication. Perhaps that's how you reach pay subscribers. I've been impressed with the substance of their reviews, though. When they reviewed the Multistrada 1200 on release, and seemed much less excited than their colleagues elsewhere, I was thinking it was sour grapes that they'd missed out on the launch. But a couple of years down the track, their priorities then seem spot-on: poor low-rev fuelling and a disappearing rear brake (even for a Ducati) have been persistent serious issues for owners, and the ABS was indeed poorly calibrated on early production bikes (the stopping distance from 60mph on dry pavement was about 30ft longer with ABS activated). I'm considering a subscription.

    Online, I like the Ash on Bikes website a lot. Timely, punchy reviews and Ash, the reviewer, often responds to reader comments with extra info. And he invites questions from readers ahead of a bike launch, in case he's missed something prospective owners would focus on - and then attends to them in his report. And Motorcycle USA has done a credible job over the years, with some comprehensive comparison pieces especially. For free, amazing value, both of them.

    Thanks for asking! :lol3:lol3:lol3
  4. Barnwell

    Barnwell Been here awhile

    Mar 29, 2007
    mid-shore, connecticut
    I subscribe to one of the Brit mags, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics cause . . . well its good (and I need help with and sympathy for my stable.) I always glance at Cycle World and Motorcyclist at the supermarket but in recent years I too am disappointed when I buy one and read it for more than a minute. The ads bite (will ugly Dr. Winnifred's pheromone boost my sex appeal?) Motorcycle Classics is OK but it needs more of that funky cottage industry detail you can only really get from a Brit magazine. Still like my Dogfishhead cold tho.
  5. dilandau

    dilandau Been here awhile

    Aug 29, 2009
    oakland, ca
    go a little more independent with : Citybike

    around here its hard to miss at any moto location, but they do subscriptions in the US (only i think). glossy no, information - yes.

    oh i forgot, it gets great yelp reviews
  6. Viszla

    Viszla Adventurer

    Sep 30, 2007
    Okanogan, WA
    I do like Peter Egan & Kevin Cameron. So, CYCLE WORLD gets my subscription. In 'motorcyclist' that Catterson dude & his cronies are so juvenile. No connection there. So, it's Cycle World and occasionally SPORT RIDER for me.
  7. West Isles

    West Isles Been here awhile

    May 18, 2010
    Chocolate Cove NB Canada
    For me it's Cycle World (Egan, Cameron and the good mix of bikes) and Dirt Bike, though it's never been the same since the departure of Super Hunky. His old "From the Saddle's" in the 70's-early 80's were just gold! In high school I copied his "The art of changing tires" editorial word-for-word and turned it in as an English essay...Got a C+ for it :rofl
    Oh yeah, R&T as well.
  8. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

    Jul 20, 2011

    I forgot about Dirt Bike.

    You're spot on, it was a great mag.

    Super Hunky ( Rick S. ) wrote great stuff.

    And I still think the CZ 250 I rode back then was the best sliding dirt bike I have ever
    ridden. Ahh, memories :-)

  9. Morgan Steele

    Morgan Steele Been here awhile

    Jan 21, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Past subs: Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Dirt Bike, Sport Rider, Walneck's

    Current subs: Cafe Racer, Motocross Action

    The advent of the internet has caused me to change from subscriptions that offer me USA Today-type content to those that offer me character. My current subs offer enough quirkiness to keep me interested.
  10. gymply

    gymply Been here awhile

    Dec 20, 2007
    Fort Worth
    Between two school age nieces and a step-son in kindergarden, I have plenty of "opportunities" to purchase or renew subscriptions. :lol3 Currently receive Cycle World, RoadRunner, Rider, and American Iron. I was getting Motorcyclist but I let it expire. Don't really care for their sophomoric editorial agenda. I like RoadRunner, but will probably not renew next time. The travel articles are well written and all that, but if I am trip planning it is much easier to go online and research the area. Rider provides a good blend of hardware/technique/destination articles. American Iron, for the most part, is limited to coverage of two brands: Harley (99.99%) and Victory. I do like their how-to tech articles and wish more magazines would have articles in that format (step-by-step pictures and instructions). Cycle World is my current fave. Good balance of tech/review/news/racing stories with some historical articles thrown in every once in a while. Even if CW wasn't my favorite I would probably keep my subscription current anyway on the remote possibility that they may publish something half as good as "Song of the Sausage Creature" again. :clap
  11. AZbiker

    AZbiker Crunkin' with crackers

    Mar 30, 2005
    Phoenix, in the Arcadia area
    When I had the XLH I used to like American Iron too. They were the only H-D rag that acknowledged the existence of a H-D with unit cases. :lol3
  12. Rider

    Rider In Your Heart, You Know I'm Right

    Dec 11, 2001
    Real America
    My favorite used to be Rider because it was named after me.

  13. dman

    dman Been here awhile

    Sep 29, 2004
    Santa Cruz, CA
    At the risk of being repetitive:
    Subscription: Cycle World, Motorcycle Consumer News (fyi, MCN can refer to either this US magazine or the British Motorcycle News ... remember this is a global site), and Bike. I finally got a subscription to Bike after years of hunting all over for it.
    Occasional news stand buy: Motorcyclist, Escape
    Freebie whenever I see them: City Bike and Friction Zone
    Online: Ash, Adv, MotoMatters, Motorcycle Daily and Motorcycle USA

    I've been reading bike mags compulsively since about '72 and miss Cycle, Cycle Guide with Art Friedman and before him Sam Moses, and Motorcyclist with Jeff Karr, Mitch Boehm.

  14. sagedrifter

    sagedrifter Southern Explorer

    Apr 23, 2006
    Jacksonville, Alabama
    Just Rider and Cycle World now, they cover the basics and are decent capper fodder. :D

    I hate Motorcyclist, not worth the paper its on, too much effort in trying to be progressive or cute. :puke1
  15. SGrider

    SGrider BDR 529

    May 29, 2006
    Actually for me I enjoy reading Street Chopper and the Horse backstreet choppers, they reflect real life so much more than the other mags that just seem like corporate shills, it's real people writing about their bikes and lifestyle and the human character comes through so much better. I do subscribe to Cycle World because I love Kevin Cameron's tech articles and Egan's column.

    Personally I find it hard to even read Motorcyclist and Sport Rider these days, it seems like the same old rehashed crap.
  16. lake_harley

    lake_harley Been here awhile

    May 25, 2009
    Uniontown, MO
    I currently have three subscriptions in various states of coming and going.

    Motorcyclist....just subscribed. Was interested in a change from Cycle World and probably won't renew Motorcyclist when the time comes. Someone a few posts back hit it on the head for me when they compared the coverage to USA Today. I second that. Snapshot articles to a great extent. A full page on a long-term BMW 1600 that talks mostly about the aftermarket windscreen they installed....REALLY?? A few of their comparison tests though, have been decently in-depth, but not enough % of the magazine to balance the weak stuff. Tacky language and a "bad boy" attitude seems a substitute for substance.

    Cycle World....recently dropped and then re-upped when they offered a great price and a free tote bag. Still haven't received the freebe yet in case someone reading this can look into it:lol3 Generally enjoy Egan and Cameron, like so many others here. Got a bit tired of the amount of ink, month after month, over and over, that the same "darling motorcycle" that most recently caught their attention keeps getting. Just review motorcycles based on their own merits and flaws. Never saw the point of the articles on "artistic" motorcycles by the custom builders. That seems like it should be in a magazine of it's own.

    Motorcycle Classics....letting sub run out. Rather pricey for 6 issues a year. Personally there's too much coverage of high priced, exotic bikes that I can't relate to. That doesn't make it bad, but I wish it focused a bit more on "main-stream" older bikes that the less well to do masses had, wanted, have or are rebuilding.

    Never subscribed....Road Runner....I've picked up a few copies and enjoyed it, but it seemed to go overboard on poetic writing style. Probably to me it's more of a travel magazine that doesn't appeal to the nuts and bolts side of me. Even motorcycle tests and comparisons were a bit "fluffy" for me.

    But, that's all just my opinion, which, like a belly-button...everyone has one.

  17. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Mar 24, 2004
    The Trans-Mississippi
    They covered the 883 Cup in the 1990s. Had a woman contributor that was a racer in the series.

    Haven't read AI in a long time, though I liked it back then
  18. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

    Mar 24, 2004
    The Trans-Mississippi

    Information and news is so accessible on the internet, what little content there is in magazines these days is months-old by the time it's on the newsstand.
  19. mentalfloss

    mentalfloss Been here awhile

    Sep 19, 2009
    Outside Lawrence Kansas
    Motorcycle Classics Magazine is on my favorite list of subs.
    I used to be on staff there and It is kind of like family.

    RoadRunner is a very nice mag. I agree with another poster that it seems to focus on the places to ride as apposed to the rides themselves. I really root for them to succeed. Buy a subscription!

    Rider is still on my sub list Clem is a classic and the staff is full of real riders. They have mostly solid analysis of bikes and gear.

    I want to like Cafe Racer but it seems to try to hard to be cool and still misses.