Bike mags – what do you read and why

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  • Bike mags – what do you read and why
  • What are your views on the best mag for keeping up to date on bikes, gear etc, etc. Might just be because I’m an old git, but I find MBUK a bit too “yoof” – over hyped script. Did have a look in WHS at an issue of ST, but did not grab me from the thumb through. More interested in bike stuff, reviews etc rather than trails and stuff


    Nowt. The only time I buy mags is if I want to buy something or if I want a route plan thats in them. Otherwise I find them a bit dull and repetitive. Used to buy MBUK religiously before it became an ad-fest (pre what….95?).

    Premier Icon scaredypants

    generally a subscriber to stw (just lapsed I think)
    why ? it’s an easy christmas present from my mum/wife (no, she doesn’t fulfil both roles) and a little bit of return for providing this place

    (yes, sfb, I know – they should pay us !)


    Our LBS sells a month out of date ones for 50p- probably dont have a sales or return policy.

    I find that mbuk can be great one month then shite the next. Recent- good, one before apalling (nothing in it). Same with STW- its up and down (IMO).

    Whatmtb – can be great and so-so

    Coffeeking, that is my main purpose as well, but find that I am often buying bits and pieces, and the review of the part I want was 3 issues ago, so is the only way to keep up to date buying a mag a month

    I’m not going to clutter up the forum with “recommend me a seat clamp” type questions

    Premier Icon lunge

    MBUK when I buy a mag, which I guess is every 2 months. I kinda like its honesty, it does not pretend to be anything that it is not and some of the reviews are very good.

    Buy STW occasionally and itís ok, donít really enjoy the read as much as MBUK, donít know why, I just donít.

    I actually think Dirt is about as good and well written as they get but since I an nolonger a DHer it is not something a buy very often.

    MBR is utter, utter cr@p.

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Just canceled my sub to MBR after 5yrs. No reason other than I fancy a change. Going to try WhatMTB see if that’s any good. A mate has an STW sub so we pass mags between us. I bought a copy Xmas though, just to get the calendar.

    Anyone remember MTB Pro…now that was class!!!


    i used to read dirt mag (even have a copy of issue one somewere) but now i’ve given up on it. i think its just gone tits up and isnt what it used to be.
    now mbuk is a bit “young” if you like, but i did buy it, but purely for mint sauce!!!!! classic! god bless you mr burt!
    so now the only real mag worth reading is singletrack. if i had the money i would buy it (especally now they are giving away a hipflask with subscribtions) but i only work 14hrs a week and that doesnt even cover the repairs to my bike 🙁

    Premier Icon nickc

    Acouple of them. What Mountain Bike has really gone downhill recently IMO. takes barely 5 minutes to flick through, and is the least interesting. MBUK on the other hand has recently got better, still the only “off the shelf” mag that has anything like a broad coverage. Singletrack is the only one read by my missus.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable

    I read Dirt ’cause of the pictures and Wideopen because it’s insanely well produced and written for something done by a few day job-shirking layabouts. 😉

    Oh and I’ve been stricken by a recent urge to go bivvying, which can only be the product of too much exposure to Singletrack. 🙂

    Premier Icon allyharp

    I buy every issue of Singletrack in the LBS (I should probably subscribe). Apart from that I rarely read any, except when I’m stuck waiting in the supermarket next to the mag shelves!


    just singletrack and some chinese bike mag which has heaps of cool pics but i can’t name ‘cos i don’t have the character set on my keyboard.


    Only Dirt for me, i really like the mag as i suppose it best suits my riding ( or at least the riding i aspire to!) and they give away free t-shirts which always helps.

    I do get a bit bored though and some times i’ll thumb through when it arrives then not look at it again


    Im a little sad, and buy them all to read, but im offshore 2 weeks a month and need something to read. So WhatMTB, MBUK, MBR, Dirt, MBA, Mountain Biking and, of course, ST. Really liked MBR until recently, and obviously ST. I also like the contrast between the american and english mags.

    Premier Icon lunge

    MTBPro was class, a proper mag, bring that back.

    Looks like I need to give MBUK another try then.

    (Heads off to the shops to buy mag, baseball hat to wear backwards, cammo shorts and spot cream)


    Oh and I’ve been stricken by a recent urge to go bivvying, which can only be the product of too much exposure to Singletrack.

    Me too, which is why I bought a tiny 1.5 man tent (couldn’t quite face bivvying and it’s the same size when packed up!) so I now just have to find some trails up north of Glasgow!


    I sub to MBUK & ST.
    WMTB & MBR I get to borrow off mates.
    MBUK has improved a hell of a lot over the last 12 months or so.
    Singletrack has good & bad months imo.
    MBR & WMTB are both pretty cack tbh…


    I actually read Dirt last month, rather than just flicking through and looking at the pictures when my other half buys it. It really is well written, however, their continuing efforts to make it look ‘cool’ mean it can be really hard to actually read. It all looks great, but the print is tiny, in all sorts of bizarre fonts and every which way on the page. I’m probably coming across as an old fogey, but it needs to improve the presentation of it’s content rather than pushing the ‘style’ so much.

    I also like MBUK for the ‘across the board’ coverage of different disciplines and Doddy’s hilarious fashion shoots.

    I subscribe to STW because I like the ‘quality’ feel of it and the ethos of ‘real riders riding’ though sometimes the quality of the articles is variable at times.


    MBUK, have done all along (well, thirteen years or so).

    Anything else i’ll pick up and read, but i’m really not into Dirt – too ranty and angry, and i often find myself having to reread things as they’re so badly written.

    Premier Icon Coyote

    Subscribe to MBUK and Dirt. Occasionally read Singletrack (what happend to the Samuri column?). As said above MBR is complete and utter drivel, words can’t adequately describe how crap it is. WhatMB is also poor. When I’m on the other side of the Atlantic I pick up MBA which is a reasonable read.


    I like Dirt for the pictures too Mr Agreeable. There’s always some really nice shots of riders going flat out in it, naver fails to inspire me even if it is a bit more hardcore than my stlye of riding. You also get nice features like that hardtail issue and people who have built their own bikes. just grass roots stuff as well as glam and glitzy.
    Last issue had a selection of “alternative” mountain bike races like the Downieville Classic where it showed a picture of a guy on an orange five pinning it round a turn and not a full-face helmet in sight, just shorts tshirt trainers helmet and a pair of sunnies.

    Singletrack i buy now and again and theres often some good articles in there but sometimes i can find some of them a bit pointless, as though they struggle for material and have to make something up to pad it out a little. A lot of it is relevant to round here where i live though (halifax) and they do no-nonsense product reviews which i like. I think they drink too much coffee in that place. come on boys, less coffee more pictures/travelling!

    mtbr is OK once in a blue moon, i think its aimed more at kids to be honest. The product reviews are marketing orientated so can’t really be trusted imo, they always give everything at least 8 out of 10. but they do have all the new shiny gear in there and its quite a thick mag. what makes me chuckle is the “cool” lingo they use (man). also the articles like “how to nail a dropoff” that basically tell you to roll up to the edge and drop off are a bit of a laugh.

    The one i was really surprised about was What MTB. they seem to do more than their fair share of product reviews and aren’t afraid to say when something isn’t very good (so like singletrack in that respect). They also have some really good detailed route guides and the articles that go with them are very well written. Its a mag i could pick up and read even when i think i’ve read everything.

    well, thats my little round-up! 🙂


    Subscribe to Bike and DirtRag.

    Keeps me happy.


    I subscribe to Singletrack, rouleur and Cycling Plus.

    Cycling Plus is great, all different kinds of bikes looked at, diet, fitness, etc. All the stuff that interests me and I read it cover to cover.

    rouleur – an absolutely beautiful magazine, well written, fantastic photography, minimal ads.

    Singletrack – it doesn’t really suit the sort of riding I’m into but its reasonably well sritten and designed.


    sorry, MBR is the one i was surprised about, not WhatMTB. sorry…


    “for keeping up to date on bikes, gear”
    I don’t really buy magazines for that, I prefer interviews, photos, opinion type columns, articles about riding in foreign or interesting places, route guides etc.

    I get ST every month (subs) and I like the american mags, particularly Bike, although I also buy MBA. MBA has a lot of bike reviews but usually of more interesting stuff than most of the british mags cover. I don’t really enjoy reading about commuters or £500 bikes so I buy mags that don’t cover them.

    I occasionally buy Dirt, very occasionally WhatMB. I never buy MBR or MBUK. I used to buy DirtRag about every other month until it went up to £7.95 or something.


    I read Dirt and download wideopenmag when i remember. As others have said some of the pics in Dirt just make you want to go out and ride, that Downeville article especially, and i now quite fancy the Kona Mash Up if its on again this year.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable

    My comment about Dirt was a bit tongue in cheek, some of the articles are very well written (particularly Ed Haythornthwaite’s technical ones) and even the rubbish ones are generally quite amusing (you can play Steve Jones Bingo and see how many times per article he mentions Orange 224s, motocross, or the conspiracy of bike manufacturers to foist rubbish frame geomtery on the unsuspecting masses). But the photography is properly outstanding. A lot of the other bike mags have photos that are basically nice landscape pictures that just happen to have a couple of bikes in them. Or boot-ugly blokes gurning their way round a trail centre and making it look as exciting as a trip to Ikea.


    I buy them all, MBR, Singletrack, What mtb, MBUK & last but not least my favourite by far DIRT

    Premier Icon BigDummy

    I don’t really read anything about bikes in print these days. As a result I buy much less new stuff, and much more second-hand stuff from here and ebay. Most of my buying in the last 12 months has been to do with the Big Dummy, and most of the lore about them is on the web anyway.

    Dirt – Like the look but too DH/dirt for me
    MBUK – Sometimes get it at airport when travelling with work. It’s OK IMO.
    WhatMTB – Sometimes … but don’t really rate it
    MBR – don’t rate reviews or articles or think much of the trail guides. I read it if my mate lends it to me.
    ST – about 5-6 a year if I can find it. Apart from the odd duff article, it’s just right for me. Am thinking of taking up the PDF subs.


    While I do buy it from time to time, some of the Dirt writers seem to be almost illiterate and their writing just makes my head hurt. The colour and size of the fonts don’t really help either.


    I prefer interviews, photos, opinion type columns, articles about riding in foreign or interesting places, route guides etc.

    I hate that, especially the ‘life’ type rubbish, which is why I gave up on STW after a few editions.
    Just interested in kit – hense I read “what-mtb”.

    Got a free copy of MBUK with my subby copy of What-mtb this month, and am really quite impressed, lots more like What-mtb but for the dh/free ride dude.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Subscribe to ST and WMB. I think both do different things quite well.

    ST has too many columns that don’t have anything (of interest) to say. Almost like reading some of the threads on here at times.

    Travel articles are variable, bike reviews sometimes far too glib. Also bike grouptests sometimes seem poorly thought out or arbitrary.

    I won’t name any names, but some writers do go on about themselves more than the bikes/bits that we’re actually interested in.

    The “themed” issues can be painfully thin – I thought that “scenes” one a while ago was quite poorly realised, I’m afraid to say.

    Are Ben and Ed the staff writers? Both have good clear writing styles.

    Good pictures and art direction. Website a bit shonky 😉

    WMB reviews generally very good, clearly laid out and articulate. Just the right level of technobabble v comment. Admirable editorial transparency too.

    Clearly pitched at newer riders than ST, but the overenthusiasm to “engage” with readers via radspeak is gets on my tits a bit.

    Features can be very good, or very weak – witness the “we ride round two trail centres” feature in current issue. Sheesh!

    Rate Guy Kesteven’s writing very highly, always engaging and knows how to relate a subject better than any other UK bike journo I can think of.

    Quite slack subbing standards recently though, which is unforgivable in printed media.

    Also sometimes buy MBR, always regret it. Idiotic magazine, infuriates me and I feel embarassed for the writers.

    MBUK came free with WMB this month. Very impressed with quality of writing actually, not at all the baggy jeans-fest I was expecting. Feels a bit old school actually with all those different sections at the back.

    I didn’t mean to write so much, it’s just that I’m a journo myself and think things like this every time I read bike mags.

    OK, so what forums etc do you go to to get product reviews etc? Or perhaps that should be a separate thread?

    I’ve looked at the MTBR forum which has reader reviews on everything, but as a generalisation, most people will recommend what they have rather than rating it really objectively or doing a decent comparison with other similar kit


    While I do buy it from time to time, some of the Dirt writers seem to be almost illiterate

    I must have read it on a good issue as I have thought that on a flick through in the past.


    I buy Cycling Weekly, I like to read about events and the race calender is usefull.
    I don’t buy anything else apart fro the occasional STW. And the only thing I enjoy in that are the stories about UK riding.
    Can’t be doing with MBR and the likes, they just seem like an advertising billboard.


    Subscribed to Dirt for 2 years, but gave it up early in ’08. They’re attempts to fill 12 issues and the monthly focus on one aspect throughout winter was lost on me.

    STW is a reasonable read when I buy something else, and very rarely I’ll buy MBR, but not for >12mths.

    Have kept 220 on subs though


    I read a few of them and thought they were awful. Infantile writing, very uninformative, very little actual editorial for the money. I won’t bother again. They make motorcycle magazines look like literature.


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