STW Magazine & Forum – For elitest rich people only these days ??

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  • STW Magazine & Forum – For elitest rich people only these days ??
  • mamadirt
    Member

    Don’t know if the point has already been made up there, but when I buy a mag I like to see high-end, unaffordable (to me) kit reviewed and tastefully photographed. Surely no-one would buy a mag full of reviews of bargain basement tat (that’s what forums are for 😆 – reviews direct from the (wo)man on the street trail).

    I love the STW forum but tend to buy WMB as I like the gear reviews and they tend to be aimed at a cross section of riders ability and budget. Ok they don’t do the same number of articles as STW but when they do they tend to be more UK based and less biking down some random European mountain that a majority of us wouldn’t have the budget to afford. I’d really like to see some more low to mid end budget reviews such as bikes around £500-1000 mark and clothes under a £100 that are not Gore or similar budget. I joined as an online subscriber so I can perv at the mags now and then but for pick up n read over and over when killing some time or sitting on the loo 😳 its WMB everytime. Don’t get me wrong I do aspire to owning a £2k full susser but I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that’s out of most peoples budget.

    I appreciate that STW is not trying to be anything like WMB etc and caters for different riders generally and I respect that hence not buying the actual mag (more here n there if I like a particular article). Not saying it needs a wholesale change but a nod to the more budget conscious here and there would be nice 🙂

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    Listen to your readers – you should be reporting what we want, not what you think we want…

    Therein lies the rub. I’m a reader. I’m not the slightest bit bothered about reviews since the Internet is full of them. They’re everywhere and everyone has an opinion to be read on STW, blogs, Bike Radar etc. Not everyone is talented at writing though, so what I want from STW is high quality articles about cycling and cyclists. Stuff your reviews, the next big thing will be here in a minute…

    hugor
    Member

    Agree with above I just flick past all the reviews looking for the cycling articles.
    I have rarely seen a review of something I was actually looking to buy.

    Jamesy
    Member

    As said above the internet is my source for reviews , i can’t afford the lights in the stw review but i won’t hold it against them 🙂 that doesn’t mean i don’t enjoy reading them if you see what i mean?

    Ill read on here and the net for cheaper alternatives and search for reviews of any given product for a price im willing to pay

    grum
    Member

    I’m not bothered about magazine reviews either, the response on this thread is pretty poor though especially from Matt. Half the responnses I see from STW to any kind of criticism seem to be quite arsey and overly defensive. Insulting your customers is generally not seen as very professional for some reason. Ho hum.

    And it’s not really ‘damned if you do damned if you don’t’ its just damned for pretending cheap lights aren’t up to the job when they clearly are.

    “we wanted to restrict this group test to lights that were up to the job of proper off-road night riding. Trail illumination costs money.

    For me the problem with the above statement is it suggests you have to spend a lot of money for decent trail illumination, which as we and stw know you don’t. Now if the statement had said something like ‘this is a review of £500 plus lights…’ I think that would be better, also supplier support of UK riding could be mentioned.

    Anyway, I remember the early days when the mag did have a different take on things, you might say a bit leftfield, which was refreshing; but now it doesn’t seem much different to the other mags.

    The Dx stuff gets reviewed . Its reviewed on the forums by riders who dont type using multi sylable prose and complex mulit layered syntax.

    Recomending those who send freebies , and pay for advertising in the mag, is kinda how it works in the comercial world.

    If anyone cared about the reviews , then how come there are so many threads that start with ‘Recomend me a……’?

    trout
    Member

    talking about light reviews. Matt and STW had one of my lights now for nearly two years and said they would review it
    but never got a word said .

    grum
    Member

    Ever taken out an advert in the mag trout?

    trout
    Member

    nope but not taken adds in MBUK or MBR and got a mention in those .

    Premier Icon AD
    Subscriber

    On the plus side Trout, I know about your excellent products and service via this very website…

    ashfanman
    Member

    talking about light reviews. Matt and STW had one of my lights now for nearly two years and said they would review it
    but never got a word said.

    Maybe they don’t cost enough? 😉

    Premier Icon Stranger
    Subscriber

    It makes interesting reading, hearing what members of the forum think should go into the magazine. I like the righteous indignation of the posters who criticise magazine staff for apparently taking no notice of them. The sad truth is that only a small proportion of forum users buy the magazine. To quote Mark: “We get 700,000 users per month right here! If just 5% of those decided to subscribe I’d be browsing through the catalog of caribbean islands* on which to build my palace “. You can’t determine content on the basis of people who “would buy the magazine if…”
    Perhaps STW needs to do some proper market research of it’s existing customer base in order to determine it’s future?

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Subscriber

    I like the magazine and forum combo. It’s what prevents STW as a whole being the very things it’s being accused of being. I used to read EVO when I was more interested in cars than I am now. I never thought I’d own a Porsche or a Ferrari but was interested in the technology, the photography and the trips made with the cars.

    The magazine bit of STW has become more like this. Photography and travel articles mixed with the (slightly) more ‘real world’ epic rides and the latest high end gear. Nice to read / coffee table mag. Makes me feel like going for a ride.

    If I want cheaper solutions to what’s reviewed (I nearly always do) and relevant reviews for that stuff I get on the internet, including this forum, and start rummaging or speak to my good LBS.

    Whether I am rich or elitist is another matter. 😉

    To quote Mark: “We get 700,000 users per month right here! If just 5% of those decided to subscribe I’d be browsing through the catalog of caribbean islands* on which to build my palace “. You can’t determine content on the basis of people who “would buy the magazine if…”

    yeah but – I’m not wild about actually buying a magazine off the shelf, only to be told that said magazine’s business model requires that I also subscribe.

    I was less peeved by the content or conclusions of the lights test, than by the fact that I bought a magazine that boasted “lights test” on the cover and then found out that the actual test results were largely “subscriber only”.

    qcamel
    Member

    The constant moaning and whinging on this forum makes me want to scream into a towel…..

    I’m off, head officially battered by the negativity and constant sniping that occurs….

    Premier Icon sturmey
    Member

    Trout you possibly need to ride with the staffers call round for coffee now and then schmmoooz up to them make them feel important that may help. Second thoughts just do what you are doing you don’t need them, ask for the light back. Common courtesy should have prevailed and they should have sent it back if they didn’t intend to use it or maybe they think they can do as they please.

    hugor
    Member

    When I read any of the 3 mags I subscribe to I like to dream and escape to some epic place I’ll probably never have the time or money to see.
    I also like to read about some new kit that’s coming out soon and what it promises to deliver.
    I don’t want to read about some piece of crap I can bolt onto my bars and almost see enough with.
    STW do have the forum to which paying customers are granted equal rights as non subscribers – very socialist, generous and equitable IMO.
    They also let people take the piss out of them publicly like in this thread.
    I think they deliver a very good product for everybody.
    I even appreciate the enforced breaks they give me from this place when their sense of humour eludes them.
    My girlfriend loves them too!

    smell_it
    Member

    I gave up reading the mag some time ago, so as not to be a disappointment to those writing it. Seems things have not changed.

    Premier Icon legalalien
    Member

    Hilarious.

    I was a subscriber from issue 1 of STW, had a gap of about 5 year and now have a digital subscription. As good as it’s ever been.

    After reading some of the ‘Singletrack has lost its way’ comments, I raised an eyebrow and randomly had a quick look at Issue 3 from 2001.

    If you’re interested, it has a review of a 200 quid set of lights on page 35. 😉

    Premier Icon chipps
    Subscriber

    Hi folks, sorry for the delay in responding.

    Here are some replies to some of the points made. Sorry if they’re brief, we’re a bit mad finishing the next/new issue. Anyway: DX lights and the like: We try to keep the reviews as brief as we can – which is one reason that we only featured a few lights in the mag and finished the review off online. Grouptests are funny things in that the people who are really interested are really interested. The rest of the world isn’t bothered, except to check whether their light/helmet/stem is reviewed. So we’re limited in the number of products that we can feature. We split the lights test over two issues to get in as many helmet and bar lights as possible.

    In order to get a spread of lights, we listed a bunch of lights manufacturers and sent them all a request for test products. This list wasn’t based on who advertises with us, it was based on us all thinking of all the light companies we could, plus a peek around the internet to see what else the shops are selling, it also included a few of the smaller shed-based companies that we’d heard from recently. Once we’d done that, we sent out a general request for products to as many of those companies as we could and shortly we’d had about two dozen product come in, we assigned the lights to testers for a few weeks of riding and the lights were written up and shot.

    To be honest about the DX lights and that sort of thing, who should we have approached to get a test set of lights in? Mr DX has never been in touch, so we wouldn’t know who to approach. Yes, we could go out and buy a set, but we already had a test full and we actually don’t have that much of a budget for each issue of the magazine. So sorry for excluding you Mr DX. The next time we do do a lights test, I’ll make sure we get a set in.

    We’ve written many features about riding on a budget (‘One ton weekender’ which ran for a few years.) And when I’ve come across people who ride on a budget who would make a good story, I’ve written about them. In fact I first met Mr Alker here when I wrote a feature about him for Mountain Bike World after he’d written in to tell us that he’d made his own lights out of plumbing spares, showroom halogens and an RC car battery. 🙂

    Troutie – I think there’s been some emailing between you and Matt/Mark about lights recently, though I might be wrong, but anyway if there’s a current model you’d like us to review, then get in touch with me and we’ll get one in in time for 24 hour season.

    We could of course have tried to review one of every light between £10 and £2000 but it would have been huge and not very in-depth, and the kind of light test that people would criticise. Equally, we could have made our own out of readily available kit but I don’t think anyone has any spare time as it is.

    Anyway, I hope that helps explain a little of the thoughts that go behind what we get in for a group test. It’s one of those funny features that some people expect in every magazine and others don’t want anywhere near, so it’s a tricky balance – to say nothing of the issue of trying to get a dozen products all sent in to the office within a week of each other. We’re reviewing some pedals next issue, for which the deadline was a month or two ago, but some pedals still haven’t arrived, so obviously won’t be featured in this particular issue. Just because the Jimbob 560 pedal doesn’t appear, don’t assume that we left it out on purpose.

    Cheers all
    Chipps

    grum
    Member

    A much more mature and professional response from chipps there 🙂

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    chipps – I work here

    To be honest about the DX lights and that sort of thing, who should we have approached to get a test set of lights in?

    There’s various UK handlers- if it comes up again you should probably speak to Torchy the Battery Boy or Smudge.

    http://www.torchythebatteryboy.com/
    http://www.mtbbatteries.co.uk/mountain-bike-lights/

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    to say nothing of the issue of trying to get a dozen products all sent in to the office within a week of each other. We’re reviewing some pedals next issue, for which the deadline was a month or two ago, but some pedals still haven’t arrived, so obviously won’t be featured in this particular issue. Just because the Jimbob 560 pedal doesn’t appear, don’t assume that we left it out on purpose.

    How about reviewing a bit more of the kit that turns up in the Fresh Goods advertorial then, if you’re a bit short? Most of the stuff turning up in the office seems to disappear into a black hole, at least as far as further info on how it fares after use goes.

    crikey
    Member

    Have to say, I’m not a great STW reader, I view most reviews in mags with a certain amount of disbelief, but I do appreciate the STW mags fellas approach when this kind of thing is raised.

    Good on yer chaps.

    Premier Icon seven
    Subscriber

    Interesting thread. Mag announces change to business model, and then a number of forum users express unease about the direction/evolution of the mag in an, not obviously related, thread?

    All I have to add is that as a new subscriber, largely as a result of the new business model as previously described but also a regular reader/forum lurker, the whole experience has been good. Fast delivery of free Tshirt and membership card (before the DD has left my account).

    I have no interest in reviews unless I am looking for a product, but I like good photography and well written articles, I find most other MTB mags don’t deliver on this front.

    It’s also interesting to see that the mags owners answer critics on the forum. I’m not sure Chipps’s reply above really addressed the points that the thread was making but good to engage.

    Looking forward to seeing the new incarnation of the mag, lets face it 30 quid for a year is great value if it’s well written and well produced. if it’s not I can cancel my sub.

    £500 for a set of light??? you’re having a laugh right? 🙂

    Premier Icon MrOvershoot
    Subscriber

    As usual no one read my post!
    MrOvershoot – Member

    “Dave – Moderator
    If any of the naysayers want to check the front page and go to the review of bar lights they’ll see Smudge thanking us for the “excellent” review of his XML light.

    If you bought the mag you’d know it was one of three I recommended.”

    Which is exactly the one I bought after seeing the review, very pleased with it & Smudge’s quick service too.

    Which sort of flies in the face of the

    “There are, of course, plenty of sub-£100 lights out there but we wanted to restrict this group test to lights that were up to the job of proper off-road night riding. Trail illumination costs money.”

    comment?

    SO

    Dave you recommended the light but according to the new thinking they are not really up to the job??

    Bit like the obsession on chain devices & bash rings in the reviews, yet on the front page poll they don’t feature much on most peoples bikes?

    Premier Icon chipps
    Subscriber

    How about reviewing a bit more of the kit that turns up in the Fresh Goods advertorial then, if you’re a bit short? Most of the stuff turning up in the office seems to disappear into a black hole, at least as far as further info on how it fares after use goes.
    That’s a fair question. Hopefully nearly all the stuff that appears in Fresh Goods makes it into a review, but it can take time. If something turns up this week, say, it goes in Fresh Goods. Then it goes out to a product tester, or one of the staff members for testing. Depending on the product, it might be ages before it can be tested properly, or comprehensively. We had some dry weather 29er race tyres in recently, it might be May until we can do a decent job of trying them. And equally, we like to give a decent time on a product. Some things you can get a feel for right away, but others need longer. Not enough time and we get accused of a cursory glance, too long and next year’s version might already be out, addressing any issues we had with this year’s one! Then, once a product is written, or returned for photography, it might be an issue before we can get it in the magazine due to a lack of space, in which case it goes in the following issue, which will hold it up for another couple of months. So in all it could be five or six months before a product appears some times.

    We’ve been working with Jon, just today in fact, on trying to get more products reviewed on line in a swifter fashion, though it might still take a month or two between Fresh Goods and a thumbs up or down.

    dave_h
    Member

    sturmey – Member
    I think the mag needs to relate better to the readers also, I have noticed over the last few months that it all feels a bit clique, I scratch your back you scratch mine. Contributors all mates together.

    Nothing new there IMO. I cancelled my subscription around four years ago and haven’t bought a copy since due to this.

    YMMV

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    I bought STW last month and it’s a cracking read, haven’t bought the mag in a while (only tend to buy it on content see) but was pleasantly surprised and happy to read last months.. I’m looking forward to the new version.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    it all feels a bit clique, I scratch your back you scratch mine. Contributors all mates together.

    Or, a lot of the brands / writing people that do well in the UK bike trade do so because they’re involved and in touch, out there riding and chatting at events and in places like the NW where there’s a lot of good riding, maybe have been in the industry some time etc, they get to know each other and become mates? They end up making / doing stuff they all like and it’s all good? Better write about what you’re involved with than try to spead yourself too thin and be all to all riders?
    It’s a pretty small world and a close scene in general and of course you help mates out, that would also go for telling them if they make something junk.. maybe before it’s tested officially )

    clubber
    Member

    Thanks for the reply Chipps but I don’t really think it addresses the point of

    “There are, of course, plenty of sub-£100 lights out there but we wanted to restrict this group test to lights that were up to the job of proper off-road night riding. Trail illumination costs money.”

    which just isn’t correct. Now, I hold the ST mag people in pretty high regard generally but I find it hard to match that with an obvious (though hopefully not correct) possibility which is that you’re deliberately ignoring sub £100 lights that are demonstrably up to the job because it’d be considered a slap in the face to a lot of the UK companies/distributors who sell more expensive (and quite possibly better though definitely not always) products. But then it comes down to whether your first duty is to your readership, the industry, etc.

    I can fully understand how it’s hard to try and balance all of these things as the bike industry in the UK is quite cosy IME (that’s not necessarily a bad thing) and you can’t just hack them all off (even if it’s done in your readers’ best interests) and expect to be able to run a magazine effectively but at the same time that introduces a massive risk that your readers perceive that you’re not giving the full picture or that you’re in the industry’s pocket.

    DX lights (as the example that’s being taken but clearly isn’t the only one) are available in the UK as magicshine lights too (£75ish IIRC) – those could have been reviewed and mention made that the same light could be had cheaper from the Far East but with the potential issues of warranty/time/etc. My point really is that while you can’t be expected to review every light out there, I think that your readers can expect you to give an reasonable overview of what is available and not make sweeping statements about cost that don’t hold up.

    We’ve been working with Jon, just today in fact, on trying to get more products reviewed on line in a swifter fashion, though it might still take a month or two between Fresh Goods and a thumbs up or down.

    I think gaining access to more reviews online and quicker is a great idea. Especially as many people will, as I do, browse the net for reviews on gear, ask on forums etc before parting with there hard earned cash.

    For what it’s worth I would like to say that the various options of subscription are a great idea and I for one are v happy to pay an online only subscription to dip into mags online rather than commit to buying a mag at £5.75, which in all honesty I would not pay for. I will keep up my WMB for hard copy reading as the content generally appeals more to me and my budget. That said, some of the articles in STW are v good.

    Keep up the good work but please continue to explore putting more reviews online so we all have access to them much sooner without waiting for the mag review much further down the line (which from what I read on here is not the main reason subscribers buy the STW mag for anyway). A good compromise all round?

    scottfitz
    Member

    Thanks for the reply Chipps but I don’t really think it addresses the point of

    “There are, of course, plenty of sub-£100 lights out there but we wanted to restrict this group test to lights that were up to the job of proper off-road night riding. Trail illumination costs money.”

    which just isn’t correct. Now, I hold the ST mag people in pretty high regard generally but I find it hard to match that with an obvious (though hopefully not correct) possibility which is that you’re deliberately ignoring sub £100 lights that are demonstrably up to the job because it’d be considered a slap in the face to a lot of the UK companies/distributors who sell more expensive (and quite possibly better though definitely not always) products. But then it comes down to whether your first duty is to your readership, the industry, etc.

    I can fully understand how it’s hard to try and balance all of these things as the bike industry in the UK is quite cosy IME (that’s not necessarily a bad thing) and you can’t just hack them all off (even if it’s done in your readers’ best interests) and expect to be able to run a magazine effectively but at the same time that introduces a massive risk that your readers perceive that you’re not giving the full picture or that you’re in the industry’s pocket.

    DX lights (as the example that’s being taken but clearly isn’t the only one) are available in the UK as magicshine lights too (£75ish IIRC) – those could have been reviewed and mention made that the same light could be had cheaper from the Far East but with the potential issues of warranty/time/etc. My point really is that while you can’t be expected to review every light out there, I think that your readers can expect you to give an reasonable overview of what is available and not make sweeping statements about cost that don’t hold up.

    Yep nail on the head.

    “There are, of course, plenty of sub-£100 lights out there but we wanted to restrict this group test to lights that were up to the job of proper off-road night riding. Trail illumination costs money.”

    Its Wrong!

    On the other hand chipps is right they can’t test every thing and thanks for the post. singletrackmatt thats how its done 8)

    jambalaya
    Member

    I’ve been a subscriber for a few years now and in my experience the magazine has a pretty good balance of kit focusing on the middle and upper end. The magazine mixes ride atricles on Wales and trips to Iceland. There is an aspirational element and there should be, it’s fun to read about.

    There are lots of cliches and generalisations on here but I would observe that there are many mountain bikers who spend a relatively large portion of their income on their hobby (bike cost more than their car for example). That’s great, live to ride and all that.

    FWIW I looked at lights and after going through the options I felt the £400 Hope ones were the best combination of quality, function and price. I bought nothing then as I decided to put that money towards a new bike.

    xiphon
    Member

    Mountain biking is a notoriously expensive sport, so I’m not surprised by the ‘group tests’. But it can only be expensive if you let it – my bargain £100 Fox 36s ‘perform’ (in my eyes) just as well as some brand spanking new ones, around £900. Ubber-cool-Kashina-FIT-15mm-whatever isn’t worth £800 more…

    I must admit, I did buy some expensive (to me) lights – Electron Terra 2’s – but I use them daily for a commute.

    Dave
    Member

    Dave you recommended the light but according to the new thinking they are not really up to the job??

    There is no new thinking, just another reviewer’s opinion.

    Junkyard
    Member

    grum – Member
    I’m not bothered about magazine reviews either, the response on this thread is pretty poor though especially from Matt. Half the responnses I see from STW to any kind of criticism seem to be quite arsey and overly defensive. Insulting your customers is generally not seen as very professional for some reason

    oh look no P by his name – in what sense are you a customer then?

    seems some folk who dont pay for a magazine that subsidises a forum are complaining about the magazine on the forum. I think if i was STW I would tell you to all go **** yourself tbh listen intently to what you thought

    I am available for PR work anytime you need me STW towers 😉

    One of those really it just depends most stuff for a MTB is expensive and most of what they review is beyond my proce point …still it is interesting to read generally.

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