I thought I’d write down some of my thoughts on that essential piece of printed fodder for the bike nerd, the bike “mag”. This is not meant to be an attack on any particular magazine but just a few thoughts.
In my experience – mostly confined to MTB publications – I find that most of the mags available tend to be glossy publications with the focus being on big flashy stunts, route maps, and of course the latest kit being reviewed. This of course all has its place, but I find that as the issues pass, there is a distinct lack of variety. Let us take for example the publication shown below, all three of the covers have quite similar cover shots, showing a model draped in the latest gear on a brand new shiny bike. I acknowledge the fact that this will draw in what could be termed “mainstream” readers, but do we really want to see this on every issue? The headlines are also fairly generic – “RIDE ON”, “BE A WINTER HARD MAN”, “LIGHT FEVER” etc… They tell you very little about the actual nature of the content of the magazine. Anther problem I have with this kind of publication is the lack of artistic merit in the production, the styles is always the same, with glossy banners and logo’s. I personally have lost faith in this kind of publication, as i find the predictability irritating and boring.
I now move on to what personally is my favorite magazine, “DIRT” . This has what I consider the perfect mix of reviews, features, interviews and news stories, all presented in a unique and atheisticly pleasing way. If you look at the picture below you will see that all the cover shots are different in style with the only linking factor being that they’re all bike influenced, the titles are all different and imaginative, the taglines relevant to the articles inside. This mag is much more appealing to the eye and also has plenty of variety, the photos in particular are always in a much more artistic style rather than being documentary, this makes them often much more relevant to the article, and particularly in the case of race reports helps take the emphasis away from results. DIRT is now a monthly purchase for me.
Of course this is where I throw a spanner in the works…. There is another type of bike publication I regularly purchase, the BMX magazine, although I myself don’t ride BMX. I find that the BMX mags tend to be produced on the whole in a much more artistic way to MTB mags, this I think could be due to the more underground aspect of BMX, where there is less focus on competition, but what ever the reasons are they are always enjoyable to peruse. They always feature amazing photographs and stories, and are an endless source of inspiration, both on the bike and behind the camera.
(It is of course worth noting that both the BMX magazines and DIRT are published by the same publishers, this perhaps could shed some light on to the reasons for these being my prefered reading matter.)
I hope this post was interesting… just realised that I’d been waffling on a bit….