The Next Best Thing

Adidas TERREX Trail Cross MTB Shoes
Adidas TERREX Trail Cross MTB Shoes

If you have just starting out in mountain biking its likely you’ve gone out and bought yourself a hardtail from your LBS (local bike shop) along with some basics such as a helmet, multitool, tyre levers and a pump.

I know I thought I had everything I needed at home as I had bikes of sorts, so must have all that I needed. I didn’t really but I had enough to get me started. Before long you will find excuses to buy new tools, fancy mini pumps, specific clothing and backpacks with more pockets than you think you will ever need.  Continue reading “The Next Best Thing”

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The e-bikes are coming

the ebikes are coming

It looks like 2018 is going to be the year of the e-bike whether you like it or not.

Chris Smith has been tearing up Windhill Bike Park on a Cannondale Moterra for a few months. GMBN (Global Mountain Bike Network) have started a dedicated E Bike channel, Sam Pilgrim has signed to Hai Bike – whatever next?

I’m undecided on this move by Sam. I’m a big fan of his YouTube channel and I’m a fan (and owner of one) NS Bikes, so this doesn’t sit easy with me.

The general opinion is he has “sold his soul”, I’m thinking they have offered a lot of money. They have also built (or are building) a custom slopestyle / freeride bike so he can continue his “day job” on the FMB World Tour.

Whatever happens his videos will continue to entertain and I’m sure we’ll see more of him and Chris Smith shredding on the e bikes and doing some stuff no one has thought of doing with this new bike genre.

I’ll be honest this video from EMBN got me interested. I heard Steve Jones talking on the HKT Podcast about e bikes a few months ago and he sounded convincing and this video showing him and Neil on techy climbs in Alicante looked like loads of fun.

But…

If money was no object I might consider one, however at the moment this is not for me.

Yet. Never say never, as I’ll sell my soul to Hai Bike if they come knocking on my door too!

But wait – Part III

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But I am still reading “magazines”, and bizarrely I’ve probably spent more on print media this last year than in any other year that I can think of.

I’m buying and reading magazines – no that’s wrong – I now own some great publications that don’t sit around unopened from month to month. Partly because they don’t come out monthly, but also because the content is so good.

In fact in this digital era of Youtube videos and Instagram photos I read lots, I am now reading more than I have done for years.

Alastair Humphreys - around the world by bike
No shredding, sending or roosting here

Filled with great stories and fantastic images I have found the content I want to read. To look at. But mostly I have found the content I want to own.

 

So Olly Forster (Sender), James McKnight (Hurly Burly), Alastair Humphreys et al keep up the good work.

Links to some “magazines” :

And to the Al Humpreys book store:

btw – I’m still a little bitter that MBR never paid me for those two Soapbox articles and Singletrack said my proposed content was nothing new. I think the truth is the MTB press is a crowded place and because I haven’t been riding since “back in the day” my beard  doesn’t fit.

My place is here, giving my own biased opinion and as an average bloke who likes to ride bikes and blog about it every now and again.

If you enjoyed these 3 posts please share them. If you didn’t like them comment and troll me below, its just my opinion in the end.

Part I – I’ve been wondering
Part II – So now what

So now what – Part II

And then theres the internet

So now what?

I don’t read a monthly magazine but I take in mountain biking information weekly, no daily! And I do this by creating my own virtual magazine from a multitude of sources mostly on line via my smart phone, TV or computer screen.

Read Part I here

The internet with free magazines and websites such as PinkBike, BikeRadar, IMB, RedBullTv, MPora, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube etc allow me to create my own content where I can chose to ignore the subjects I am not interested in (ebikes, fatbikes, downhill bikes) and concentrate on the ones I am and at no perceived (I have to pay for my internet access of course) or extra cost.

Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it.  Vincent Van Gogh

We demand so much for free these days and many find digital and electronic ways around paying for stuff that isn’t free such as movies etc via file sharing and not so legal streaming services.  Advertisers know this and they put their money where we are putting our eyes (online) and they help fund such great resources as GMBN and PinkBike, which means we now get so much more and don’t have to pay £5-10 a month for it.

Today GMBN launched a new channel proving (I think) that you have to separate the types of content for different types of users. This channel will attract a large selection of GMBN subscribers and I am sure it will attract new viewers too.

Oh and don’t forget about podcasts, I can even get my mountain bike fix on the M25 without taking my eyes off the road.

The digital space is winning and we love it cos its (mostly) free and can save our money for new bike parts!

But wait – Part III

I’ve been wondering – Part I

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It was about 6 and half years ago I took an old bike into my local bike shop (sadly no longer there – Bertie Maffoons) and walked out soon after with a new mountain bike and have never looked back.

However I will be looking back today – as times, technology and Tim have all changed and I have been wondering about mountain bike media/press. This is an area I have tried to become part of with this blog and even getting myself published (twice) and photographed once.

Back a few years ago I was subscribing to 1 magazine a month and buying 1 and sometimes maybe 2 others. Print magazines are having a tough time and in the last few years at least 2 have disappeared that I used to read from time to time; Dirt and more recently What Mountain Bike have gone.   Is this a surprise when we consume more and more of our news and reviews digitally? Lets have a look at it.

Spending £5 and maybe £15 some months on magazines makes a dent in your finances and for what return? Mostly a growing pile of expensive glossy paper I wasn’t reading. Why wasn’t I reading it?

I often found the same and more detailed information on line for free so my magazine purchases slowed. I justified some by subscribing by getting a free gift.  The magazine is practically free, but did I really need another hydration back pack or pump?

Increasingly, editorial articles were either simply not relevant or the same topic was being discussed by different journalists and in different magazines.

  • 10 reasons you need to ride in Utah
  • Why I moved from the city to the country side
  • How to kit out your van for a road trip
  • How to ride drop offs like a pro
  • Which size wheel is best
  • etc

You know the sort of things.  Essentially I was spending £4-5 a month on a magazine that was showing me glossy images of bikes and components that either I couldn’t afford to buy or had no need for. They showed me dream holidays and trips I had no chance of going on due to family commitments and opinions I had heard the month before in another magazine, written by another journalist but with a slightly shorter beard.

I bought my first 3 bikes by going in to a shop and not reading a magazine review

Something a little more “grown up” was available in Singletrack magazine but even here, the content (re)cycle soon comes around and the inevitable £6000 bike and £200 waterproof jacket group tests appear.

Simply put I found the content mostly uninteresting.

Its probably unfair to say this really, but I simply don’t need to read group tests every month. When I’m in need of a new frame, jacket, wheel, tyre, dropper seat post or set of winter gloves I’ll research it and no doubt come across these tests but when I need them.  Heck, I might even buy the magazine to read about it. But I won’t subscribe any longer.

A Classic Ride in Wiltshire with Tom Hutton / Singletrack / oh and that's me!
A Classic Ride in Wiltshire with Tom Hutton / Singletrack / oh and that’s me!

Its not all bad, both MBR and MBUK have regular UK riding features with maps, places to stay, turn by turn instructions etc.  I often check the covers of these magazines to see where this months routes are, and decide to buy the magazine based on the riding destinations. Singletrack also does this with longer more informative articles in the shape of a Classic Ride. This is the sort of content that I seek out, but there simply isn’t enough of it and it looks like even this sort feature could be disappearing.

The February 2018 Issue of MBR will be the last to contain our routes section. Dropping sales have hit editorial budgets … no longer feature in the magazine

– Tom Hutton / MTB Guiding

Simply put though, I found that Singletrack magazine number 113 was arriving on my door mat before I’d even opened issue 112 and read issue 111.

And its not just me that does this and many of my biking friends simply don’t buy magazines at all.

Mountain biking is such a broad and rich subject with so many topics to cover, different types of bike, different types of riders, riders who seek out knowledge, riders who just want to ride, people with deep pockets and those on a budget, those that want to shred down hill and those that want to ride along tow paths.

I’m going to wrap up this post with a short summary, and that is…

There is no longer a mass market for any one mountain bike magazine due to the depth and variety in the sport and its therefore impossible for a magazine to cater for all users.

Is the cover-it-all mountain bike magazine now a niche?

Check out Part II here