R.I.P. BIKE mag

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BIKE mag was an original.
In a time of 'Build Better Legs in 6 Weeks!" and “Wrecking Crew Tests 4 MTBs You Can’t Buy!” BIKE mag focused on the ride. It was a well edited and fancier version of Bike Rag with deadly photography. Sure there was gear reviews and advertising but in general it was much more about the ride than the what you ride. It exposed people to different areas of NA and the World and made many realize that mtb’ing existed outside Cali and often, outside the US.
They were one of the first pubs that took the leap to associate mtb’ing with good coffee and great beer.
They were one of the first to say that it was cool to load the vehicle and go on a bike road trip to ride without there being a race involved. In fact, they let riders know that it was ok not to race and that it was ok to race- or better yet, it was totally cool to do both regularly.
I last picked up a BIKE mag a couple years ago. It still had some of the original flavour but, really, only a hint of what had originally made it so unique and great all those years ago.
Times change but fortunately much of the ideals and stuff that we loved about BIKE hasn’t changed- ride your bike, hang with friends, race your bike if you want, drink good coffee before your ride, drink great beer after your ride if wish and generally just savour life in the saddle.

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Hear hear! (also lol at the throwback to the Wrecking Crew–haven’t heard that in a long time!).

Bike mag was huge for me, not only did it have amazing photography, it was the first mountain bike magazine that actually employed graphic designers who were trying to do something different and creative with the page layouts. As a mountain biker and a NSCAD graphic design student at the time, this was huge for me. It really pushed the envelope at the time.

I haven’t purchased a magazine in at least 15 years. So maybe, I’m part of the problem. I kind of miss them, but at the same time, it’s not where my attention lies any more.

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Bummer, loved so many things about that mag. So refreshing compared to Buycycling mag and MBA. The John Stamsted articles really resonated with me. And they didn’t take it too seriously. https://www.instagram.com/p/CF-jvhdHkbA/?igshid=8byb3mmtop07

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The only magazine I’ve purchased in the last few years was Bike, I was late to the game but finally got a subscription early this year. bummer. to say the least.

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I used to love reading BIKE back in the day. Now, I don’t bother buying magazines as their content seems to be garbage. Page after page of marketing. I miss that BIKE was about the ride as you said. The current day products make you feel bad that you can’t afford the latest and greatest products out there. They’ve lost touch with the average joe.

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From the Founding Editor of Bike:

I thought this paragraph summed things up nicely:
“In the pre-internet days, publishing a magazine was like operating a restaurant: You market yourself to get people in the door and buy a meal and if they like it they’ll keep coming back. Today, you still own a restaurant but now you have to serve free samples out front 24 hours a day, giving people as much as they can consume and hoping that a few kind or generous souls will come inside and pay for it.”

I never subscribed to BIKE (or Dirt Rag for that matter). I read issues at the library, would be given one occasionally at Christmas, or pick one up at a newsstand before a flight. In an attempt to declutter my life, I got rid of all my old back issues (wish I had kept them). I had a rather loose idea to subscribe to one or both over the past few years, but never pulled the trigger.

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On the one hand, there’s no question this sucks. The quality was there, it was a great magazine and there’s a nostalgic component for me, and I enjoyed holding the product in my hand.

On the other hand, holy fucking shit, get with the times. Cry me a river, but it’s 2020 and the writing has been on the wall for print publications for TWO DECADES. Almost none of them have figured out how to actually offer something of value other than an ad-supported replica of their print journalism. And that just isn’t meeting people where they are these days.

When we started the original version of ecmtb, it was so we, like Pinkbike and NSMB, could offer something that print publications couldn’t: community. I think that’s still valuable. The fact that Pinkbike is still going strong (they recently posted 14 job ads! In the midst of a pandemic!) is evidence of their ability to see beyond the content. The layout of the site hasn’t even really changed since the first year, and yet millions flock to the site everyday. This is because they have vision and are keeping up with what people need. That’s what inspired TrailForks. If Pinkbike can produce nearly 6-10 articles of quality journalism per day and great photos and video that brings the communities of interest together, that’s fantastic and their success is well-deserved.

Don’t get upset because you failed to see what was coming with more than enough notice to shed your expensive office space and roster of employees. Companies need to learn to modernize and keep up and stop complaining that ‘no one subscribes to my magazine anymore’. Sheesh.

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I’d be interested in what proportion of content from Pinkbike is written in-house, how much is purchased (non-staff writers paid per piece) and how much is reader submitted. I think a majority Is in-house.

They obviously have strong relationships with manufacturers as they are definitely first to print a lot of new stuff.

I’m not surprised they’re expanding though, there are so many new and returning riders out there at the moment. I can never think of a time when it was this hard to get a bike. Bearing in mind that most complete bikes would have been in stores before covid disrupted supply lines.

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Agreed, the old Specialized “innovate or die” slogan comes to mind.
However, would be nice to see them successfully rebuild an online presence somehow. They always seemed to have a knack for pairing quasi-philosophical musings about bikes and life with a photo of a slightly too-dark sunset ride/blurred out north shore/hyper focused forest floor pic that would make one want to get out and ride. It was often a reminder(to me anyways) that feeling dirt under your tires and fresh air in your nostrils is just as awesome whether it’s your old familiar backyard trails in solitude, or a kick ass multiday trip to new place with some pals.

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Ha, I luckily still have all of my first issues. Vol 1 #5 was my first.

In later years I’d leaf through it at Chapters and wondered what went wrong, how did they stray from the light.