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Having always been interested in mountain biking, I had not been on a bike for around four years. My son is not biking, so I wanted to get a new bike to accompany him. Things have changed so quickly, with lots of new technology, so I wanted to buy a good magazine to guide my purchase.
I bought two, MBUK and this 'What Mountain Bike' magazine. This one was a lot better purchase for those needing guidance. The whole magazine is set out pretty similar to MBUK. Lots of articles about the writers rides, individual product reviews and the latest bikes are tested.
What sets this magazine apart from the rest is the section toward the back. The 'Buyer's Guide' has sections for best full suspension, short travel full suspension, lightweight hardtail, all at various price-points. There are 21 sections in total and they really help a lot with buying decisions. Each section also contains a 'Need to know' box, with some pointers on what to look out for, or what to expect for your money.
If you are looking at buying a new bike, invest £3.99 in this magazine first. It'll probably save you that amount anyway and is an enjoyable read too.
Like most folk I don't have £2000 pounds to spend on a bike, or £100 to spend on a set of handle bars, so it was a refreshing change to come across a magazine that seems to be a bit more in tune with your average (i.e. skint) mountain biker. Published every couple of months, What Mountain Bike manages to fit much more of interest between it's covers than either MBR or MBUK. Core to this success are the product tests. The tests are comprehensive and cover a good range of examples of the subject. But more importantly they check out the sort of regular stuff you find down your local bike shop and not just the specialist hardcore and expensive bits that often feature in these mags. That's not to say the flash gear doesn't get a look in, it just doesn't dominate. Another great thing about the magazine is it's educational element - now I realise that sounds dull, but it isn't. Alongside the usual technique articles (including stuff for beginners and experts) you will find information about, for example, frame materials, why steel is different from aluminium and are magnesium frames worth it. The style of the writing keeps the reader from falling asleep and hopefully you learn something too! Chuck in the normal route guides and maintenance tips, a candid Q&A section and a relatively light (but perfectly balanced and ultimately useful) quota of adverts, and you have pretty darn good read. It may be a bit harder to track down than MBR and MBUK but it's well worth the effort. P.S. WH Smith normally stock it. P.P.S. If you are a jumps or downhill enthusiast your will probably want to stick with MBUK.
Other than MBR, What MountainBike?, is one of my favorites. This mag comes out quarterly, but if you want it make sure you're there when it enters the shops, as, even though its just a mag, it sells out in no time. Its similar to MBR by the fact that its not just downhill/jumping orientated, like many others such as MBuk are. As it comes out 4 times a year, its always packed full of reviews and bike tests. The best part of the mag for me is the way they do the testing. Other mags will do a variety of different products, but only one model from each type. On the other hand What Mountain Bike?, tests, for example, every single brake lever they can get their hands on. This is why its so good - you are able to compare all products there and then, rather than waiting for the next mag to come out which 'might' review something similar.
i thinc that whot mountain bike offers a wide range of knowlage but lacks some of the mpre finer thi - Advantages: loas of free bits, good shops, its ace - Disadvantages: consentrates on xc
What mountain bike is another of the Mountain Bike magazines that are available on the newsagents shelves. This one comes out only once a quarter, so its £3.75 price tag is reasonable, especially considering it is mostly content, rather than adverts. The late summer (2000) issue covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from Bike reviews to in-depth articles on women and mountain biking (anatomy, bike fit etc). As with most mags, this contains its fair share of reviews of highly (in the thousands of pounds) expensive mountain bikes, which as far as Im concerned are usually owned by either a professional or a poser who can usually be overtaken by someone on a old cheap bike. Thankfully though it contains some reviews of more modestly priced bikes, and also some actually usefull articles on repair and mainainance. Useful route maps are included in the magazine, well perhaps I should refrase that as - usefull if you live down south or in the extreme north of scotland that is! Overall I liked this magazine, due to its large amount of varied content, and the fact that it is not mostly composed from adverts. If you want a mountain bike magazine with articles in it, rather than just pictures of people riding in mud, and performing stunts, then this is a great choice. I just wish it was published more often, but then maybe that would spoil a good formula.