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1. Bike Magazine
In print for over 20 years, Bike Magazine is the original and the best. It’s success lies in the genuine quality of its content. Let’s start by looking at the feature section, which is populated with well-written and original content by seasoned mountain bikers. Topics range from everything from trails and bike competitions, to new mountain bike companies, to memorials of fallen biker comrades.
The opinion section of the magazine is simply hilarious, poking fun in all the right places and providing the necessary pick up any rider that needs to laugh. The gear section is not as emphasized as the features are throughout the magazine, probably because annually they publish and amazing ‘Bible of Bike Tests.’ This is not something you should pick up if you don’t want to be green with envy at the most amazing new bikes and gear on the market! It is the ultimate mountain biker’s candy store.
As if all that isn’t enough, you can also count on Bike Magazine for amazing photos, videos following professional teams, and an online utility called RideMonkey which can help you hook up with other readers. If you want a mountain bike magazine that can keep you in on the action, subscribe now.
2. Dirt Rag
Dirt Rag is a fantastic mountain bike action magazine that’s been in print since 1989. Throughout it’s 27 year history of publications, it’s always managed to stay relevant, and its transition into the digital era is apparent with their simple yet engaging website. They also set themselves apart from Bike Magazine with a few different sections which we’ll explore below.
You’ll still find the main biking news, gear reviews, racing updates, and sweet mountain biking videos as most other sources. What makes this magazine really special is its commitment to stewardship through it’s Advocacy section. Here they topics like trail access and land conservation, mountain bike etiquette, and even sexism in mountain biking.
Dirt Rag also features an impressive collection of interviews with pro cyclists and other leaders in the industry. Perhaps their most endearing feature however, is the ‘blast from the past’ section. Here you’ll find pieces on vintage racing, advice on rebuilding classic bikes, and the innovations that made mountain biking what it is today.
3. Mountain Bike Action
There’s no shortage of interesting material in this magazine. The features are pretty varied, with the most recent issue delving into high school mountain bike racing, Enduro squad racing, and in depth features on pro-riders Brandon Semenuk and Remy Metailler.
This magazine has been criticized by riders for only reviewing super expensive gear and bikes. This appears to be something they are working actively to change by including more recent articles on gear that is more accessible to the everyday rider. They promote some healthy discussions on both sides of the gear spectrum by actively comparing two similar bikes or pieces of gear.
Switchback is a very different style of mountain bike magazine. It was founded by the folks who put together Peloton magazine, a favorite among road biking enthusiasts. Switchback doesn’t aspire to be the most commercial magazine. Its strength is in its passion and the community it creates, reading some of the features gives you that same warm fuzzy feeling you have after riding with some of your best pals.
Ultimately Switchback just feels like a bit more down to earth magazine, the one you’d read while sipping a craft beer at your local brewpub. It features some amazing bike culture and art, and also a free yearly digital subscription when you sign up online. You’ll find great gear reviews and interviews with a fascinating mix of industry pros in addition to all the other fantastic elements this mountain biking magazine has to offer.
So Which Should I Subscribe To?
If you want my advice, (and come winter you will), you will subscribe to all of these fine publications. Start from the top and work your way down, and if all four aren’t possible right now, go for the magazine that seems to most appeal to who you are as a mountain bike rider.