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Motorcycle jounalism- rate your highs and lows.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Heinz_Guderian, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. The best moments- UK mag Performance Bikes from about 1987 to 1995. Edited by English Literature MA Rupert Paul (who still writes occasionally for 'Bike') with most road tests done by top grade racer Mark Forsyth, and technical editing by John Robinson (whose technical books on 2-stroke, 4-stroke and chassis tuning are excellent for those who really want to go into how to make a bike), PB wrote the book on how to make a good bike mag.

    Their tests always backed the claims with data: top speeds, 1/4 miles, dyno charts for every bike tested. Even of they were testing glove or bike locks, they would have objective and quantifiable test methods. Every bike was stripped of bodywork and pictured with it's 'clothes off'.

    They had wheelies on the front cover years before anyone else, and while that's a mixed blessing these days, it was refreshingly honest in an area where everyone was trying to 'clean up the image of motorcycling'. They panned crap bikes and lost advertising as a result: after 1/4 mile testing the 1989 Ducati 900SS, the chain adjuster bolts bent. PB said it was crap. Ducati said it was rider abuse and pulled their ads. The bolts got bigger a year later.

    While Australian journalists were shooting their load over the Gilera Saturno and calling it 'the most significant bike released this year' and giving it BOTY nominations, PB rightly pointed out that although it was fun, bits fell off it as you rode along, and a little single really had no business costing more than an FZR1000 or ZZR1100. You've never heard of it? There were reasons for that.

    PB did lots of workshop stuff, especially focussed on optimum set-up for popular sports bikes. Most of the type of offbeat stories done on, say, the Top Gear TV show were started in PB. Four guys buy four bikes worth less than 1000 pounds each, and then race them, or tour them. Proper analysis of technical matters such as funny front suspension or how then-new cartridge forks work, repairing/updating old bikes, good GP and racing discussion, picture articles showing the best bikes from the Suzuka 8-hour or Assen singles racing (where all the great garage projects appear) or Superbike privateers, how-to-ride articles for those who wanted to go fast and survive rather than just look like RTA instructors, and a readers special inside every back cover.

    Excellent writing as well- funny, mixing quotes from Shakespeare with lines like 'I wish the missus made that noise when I open her up' (Trevor Franklin testing the 1994 Triumph Speed Triple). No topless girlies, though.

    And all this years ahead of its time, when most mags (in particular all US mags) never offended advertisers but had boobs everywhere, and were all prejudice and opinion without any facts except the manufacturers' specs. The only other workshop stuff in print was of the 'Spannerman' Q and A type (nothing wrong with that), and layout and design in other mags often seemed to result in white text on yellow pictures, or no good pics of a bike.
  2. does practical journolism count?

    if so, i vote for long way round as a long term evaluation of a german and a russian bike.

    Journalistic lows - anything that mentions riding a bike in an australian tabloid tv or print show.
  3. Anything by "The Bear" is great.

    And yes Heinz, I am just stirring the proverbial poo. :p

    And yes i did post this before i realised that "other" thread was still going.........i dont feel so witty now :roll:
  4. I used to read pretty much everything that came onto the shelves but don't fork over my hard earned for any of them anymore.

    They now fall into 2 categories:

    1) The boy racer - GSXR or ZX wins BOTY every year and if they somehow get forced into testing a non-sports bike, they slam it because it doesn't have 180HP and won't lift the front wheel in 4th. This has a valid market because there is avid race following but there's a very large population that don't want to ride or read about sportsbikes.

    2) The paid advert - Every bike they test is great and none of them have any faults. These are terrified of upsetting the manufacturers and daren't say a bad word against them. These guys need to watch Top Gear to find out how to slam a bad bike.

    I think it's simple, all they need to do is have multiple testers with different preferences and skills ride every bike. AMCN used to do this in the early days on their big tests where they would have 7 riders on 7 bikes. The reader can find the tester that they relate to and judge a bike on his/her comments. Just using 1 tester makes it too subjective and therefore invalid to much of the audience.
  5. I love PB....it went off the rails a bit but it's now a great mag again, give it a try :cool:
  6. Personally I hate the British bike mags. They are the motorcycling equivalent of the Picture magazine. They just write sensationalized crap to get a reaction. B-grade trash with the article rarely being relevant to the Australian market and conditions.

    In terms of Australian journalists I'd like to out Smith from Two wheels. The first half a dozen of his articles are clever, after that it's same old same old. You soon realise he writes that way to cover up how much of a bitter and twisted individual he really is.

    Then there is Kevin Ash. For a while there I started to believe this guy didn't really exist, because the things he wrote were just dumb and deliberately sensationalist.

    Geoff and Groff are very good journalists that have been around Australian motorcycling for a very long time and hardly write pandering comments.
  7. I quite like the direction Motorcycle trader is heading, with more of its focus on classics. It's the only Aus mag that has reviews of bikes not released this year, with usefull buying advice for used bikes, and it's reviews are pretty straight up. They've had negative reviews of gear in the past.
  8. BIKE.

    The only bike magazine you need more than 20 minutes to read.

    The de-volution of the R6 from a couple of years back was a classic.

    23 questions about tyres in the current edition likewise.

    Riding the current crop of superbikes round the old Nurburgring (have a guess which one was best overall???)

    And an amazing article about Suzuki's two main test riders, jaw-droppingly good.

    And the last three are in the most recent edition.

    Plus, of course, OGRI, who makes Fred G look like a pre-school kindergarten drop-out.
  9. i always enjoy reading sam macglaughclans (spelling WAY off i know) reviews in ACMN, kel buckley is down right annoying in the same mag. i only ever read ACMN or Two wheels, and two wheels doesnt really do it for me.

  10. Point your browser over to netrider.net.au and witness some truly crap journalism.......Oh wait....they are "authors", not "journo's"