Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stupid Things Found in Mountain Bike Action (Nov issue)

Despite the fact that I get too many magazines, for some reason I recently subscribed to Mountain Bike Action. I got the November issue in the mail a few weeks back:

After reading through the issue, I thought I would start a (likely) semi-regular feature of my blog, "Stupid Things Found in Mountain Bike Action." Sure, there's the usual stupid stuff, such as their insistence on weighing everything in pounds and ounces (true weight weenies are metric, except for complete bikes and maybe wheelsets and forks), and their use of "feet/crank rotation" to measure gearing (which is logically better than the commonly used gear inches, but everyone uses gear inches, so "feet/crank revolution" is thus a worthless benchmark). But I'm going to focus on the stupid stuff specific to this issue.

Here we go:

** In their lighting special (from page 59) they make the usual bike magazine claim that if you only have one light, make sure it's a bar mount light. Something to do with shadows on the trail. I think this bad advice stems from the facts that a) most bike magazine writers are in Southern California, where the trails are relatively wide open, and b) hey get freebie lights from the manufactures and never ride with just one light, anyway. In my experience, riding with just a bar light is a frightening experience: every time you go around the corner, you're blind, since your light is pointed the wrong way. With a helmet light, on the other hand, you have light wherever you're looking. Which, coincidentally, is where you need the light. I have a generator light mounted to the front rack of my Novara Buzz. Even on the paved trails around Dublin, I don't like having a fixed light. If you have one light, make it a helmet mounted one.

In the same article, they also claim that you need to spend at least $350 for a usable off road light, $500 if you want to go fast. Again, they don't pay for their lights. Both of my lights, a Light and Motion Stella 150 something or other, and a Cygolite whatchamacallit, cost less than $100. The Stella is fine for off roading, while the all-in-one-piece Cygolite is only adequate, but mighty convenient. Both are far superior to the 15W Niterider that I started night riding with 15 years ago, and we were blown away at the time how bright that was.

** Speaking of blowing budgets, they test a $7000 GT Sensor. I'm sorry to break the news to my reader(s) still polishing their 1995 GT Zaskar in their basement, but the glory days of GT died with Richard Long. GT is now a commodity brand, sold next to Fuji at your "local" Performance bike shop. No one will ever pay $7000 for a GT.

** They also test a $4000 Specialized with no suspension. They appreciated the light weight, but found it only for hard core XC races who race on smooth courses. Maybe I'll have to find some smooth trails and start racing all my rigid bikes? Of which I probably could have bought six or eight for the price of that Specialized (which, I have to admit, was the most desirable bike in this issue)

** Finally, the cover promises insight into "Why the 27.5 wheel is winning the battle." MBA really missed the boat on 29ers, so they're going all in promoting 650b (or 27.5) as a wheel size. Sadly, this headline--I think--only referred to a preview of Giant's (650b heavy) 2014 bikes, and actually Giant's four page ad in last month's issue explained their case better.

Stay tuned for next month's issue!


  1. Yes whenever I want to read a magazine staffed by good old boys that look like Jon and Ponch from CHIPS I will borrow my buddies MBA. Funny how they completely missed the Single-speed phenomena too. I guess there is no money in selling single-speed drive-trains, unlike XX1 which will wear out after a few rides due to its exceptional chain-line. The pounds and ounces thing they do also drives me mad. If you really want a good laugh check out the first few editions of their road bike magazine. Some hilarious mistakes in that. I'm not sure if it has improved or not.

  2. Hey bud, just found your site but wondered why it nearly crashed my browser. Somehow you have all your images showing at a small (normal) size, but its actually pulling in the fully sized versions. Just do a right-click view image to see what I mean. Cheers jeff

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Not sure what's going on with your browser--this works fine (for me) for both IE and Firefox, and other PCs I've tried or seen. It's just a standard Google Blogger setup.



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