I’m so sorry

I am, I really am sorry. I thought I could do this. I thought I was strong enough. But I’m not. I JUST CAN’T READ ANY MORE OF THIS SHIT! Those morons at NutsEtc have pushed me too far. Just look at the latest cover:


Oh no, wait…that’s not it. That’s waaaay too subtle and understated. It’s this:


And check out the language: Kill, Nastiest, Staggering, Horror, Secrets, Power! It’s utter, utter shite. Seriously. If it said “Marco Pantani Found on Moon!” I wouldn’t be surprised. But they did manage to get 13 exclamation marks onto the cover, so clearly it’s time for Nick’s medication.

Anyway, let’s do this, shall we? First we have 10 Reasons Why Pinarello’s Marketing Department Love This Bike (it has gears, and everything!). And the Gan Disc is only £3500, for an Ultegra-equipped bike that weighs 8.6kg. Apparently it’s better than Chris Froome’s Dogma.

The first test is of “tough bikes”, where the magazine boys “beasted” three perfectly normal road bikes in the Brecon Beacons, because that’s where the SAS do their training so it must be tough there. Seriously? How old are these guys? Nine? If you’re talking tough, then where are the Croix de Fers, the Surlys, the Konas? Feeble.

Despite all the sensationalist crap, the essence of the Taylor Phinney piece is quite interesting. As a man who has broken more than a dozen bones in the course of my journalistic career, I empathise with Phinney and I thought this piece was nicely written (and therefore completely out of place in NutsEtc). The following piece about night riding isn’t too bad, but when I read that taking along a companion is a good idea “because you’re less likely to get spooked” I realised that these guys are actually nine years old. Bless. I hope they told their mummies where they were going.

And the kiddies at NutsEtc seem to want to be cycling superheroes (a theme that crops up every month) as well . I bet Nick has a cape somewhere at home. Anyway, you can be a cycling superhero by learning a bit of first-aid. This is actually a fairly tricky subject to write about in this litigious age, because amateur first-aiding can sometimes do more harm than good. As an Editor I wouldn’t touch this with a bargepole; instead I’d do a piece on first-aid training and leave it at that.

The piece of the World’s Toughest Sportives is a four-page listicle filler with no real substance, and the six pager on overcoming your fears of cycling is a bit odd. My advice would be to get off the turbo and ride your damn bike properly, but that’s just me. As a piece about sports psychology, though, it’s a decent read. I didn’t bother with the Eat Like Team Sky feature because a) I’ve already got a copy to Hannah Grant’s book, and b) I’m a strictly paniagua kind of guy (if you get my meaning).

And so to the reviews section. First up, hi-viz clothing. It’s OK as far as it goes, but it’s by no means comprehensive and the graphical style of piece makes it very light on words. Next pedals. It starts with this gem: “Pedals are all the same, right? Wrong!” I’m afraid I rather lost interest at that point. You see I know not all pedals are the same, and I know about Q factors, float and stack height. For those that don’t, this is probably OK, but they didn’t give you any of these figures in the test (except for float angles for the Ultegra, Keo Blades and Speedplays).

The overshoes test is a waste of time (three sentences written on each of the six products)…you’d be better off looking at the Wiggle website. And the tough tyres piece just made me want to put my head in my hands and weep. Seriously people, this is amateur hour stuff. Check your tyre pressures at least every fortnight? I suppose that’s fine if you only ride every fortnight. But there is nothing in here about rubber compounds, about carcass construction, or anything that actually matters. Plus they give weights for 25c version of the tyres, except for the Arisun which is a 23c (and still weighs 321g!).

I can’t even begin to tell you how shite this test is. If ALL you care about is not getting a puncture, then this is the test for you. Never mind that crap tyres dramatically increase your chances of falling off, at least when you do come crashing to earth you won’t have to fix a puncture. Your frame may be snapped in half, but your rock-solid, massively heavy and unresponsive tyres will be fine. FFS! It’s a single-track vehicle that depends on its tyres for everything. So don’t buy shit tyres (you’re not in the company car now!). The tyres tested have carcasses with between 30 to 60tpi…what sort of ride is that going to give? And the winners weigh in at around 700g the pair. At least have a bit of discussion about trading grip and comfort for longevity and puncture-resistance. This isn’t just shit…it’s ill-informed, stupid shit.

Sorry. This stuff makes me somewhat less than tranquillo. Moving on: titanium race bikes. It’s not a bad read (and who doesn’t love a bit of titanium), but there’s no explanation of how titanium compares to steel, ally or carbon, and how can the specs not include size and weight of the bikes tested? Sigh.

And finally is The Edge section, normally the place for advice aimed at people who know nothing about cycling. And the hysteria is back: 10 WAYS TO STOKE YOUR CYCLING…Zzzz. But at least the Editor got value from the testing-tough-bikes-like-the-SAS by doing a ride piece on the Brecon Beacons. And that’s pretty much it.

I should probably count the editorial pages, do some analysis of how the mag is doing, and all that stuff. But frankly I’m too depressed to spend any more time on this. The one or two decent articles don’t make up for the rest of it.





3 thoughts on “I’m so sorry

  1. The interesting thing here is perhaps Bikes ETC is targeting a new audience ? The bankers and the golfers got on board 08/09 onwards, but I have seen and noted – due to selling bikes, an increase in the ‘average joe’ buying road bikes due to the cultural shift and cycling being the recent new rock ‘n’ roll.
    I call the average joe someone who may read a red top rather than a broadsheet, drink and smoke too. Football fans staying football fans, but enjoying the delights of a bike ride though less high brow, educated perhaps a ‘different class’. This buyer will always go for Di2, Ui2, carbon wheels buying on looks and spec rather than the right bike for the right terrain….but, the great thing is people are riding bikes !


    1. Think you’re absolutely right that BikesEtc is going for a more laddish market. And maybe that’s a smart move, but even the lads need a bit of useful advice from time to time. It’s not something I want to read, but it’ll be interesting to see how the readers and advertisers respond.


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