Pros: Great value. Well rounded. Something for everyone.
Cons: Can be a bit too technical sometimes.
Of all the magazines out there for motorcyclists, Rider must be considered among the top in the field. A well-rounded, well-written magazine, it does a great job of keeping riding enthusiasts informed of the latest trends in motorcycle design, maintenance, and lifestyle. It is published on a monthly basis by the Affinity-Ehlert Publishing Group, which also publishes its sister publications, American Rider, Cruising Rider, and Woman Rider. I have the January and May 2003 issues in hand for this review.
The magazine is a slender book, usually in the range of 80 or 90 pages. The cover is often a very appealing photograph of some new bike. Other times, the cover might feature an action shot of a rider (especially if the bike he is riding is a sport model). The inside of the book is laid out in a very unique fashion. The articles are accompanied by a lot of photographs, adding to the editorial. The book is about 50% ads, and the advertisers are mostly bike manufacturers, insurance agencies, and equipment dealers. The cover price is listed at $3.99 US, which is a good deal for all the content. A one-year subscription offers a discount, at the cost of $9.97 for 12 issues. A two-year subscription is your best deal at $17.97 for 24 issues.
An interesting thing about this magazine is that the main features are treated like glorified columns. There are a few general categories into which they classify the issues feature articles. For instance, Ridden and Rated features a lengthy article on a brand new bike model, where the authors give it a thorough examination and comparison to other models. An On The Road segment is often some lengthy tale of a road trip. In the May issue, Jerry Smith tells of his recent bike trip through the state of Jefferson (an area of northern California and southern Oregon that has been noted for a strong desire for independent statehood for the past 150 years). The photos in this article really show off the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Motorcycle Collector brings n air of nostalgia to the magazine, as an article on an old classic, like the 1983 Ducati, is discussed. Most of the other articles are variations on the same theme of product testing.
The columns are the much shorter segments that one would expect from a motorcycle magazine. You have letters to the editor, more product reviews, and such. There is a whole section, Shop Talk, that is devoted to discussing various apparel, equipment, and other items that might be of use to the serious motorcyclist. Rallies and Clubs is a very valuable column that provides some publicity for activities of various biking groups around the country. Stayin Safe, by Lawrence Grodsky, is a very informative article on riding safety, such as the difference in negotiating right and left turns, or the differences in traffic behavior in different states. Tech Q&A, gives readers a chance to send in questions to staff mechanic Andrew MacDonald for tips on how to maintain and repair their bikes more efficiently.
Overall, Rider magazine is a very good magazine which provides a lot of value to the reader. As it is meant for motorcycling enthusiasts, I would recommend this magazine to anyone who is passionate about riding. It is a well-rounded publication that has something to offer every type of rider. Whether you own a crotch rocket or a Hog, Rider is for you. While its sister publications focus more closely on one aspect of riding, this one provides more extensive coverage to the full range of bikes. Being a monthly publication, Rider provides more to its readers, more often. Four Stars.
American Rider: http://www.epinions.com/content_58976341636