I have been a weekly buyer of Motorcycle News (MCN) for about 12 years now, probably missing only 10 issues over that whole period. Two weeks ago they brought in a whole new look, basically trying to package a newspaper as a glossy magazine. It does not work. Its a pig's ear of a job. I like buying a newspaper that looks, feels and reads like a newspaper. Sure tweak the content and so on, but why the magazine look and feel?
After Tony Carter took over as editor of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure (MSL) I did not like the direction he took it and did not bother renewing my subscription. Even when I pick it up to have a look at it in the stores I feel it should just be called Motorcycle Sport now, the touring and travel content feeling secondary to other features.
Having quit MSL I did have a worthy alternative to replace it, RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring and Travel, and have been a happy subscriber ever since. I came across it while visiting the US, picked up a copy and loved it. The international rates are also really good, probably much cheaper then any UK alternative. Sure it does not cover the roads I might find myself on regularly, but that is not the point. The articles, content and direction of the magazine is much more suited to me.
Is there any real alternative to MCN now? No. Is it going to bother them? Certainly not. But you never read a motorcycle review feeling like you could believe it. Rather you waited to see what they had to say 2 years later and then the list of defects would be rolled out. And do we ever expect a Triumph doing poorly? Of course not. We also know its all part of the game, they want to keep getting those multi-page exclusives were they get a good look at a new models development. And they should make the most of it while they can because if Ducati is any indication then Triumph is going to need new ownership to keep growing and lose that 'rough around the edges' feel (H-D anyone?).
Maybe others feel the same, maybe they love the fresh new look, while I am the last person is be averse to change but there is a way of doing newspapers and MCN I think might just be doing change for the sake of it.