If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Monday, 14 March 2011

Small bike magazines

A regular commenter, Furor Teutonicus, asks about small-size (A5) bike magazines that used to be available in the UK. I can remember one, the Used Bike Guide, which I used to read in the 1970s and is still available today. I'm sure there were more, but I can't remember their names.

And there is the more recent publication, the Rider's Digest (like the name!), which has gone from being a freebie to a paid-for magazine in its own right. I've bought a few copies on a whim, and I have enjoyed it. But I think that's too recent for Furor's query.

I know there are a lot of several readers of this blog who are bike nuts of the - er - right sort of age. Can anyone help?

(Note: I wrote an article for UBG on two XT350s that I owned, back in about 1991.
They promised me £25 for it, but it never came. If you're reading this, UBG, I'm still waiting.)


  1. Trail Bike and Enduro Magazine

  2. Not specifically for bikes, but back in the days of the Iron Curtain when I was rattling round the countryside on the CZ, Dave Bickers Motorcycles in Ipswich used to get copies of some promotional magazines from Czechoslovakia (as it was then).

    These featured motoring/motorcycling/travel related articles from the country. Even then it was rather comical (from a Western viewpoint), but considering the shadow they had to operate under, not entirely surprising.

    I can't for the life of me remember the name of it.

    And Skoda continued to win rallies for years afterwards, with the rear engined 130RS, one of the few situations where tail-happy handling can be an advantage...

  3. @ Anon - ah yes, TBM. Thanks for that. As an XT owner, I ought to be getting that one every month, but I find it is 90% competiton stuff so I only get it when there's something specific on the cover. Lois Pryce seems a regular contributor, which is good.

    @MD - as a former Jawa owner, I can remember an awful lot of written material being poor photocopies, bound or sometimes stapled together - like the owner's manual! You're right, though - they had a good excuse.

  4. The BMW Owners Club magazine is produced in A5 and I believe that the content has not changed significantly in the past 30 years - camping is camping after all.

  5. There's a joke here about things staying the same design for 30 years, but I can't think what it might be.

  6. Of course - why didn't I think of the BMW Owners Club! Both myself and my father owned BeeEmms, and though I never joined the club father did, and was local secretary for many years. He has a book case full of bound copies...

  7. Somehow it's hard to imagine the secretary of the Buell Owners' Club (if such a thing exists) having a bookcase full of bound copies. "It's a BMW thing; you wouldn't understand."

    Only kidding MD - I've never owned a Beemer, but at some point I probably will. There's a nice R100GS P/D that I will be meeting in May at a rally, and I will lust after her for another whole weekend.

  8. There was also the Used Motorcycle Guide, which was very similar in format.

    I used to prefer the UBG and UMG to the mainstream motorcycle press - they covered the sort of bikes I actually owned, and many of the reader's experiences were laugh-out-loud funny. The UBG Bike Buying Bible informed a surprisingly large number of my purchases, too.

    UBG went online, eventually. I think the UMG folded.

  9. Bingo! UMG - that was the one I couldn't remember, and also the one that owes me money. Ah well. If memory serves, UMG was the better of the two, but I haven't seen it in yonks, so perhaps it is no more.

    Furor - another one for your list :)

    1. Ain't that a funny coincidence.

      I also wrote an article which was published and was promised money. It was for an Yamaha FS1E and guess what, I never saw the cash either.

      That was in 1990 but I've never given up hope to this day that a cheque might land on my doormat (not really). :D

  10. UMG was the original (and best) of these A5 mags, run by Bill Fowler until sold to Frank Westworth (who edited the copycat Used Bike Guide), and then sold on to Mortons (IIRC) after which it disappeared in about 2002.

    You can read articles from the UMG here: yewemmgee.blogspot.co.uk


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