Former Bike Mag Staff Launch New 'Beta' Title

Feb 1, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  

Pocket Outdoor Media has announced the title of its new mountain bike publication formed by former Bike Mag staff, Beta.

Bike Mag was shut down in October by American Media Inc however just a month later Pocket Outdoor Media announced it had hired the magazine's staff to form a new title.

After a ride-and-plan session in the southern Utah desert, betamtb.com launched yesterday with the first published issue of the magazine due to drop in March. The publication will cover mountain bike news, stories, images, videos, and gear and the editorial team is made up of former editor-in-chief of Bike Mag Nicole Formosa alongside staffers Ryan Palmer, Anthony Smith, Travis Engel, and Satchel Cronk.

In her welcome letter on the website, Formosa explained that beta is "a word synonymous with hard-won wisdom—and the act of gifting it to a friend. The most useful beta is the inside dope about a particularly gnarly stretch of singletrack or the way a certain bike corners, and you only learn it by riding hard, falling, and riding that stretch again. But beta isn’t just about intel—it’s about sharing. And that’s what Beta is all about."

Robin Thurston, POM CEO, said, "Mountain biking is North America's fastest-growing outdoor sport, with record sales and participation in 2020. With our cycling expertise and new technology platform, POM is uniquely positioned to serve this market — and get even more riders out on trails."

Posted In:
Industry News



99 Comments

  • 111 4
 Beta staff vs. PB staff enduro competition. Only a single rule: everyone rides the Donut.
  • 69 0
 Stage One: everyone races on the Donut

Stage Two: everyone races on the shitbike


Its only fair.
  • 7 0
 Who wants to take the over under on how many times we would hear "I really tried to get along with this bike, but I was really struggling" at the end of each stage.
~~
And no doubt we will hear from those not on the podium saying "they were probably on one frame size to small."
  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: YESSS! The shit bike! I wonder if it still lives?
  • 15 1
 In my best Ryan Palmer: "You know when I first heard about the Donut I was like, I like Donuts, like..I really like Donuts, but when I like, got to ride the Donut, I just couldn't really like...like the way it rode."
  • 2 0
 @theedon: it does. It's being kept at a bike shop for safe keeping I believe in Colorado.
  • 2 0
 @theedon: It finally died. The Shitbike is dead; Long live the Shitbike!
  • 1 0
 @theedon: It's in a secure location from what I've been told. Also: cyclingindependent.com/a-curious-and-mostly-true-legend-of-the-shitbike
  • 52 0
 it's Beta than noting
  • 45 0
 Ha, was wondering if it would get Pinkbike coverage, shout out for highlighting your competitor. Looks like they're picking up right where Bike left off. Great news, not 100% sold on the name, but whatevs.
  • 52 0
 Not 100% on the name either, but I check out a website called "Pinkbike" on the daily, so what do I know?
  • 26 0
 Boom! This is great news. We were so disappointed when BIKE was shut down and even more saddened by the replacement subscription of 'Men's Journal'- it really sucks. Good luck to BETA and POM! The wife and I can't wait for it to show up in the box.
  • 20 0
 Lol, so that's why I got a fucking Men's Journal issue arriving at my house! Jeebus, what a joke.
  • 6 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: at least Mathew Mcconaughey was one the cover??? Still sucks.
  • 11 0
 @CaseyZilinek: Sounds alright, alright, alright to me...

I'll see myself out.
  • 3 0
 Aw, shit! That's why I got an issue of Men's Journal. Well, my wife liked it, all the abs and biceps and stuff.
  • 10 0
 I got drunk one night and admittedly read the articles on "5 minute abs" and "How to tell if she's faking an orgasm." I woke up the next day feeling pretty ashamed.
  • 5 0
 @Grunk: I'm more ashamed that that's what American Media replaced Bike with. Also, how do you tell if she's faking her 5 minute abs?
  • 1 0
 @ryanlabar: Oh, I would know! There's no way.
  • 29 14
 "Transcending bro culture"
Brace yourself. That could mean diverse riding perspectives OR preachy non-riding related identity politics. I welcome the first, I won't pay for the latter.
  • 17 9
 Agreed. The last few issues of BIKE had way too many political articles for my taste Had it not gone under I would have cancelled my subscription. Was a subscriber of BIKE since inception (1990's and yes I'm old). Still remember reading BIKE as I drove across the desert southwest in search of an up and coming destination called Moab or something like that!! I also echo others sentiment, bring back Mike Ferrentino. As for Beta, I'll take the wait and see approach, but I do wish the team success.
  • 16 1
 @loamyone: Ferrentino is back and writing the culture piece

www.betamtb.com/culture/the-eloquent-hack-old-dog-no-tricks
  • 4 16
flag Bushmaster123 (Feb 3, 2021 at 7:39) (Below Threshold)
 @salespunk: reason enough to avoid...
  • 16 2
 Better some stance for things that matter, than braindead redbull action sports. It's about people being together and that goes beyond individual fun.
  • 6 11
flag Skarhead89 (Feb 3, 2021 at 9:36) (Below Threshold)
 @Grunk the second one, there is already an article on the site, which says that every white male on a bike is a racist.
  • 4 2
 I think the point all the downvoters are missing is that the latter are more effective if the former, and the mainline content are really good. When it's preachy articles and lifestyle pieces displacing what the core subscriber base content actually wants to see, then you get less money coming in.
  • 9 3
 Ignorance is bliss... I'm all for engaging the discussion, or challenging someone else's ideas, but saying that politics don't matter is really like a middle schooler's stance, maybe passable in high school, but there on after, at least accept that some of these issues really do matter, and people won't alway get them right, but being vocal about issues is a sign of strength in a sport, or any culture, if you disagree, I'd say join the conversation. I guess, by saying you won't pay for it is one way of "speaking"... I think diversity is actually less of a moral issue and more of a how strong is your country's economy issue... that is if we exclude people (even without trying to) then we're actually making our country worse off, the pie gets bigger when more people are playing at the table
  • 5 1
 @RobertGrainier: Nobody claimed "politics don't matter." in this thread. I think it's a valid question though if a mountain biking magazine should be focusing on the highly charged partisan culture wars that have infested every other aspect of modern life. When I open a mountain biking magazine I don't want to read "Make America Great Again" or "When will people realize the act of riding a bicycle is intimately connected to state sanctioned violence?" If people want to grandstand their personal interpretations of our sociopolitical reality they can do so on Twitter or Facebook.
  • 6 1
 @Grunk: I think you’re reaction is valid but at the same time sports are inherently related to politics. Everything from trail systems being built, the rights of cyclists to ride certain trails, and access to land are all political conversations that need to happen, as do conversations about access to the sport as a whole and the role the sport plays in a larger sense.

I 100% agree that we still need content that’s purely sport/entertainment. The majority of it should be that way. However, to avoid/push back against the other stuff (the “politics” that play a role in how our sport functions) is to miss the mark.

People look to magazines like this for an escape from the politics, I get that. But at the same time it’s not productive to think that our sport is somehow not intertwined in all that because it is.
  • 1 0
 @marco222: Very well said.
  • 11 0
 Glad to see the launch of Beta! Print is important and i'm very keen to see how Beta pushes the MTB media space. More places for creativity to thrive is a benefit to everyone!!
  • 14 0
 Bring back Vernon Felton!
  • 2 0
 This
  • 12 0
 beta is synonymous with alot of things; i think they picked probably the most obscure.
  • 11 0
 The most capable, ground huggy, publication yet.
  • 15 5
 It’s funny to see Mtn bikers appropriate climbing terms...
  • 5 0
 Makes sense, PB commenters atleast are already experts on spraying beta.
  • 7 0
 Soon, instead of doing skids we'll be smearing.
  • 5 0
 With a top rope, I might finally attempt some of those rampage lines.
  • 9 0
 @unrooted I refuse to "get the beta" about any trail. I instead just ask for information. Always hated that over important sounding term.
  • 6 0
 Ever hear of 5.10?
  • 6 0
 Seriously "ride beta" sounds so pretentious. Hopefully the new site is cool though.
  • 2 0
 Yes the word Beta was only created for use by rock climbers especially those who only Boulder and at times enjoy the casual ass as a hat fashion decision.
  • 3 0
 Yeah I definitely associate the term with climbing and more specifically the negative of the "no beta" requests. It's been a number of years since I climbed, but I remember using the term regularly when you had climbing partners that wanted to talk you through it and you would respond "no beta" to get them to shut up. No unsolicited beta! In that context the title of the magazine seems funny to me...buuuut I do love what Bike Mag did and grew up on it. Twas easily the best option early on. I will for sure check out this beta and am happy to see them rise from the ashes.
  • 2 1
 @bigtim: Ugh: sounds like what happens after a bad batch of burritos...
  • 10 0
 Satchel Cronk might be the best name I've ever heard in my life. Amazing.
  • 3 0
 What about Throckmorton Fenstermacher?
  • 3 0
 @jduffett: Dick Pound
  • 1 0
 Zak Tempest?
  • 5 0
 This is great news because I love the former Bike Staff. Travis and Nicole, in particular, get a lot off flack on the internet, but I think that they have done great work along with the rest of the staff. If Vernon Felton returns, I’m forking over $41.65 right now; else, I’ll wait till the first issue in March.
  • 4 0
 I can't see it on the site, but anyone know if the subscriptions (which seem pretty reasonable with the intro discount) include delivery of the print version outside the US?

Plenty of room for higher end print pubs in 2021 - quality over quantity. And it's a team with a fantastic track record.
  • 7 0
 Looks hopeful. Won't be the same, if they don't have Kristin Butcher.
  • 4 0
 Tru dat!
Better have guest "Butcher Paper"...!
  • 3 0
 @eric32-20: Yes. Great stories, tjat made me laugh.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: YES! Hidden behind a pay wall, but there.
  • 2 0
 I miss Dirt in print!

There aren’t any good mtb publications in the U.K. now. The ones that we have are focused on short travel 29er xc machines and don’t really cater to the gravity side of the market very well.

Websites are good and all but you can’t beat holding a glossy mag and pouring over the images of stunning locations and flat out bike porn
  • 5 0
 The burning question is - Will there be BIBLE of biketests?
  • 8 0
 There all ready was one called the beta tests
  • 5 0
 they're also back on YouTube with 'the Beta Tests' !!
  • 6 1
 Has anyone else waiting for more Palmer reviews?
  • 2 0
 "This Evil is a magic carpet". Good?
  • 1 0
 phrases like "POM is uniquely positioned to serve this market" tell me this is a little too corporate speak. I'm very psyched to see the crew back on their feet with a new product, that hopefully won't get sold-bought-sold-shutdown again because it "under performs in the market".
  • 2 0
 I subscribed to BIKE just in time for it to be cancelled, now I'll be subscribing to Beta. Love that the new mag looks like BIKE but with a new name.
  • 2 0
 Already subscribed the minute I saw the PB article; BIKE is dead, long live BETA!

Good luck guys / gals! ; )
  • 4 0
 So who are the alpha in the mountain biking press world?
  • 1 0
 Great news, been looking forward to this for weeks, the content is great and it's good to see the team back on their feet making content again, my subscription's in!
  • 3 0
 Like Beta motorcycles? maybe a poor name choice.
  • 1 0
 Ha I actually have a Beta, they make sick bikes (and cheaper than KTM)
  • 3 0
 All I'm thinking over here with a Beta in the living room.
  • 4 0
 Should be called Alpha
  • 2 1
 Same company that does VeloNews, which means you have to have a subscription to read most things online, which pretty much makes both of their websites useless to me.
  • 1 0
 Horrible name, maybe read ALL the definitions of a word before committing to it. tried to get to clever... skipped over the obvious. like naming your kid Richard Pound.
  • 1 0
 Bike mag has sucked for years, seeing that they are basically bring it back under another name with the same people doesn't inspire confidence.
  • 3 0
 84$?? a year...
  • 2 0
 You have 2 choices. You're only looking at the top offering and you get tons of outdoor sports offerings, nutrition, etc. Even that top price is a bargain.
  • 1 3
 Right? When things like Pinkbike NSMB, and EnduroMTB are free, the value argument becomes rather insurmountable.
  • 2 0
 @tehllama: Well, it's $41 just for the Beta stuff and that gets you the print edition. I like having some toilet reading and considering I probably spend the same amount on the PB calendar and stupid swag, it all works out.
  • 3 0
 MY BRAND
  • 11 13
 I canceled my Bike subscription because of all the political worldview BS. We all have different views on most things in the world. I don’t read bike magazines to hear some political views. I will not be interested in BETA.
  • 1 0
 I loved BIKE magazine and I think they still owe me money. Can't say I love the new Title though.
  • 2 0
 Good stuff
  • 3 2
 No Ferrentino? It will be worthless.
  • 5 0
 Mike's contributing still from what I see, just not full time, just like he was at Bike I believe. Big fan of Mike's work, if you haven't already the podcast he did with Vital is well worth a listen. There's two columns from him on the Beta site already too.
  • 1 0
 Why?
Bikemag had a huge following and the brand must be worth something.
  • 2 0
 Often, if a publisher decides to shutter a title, they won't sell on the rights to the name. I'm fairly sure this is the case with Bike Mag, although I have no inside knowledge. My experience of this would suggest they don't want to see a much leaner operation (possibly the editorial and sales team with none of the backoffice overheads) do a better job.
A coffee table - quality mag/title about an outdoor sport that has become very, very popular with lockdown in the last year should be flying off the shelves - both virtually and in shops.
That said, both Dirt Rag and Bike shut last year, so whadda I know Smile
Often, when publishers, especially those that are private equity-owned, say a title is underperforming in the market, they mean the overheads of their business are too high for the business model of the title.
It's possible to make a business as a small publisher if you don't have a ton of debt loaded onto your business (a classic PE trick - buy something with good credit, borrow against it, sell on and walk away with the loan in your pocket) and a massive overhead of executives. Difficult, but possible.
  • 1 0
 @bentudder:
Hi Ben, thanks for taking the time to reply. Make a lot of sense - cheers!
  • 1 0
 @bentudder: Yep, they wouldn't sell the name. Worth more (to them) as a tax write-off/search engine marketing pull. The parent company was very slimy about the whole Bike mag shutdown; won't go into details.
  • 2 0
 @ryanlabar: I can only imagine! I still miss the trade, but I won't miss some of the corporate types.

The old joke still applies:

Q: How many publishing executives does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: Three. Two to hold down the journalist, one to screw in the lightbulb.

(With apologies to all the pleasant publishers out there)
  • 1 0
 Please bring back the Bible
  • 1 0
 command D
  • 4 5
 print media launch in 2021?
Wish 'em luck but....
  • 2 1
 It looks like it's a package deal of "exclusive" online content for subscribers plus high end glossy print mag. As much as I'd like there to be a future for high end print, I can't quite figure out if they're on to something because there are so many people who need coffee table material for their campervan conversions when far off the grid and out of cell range, or if it's just an elaborate front for some sort of money laundering scheme. Wink
  • 2 0
 @g-42: Troll much? Sheesh. Some people are never happy...

I wish 'em luck; been geting BIKE mag for 18 years before closure. And no camper van in driveway, just a 2008 Xterra
  • 1 0
 @g-42: yes, literally can't remember the last time I have bought a printed magazine or newspaper. Am fine with quality online content and am ready to pay.
  • 1 0
 @eric32-20: It's not a troll thing - I like print magazines (that's the part where I say "I'd like there to be a future for high end print") - I just am amazed that they seem to see it working economically. Then again, over half of new restaurants fail in their first year, yet people still open restaurants (and when it's not a freaking pandemic, I sure like going to them, just like I appreciate being able to read a well produced magazine).
  • 7 10
 Great. The flannel shirt, sandals, IPA drinking crew is back. -sigh-
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