June 04, 2011

An introduction: TOUR - Europe's biggest cycling magazine

Since we're selling a lot of products at podiumbikeparts.com that have left an impression in the TOUR magazine, we thought our customers deserve an introduction to this source of information we refer to from time to time.
Most people who are already familiar with the bicycle industry and its benchmarks, probably won't learn new things in this post. But we thought it is only fair to explain the importance of TOUR for the marketplace and the leading manufacturers.
TOUR is a German cycling magazine, published by the Delius Klasing GmbH, releasing its first issue in 1977. Today, TOUR is available on a monthly subscription with 70.623 issues printed (IVW 3/2012) and a calculated readership of 190.000 readers per month (Source: Allensbacher Werbeanalyse).
Delius Klasing also publishes other relevant cycling magazines such as: BIKE, Freeride, Trekkingbike.
Within the cycling industry, TOUR has set several accepted standards for bicycle testings and for example made the STW (stiffness-to-weight) factor as one of the most critical measures to define the quality of any frameset. Basically all major bike brands have by now adapted to the review and test regimes set by TOUR. Many have even aligned their own inhouse testings to exactly match those criteria in order to ensure a superb outcome in the next review. All manufacturers strive to win a review in this magazine - but only few prove to have worldclass engineering year after year. The annual ranking of the technically most advanced framesets in the marketplace is a who-is-who of the biggest players in the industry. Whoever hasn't participated in these reviews is very likely not able to produce a product that is good enough to contest the top anyways.
The reviews and tests have even led to some bike brands (especially traditional brands from southern Europe) struggle to cope with the effects their average results have on sales in the most important European markets. TOUR has basically turned each review into a fact sheet, rather than generating the annoying froth & bubble, readers regularly find in many other magazines. This makes TOUR the most advanced and reliable source of bike reviews and testings as of today. The most common test regimes are explained on the magazines website.
The regular product tests are undertaken by qualified engineers who are constantly updating and developing new test facilities to gather accurate data such as: aerodynamic performance of frames & wheels, durability of parts - especially bearings & material fatigue (determining the average lifespan of groupsets, etc.), exact rolling resistance and grip of tires on wet & dry roads (i.e. angle at which tire begins to loose traction, corner radius at which tire can hold maximum speed etc.) and much much more.