First Rides, Current Rides, Online Harleys & More

So what’s your story? My first motorcycle ride was on the back of a beautiful old Norton Commando. I was a high-school kid when a college student I worked with during the summer vacation offered to give me a ride on the backseat. I was nervous about throwing my leg over the bike and hanging onto the seat as he accelerated down the road. He was so cool and after that ride, so was I. At least that’s how I felt. I’d recently seen Easy Rider and planned to buy a motorcycle and learn to ride it so I could explore the country on it after high school graduation.

That was in the early 1970s, and the small Honda 50cc minibike I shared with my brothers simply didn’t cut it, but that’s as close as I got to owning a motorcycle until I was off to college. I went through a number of ever larger and faster Japanese motorcycles mixed in with a few 250cc Ducati singles, which I still hold in high regard. My budget allowed me to spend about $1 per cc if I could sell my previous motor­cycle for a bit more than that. My tastes in motorcycles shifted over the years from sporty and actual race bikes to classics and vintage motorcycles.

After years of ignoring Harleys, I finally bought a used four-speed Evo Sportster. Not content with stock, I soon upgraded the suspension and brakes. Then came better carburetion, intake, and exhaust. Then I punched it out to a 1200. I liked that old Sportster and put a lot of miles on it. It was not as fast as many of the import bikes I owned prior to it, but it was fun and satisfying to ride.

Tell me how you got into Harleys and what inspired you. Do you still have your first Harley, and what’s in your garage now? I regret selling my first Sportster a long time ago to make room for other Harleys, but I suspect I’ll never sell my second Harley. It’s an original-paint 1924 JDCA, which I sorted out and got back on the road a few years ago. She still looks great and is a lot of fun to putt around on.

Harley Forum & Tell Us What You Want
As a print publisher, I recognize the typical relationship between us and you is mostly one way: we print material in our magazine, and only a few readers occasionally respond with letters. I recognize that the communication model is changing fast, and, thanks to the Internet, iPads, and smart phones, it’s now more of a two-way deal: you can zip off an e-mail to us in seconds. And the exciting part is that thanks to our free online forum, we can expand the communications to an unlimited audience with input from everyone — editors, readers, and more — all able to share information and solutions online.

Our American Iron Magazine forum,, is free and open to everyone to share ideas, opinions, questions, and photos related to Harley-Davidsons. Our staff visits these forums regularly, and we respond occasionally, as do thousands of other Harley enthusiasts. I’d like to invite you to stop by and check out the forum, as well as our web site at

We have always worked hard for you at the magazine putting together a well-rounded, interesting, and educational issue every month. As much as we appreciate our advertisers, our readers are always our first priority. We take to heart what you tell us you want and like in your Harley magazine and what you don’t.

We have also realized over the years that only a small percentage of our readers actually write to us to share their thoughts. So we have created a new reader survey, which we printed in the March issue, as well as posted on our web page,, for you to share your opinions and suggestions. If you have something to tell us, complimentary or critical, about American Iron Magazine, we encourage you to use the survey. After all, how can we improve this magazine if you don’t tell us where and how it can be better?

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun — Buzz Kanter, Publisher/Editor-In-Chief

An American Motorcycle Sportbike

I was browsing our Harley forum today and came across a post about Motus Motorcycles, an American motorcycle company, producing an experimental V4-powered sportbike. I always wondered why there wasn’t more direct competition with Japanese and Italian sportbike manufacturers from here in the United States. Buell managed to hang in there for a long time, but unfortunately is now a part of motorcycle history. Harley itself even came out with the XLCR Cafe Racer back in 1977 and 1978 to compete with the Japanese, Italian, and British imports. The Motor Company stopped production after just two years, and today the XLCR is one of the most desired Sportsters ever made. I think it’s safe to say that Americans buy and enjoy sportbikes, they’re all over the place. But why don’t Americans seem to want an American-made sportbike? Is the V-Rod really as far as the limit can be pushed? I’d like to hear some input on this, especially from those who ride both a Harley and an import sportbike.

Harley Riders Improve American Iron Magazine

After more than twenty years of publication, we think American Iron Harley magazine is good magazine for Harley riders. More people buy American Iron Magazine than any other Harley magazine in the world. But we also know there are always ways to make it even better. So every year we ask our readers to tell us what you think about what we print every month.

What do you like and what would you change to make American Iron Magazine even better for Harley riders and enthusiasts.

We want to make it the best possible Harley magazine, and you can help.

Please take a few minutes and complete our on line survey. To do the survey click Harley Magazine Survey. Or you can post your thoughts on our free on-line Harley forum by clicking Harley Forum.