Free American Iron Magazine Gift Subscriptions

Until the end of the year, American Iron Magazine is offering a BOGO gift subscription deal. BOGO stands for Buy One, Get One. And the way it works is simple. For every one year gift subscription you buy (only $26.95 a year- in US – for 13 big issues) you get a second gift subscription FREE.

Buy two gift subscriptions and get 2 more free. It’s simple and will be apprecited by all your riding buddies too cheap to buy their one subscription. That means they won’t be mouching your copy!

We will even send your buddies a card telling them how generous you are.

For more info or to order yours, click on American Iron Magazine BOGO

Progressive International Motorcycle Show: NYC Wrap-Up

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By Jon Langston

The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows revved up New York City this past weekend, and tens of thousands motorcycle fanatics from across the spectrum of enthusiasts, from teenagers in racing suits to fat guys in Santa suits, rolled into the Jacob Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan. The TAM Communications family of magazines – American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, and Motorcycle Rides & Culture – were all on hand to check out the new bikes, products, and gear, and revel in the two-wheeled camaraderie only real riders can provide.

While there was little in the way of motorcycle premieres, most of the major manufacturers displayed some sort of a neo-retro theme in their booths. Ducati pulled the in-person wraps off its fun new Scrambler, which is a modern-day throwback to its 60s/70s forebear of the same name – and at around $9K should easily compete with Triumph’s Bonneville line for retro/standard dominance. And in addition to unveiling its tasty new S1000XR (available next spring, it’s essentially the same bike as the ballyhooed 199hp S1000RR superbike, with a more standard structure and GS-like upright riding position), BMW showed off a gorgeous vintage Boxer-powered chopper that was so clean and minimalistic it had even American Iron Editor Chris Maida agape.

A host of Gold Wings through the ages at the Honda booth displayed Big Red’s seminal interstate mile-eater from its inaugural 1975 model year through the 300 millionth Honda ever produced, a Gold Wing that rolled off the assembly line just a couple of months ago. Yamaha, meanwhile, tried to direct attention toward its new Star Bolt C-Spec, but its SR400 retro-thumper got just as many admiring looks as Yamaha’s shameless (but admittedly superior, performance-wise) Sportster facsimile.

Triumph pointed out some nice new versions and customs from its Bonneville line, while KTM put the onus on its new entry-level 390 Duke and two-stroke dirtbikes. Its 390 race-only and streetbike was also on display.

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Indian had its fine new Scout front and center, along with the stars-and-stripes custom Wall of Death version – the same one ridden in the “thrill arena” that was set up in the Indian’s Lazelle Street booth in Sturgis last summer. Indian also brought out Dirty Bird Concepts and land speed record holder Karlee Cobb from Klock Werks to pull the wraps off of a couple of nicely customized Scouts. Indian’s new Tourmaster dresser was also on full display. Meanwhile, Victory Motorcycles, Indian’s stable mate at Polaris, highlighted its excellent charitable work by showing off the custom Cross Country bagger Laura Klock and the Klock Werks crew donated to Helping with Horsepower, a group of fabricating kids from South Dakota’s Pine Bush High school. Members of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, another Victory charity, posed with the kids and the bike, which set a land speed record at Bonneville in September.

Across the aisle, Polaris also showed off its new 173-horsepower Slingshot, a three-wheeled contraption with 5-speed manual transmission and impressively manageable MSRP. While most states will register the Slingshot as a motorcycle (so use of a helmet is required, while seat belts are only recommended), it’s advisable to check with your local DMV before plunking down your $20K. Whether you consider it ridden or driven, the Slingshot looks like a real kick to pilot.

IMS-photos-sl-14In addition to the guest speakers such as legendary travel/moto-journalist Peter Starr and racers Josh Hayes and Ricky Gadson, stunt shows, and myriad other attractions, one of the more intriguing displays at the New York IMS was Motus Motorcycles’ racing MSTR, the fastest production pushrod motorcycle in the world as evidenced by its record setting runs at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials in August. Motus also displayed its 2015 MST series of American-made sportbikes, powered by the Baby Block V-4. We cannot wait to get one under us.

The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows continues its tour after a break for the holidays with stops in Washington, DC January 9-11; Miami, January 16-18; Dallas, Jan 23-25, Cleveland, January 30-February 1, Minneapolis, February 6-8, and Chicago, February 13-15.

2012 Motorcycle Cannonball, Rolling Through Milwaukee

Buzz made it to Milwaukee on day 3, but not without a few issues. Cannonball Day 3 Recap

With about 3,000 miles ahead of him, repairs and fine tuning were done late into the evening. Hopefully, with a little good luck and support from fellow cannonballers, the ol’ Harley’s dialed in, all gremlins shaken free and it’s smooth riding from this point forward.

Fingers crossed.

For daily Motorcycle Cannonball Updates and News visit: 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball News

Here’s a quick video about Buzz’s 1929 Harley JDH.

What’s It Like To Ride A 1929 Harley? Video

What’s that? You wanna know what its like to ride Buzz’s 1929 Harley JDH Cannonball bike? No problem. Enjoy this video shot from the riders point of view. As you’ll see and hear, the Bike’s running strong, shifting smoothly and looking good. This years Motorcycle Cannonball is just over a week away, looks as though rider, machine and Team American Iron are ready for the challenge.

To pick up your official Team American Iron Cannonball t-shirt, visit: www.GreaseRag.com.

For more info about this years Cannonball, and route details visit: www.Classic-Harley.info.

Old Harleys & Even Older Harleys

A lot of my riding time these days is focused on prepping and getting real-world shakedown miles on my rebuilt 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH before the 3,800-mile coast-to-coast Motorcycle Cannonball in September. But I keep reminding myself what Dale Walksler of Wheels Through Time advised me, “Get the bike running right and then leave it alone. The more miles you put on it before the Motorcycle Cannonball, the sooner you will wear out stuff on the ride.”

I’m occasionally on the various new bikes we have at the office for review, but most of my riding time is on my older bikes. One of my favorites is the blue and white 1936 Harley EL. I have always had a soft spot for Knuckleheads, which is one of the best-looking American motorcycles ever produced. I rode my ’36, which is a first year Knuck that runs as good as it looks, on the first Motorcycle Kickstart Classic last year.

I agreed to show my ’36 at a local high-profile car event and wanted it in the best possible condition — mechanically and cosmetically. The first thing I did was make sure the bike would start and run well as I was planning on riding to the event (we don’t need no stinkin’ trailers!). As expected, it fired right off on the first kick (gotta love that!) and I rode it a few miles to get everything up to operating temperature. Then I rode over to a gas station to top off the gas tanks.

I find many people are attracted to classic motorcycles and like to ask questions about them. And most owners are happy to answer questions about their pride and joy. This was the case at the gas station where a number of people walked over to admire the bike. Two of them asked if they could take photos with their cellphone cameras. One of them, I didn’t catch his name, was obviously fascinated by the bike and admitted he rode a Harley, too. We chatted for a few minutes, and I asked him if he read American Iron Magazine. He said he did, and I told him I’m the editor-in-chief. He stared at me and finally said, “Wait, you’re Buzz?” He told me he thought my bike looked familiar, and said he had just read about the first Motorcycle Kickstart Classic and thought the bike looked great in the photos.

He told me he was a truck driver here in Connecticut and that his subscription to American Iron Magazine had just expired. Meeting me and seeing the Knuck motivated him to resubscribe. I thanked him for his support. His buddy, also a Harley rider, asked me if I was also involved in Motorcycle Bagger, which he subscribed to. I told him we publish three motorcycle magazines — American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, and RoadBike — right here in Connecticut.

After a nice visit with these two, I headed back to my house, where I spent the next couple of hours cleaning and prepping the bike for the show. I lubed the chain, checked the tire pressure, adjusted the foot clutch rod, and conditioned the leather bags and saddle, and then I washed and waxed the motor­cycle, top to bottom, front to back. When I was done, the old Knucklehead looked great. I wonder if that is why it rained all that night and into the next morning when I rode it to the show?

Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 & Team American Iron T-Shirt
the first motorcycle cannonball endurance ride was in 2010. Many of our readers told me they wished they could have seen some of the action and ridden along with us. Well, you have another chance in September. We will be riding pre-1930 motorcycles 3,800 miles from New York to San Francisco. See page 122 for the route and dates, or go to
MotorcycleCannonball.com.

I’d like to invite you to be an honorary member of the Team American Iron Support Staff. For $20, you can buy our official T-shirt featuring my 1929 Harley on the front and #15, my competitor’s number, on the back. Please visit GreaseRag.com or call Rosemary at 203/425-8777 x114.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

   
Buzz Kanter
Publisher/Editor-In-Chief

Border Bankruptcy – Fewer Harley Magazine Sales

A lot of Harley magazine sales come from book stores, especially for the smaller circulation motorcycle magazines. After weeks of rumors about the financial condition of Borders Bookstores, we heard today that Borders (and Waldenbooks, which it owns) has filed for bankruptcy.

As we hear it Borders will be closing down about 200 stores in the near term and possibly more after that. What does that mean to the displays and sales of motorcycle magazines? Well, it’s not good news. Especially for the Harley magazine titles that are sold primarily in book store chains like Borders and Waldenbooks.

Fortunately our three motorcycle magazines – American Iron Magazine, RoadBike and our new Motorcycle Bagger Harley magazine will not suffer as much thatnks to our excellent distribution across many classes of trade at retail, including WalMart, most supermarket, drug and independent shops as well as book stores.

After visiting one of the local Borders bookstores scheduled to close I was amazed by how messy the magazine racks were. Also the fact that the store was selling magazines at 40% discount to the cover, which is cheaper than Borders buys the magazines in the first place. I suspect this is going to get messier going forward.

But, unfortunately, this news could be a serious blow to some of the smaller circulation motorcycle magazines. We will follow this and report what we find.

Harley Bagger Show Daytona Bike Week

We are throwing a launch party and Harley bagger show at the Broken Spoke Saloon in Ormond Beach, FL on Friday, March 11 starting around 1 pm. This is during the Daytona Beach Bike Week festivities.

Part of the reason for this Harley bagger show and party is to celebrate the launch of Motorcycle Bagger as a regular bimonthly (6 issues a year) magazine. Bring your bike (bagger or not) and meet the staff of American Iron Magazine, Motoryccle Bagger and RoadBike.  We will be there with our photographers looking for bikes and people to photograph and feature in the magazines.

For more information visit www.MotorcycleBagger.com

Where Are New Harley Riders Coming From?

Sitting at a recent business lunch, one of the men leaned over and confided that, after a couple of decades of not riding, he rented a Harley Road King for a few days. Admitting, that at “close to sixty years old,” those few days on a Harley reminded him of his long ignored passion for motorcycling. He sold his motorcycle decades ago to start a family, then he dealt with increasing job responsibilities, perhaps a cash crunch, then concerns about his young sons wanting to ride, too. This was hardly the first time I’d heard variations on this story.

I thought about what he told me. Especially the part about wanting to buy a new Harley but holding off because he didn’t think it was right for him to ride, but not let his twenty-something-year-old sons. I’m not crazy about telling people how to raise their kids, but had to wonder how old his sons had to be before he was comfortable letting them ride – assuming they even want to. Could this explain the growth of return riders and why there are fewer younger new riders now than in many years?

As the next crop of shiny new motorcycle models are being unveiled, our editorial teams from American Iron Magazine, RoadBike, and our new Harley Motorcycle Bagger are carefully listening to what the manufacturers say about the machines and the industry trends. One consistent observation we hear, from American and import motorcycle manufacturers alike, is that volume of new motorcycle sales is down from the high a few years ago. Way down. In fact, several of them are saying the projected lower volume of new motorcycle sales is the new normal. And they are considering the huge sales bubble of a few years ago, well… a bubble that might never repeat.

I believe that enthusiasts who pay good money and spend the time to read a Harley magazine like American Iron Magazine are more involved and passionate about motorcycles than many Harley owners that don’t spend time and money on motorcycle magazines. I suspect a lot of people with a motorcycle in the garage are not really riders, but bought the machine more as a fashion statement or to be more like a cool friend or neighbor who rides.

A few years ago, motorcycle themed TV shows dominated the air waves, creating new TV heroes out of previously little known custom builders and shops. In response to all this, many of the motorcycle and parts companies enjoyed massive demand increases and assumed motorcycling had reached a new golden era of popularity. Many ramped up their facilities and production capacity. Small shops that were building a handful of customs or one-offs every year became manufacturers, and it seemed like anyone with a toolbox and a tattoo felt he or she could become rich and famous by opening a chopper shop.

For reasons I don’t fully understand, or have the space here to discuss, the motorcycle industry was turned upside down. A large part of it was a burst economic bubble, some was due to the inevitable burn out of what’s considered hot on TV, and part of it is that some motorcycle owners realized this simply isn’t their thing.

But, regardless of all these things, I know there will always be a dedicated and passionate core of motorcycle riders who will do whatever it takes to buy, own, maintain, and ride a motorcycle. Always. And, I believe a large portion of these dedicated riders read magazines like American Iron Magazine to stay informed and involved. And that is good enough for us.

American Iron Motorcycle Bagger

We published two issues of Motorcycle Bagger, a newsstand special magazine in 2010 and they both sold very well. The focus is on how to better ride, enjoy, maintain, and customize your bagger motorcycle. It also included places worth riding to, new products, tech, and reviews. We have been getting a lot of readers and advertisers asking for more. So, as promised, we are now finalizing plans to increase the frequency and offer subscriptions to Motorcycle Bagger.

At press time, we are still finalizing the plans, but all the details should be online by the time you read this. Go to http://www.motorcyclebagger.com for details and info. If you ride a bagger and want to share it with others, send a letter and few snapshots of you and your bagger to Letters@MotorcycleBagger.com, post it on Facebook, (“like” Motorcycle Bagger) or to Motorcycle Bagger letters, 1010 Summer St, Stamford, CT 06905. Who knows, it might end up being printed in the next issue.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz Kanter. Publisher/Editor-In-Chief