30 Years On

Shifting Gears with Buzz Kanter


SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

In 1989, when American Iron Magazine was launched, you could buy a new Harley FXR or
Sportster for a few thousand dollars

This is my last column in our 29th year of publication. That’s because our next issue marks the start of American Iron Magazine’s third decade in publication. A lot sure has changed in motorcycling in those 30 years, and our team is honored to still be your trusted source of motorcycle information and education.

In 1989, when American Iron Magazine was launched, you could buy a new Harley FXR or Sportster for a few thousand dollars, and most of us would never consider riding a bagger. Cellphones and computers were rare, and gas was about a buck a gallon. We were the only family-oriented Harley magazine on ten thousand newsstands displayed with almost a dozen other monthly motorcycle publications that featured scantily clad women.

A lot has changed since then. FXRs are hot once more, selling for a lot more than they did when new. You can buy a used Sportster for less than $2,000, and baggers are the hot category. Gas is over $3 a gallon in much of the country, and there are no longer ten thousand magazine newsstands.

Most of the magazines from 1989 are gone, and many of those left have reduced frequency and content. You might call it a right-sizing of the market or a case of magazine Darwinism (survival of the fittest). Whatever it is, we appreciate our terrific readers’ and advertisers’ on-going support of our efforts. Thanks to you, we still publish American Iron Magazine 13 issues a year (one every four weeks). We will again publish our annual American Iron Salute, to honor our brave men and women in uniform. And we recently redesigned and renamed our quarterly tech magazine Garage Build, on sale in February.

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are offering great subscription deals (it’s getting harder and more expensive to buy magazines in stores). We are including American Iron Salute in your 13-issue subscription to American Iron Magazine (14 in total) for the same $29.95 rate. And we cut Garage Build to only $9.97 a year. You can sign up for either or both at AIMag.com. There are other plans in the works to celebrate our 30th anniversary that we will be announcing soon. And, as always, we want your suggestions and ideas of how we can do this better.

Support Your Local…
When was the last time you bought riding gear, parts, or tools for you or your motorcycle? Was it from your local independent shop or dealer or a company like Amazon? Many people save a couple of bucks going the internet route, and the Amazon stores are likely to have a greater stock than Danny down at the local shop.

Let me ask you this: Where are you going to go to learn more about these products other than on your smart phone screen? How are you going to check the quality or feel how it fits on you? And who are you going to turn to if there is a problem or you need help installing it?

Local motorcycle shops have long been the backbone of our sport. If you don’t support them, how are they going to stay in business to support you? Granted, they need to offer value and service to stay in business, but aren’t they worth your spending a little more to get real world experience and support? Before you decide where to spend your hard-earned money, please keep in mind that independent bike shops are like dinosaurs. Once they are gone, they’re not coming back. The same can be said about your favorite motorcycle magazines. Support those who support you, and I hope to see you at the free Garage Build bike show March 15th (change from the original date of March 14th) at the Broken Spoke Saloon and possibly other shows during Daytona Bike Week! Check AIMag.com.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.


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