Black Leather, Loud Pipes, And Trouble?

Shifting Gears with Buzz Kanter


SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

Our job is to educate and entertain our readers

Hollywood movie makers, a handful of video game programmers, and even some of the media seem to think that all motorcycle riders plow through towns with blaring exhaust notes, stirring up problems, and leaving behind a mess. Does that sum up who we are? You and I know otherwise. We know about the generous, patriotic, and caring nature of most motorcyclists. We know about the charitable Christmastime toy runs benefitting less fortunate kids. We know about the fund-raisers for local riders in need. We know about galvanizing charity rides such as The Patriot Ride, Kyle Petty Charity Ride, The Dream Ride, dozens of MDA rides, and cancer survivor and veteran support rides.

OK, so some of us might look and sound scary to nonriders, especially when we gather in numbers like we do in Daytona this time of year. But let me share an observation I have made at every Bike Week I have attended, going back to the 1970s. It’s a secret most visitors aren’t aware of: Daytona locals love bikers. Ask the waitresses, hotel managers, and retailers, and they will tell you we are their favorite group of visitors. The locals report that bikers are friendlier and more polite than the racecar fans, hot rodders, and spring breakers—especially the spring breakers. We don’t overcrowd or trash hotel rooms. We don’t skip out on bills. And we tip our servers better, too.

While on the topic of Daytona Bike Week, I sure hope you get a chance to see Billy Lane and a handful of other motorcycle daredevils make history. I’m referring to the Sons of Speed race at the New Smyrna Speedway on March 17 and 18. You can learn more about this first-time event in his article about my 1915 Harley racer on page 100 in this issue. I hope to see you there.

One last highlight in regards to Bike Week: this is the 347th issue of American Iron Magazine, the first one went on sale at Daytona Bike Week 1989, and TAM Communications bought American Iron Magazine the week before Daytona Bike Week 1991. We’d like to thank everyone who has helped and supported us. Our crew simply could not do what we do without you.

Want More Motorcycle Tech?
Every four weeks our hard-working team has to pump out another issue of American Iron Magazine—13 times a year. And we squeeze in the best possible mix of editorial in each issue. This includes new bike and product reviews, tech and how-to, motorcycle news, custom and classic bike features, plus occasional tours and event coverage. Over the years, we discovered that some of our readers can’t ever seem to get enough of our DIY tech, while others may not be as eager to jump to tech pieces.

If you are one of those who quickly rip through the tech and how-to in our flagship American Iron Magazine and still want more, we now also publish six issues of our all-tech American Iron Garage. Frankly, I don’t know how our team keeps up this pace, but I am sure glad they do. Want more tech? Pick up a copy of American Iron Garage from your favorite newsstand, or you can save a bunch of money and subscribe by calling 877/204-0774.

RIP Victory
As we prepared to ship this issue to the printer, we got the news that after investing 18 years of blood, sweat, and gears, Polaris is shutting down Victory. While this is not a complete surprise,
I am sad that we are losing another great American motorcycle brand. I can understand why those who own Victory motorcycles, putting thousands of miles on them, really love the product.

I spoke with some senior Polaris management, and they assured me they can now put more resources into further growing the Indian brand. I hate to oversimplify it, but this is a matter of Polaris consolidating motorcycle resources for the benefit of one brand instead of diluting them over two. I will miss Victory, but I am curious about what Polaris can now do with the Indian family.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.


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