Care For Your Harley Motorcycle

One of the many great things about a hobby or passion like motorcycling is that we have so many different ways to enjoy it. We all start out as first time riders, young or not-so-young, when we are finally able to live the dream. Many of us are fortunate enough to then buy a new or used Harley. At some point, few may decide motorcycle riding isn’t for them and they move on. Others ride occasionally, but I have to assume most American Iron Magazine readers are dedicated riders who put in more saddle time than most, and read this magazine to better understand and enjoy the bike and the ride.

Some riders, with advanced technical skills, know each and every nut, bolt, and spring in his or her Harley. A surprising number of our readers can field-strip and reassemble their Harleys wearing a blindfold. OK, maybe not, but I like the idea that there are people out there like this reading the mag. Other readers, who are more into riding than wrenching, don’t care to know anything more technical than how to check and add engine oil and to fill the gas tank. And that’s fine.

There are many riders who put 50,000 miles or more on their stock Harleys without changing anything other than the fluids and tires when they wear out. Others will customize their Harleys before putting on the first 200 miles. Most of us are somewhere in between. Hey, whatever makes you happy, right?

Regardless of what you ride – Big Twin, Sportster or V-Rod, or how you ride it – around town or cross-country, it is important to keep a few simple points in mind. Please maintain your bike mechanically for a better and safer ride. Today’s Harleys are solidly built and can function well with minimum attention. But you still need to protect your investment and well being. It doesn’t matter how shiny the chrome is if your clutch or brakes don’t work right. And, for safety sake, check the air pressure and tread on your tires regularly. Also, when was the last time the engine or transmission fluids were checked or changed?  Some simple checks and light maintenance can make the difference between a safe and fun ride and one that isn’t.

Sturgis & Today’s Motorcycle Industry

I always have fun in Sturgis but wasn’t able to make it there this year. I need to save up my time out of the office for my 3 weeks on the road with my 1915 Harley on the Motorcycle Cannonball run.

According to reports from Sturgis, it was a wild year out in the Black Hills during the rally with larger and happier crowds, and much more upbeat than in recent years. The vendors I spoke with all told me how well they did, especially compared to last year. And, unlike the national economy, it seems the motorcycle industry might have hit bottom and is now starting to bounce back a bit. Something we sure could use after the last few challenging years.

American Iron Motorcycle Bagger

Got bags? In the last few years, there has been a huge swing in the popularity of Harley baggers. No longer appealing only to older touring types and police bikes, the motorcycle baggers are hotter than ever. And, as publishers of motorcycle magazines, we want to grow this trend with solid information.   

I am pleased to report the first of our American Iron Motorcycle Bagger, on sale last spring, significantly outsold every motorcycle magazine on the newsstand. Every one! And the second issue, which went on sale last month, looks like it might even sell better than our first.

These are tough times for most people and businesses, and even tougher in the magazine publishing business as circulation and advertising is dropping. Among today’s best selling street motorcycle magazines, #1 ranked American Iron Magazine sells an average of 45,349 copies on the newsstand. #2 Cycle World sells 30,217 copies, and Hot Bike sells 17,268 copies on the newsstand. So, when more than 50,000 people spend real money to buy a copy of our new bagger magazine I know we are on to something good.

If the second issue sells well, we would consider increasing the frequency of American Iron Motorcycle Bagger in 2011 and offering subscriptions. Sure, we could add more bagger editorial in American Iron Magazine, but that would mean fewer non-bagger features, tech and other editorial here. So, rather than spread everything out thinner, we would rather give the choice of options. You can buy either or both magazines. If you missed the first two issues, they are for sale at

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.

Buzz Kanter.  Publisher/Editor-In-Chief