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


  1. The first Harley I ever rode on was on the back of my dad’s 1957 Hydra Glide I think it was when I was about 10. Man I wish I had that bike now. The next was on an Evo FXR demo and then an Evo FXRT. I purchased that first year 1984 Evo FXRT. I rode that RT for many years and still own it. I then purchased a 2008 Heritage Softail and then a 2003 V Rod Road Rod. I also now have the 77 FLH that my dad purchased new and now has passed down to me. Before the first Harley I went through a series of Japanese bikes and still actually own one of those 1979 Yamaha XS650 Special. I have enjoyed every bike I have ever owned and continue to enjoy riding as often as I can. The kids are grown and gone. The wife decided to seek other opportunities. So other than working that leaves me pretty much free to do what I want and so I do. The garage is full. 77 FLH, 84 FXRT, 03 VRSC with Cycle Vision conversion and 08 FLSTC Heritage Softail. Am sure I will have a bike as long as I am able to throw my leg over one.