SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher
Evolution Is More Than Just A Harley Engine!
Enough already! I am a reasonable guy, but I’m getting tired of hearing that print is dead and that the motorcycle industry is doomed. The fact that you and tens of thousands of other people are paying real money to read this magazine confirms my feelings. There will always be the Negative Nancys who can find problems for every solution. But I’m convinced that print and motorcycles are not going away, at least not in our lifetimes.
Let me step back and qualify that last statement. As Charles Darwin stated in his On The Origin of Species, all species develop through variations that increase the ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. What you might ask is does Darwinism have to do with motorcycles and magazines? Good question.
Let’s compare today with 20 years ago. For American motorcycles, Harley-Davidson (and its Buell division) was the only major motorcycle manufacturer in business. Harley was building new motorcycles as fast as possible, but supply was outstripped by demand. So, three significant things happened. Most dealers sold new Harleys for a lot more than MSRP, used Harley prices went through the roof, and a handful of high-volume Harley clones appeared seemingly overnight. Remember companies like Big Dog, American Iron Horse, California Motorcycle Company, Big Bear Choppers, Bourget, and more? They were all powered by S&S, Revtech, TP, and R&R Harley clone engines.
Let’s not forget how robust the motorcycle magazine field was in those glory days. Along with all the Harley look-alikes, a growing list of motorcycle magazines hit the market to promote these new machines and feed the appetites of the growing number of riders. When motorcycle sales began to decline, unfortunately, so did magazines like Iron Horse, SuperCycle, IronWorks, American Rider, Baggers, Harley Women, and more. To paraphrase William Shakespeare, I am not here to bury motorcycle manufacturers and magazines, but to praise them. Sure, we have fewer options today than 20 years ago, but today’s bikes and magazines are great ones. While Darwinism is still at play, most of the manufacturers and magazines who survived the test of time are, in many ways, better than ever. Thanks to the support of our readers and advertisers, I feel we are.
Kickstart Motorcycle Classic & Coatesville GP
Last chance to join us at this year’s Motorcycle Kickstart Classic, sponsored by American Iron Magazine, American Iron Garage, Motul, and Greaserag.com. It is a two-day ride for classic (and newer) motorcycles to explore some great roads in rural Pennsylvania.
We start at Bill’s Old Bike Barn in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, September 19 and finish outside Coatesville, Pennsylvania, on September 21. The next day, all riders are invited to VIP treatment at the Coatesville Invitational GP classic motorcycle and car races on closed public roads.
Preregistration for the Kickstart Classic is strongly recommended. Download your registration at AIMag.com, call Rosemary at 203/425-8777 ext. 114, or write to American Iron Magazine, Attn: Kickstart, 1010 Summer St., Stamford, Connecticut 06905.
American Iron Garage
Thanks to its popular contents, our all-tech and DIY American Iron Garage is the fastest growing motorcycle magazine in the industry. It features real-world tech and how-to, new products, amateur home builds, skills, and everything you love about wrenching on your own motorcycle. The next issue goes on sale September 25, or you can subscribe and save ($19.97 a year in print or digital) at AIMag.com or call toll free 877/204-0774. You’ll be glad you did.
Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.
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