Motorcycle Magazines Continue To Cut Back, Fold

It’s a tough time to be in the print business of any kind. Circulation of newspapers and magazines are dropping, and advertisers are going elsewhere to spend their clients’ money. This is especially true in the motorcycle arena where numerous mags have disappeared, while others have been merged or seen their output slashed of late.

Among the best known titles is “Cycle World,” which revealed last week that it is cutting back to only four issues per year. The announcement stated that the magazine “is moving to a captivating, quarterly, coffee table-sized journal focusing on the art of the motorcycle.”

“Cycle World” is owned by California-based Bonnier Corp., which is also cutting back “Motorcyclist” magazine to six issues a year and melding “Baggers” into “Hot Bike.” The survivor will also come out six times a year. The company has folded print versions of “DIRT RIDER” and “Sport Rider.”

In other words, Bonnier has shed half of its bike portfolio and downsized the rest.

Meanwhile, Paisano Publications, also in CA, has gone from five motorcycle magazines to one – “Easyriders.” That mag has absorbed “V-Twin,” “In The Wind,” “Wrench” and “Road Iron.”

Closer to home, Stamford, CT-based TAM Communications is maintaining a 13-issues-a-year schedule for “American Iron Magazine.” But it no longer publishes “Motorcycle Rides & Culture” magazine, which shut down in spring 2016 having succeeded “RoadBike,” or “Motorcycle Bagger.” The latter was absorbed by “American Iron Magazine.”

So that’s at least nine motorcycle magazines that once existed that have now disappeared. Add “Motorcycle Cruiser” and the count rises to 10.

Blame it on a shift of consumers to digital. Blame it on declining ridership. Blame it on whatever, but motorcycle magazines are turning into roadkill, and it’s a trend that isn’t about to abate.

Perhaps the last mags standing will survive, but the list keeps getting shorter. How many other current titles can you name? “Motorcycle Consumer News” is a stalwart. There’s also “Rider,” “RoadRUNNER” and “Motorcycle Classics.”

But what other nationally publications immediately come to mind? The number keeps shrinking. And what other defunct titles are missing from the list of the deceased?

– By Bud Wilkinson

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy, he received a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1975. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.