If you have been reading The Kneeslider for any length of time you’re already familiar with Jesse James’ radial motorcycle, the Wakan 1640, Roland Sands’ KRV5, Matt Hotch’s Vinnie, the new Vmax, the eCycle hybrid motorcycle, the new Can-Am Spyder, the changing trend away from the old choppers and even the recent CARB fines Jesse James faced over some motorcycles he built. So it was with a bit of deja vu that I read the new copy of Cycle World when it arrived in my digital inbox yesterday to find all of those things and more in the current issue.
Cycle World has road tests of Radial Hell, the Jesse James radial, the Wakan and the Can-Am Spyder. They have an editorial about the CARB fines and they lead off a series of motorcycle features by saying the old choppers are morphing into bikes that can be built with almost any engine and style, more customs than choppers, really, and that’s a good thing.
If you have been following the enthusiast magazine world at all, you probably know that their world is changing drastically with companies buying and selling magazines, trying to make a buck as the online world closes in. The automotive magazines have been thrashed a lot and Primedia has bought and is now selling a whole group of mags. Writers and editors keep coming and going and some of the changes are a bit hard to take, certainly on their end I would imagine, but as a reader the changes can leave you wondering what the heck they’re doing.
My own view of this changing landscape is that the motorcycle magazines (or automotive or most any segment) should concentrate on the in depth articles which they do very well and not try to get the latest breaking news items out to their readers. Ink will never flow as fast as pixels on screen so step back, think, gather the story and write it well. I enjoy reading magazines like Cycle World and Motorcyclist and many of the British magazines, more when they do longer articles but much less when they try to be an in print version of a website. The Cycle World road tests in this issue and the associated photos were cool, and if they keep on that course and try not to become a printed website, they’ll do OK.