Fast Motorcycle Industry News

1- Cycle World For Quick Sale Or To Shut Down? It’s no secret that things are quite bleak for almost all motorcycle print magazines. They continue to lose readers and to bleed subscribers. Most even ceased to publish any readership numbers, too afraid to scare away their remaining advertisers. Most have failed to recognize on time that their print magazines (and websites) needed to be rethought to adjust to a new economic reality, a new generation of riders and a new way to consume news via the web. Another example of magazine unable to find its new direction and that has now become irrelevant for its readers is Cycle World published since 1962. Belonging to the Hearst Group since May this year, the sad reality is that Cycle World revenue from advertisers, newsstand and subscribers sales continues to plunge with no end in sight. Cycle World was supposed to celebrate its 50th anniversary in January 2012. Probably not. Whatever their denial, other motorcycle print magazines are following the same path with too little time in front of them, no money and no potential investor available to completely overhaul their publications.  

2- Repeal of Michigan’s Motorcycle Helmet Law? After years of protesting Michigan’s helmet law at Capitol rallies, motorcyclists converged last week for a “call to victory rally.” The reason for optimism? Gov. Rick Snyder has replaced Jennifer Granholm, who twice vetoed repeals of the helmet law. The state Senate Transportation Committee passed a repeal that should soon go before the full Senate, while a bill is pending in the House of Representatives. Talking about Governor Rick Snyder, Vince Consiglio, president of the state chapter of American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) says: “There are enough votes in both chambers to change the helmet law. It’s a fluid situation. I think we’ve got a better chance and we keep the motto “Let those who ride decide”. As usual, opponents claim that a repeal would increase deaths and serious injuries, and cost taxpayers in medical bills and increased insurance premiums.

3- Polaris Closes GEM Fargo plant And Moves Work to Minnesota, Iowa. Polaris said in April it was buying GEM (Global Electric Motorcars), a subsidiary of Chrysler Group that manufactures electric-powered low-speed vehicles. The transaction is expected to close this month. Polaris Industries Inc. will close the GEM Fargo, N.D., offices and manufacturing plant move the operations to its facilities in Medina and Wyoming, Minn., and Spirit Lake, Iowa. Workers at the Fargo plant have been guaranteed jobs for at least 60 days after the deal closes, and an unspecified number have been offered jobs at Polaris’ Spirit Lake manufacturing plant, product development facilities in Wyoming and corporate headquarters in Medina. Polaris already makes some electric off-road vehicles, mostly for farmers, hunters and the military. The company has said GEM’s vehicles will put Polaris in a different market of commercial customers, such as hotels, airports and colleges that use them for shuttles. GEM has been producing the vehicles for about 13 years and to date has sold about 45,000.

28 Responses to “Fast Motorcycle Industry News”

  1. 1 Troy Jun 17th, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Polaris owns Victory Motorcycles and recently purchased Indian Motorcycle Co. too. Most people say Indian really needs its own motor to gain respect once again. With stricter emission standards coming in 2013, a new motor may be needed quickly. Some have speculated that the new Indians will receive a motor from Polaris’s Victory division. Will the 2013 Indians have an electric motor built by Global Electric Motorcars instead?

  2. 2 hoyt Jun 17th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Troy – Indian has had its own proprietary motor since before it closed the last time. The King’s Mountain factory re-engineered that motor.


    Motorcyclist mag does a good job by mixing some historic articles alongside current articles. Print pubs should also run continuous articles from one month to the next (like a short history spanning 10-15 pages over 3 months or so). There is so much good history to write about and it doesn’t necessarily require expensive on-location trips every time.

  3. 3 Luis Jun 17th, 2011 at 11:46 am

    if it wasn’t for the bathroom I probably wouldn’t keep my subscriptions to magazines.

  4. 4 Lyle Jun 17th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Too bad, Cycle World is one of the best all around MC magazines.
    I agree that Indian needs it’s own motor. One that’s engineered more in accordance to where Indian was headed prior to closing it’s doors in 1953. Not some re-engineered Harley Davidson engine like the Kings Mountain or Gilroy Undians. Hopefully Polaris can pull it off. And not just use the existing Victory powertrain.

  5. 5 theskyisfalling Jun 17th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Well it’s been said for years by bloggers that print media is done, that print media people
    won’t or can’t change however it’s probably more a sign of the times of weaker economy, less discretionary dollars to spend, duplicated articles on the same “new bike” because of manufacturing release/

    Digital Magazines delivered by Email that you can read on your Kindle, Iphone, Ipad, laptop are probably the next generation, so relax Luis, just don’t drop the phone in the toleit…

  6. 6 Lyle Jun 17th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I doubt paper will go away soon or ever. Personally, It’s far more relaxing to read something printed from paper while holding it in my hand. The last thing I want to do after work or when camping or vacationing is have a computer with me. Nothing beats a good old fashioned book, or magazine for that matter.

  7. 7 Boomer Jun 17th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    The more savvy publishers are melding the print and web info. Much of the web info is free so, for now, not much need for a subscription. I’m sure that will change over time and the subscription will be much less than the print media because of the drastically lower overhead costs. As mentioned; Kindle-like devices will be in every bathroom with a wireless connection to the Internet and sit in a recharging cradle when not in use. Times change.

    I’m sure there will be a need/want for print media for a long time but everyone needs to transition to web media and build that area up while downsizing the print area personnel. In a perfect world; the print people would be retrained to work in the web media area so no jobs are lost; or at least as few as possible. JMHO.

  8. 8 TRexSG Jun 17th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    To each their own but I like to read a real paper magazine. I can float in the pool and read, which I am sure not going to do with the lap top or a kindle. I don’t need a battery or 110v, all I need is the sun.

    Even out of the pool I want a real book or mag.
    Sit in a comfy chair or even an uncomfy airlplane seat, but I still want a real paper product!

    Then there is the Big Brother aspect. Ever read or watch 1984? If you have a book no PC Big Brother type is going to “improve” it for me.

  9. 9 Eric Maurer Jun 17th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    its sad to hear, but I honestly haven’t bought a Cycle World Mag in years (where I used to subscribe religously). I couldn’t wait to read Peter Egan’s article first, every month. I think that the biggies (CW, Hot Bike, Hot Rod, basically most of the mega print house mags have never taken the web seriously enough and readers are moving to the web. I credit Cycle Source for having a good online presence, The Horse has great forums that keep me interested (even if their subscription rates are really high these days…. I still buy every month) but the list of mags I buy has dwindled to a choice few and eve then, its not every month.

    I am sorry to hear about Cycle World, but all the others need to change and adapt to the new world model of the online reader or they are going to go the way of Cycle News, Cycle World and a ton of other print pubs who are nothing but a fleeting memory.

    The saddest things about all of this is that I used to be a 10 magazine a month customer. Magazines are why I went studied journalism in college and have been fortunate enough to work in the mag busisness for many years. Losing great magazines is like losing long term friends.

    RIP Cycle World, I sincerely hope there is a way for you to turn things around.

  10. 10 Jerry Jun 17th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    You may still want to read a print magazine…until they are all gone. They will go away. The media is obsolete…forever. Adapt. Not because of economic recession. The reason is technology and as Cyril wrote, because of the new way we all want to consume news. Cyril’s blog a perfect example of web success..

  11. 11 TRexSG Jun 17th, 2011 at 3:11 pm


    But “we all” don’t want to consume news that way. We don’t want to sit in front of the computer or look at the phone to get news or read a book. I do it here because this is where it is Cyril is but it is never my choice. And I know many, many people who feel the same.

    Getting a 100 word blog on world events is not remotely enough info and will only cause people to be less and less informed. When I started getting Rider Mag online (they sent it because I subscribe to the print version) I never even looked at it. Instant Delete!


  12. 12 Duke Jun 17th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    TRex. Most world’s events are not worth more than 100 words. And Cyril publishes more events, parts, custom motorcycles, etc in 1 month than magazines in 4 months and before everybody else. And you just commented above me, proof that…

  13. 13 Hamilton Jun 17th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    TrexSG. What about commenting, letting us express an opinion? What about Daytona & Sturgis reported in print magazines 3 months later. I enjoy Cyril reporting every day from these rallies and the fact he doesn’t BS and says it when he doesn’t like something. A couple of mags can survive but still nothing new about their content able to compete with internet. What about videos? What about breaking news?

  14. 14 Eric Maurer Jun 17th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    even textbook companies, publishers, schools, etc are realizing the cost benefit of providing students iPads and publishing all curriculum electronically…. as much I would like to see print stick around, the reality is that technology is making paper go the way of the dinosaur.

    Soon enough, iPads/tablets will be so cheap, if not free, and we’ll alll pay to consume media content. It’s all about micropayments…. soon, it will even cost you a percentage of a cent to read Cyril 🙂

    As for the big brother comment someone made….. sorry to say that everything you do has an audit trail, no one can go off the grid completely and big brother has always been watching 🙂


  15. 15 rebel Jun 17th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I sell 6 titles monthly and the only one that sells out is “THE HORSE”. I return more of the others than I sell, i hate to waste paper as much as the next guy so i’m thinking seriously about dropping all the low selling titles, it’s sad but you can’t rehash the same old thing but so long, The Horse has a personal contact with the readers the others don’t, even I go to THE SMOKEOUT every year, even though it’s getting more commercial and “corporate feeling” it’s still the closest thing to a genuine rally/event that’s not about money grubbing and exploiting every picture that can be taken to sell magazines. Long live THE (iron) HORSE!

  16. 16 Hamilton Jun 17th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Rebel. Publish your full name to show everybody how biased is your comment about The Horse and why.

  17. 17 Heavy Metal Jun 17th, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I like to have a magazine in my hands but I understand technology is moving away from it. I don’t subscribe to anything as I got tired of seeing the latest issue on the news stand before it would hit my mail box, that includes the Horse.

  18. 18 1550tc Jun 18th, 2011 at 12:01 am

    horse does have a loyal reader and nice niche market

    Ditto on this one

    Too bad, Cycle World is one of the best all around MC magazines 🙁

  19. 19 Fredp Jun 18th, 2011 at 1:34 am

    I’d like to see the Viper motorcycle company’s “Illmor engineered engine” in Indians. short stroked 152 cu inch motor! Reading Viper’s financials, they need to buy/sell a bunch of their own engines as part of the agreement between them. I don’t see alot of the vipers at 35-40k on the road soon, but doeable in an Indian, with the following they have. POLARIS, are you listening????

  20. 20 Nobody Jun 18th, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Count me in the crowd that prefers a magazine. Cyril’s blog fill the “11 O’Clock News” niche for me.

  21. 21 Greybeard Jun 18th, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Now that Polaris owns Indian, a name with both historic value and enthusiast potential, why even bother with Victory?

    I could be wrong but I don’t see the emotional attachment being developed for Victory that Harley enjoys or that Indian would engender with the historic “Indian vs. Harley” tradition.

    Plus the Victory line already holds enough technological differentiation and manufacturing capability to hit the ground spinning with the Indian moniker.
    Why go through the extremely expensive product development and tooling costs when you’re in position already?

  22. 22 Drake Jun 18th, 2011 at 9:11 am

    The Horse got a very confidential readership and is not at all representative of the V-Twin bikers community. Also struggling very hard.

  23. 23 Isaac M Jun 18th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I never understood why I receved my subs after they were on the news stand, either. And to add insult to injury any yearly specials are not included in the subcription. I used to order four or five truck and bike mags yearly. This is the first year I didn;t renew any! These mags are victims of their own POOR management decisions. You reap what you sow! I perfer to hold paper in my hand too, but to see the same bike featured in two mags doesn’t cut it. Horse is the only mag I’m considering, but its twice the price of Hot Bikes. What gives?

  24. 24 Seth Grace Jun 18th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Twice the price because the Horse has a very small readership. So, printing cost per issue is higher.

  25. 25 nicker Jun 18th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    “…I perfer to hold paper in my hand too,…”


    Hell, if i wanted technology i wouldn’t be riding a 68 + year old, foot-clutch, tank-shift scooter.
    But if the economy drives the Industry back to where it where it started, we’ll all be working out of our garages…. reading newsprint mags in the John……….. 🙂


  26. 26 American-V magazine Jun 19th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Guess where my loyalties lie?

    The magazine is far from dead, but there will be a shakedown and a lot will go. A recovery in consumers’ disposable income and efficient distribution to a reshaped retail sector will be the deciding factor in the end, but the margins won’t be as attractive to big business as they have been in the past.

    Specialist, respected titles stand a better chance than most, and it is up to us to deliver value and qualified information that we are accountable for, to entertain and inform those who are desperate to leave their computer at the office, or just switched off.

    In our experience, while forums are seen as useful means of communications, our readers are happy – no, determined – to live in an analogue world, riding analogue bikes with their analogue friends and drinking analogue beer, and until that’s improved upon, and seeing the poor signal-to-noise ratio of most websites, I’m on their side.

    There is room for all, but publishing will never be the license to print money that it used to be, which bodes well for the independent sector and we’ll shuffle along for a couple more generations of hardware until the iPad 5 (or equivalent) is launched as an A4 (or the US equivalent) folded flexible, digital sheet that opens out and can reproduce the contents of any magazine on the newstands.

  27. 27 Zipper Jun 21st, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    CW did themselves in. Another one bites the dust.. What a rag. Keep up the good work Cyril. I enjoy your blog. Thanks. ..Z

  28. 28 Blackbird Jun 23rd, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    The editorial staff at CW is absolutely first class. I have been a subscriber for many years and truly hope they find a way to hang in there.

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Cyril Huze