Our Favorite Motorcycle Magazines
Labels and stereotypes; for good or for evil, they put people and things into little boxes with closed lids.
Labels tend to shut off debate and prevent people from dealing with real issues.
But labels are a reality, so we just have to learn to live with.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! So we’re hereby labeling webBikeWorld as an online motorcycle magazine.
Now this may seem obvious to some, but not to others.
If you can’t wrap your mind around the fact that webBikeWorld is a magazine, or your definition of a magazine is something that’s paper-based, glossy and comes in the mail once a month, then you’ve been had by the Lords of Labels.
webBikeWorld certainly is a magazine; albeit one that fits a more modern definition of the genre in this, the Age of Broadband.
Online vs. Print Motorcycle Magazines
The mission of our magazine is simple: to provide information that helps our visitors make informed purchasing decisions.
To implement this mission, we exploit three of the basic advantages that a web-based magazine has over its print cousins: the near-zero incremental cost to provide more — more detailed information and photographs than can be offered in print.
Visitors also have 24/7 access to the huge and growing webBikeWorld database of information kept on the site. And don’t forget that a website has the ability to deliver the information to its readers in a much more timely fashion than any print magazine can manage. Oh, and one more thing: don’t forget the hyperlinks!
In contrast, print magazines typically have a lead time of 2-3 months in a world when people want information right now. Print magazines are generally designed to be read once and discarded. This is as inefficient as it is wasteful.
Ever try to look up a year-old article in a magazine? First of all, you have to hope it hasn’t been tossed out with last month’s trash. If it was, the search ends right there. But if it’s still hanging around, it’s then a matter of pawing through every page until the article is found.
Looking for archival information on webBikeWorld? We have a simple policy for the retention of information: we don’t delete.
You can count on less than one hand the number of webBikeWorld pages that have been removed from the index in the past 6 years. The information on some of our pages may be out of date, but it’s always there for you, just a search box away.
That’s one of the most powerful advantages of a website — there’s basically no incremental cost for storing old information, just as there’s really no incremental cost for providing as much detail as possible and plenty of photographs.
So print magazines are obsolete, right? Absolutely not! Print magazines definitely have their place. Riffling through pages you can feel with your hands definitely has its advantages. Even finding the latest issue in the mailbox is a thrill that never fails!
And some print magazines serve as more than entertainment; they provide timeless documentation of our sport. If you’ve never seen Classic Bike or The Classic Motorcycle, you’re really missing out on a lifetime of motorcycle knowledge and also some of the best motorcycle photography around.
Favorite Motorcycle Magazines
Which brings us to the point of this article: a general survey of our favorite print motorcycle magazines. We’re letting out one of our secrets here, because many of the products and accessories that we review were first discovered by reading the articles and the ads in these magazines!
Kind of ironic, no? We’re dissing print magazines because of their ads, yet those very ads are the source for many of our ideas!
One of the things that prompted this article was a recent survey we conducted to count the number of worldwide motorcycle magazines. We stopped at 340, but our educated guess tells us that there are almost certainly three times that many if local motorcycle magazines and industry and trade magazines are included.
We get several dozen sent to the webBikeWorld offices from all over the world each month and some of them are not cheap. Cross-border postage can be outrageous!
So we thought you might be interested in a list of some of the magazines that we read. There’s not a lot of originality in this list, because you can certainly find this information elsewhere on the web without much digging. But we thought you might like to see what we read to help keep you informed.
If you have a favorite magazine that you’d like to see added, feel free to ping us at [email protected]
Looking for a print magazine? Many British and other motorcycle magazines and obscure or out-of-print motorcycle books can be ordered through Motorsport Publications in Jonesburg, Missouri | The Magazine Man is the Motorsport Publications of the UK! | Emap is also one of the largest publishers of motorcycle magazines in the UK
Here are some of the magazines we can’t live without (in alphabetical order) along with our personal opinions of their content. Below that is a text listing of some of the magazines we read, sorted by country
(Publication Date: June 2006).
Publisher: EMAP Automotive Ltd
Description: Beautiful motorcycle photography by Chippy Wood, probably the best motorcycle photography you’ll ever see anywhere, period.
Road tests and limited product reviews. General interest and world adventure travel articles. Occasional articles on performance riding with good graphics illustrating the points. The “Really Useful Section” in the back is just that; it has ratings for used motorcycles by brand and model, buying tips, what to look for and more.
And don’t forget the monthly Ogri page, the longest running motorcycle cartoon in the world.
The photos alone are worth the cost of a subscription to Bike.
Publisher: EMAP Automotive Ltd
Description: Stunningly crisp photography of classic and antique motorcycles, printed on high-quality stock. Lots of practical info on buying and maintaining classic British and European motorcycles. Good focus on finding bargains and future classics.
Feature issues that focus on specific bikes or marques are very useful as a guide for new or wannabe owners. Great want ad section with hundreds of bikes and photos; high drool factor! Classic bike owners need this magazine.
The Classic Motorcycle
Country: United Kingdom
Publisher: Mortons Media Group
Description: Possibly the longest running motorcycle magazine in the world? Started as The MotorCycle in — get this — 1903! Focus on historical and antique bikes. Great photography printed on some of the highest quality paper of any motorcycle magazine.
Features on specific bikes with information on their history, racers, racing and more. Don’t throw these away — they can be read again and again.
Description: Went out of business one day in 2010 without warning and did not refund subscribers’ payments!
Publisher: Hachette Filipacchi Media
Description: Pretty much the generic, all-around motorcycle magazine for American riders, found on just about any news stand in the U.S.A. Covers a broad spectrum of topics with good in-depth evaluations of new motorcycles; quick updates/press releases on new products and some historical and general interest articles. “Race Watch” section can’t produce timely reporting on races so instead offers background and commentary, which is a better strategy for a monthly.
Hachette Filipacchi publishes both Car and Driver and Road & Track and subscribers to those will know what we mean when we say that Cycle World reads like a combination of both; slightly irreverent and slightly stuffy. The front half of the magazine uses a format nearly identical to the car mags; one-page editorials, complete with the obligatory stylized head shot of the author. The format may seem old-school, but at least they employ two of the world’s greatest motorcycle authors: Peter Egan and Kevin Cameron.
Description: Has lots of UK influence for some reason, with articles showing up here that you’ll swear you’ve read elsewhere.
Seems more accurate, less frothy and more technical. Very good occasional in-depth studies of certain topics, like their recent series on motorcycle helmet testing issues and problems.
This is our favorite U.S. motorcycle magazine.
Publisher: Ogden Publications, Inc.
Description: Interesting new U.S.-based magazine focused on classic motorcycles “is the only American consumer magazine focusing on the growing interest in classic motorcycles, providing owners, riders and enthusiasts the insight and information they want about their favorite classic motorcycles from around the world.”
Interesting articles and history, sort of like the UK’s “The Classic Motorcycle” but with advertisements for American retailers and parts suppliers that you never knew existed. I hope there’s enough of a market in the U.S.A. so that this one lasts…
Motorcycle Consumer News
Publisher: Bow Tie, Inc.
Description: Independent motorcycle magazine that accepts no advertising. Very practical advice on choosing, buying and owning motorcycles. In-depth motorcycle reviews; product reviews less detailed and not quite the same quality. Good advice on maintenance and repair.
Occasional detailed studies of topics like oil, cold-weather clothing, helmets, etc. but these are costly to produce and seem to have become less frequent. Robust letters section and good articles on esoteric topics like motorcycle training, health and others. Probably the best pure motorcycle magazine in the U.S.A. unfortunately has limited readership.
Publisher: EMAP Automotive Ltd
Description: Sort of like a combination of the NY Post and People magazine but for motorcycles. They seem to out-scoop everyone else in the industry, although winter brings some fanciful Photoshop guesswork on possible new models. Good race coverage.
Everything new in motorcycling appears here first. Once available as a weekly electronic download in .pdf file by (very expensive) subscription; now only available in an even more expensive print edition only.
Motorcycle Sport & Leisure
Publisher: Mortons Media Group
Description: Claimed to be Britain’s longest-running motorcycle publication. Specializes in very good, solid, practical reviews of new motorcycles.
Some touring and special interest articles and occasional historical profiles of antique bikes. Not as much content as some others, but what’s there is useful, logical and believable.
Publisher: EMAP Automotive Ltd
Description: Like a Consumer Reports for motorcycles, but without the turgid editorial style. Specializes in product testing and comparisons; the RiDE “Best Buy” and “Recommended” green triangles are a good indication of a product that works and can be found on gear for sale in the UK.
Tons of practical information on choosing and maintaining motorcycles and gear. Probably my all-around UK favorite for content.
Publisher: Ehlert Motorcycle Media
Description: The orphan child of U.S. motorcycle magazines? Some motorcyclists swear by it, but about the best way it can be described it is that it’s like a lightweight version of the mainstream mags for occasional riders or those who aren’t really that interested in the obsessive details.
Good but basic info mostly feels like you’ve read it somewhere else before, only in more detail. Occasional road tests of the less popular bikes that the other magazines never seem to review. They do seem less editorially beholden to advertisers than other mainstream magazines.
Description: Not your average motorcycle magazine, which is a good thing. We have enough of those! Focus on hard-core road racing with special emphasis on the amateur and semi-pro levels. Good articles on race prep and first-hand reports by racers on bike preparation, racing and more.
Very good in-depth technical articles on race technology. Again, maybe not as useful to the average street rider, but prospective or armchair racers should take a look.
Publisher: Primedia Inc
Published: 8 times per year
Description: Focused mostly on Japanese street bikes, modifications and racing. Good occasional articles on motorcycle racers and their bikes. Some of the content is repeated from other sources. Product “reviews” are mostly re-hashed press release filler.
We don’t get as much satisfaction from this magazine as we do from others, perhaps because we’ve never been a fan of Japanese sportbikes. And why is Kent Kunitsugu always scowling?
Motorcycle Magazines Suggested by Visitors
From “N.H.” (April 2015): “There are a number of Canadian magazines dealing with motorcycles.Motorcycle Mojo is the one I have a subscription for although I do occasionally buy Canadian Biker (listed above) and Inside Motorcycles at a news stand. Motorcycle Mojo is a quality publication and has articles ranging in interest from touring to some off road riding.
There is also news from a Canadian perspective, motorcycle reviews and some accessory reviews. It is published 10 times a year. Canadian Biker is published in British Columbia and has a similar mix to Motorcycle Mojo. Inside Motorcycles is more of a news magazine and has a heavy racing focus.”
Moto Retro Illustrated is a relatively new, U.S. based magazine that focuses on the ’70’s. ’80’s bikes (dirt and street) that many of us grew up with. It is helmed by industry veteran Mitch Boehm.
RoadRunner (Bi-monthly) – Focused mostly on tourers, cruisers, destinations and general interest articles. Several webBikeWorlders suggested this magazine.
Robb Report Motorcycling – “This magazine, like any Robb Report publication, is primarily concerned with the higher end of the market. As such, the focus of the publication is is such that more emphasis is placed on the aesthetics of a bike than its technical merits. Nevertheless, perfect for aficionados and/or blue bloods (“K.T.”)
If you have a favorite magazine that you’d like to see added, send the name of the magazine and a brief description (and don’t forget the URL) to [email protected]
Motorcycle Magazines by Country
More magazines that we either receive or read on a regular basis.
|Australia: Rapid Bikes | Cycle Torque | Two Wheels|
|Austria: Der Reitwagen|
|Belgium: Moto & Loisirs|
|Canada: Cycle Canada | Canadian Biker | Inside Motorcycles|
|France: Moto Journal | Moto Magazine|
|Germany: BMW Motorräder, Klassik Motorrad and Motorrad Magazin | Fighters | Moto | Motorrad | Motorrad Reisen & Sport|
|India: Autocar India|
|Ireland: Irish Bike – Order from the Motorcycle Man (UK) | Irish Racer|
|Netherlands: Het Motor Rijwiel|
|New Zealand: Kiwi Motorcycle Rider – Available from the NZ Magazine Shop|
|Norway: Bike | MC24 is a web-based motorcycling magazine with news, tests, general
interest, travel, classics – just about anything concerning motorcycles.
|Russia: Bike Freak|
|Slovakia: Moto Magazin|
|South Africa: Bike SA|
|Sweden: Allt om MC | Bike|
|UK: BikeSport News | Classic Bike Guide | Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics | Classic Racer | Fast Bikes | The Bullet-In | What Bike? | Motorcycle Racer | Superbike | Old Bike Mart | Performance Bikes|
|USA: Biker Ally – for women motorcyclists | American Iron Magazine – Best selling Harley -oriented magazine in the world. Great reviews, tech and how to and feature bikes – custom, classic and reader’s ride | Motorcycle Business – MotoSports Business, new online magazine replacing the older print version | The Motorcyclist’s Post – “The longest-running motorcycle newspaper in the United States.” | RoadBike – All-around street bike magazine. real world reviews, rider skills and tours | Walneck’s Classic Cycle Trader | 2 Wheel Tuner|
Motorcycle Industry Magazines
Motorcycle Product News – Monthly. Primary audience is Powersports dealers.