The magazine world has been in a tailspin for the past decade, as the internet has taken over as the source for quick hit information junkies. But there’s still room for magazines, and there’s nothing like an actual, tangible motorcycle magazine to spark your imagination, entertain your brain and whet your appetite for travel stories and motorcycle information. My favorite magazines have a clear point of view, great photography and superb, expressive writing, and share a love of motorcycles and riding.
Here, in alphabetical order (not rank), are my Top 8 favorite motorcycle magazines:
American Iron is an East Coast-based blue collar magazine that covers American-made motorcycles. My favorite parts of this magazine are the travel stories (often submitted by readers) and the step-by-step project articles.
A “bagger” is a V-twin motorcycle with hard saddlebags. Baggers magazine covers the latest trends in baggers, from factory bikes to wild customs. Since baggers are set up for touring, the mag also runs travel and touring articles, from how-to features to trip reports.
Started by legendary Joe Parkhurst in 1962, Cycle World is one of the biggies. Part of the Bonnier family of publications since 2011 (also parent company to motorcycle magazines Motorcyclist, Hot Bike, Baggers, Sport Rider and several others), Cycle World covers the gamut, from dual sports to sport bikes to full-dress tourers and everything in between. My favorite articles in this mag are the now-occasional essays from Peter Egan (a former monthly columnist), riding instruction from Nick Ienatsch, gear reviews and long-term bike reports from the staff.
HOG is the official magazine of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.), and is a members-only publication, one of the benefits of H.O.G. membership. This is the place for official information about the Motor Company, its bikes, products and gear. It’s also chock full of H-D history and lore, along with information about H.O.G. chapters and rallies.
Motorcycle Consumer News is the Consumer Reports of motorcycle magazines. The independent publication accepts no advertising, and prides itself on accurate, honest testing and reporting. They cover all types of motorcycle, and also rate and review gear, accessories and tools for motorcyclists. Their used motorcycle price guide is particularly useful for anyone looking to buy or sell a bike.
First published in 1912, Motorcyclist is the oldest continuously published motorcycling magazine in the world – almost as old as motorcycling itself. Since 2013, it has been part of the Bonnier group. Starting in 2017, Motorcyclist will get a makeover, going from monthly to bi-monthly (six issues per year), and shifting to a larger format on high quality paper. Hopefully, my favorite contributors, Keith Code and Jack Lewis, will still be featured in the new publication.
Rider covers the whole range of motorcycling, and always impresses me with its excellent photography and depth of information. Editor-in-Chief Mark Tuttle and bike reviewer Greg Drevenstedt are both tireless motorcyclists, and travel to the ends of the earth to review new bikes. My favorite motorcycle essayist, Clement Salvadori, writes a monthly column about his travels, and also publishes a Retrospective article about an obscure bike at the end of each issue.
RoadRUNNER is a bi-monthly (six issues per year) magazine devoted to motorcycle touring and travel – right up my alley. The magazine features trip reports, gear reviews, travel recommendations and rider safety advice. It is a great source of inspiration and information for traveling motorcyclists.
In between rides, fill your brain with information about motorcycling and bikes with motorcycle magazines. You may find your next tour, bike, accessory or project in the pages.