A bit of background might be in order. I have been riding off and on since 1991, on bikes as diverse as a Honda Rebel, Harley Ironhead Sportster, and a Honda CBX and in between, too. I ride all year long and took my Sportster on a road trip to Springfield, Mass. in 1992; my current bike, whatever it may be, is not a weekend toy. It is what gets me around. Put me down as another vote in favor of the New Format.
To quote H.L. Mencken, never have so many been so resoundingly wrong. Here you are, having concluded Issue Two after much backbiting and grumbling from the Harley people about the new format. I think you make a valid point in saying that most of the offense is based in the notion that many Harley riders have it that somehow if a motorcycle is not made by Harley-Davidson, it is not a “real” motorcycle. While in hindsight there might have been better articles to lead with in the first issue of the new format than the Triple Five, like say British bikes, I would cordially suggest that the Harley-only people learn to deal with it. Look at the roads around here: There are more of us that ride Other Bikes, from twentysomethings on ’Busas and ZX series Ninjas to senior citizens on Gold Wings and other dressers and literally everything in between than there are Harley riders.
Formerly, I only picked up Handlebars for the Event Calendar. Now, most of the publication is of some level of interest; the article on The Triple Five has even inspired me to take my ’78 Yamaha XS400 to Jacksonville, Fla. for annual training with the Navy Reserve this summer. (I wonder how many of the grumblers have ever ridden more than 30 miles at a stretch?) Keep at it; while I agree with Mr. Bowman of Badland Customs’ letter in Issue Two that the V-twin market is a vital part of the East Tennessee motorcycle community, it is just that, a PART of our motorcycling community here.
I submit that the new format has addressed a glaring oversight: that there are plenty of riders that ride something else, from my V(ertical) twin Yamaha and the other Japanese and British verticals like the Triple Fivers’ Hondas, the numerous Triumph, BSA, Norton, and other Brit twins, vintage Japanese Triples and Fours, sportbikes, Beemers, and just about everything else. In conclusion, you have exponentially grown your reader base and I now have a much more family-friendly local motorcycle magazine that I don’t have to apologize to my wife for.
Well done, and best wishes for the future!
David Pope, 1978 Yamaha (Triumph, Honda, and Lord knows what else) XS400