I have been a regular reader of Cycle World magazine for the past two years. I started reading the magazine when a co-worker, handed me an issue that he picked up. As a Harley rider he did not find much interest in the magazine but after one issue I was hooked. I am mostly interested in sporty standards and sport touring motorcycles and enjoy reading adventure style stories. I am not a chrome and leather type of girl and not interested in hearing about your adventures on the way to the bar at Sturgis.
What is Cycle World?
Cycle World is a US based magazine that publishes 12 issues a year. Each issue is about 100 pages and printed in color on glossy paper. Cycle World is published by Hachette Filipacchi Media, who also publish Car and Driver, Road and Track, and interestingly enough Elle Magazine.
The magazine generally opens up with two or three pages of editorial pieces (read: some old guys reminiscing about the bikes they had “back in the day”). It them goes on to have a few pages of readers letters followed by some mini-reviews of new gear and accessories on the market. Once we get into the meat of the magazine we are greeted with pages upon pages of motorcycle reviews. Some are short half page blurbs about a new model with shiny pictures while others are mutli-page spreads detailing a recent road test the journalist took. There are also always side by side comparisons of similar bikes where the journalists compare the fine details of each bike. There are always a few pages filled with the latest race industry news. At the back of each issue there is a question and answer section where readers write in with their technical questions and the writers provide answers. As to be expected there is also a large advertising section at the back of the magazine.
What I like about the magazine
I really like the writers of this magazine. I feel like these are “real guys” who are passionate about motorcycles and motorcycle riding. All too often you meet folks in the motorcycle world who seem to just ooze testosterone and inflated egos – the conversations will be meaningless statements about X bike being the fastest and how everyone should have a specific exhaust setup. I feel like the writers of Cycle World see beyond brand names and image. When they compare bikes they don’t show brand biases and they seem quite open to all styles of motorcycles. They are the guys who are thrilled to be out on two wheels – whether it is on a 50cc Honda Metro, a 1400cc Hayabusa or a custom chopper.
I also enjoy that this magazine has intelligent articles about the motorcycles and the technology. While it has plenty of pretty pictures of motorcycles they are not the main focus. This is certainly not one of those “motorcycle” mags that are full of half naked women posed awkwardly on motorcycles.
What the magazine is missing
This magazine is definitely targeted to one crowd, 30+ year old guys who are into sport touring, adventure riding or racing. As a female rider I would like to see more articles either targeted towards ladies or just including women riders within their articles. In my time reading the magazine I don’t think I’ve read any articles written by women. Also, as my Harley riding co-worker discovered there aren’t many articles geared towards the cruiser riders in this magazine. That doesn’t bother me as much though as there are plenty of magazines targeted towards this crowd.
I think Cycle World is the best motorcycle magazine currently in wide distribution in the US. While the magazine is not without its flaws and I think it could stand to diversify its target audience – I have no plans to cancel my subscription any time soon.