When I stepped into the Editor-in-Chief chair at Thunder Press in April 2021, it felt like walking into a room of assorted gearheads who I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of meeting. I was comfortable in my surroundings, but I wasn’t very familiar with most of my new tribe. As with anyone joining a new group, preconceptions and stereotypes initially helped guide my way. 

It’s been fun learning more about my new community over the past 21 months, and I’ve got an even better idea of who you are after seeing the results from our recent reader survey. Some preconceptions were supported, but several were blown apart. Perhaps you’ll feel similar after perusing some of the data I discovered. 

Find more Rubber-Side Down columns here

First off, I’m proud to be associated with so many hardcore motorcycle fans. More than 30% of you own three or more bikes, and 10% are fortunate to own five or more. Trike ownership sits at a small but significant 11.5%. Additionally, nearly 80% of you have more than 20 years of riding experience, while just 6% have 10 years or less.

Expectedly, Harley-Davidson is the most popular American brand owned by our readers, tallying 54%. Indian ownership is exactly 10 times less at 5.4%, followed by Victory (3.2%) and Buell (2%). The surprise is that nearly 65% of you own foreign brands. 

Some 60% of you are considering buying a motorcycle in the next year, with more than 52% of that group saying they’d purchase a new bike instead of a pre-owned one. Unsurprisingly, of the American brands you are considering, 54% of you are thinking about buying an H-D, but prospective customers for Indians is a sizable 40%. Indian will also be pleased that 58% of our Harley owners said “Yes” or “Definitely” when asked if they’d consider an Indian instead of an H-D. 

Rubber-Side Down Kevin Duke on the Indian Scout Rogue
Indian continues to make inroads in the American V-Twin market, with 58% of our Harley-owning readers saying they’d consider buying an Indian. Here, Duke samples the Scout Rogue.

In the mix of bikes being considered for purchase in our “Other” category of non-American brands is a varied assortment of Japanese (all the Big Four) and European companies (mostly BMW and Triumph, as well as Ducati and Moto Guzzi). Of the nontraditional brands, Can-Am and Royal Enfield made amazingly strong showings. 

That we all love American V-Twins is a given here on these pages, but our love for motorcycles stretches much further than our geographical boundaries. I was amazed to learn in a separate question that a shockingly high 78% said they’d consider buying a bike made by a foreign manufacturer. 

When I think about bikers, I don’t usually think about dirtbikers, but that preconception was shattered when I learned that more than 27% of you ride off-road. And along that same dirty line, I was astounded that 43% said adventure bikes interest you, as these tall machines are exactly the opposite of a low-slung chopper. Seems like the appeal of these versatile bikes is gaining traction even here at American Rider

For me, the biggest surprise of the survey was learning that 23% of you would consider purchasing an electric motorcycle such as the LiveWire or a Zero or Energica. For a publication that originally had the word “Thunder” in its title, the news that you’d consider a whirring electric motorcycle was a revelation. 

Here’s a rundown of the types of articles we publish, along with the percentage of you who are “Interested” or “Definitely Interested” in reading them:

  •   Motorcycle Tests: 90%
  •   Product Evaluations: 88.5%
  •   Historical/Vintage: 71.5%
  •   Calendar of Events: 64%  
  •   Columnists: 62% (33% neutral)
  •   Event Reports: 54%
  •   Bike Builds: 47%
  •   Racing: 45.5% (30% neutral)

When asked specifically about coverage of American Flat Track and MotoAmerica’s King of the Baggers, we’re glad that 64% said they enjoyed it. Both forms of racing are highly entertaining and often coincide with fun rallies and biker events, so it makes good sense to highlight the happenings on racetracks that host American V-Twins. 

Most of you appear to be old-school readers, consuming our content largely on the pages of our print and digital issues, with 52% of you rarely checking AmericanRider.com. While more web traffic would be appreciated, it’s nice to see that about 25% of you pass along your magazine to friends and family. 

Some 89% of you are male, so do us all a favor and invite your lady friends to subscribe! Annual household incomes were fairly evenly distributed, but the largest segment is the bucks-up $125,000+ group at 25.5%. 

Thanks to all who gave us a piece of their mind in our survey. American Rider will continue to be inspiration to find the latest and greatest motorcycles and products on the market. Thanks for letting us be your guide!


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