Rubber-Side Down We Are American Riders
Harley-Davidson’s new Nightster, a liquid-cooled riff on an old nameplate, just like American Rider.

It’s ironic that the arrival of Harley-Davidson’s Revolution Max engine coincided with my arrival at Thunder Press one year ago: legendary brands with rich histories that are fighting to stay relevant in an ever-evolving environment.  

For Harley, it needed a modern powertrain able to meet current and future emissions laws, and one it could use as the platform for a multitude of models. First, the MoCo debuted a sensational adventure bike around the new Revolution Max motor, the 150-horse Pan America. It was weird but excellent. Then came the avant-garde Sportster S, which thrilled for its power but disappointed for its non-traditional style.  

If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said, ‘Don’t change anything.’ –Henry Ford 

In 2020, Thunder Press had switched from a broadsheet format to a glossy magazine layout. And then Covid hit, closing down dealers and cutting off the primary source of our distribution with no end in sight. Shipping and printing costs kept rising, so we switched to a subscription model to continue providing our readers with their favorite magazine directly.  

The demise of publications such as American Iron, Hot Bike, Street Choppers, and Quick Throttle, as well as mainstream magazines like Motorcyclist and Cycle World, seemed to indicate print was dying if not dead. There exists only about a half dozen national moto pubs still producing magazines, and an even smaller number doing it monthly as we do. The AMA’s American Motorcyclist is one, and our sister publication, Rider, is the other.  

However, the vacuum created by the extinct motorcycle publications created the opportunity to serve riders like you who prefer to consume news and entertainment about moto culture on a printed page (or on a digital representation). Like a Crocker or a Cyclone, there’s only a few to choose from. We have a loyal following of readers who appreciate the premium experience of leafing through insightful stories about the V-Twin industry that are expertly laid out on pages both physical and virtual. 

It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating, they have to be about change. –Miles Davis 

I was brought on to helm Thunder Press one year ago, grateful for the opportunity to refine our content within the paradigm of a monthly print and digital publication centered around being the journal of the V-Twin community. To better reflect our evolution away from freebie newsprint publishing to a higher-end presentation, we’ve decided to transition from the name Thunder Press to our new title, American Rider.  

This may come as a blow to some of our longtime readers, and it’s not a decision we took lightly. But that’s the only change to this esteemed publication that you’ll see – just the name on the cover. 

We are American riders who love American motorcycles and the V-Twin riding community, so it makes perfect sense to dub this publication American Rider.  

If you enjoy the stories and reports you find on our pages, tell your friends about us. Oh, and let them know that beginning with our next issue, you’ll be seeing 16 extra pages of Thund … er, American Rider! 

There is nothing permanent except change. –Heraclitus 

RELATED READING: Rubber-Side Down – Anniversary Party