Motorcyclist Magazine publisher, Source Interlink files for bankruptcy

Dailies -


Motorcyclist_Magazine.JPGThe publisher of Motorcyclist, Sport Rider, Dirt Rider and several other motorcycle magazines has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The news comes just one month after Cycle World was put on sale. Source Interlink, which is owned by shady billionaire Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. publishes 75 magazines, mostly in the car and motorcycle enthusiast category, making it particularly vulnerable to the downturn in both industries. Source Interlink, which also publishes Motor Trend will now become a private company.
U.S. magazine revenue, already suffering a long-term reduction, fell 20
percent in the first quarter of this year compared to a year ago. In an
agreement with lenders, $1 billion in existing Source Interlink debt
will be cancelled and around $100 million in additional liquidity will
be provided to facilitate ongoing business. It’s expected that heavy
restructuring and cost cutting will now take place within the company’s
publications, but it’s too early to determine which, if any, titles
will be closed or sold.

Source Interlink motorcycle titles:
ATV Rider     
Dirt Rider    
Hot Bike    
Motorcycle Cruiser    
Sport Rider    
Street Chopper    
Super Street Bike

Bloomberg via Jalopnik

  • MTGR

    Its a shame, but that is what happens when your magazines keep deliver fluff in the Internet age. When the NET already provided a dozen tests or race reviews weeks earlier, your print coverage needs something more to compete; like tests that are more in-depth than the manufacturers’ own brochures or race coverage with more than two paragraphs and one bad photo. I grew up in the era of print copy only and back then many mags had 10-15 page tests and photos showing the bikes stripped right to the frames and real live opinions other than the obvious (this cruiser does not handle like a sportbike – gee, no kidding?) and race coverage that really got behind the scenes until it actually came to life for the reader. Bring back some of that or go internet or follow these guys mag people.

  • SJY

    The best motorcycle magazine in the world is Motorcycle Racer from the UK.

    • Wes Siler

      I like Performance Bikes and, to a lesser extent, Bike.

      • geonerd

        Motorcyle Sport & Leisure is an excellent alternative to Bike, IMO.

  • geonerd

    i find it not too surprising that shitrags like sport rider and cycleworld are going under. ignore your customers. head in the sand. stay the course. and this is where you end up.

    sounds a lot like another industry here in the states that’s about to take a huge dump on the taxpayers.

    they either drown now or later. let’s do ourselves and our kids a favor and deal with it now.

  • aoelus

    I dropped Motorcyclist because I got tired of Boehm’s extreme right wing agenda and because he fired John Burns so I won’t be shedding any tears over them if they disappear. I subscribe to Two Wheels Only, ‘taint cheap but usually somethings of interest. I’ll have to check out Motorcycle Racer. The UK classic bike mags were worthwhile but got out of that scene a few years ago. Cycle World comes every month but I don’t usually spend much time with it. Looks like print media’s day is done.

    • Generic1776


      When Mitch left Motorcyclist and started Motorcyclist Retro, which in turn was dropped by the publisher and was taken privately owned under the name Motorcycle Retro, the focus was a back to the basics on the print media moto-rag… it is great!

      Last year, when a coworker gave me a 1971 Yamaha R5, my eyes were opened to a new kind of passion for old iron. A passion that relished the time spent in the garage working a project, turning what would be salvage fodder into something greater than the sum of its parts. All the while recounting stories of journeys/races/bikes of yesteryear.

      The Boehm’s Retro mag captured that passion and put it on think high-gloss paper. The overall product quality better aligns with “coffee table book” as opposed to “restroom reading”.

      By print magazine quality standards the closest competition is probably Robb Report Motorcycling, but RRM falls more to the store-bought-status-symbol audience as opposed to those that build-it-at-home enthusiast.

      The last great set of articles from Motorcyclist was the “Blowing the Lid Off” series, since it was the instigator of the changes (yet to be) implemented by the helmet industry. But since then, the articles have been on a steady pace of rehashing the same topics and reviews year after year, only with new model years.

      Print media is changing. The conglomerate publishers either need to adapt or get out of the way. It is too bad that success of the few is taken down by the failure of the whole.

      • Generic1776

        crap, I didn’t close a html tag, now way too much of that turned into a link instead of just two words. sorry.

  • urban rider

    Speaking of Bike magazine… Did you know they now have a facebook group and a you tube channel? YAY! ;P

    They have done a few cool articles recently, even featuring Roland Sands. Their kit reviews are sooo dull though.

  • A.Tam

    This is unfortunate.

    Fortunately, I only need two:
    • Roadracing World & Motorcycle Technology (online only subscription)
    • Motorcycle Consumer News (US not the UK rag)

  • Zeitgeist

    Its sad fro anybody affected by this I feel for the people who have put so much effort in trying to make things happen then get pushed down for trying. Good luck guys maybe a E-reader version for download would be cool. with links for the pics to the website for the really nice Hi-Res ones.

  • Stacy

    I suppose this explains why I recent received a renewal offer for Motorcyclist in the mail that featured the low, low price of $5 a year.

  • Grant Ray

    tag fixed.

  • Doug

    As an illustrator who has worked for a few of the magazines on that list, it’s not good news. As a creator of content, the market is crumbling and not being replaced with an economically viable structure. Somewhere in the new model the workers need a paycheck. I suppose after the web has killed print, the pay for access model can be built. Working for free is good for charities, not magazines.

    • Wes Siler

      Web is totally viable, look at the success of Gawker Media (full disclosure: my employer). Granted, endemic advertisers are slow to transition away from their traditional ad venues and into a new platform that would give them better value for money, better targeting, better exposure and more eyes, but the ridiculousness of the ad industry will eventually change.

  • Matthew

    Ha, I just signed up for a free subscription to Motorcyclist this morning. I would never pay money for it again, but I figured one more ‘zine in the mail would be good for my serotonin levels. Guess not.

    Get Two Wheels only and/or Bike if you need it on paper.

  • skadamo

    I would hate to see all magazines go away. But I have to admit I have less of a reason to subscribe these days. Do you think we will see any of the editors start a blog?

  • jivefrequency

    The world moved on. Primedia and Source Interlink did not. So here we are.

    You can see this two ways: 1) The travesty of laying off thousands of unemployed journalists. 2) A massive opportunity to reinvent the automotive and motorcycle news industries.

    I chose the latter. Then again, I’m not unemployed or a journalist.

  • stevezielenski

    good riddance, all of them… this is what happens when you sacrifice editorial integrity for add dollars…. who wants to read the same articles over and over every year:

    1. 2009 preview (marketing summaries)
    2. 600 shootout (whoever has the most ad dollars wins)
    3. twins shootout (ducatis are too expensive for most people)
    3. 1000 shootout (ad dollars win)
    4. bike of the year (yawn)
    5. bikes nobody wants to buy issue (heavy HD focus)

    nowhere is an article to be found that isnt 80% tech specs… most articles can be written without even riding the bikes…

    weak… and good f-ing riddance!

  • jimbo

    You want print? Great, glossy photos, interesting interviews, NO viagra adds and no God Damn letters to the editor (WHO CARES WHAT YOU THINK OF HONDA CHOPPERS?)

    I got my third copy yesterday and it rocks.

  • Shrike

    I have two words for them: Bike Magazine (UK). I long ago stopped buying motorcycle and car magazines published here in the US. It was right about the time I graduated from 3rd grade. As another poster above said, Their rags where nothing but fluff and plugged fluff. Bike magazine is publishing insightful pieces like multi page articles looking into the inner workings of the minds of the executives running the industry instead of who makes the coolest gear bag. Good riddance.

  • Giant

    As a occasional reader from Switzerland, I only know Motorcyclist. If I compare this with the big European mags like Motorrad in Germany or Motociclismo in Italy, I must deplore the poor American readers! In Motociclismo, the comparison tests run on 15, 20 or even 25 pages and are definitely much more than just brochure copies. The US market should even today have the potential for three or four great magazines. And paper isn’t dead yet, or does anybody take his laptop to the loo?
    Thumbs up from old Europe!

  • JohnnyB

    Matter of fact i just started a blog. And I doubt anybody cares. I’ve been trying to get Cycle World to let me just take over its .com, but there is no budget and very little interest it seems like. Too bad, I think it could be big fun and big $$ someday, once some genius figures out how to make it pay. Well, as in everything it’s Relationships that pay, no? And at CW, they’re already in place. Were. who knows?

    feedback welcome, I’m taking it cautious for now i guess…

    John Burns Motorcycle Diaries

    • Wes Siler

      Doesn’t take a genius to make it pay. In fact, if Cycle World, Motorcyclist etc hadn’t devalued their websites in the minds of advertisers by giving away real estate on them as added value to print campaigns, they be making money from them right now. Well, if anyone visited them that is.

  • Used Motorhomes

    I prefer mountain bike magazine. I think this is the best magazine in US.