HFL has been acquired

Dailies, DriveApart -

By

HFL-Sold

We’re extremely excited to announce that Hell For Leather has been acquired by RideApart Inc. The result of months of hard work, the acquisition will see HFL grow and diversify its coverage of the motorcycle world, even as RideApart prepares to launch a powerful new consumer portal in the space.

“It’s time for the motorcycle industry to reach a new, younger audience,” commented RideApart Founder and CEO Jon Alain Guzik. “Hell for Leather has successfully captured hundreds of thousands of passionate young riders, now RideApart will grow that audience, even while empowering them with tools drawn from from the mainstream consumer and automotive worlds.”

Grant and I launched HFL back in late 2007 with little more than a gut feeling that motorcycle media needed disruption. Something I think we achieved through creativity, original content, honest journalism and a tireless work ethic. The acquisition, achieved at a time when even mainstream media outlets are struggling, validates that approach. I’ll be carrying HFL forward as RideApart’s Co-Founder and Vice President, Grant’s taking the opportunity to pursue other interests.

And you can let your breath out now, HFL will continue to exist as a breaking news/up-to-the-minute feature/editorial property under RideApart’s umbrella. It’ll get bigger and better in the process, while remaining the voice of the young enthusiast.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as we’ve enjoyed making HFL. RideApart launches this fall.

Special thanks to: Adey Bennet, Alan Wilzig, Alec Dinner, Andrea Wilson, Andy Didorosi, Andy Gregory, Ashlee Goodwin, Basem Wasef, Bryan Wood, Carby Tuckwell, Carter Edman, Chris Mitchell, Chuck Squatriglia, Corey Shouse Torino, Daniel Laster, Dave Roper, David Edwards, David Folch, Dexter Ford, Don Emde, Drake McElroy, Emil Rensing, Erik Green, Gary Inman, Harry Mallin, Ilya Khait, James Hammarhead, Jamie Robinson, Jason Fullington, Jens Kruper, JF Musial, Jochen Vorfelder, Joel Martin, Jon Bekefy, Joost Overzee, Josh Vietze, JT Nesbitt, Justin Knauer, Kat Foster, Kate Erwin, Ken Deeg, Kevin Ash, Kurt Walter, Madina Merzhoeva, Mark Buche, Mark Fenigstein, Mark Gardiner, Mark Ryan Sallee, Mat Oxley, Matt Bean, Matt Hardigree, Matt Stutzman, Melissa MacCaull, Mike Jenkins, Michael Czysz, Michael DiTullo, Michael Uhlarik, Nicholas Biebeyck, Nick Goddard, Nick Pinkham, Nik Wogan, Nikolous Jung, Noah Leger, Norman Mayershon, One Arm, Our Families, Paul Gulien, Payton Fisher, Peter Guld, Ray Wert, Roland Sands, Sam Strauss-Malcolm, Sean MacDonald, Sean Smith, Shevy Shovlin, Skank, Skiny, Steve Smith, Susanna Schick, The Guziks, The Piernos, The Schneiders, Thomas Wanner, Thor Drake, Ty Van Hooydonk, Tyler Poniatowski. And, especially to our our loyal and enthusiastic readership, without whom none of this would have been possible.

  • http://www.lloydvintage.com Corey

    congratulations

    • pahoo

      I dont understand why Cody didn’t get “special thanks”.

  • doublet

    “We think the bold new graphics are not to be overlooked when considering the value of this year’s newly produced Yamakazuki everybike. We’d like to say we could find a fault, but we just can’t… really. We can’t. They won’t let us. Send help”

    Good luck guys.

  • Wolfgang Romero

    Great news guys, I will continue following your steps in the media, I’m sure the quality will always prevail.

  • Groomez

    Congrats gents! I remember when you first started I was trying to keep up a small blog/news site about bikes and make it grow. You guys have achieved exactly what I had in mind and it’s been amazing to see your success over the years.

    Thanks for the excellent write-ups.
    Cheers

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Congratulations, guys. I’d like to know more about the “other interests” that Grant is pursuing.
    Also, “Mallin” not “Malin”

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Look who’s all uppity now! Kidding, thanks Harry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

    Here, I mistakenly thought RideApart was a side HFL project. Unless this is creative legal juggling, I was confused.

    Hope Grant’s not too far removed down the road, though I can appreciate the need for absence.

    • Roman

      Yeah, I thought it was just the name of the Youtube series. So that’s a bit confusing. Either way, congrats and best of luck!

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphodel,_That_Greeny_Flower Grant Ray
      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

        I hate when I laugh out loud and “lol” seems inadequate.

      • wwalkersd

        Long gone already, eh? We’ll miss you, Grant! Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • http://worldof2.com/ jpenney

    Dang. Grant will be missed as he’s the one that always seems to pull everyone back to reality, especially when Wes’ hyperbolic tendencies get activated.

    I’m hoping the the desire to be “the Edmund’s of the powersports world” doesn’t apply to HFL. That’s not what I come here for. WebBikeWorld does that just fine, if a little boring and overly pedantic.

    Assuming that there’s no coincidence in the name, RideApart has been the best of the Drive shows by a wide margin. I hope that’s the feel going forward but having been around the Internet block a few times I’m definitely concerned that this is just some VC money buying an established audience.

    I hope Grant wasn’t pushed out (really going to miss his input and photos here), and I hope things continue with all the snark, and hipsterism that I’ve come to love on this site. Overall I’m trying to say, “don’t fuck it up.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate Ben W

      I’d like to take a contrary view to jpenney here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgQzZbNxZZ0

    • Thomas

      Will miss Grant and his outstanding positions/features with its hooooooorizontal scrolling. Remarkable format, best combination of print and web. maybe too much east coast ;-)

      • sidecar_freak

        +1

      • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

        I love the horizontal features. Never tried it on an iPad etc., but on an iMac with that giant touch pad thingy it’s awesome. Hope they stay horizontal!

        • cdeforrest

          The galleries and especially the different-to-be-different horizontal orientation have probably been my top functional complaints about the site.

          Maybe there will be budget for an IT guy now to fix the things we’ve been told to ‘deal with’

          At least its not Gawker. Whew!

  • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    Congratulations.

  • markbvt

    HfL’s been a breath of fresh air in the world of motorcycle journalism. You guys have done a great job and had a unique voice.

    As for this announcement, I will reserve judgement until I see what’s coming. But I’ll go with jpenney’s comment: don’t fuck it up.

    Sorry to see Grant parting ways. Not sure what to read into that.

    • Devin

      What this guy said.

    • Restless Lip Syndrome

      +1 sums it up nicely.

    • Campisi

      Indeed.

  • ike6116

    Let the baseless speculation begin!!!

    Wes went Hollywood and Grant didn’t.

    • contender

      I laughed at this.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

      Wes will be hollywood when he stops trying to dress for a weekend in the Hamptons to go out at night.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Damn, guess all that fake tan and laser body hair removal was in vain then.

    • John2

      We like baseless speculation; Grant’s kinda busy: http://www.linkedin.com/in/grantray?trk=pub-pbmap

      “Working directly with Piaggio North America, manufacturer of Vespa, Moto Guzzi & Aprilia, I helped develop the overall campaign strategy across multiple initiatives for Aprilia’s 2012 campaign “Aprilia Masters club” and personally lead a +40 team creating all of the campaign’s online video content. You can see the work on apriliamasters.com”

  • Glenngineer

    Do you guys make good money? That would seal the deal as making this the best job ever.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    What fresh hell is this?!

    • doublet

      “Lol”

  • sp99drac9r

    “RideApart will grow that audience, even while empowering them with tools drawn from from the mainstream consumer and automotive worlds”. Hmm, this kind of bland corp-speak/PR-pablum is not an encouraging first impression from the new owner/boss.

    All the hard work that has gone into HFL deserves to be rewarded and hope everyone who had a hand in it feels they have been made whole one way or the other.

    Grant, thanks and I’m sure we’re all curious to see what’s next for you. Wes, may you realize all you envision under the bigger umbrella. Good luck and keep on keeping it real.

    • Holden and Annette

      Yep, when the company that I work for went public, we started hearing corporate-speak phrases along the lines of, “even while empowering them with tools drawn from the mainstream consumer and automotive worlds.”

      And it’s not as fun a place to work anymore. The website I work for is now about making a profit first, and helping the reader second. I understand why, but it makes me sad and my enthusiasm wanes.

      Jon, Wes, please strive to keep this site a fun place to visit. Make pleasing your readers the No. 1 goal. Profit will arise from that.

      One final thing: SEO is a tool. Don’t let it be your master.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        See the part where it says I’m co-founder? I’m not making a crappy company and I don’t make bland content. RideApart is, as we iterate and grow over the next few years, going to take over the world.

        • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

          Great to hear!

          Going public (and having to answer to a board of directors who are concerned foremost about share prices and dividends) is very different than transferring ownership of a company from one owner-operated entity to another same-owner-operated entity.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            Yeah, I mean we’re not Enron…

            • Campisi

              Just don’t be Comcast.

              • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

                We’re aiming more for ClearChannel. *rolls eyes*

    • http://www.racetrackstyle.com Racetrack Style

      Glad I wasn’t the only one who thought that statement was corporatized.

      I have to ramp up my knowledge transfer to understand that statement, so I will take that action item offline and report back

      Best wishes Grant

      • Kevin

        They’re tapping synergistic elements to optimize the value function, employing out of the box thinking while keeping the consumer front of mind.

  • Charlie

    Congrats…as Steve Jobs said, dent the universe. Make it a more interesting place with your own vision. Cheers

  • Gene

    Ah well… it was good while it lasted!

  • Josh

    Congratulations are in order I suppose. However, I, like many of the posters above, can’t help but feel a bit apprehensive. I will give you guys the benefit of the doubt of course, but I will echo this again: “don’t fuck it up.” HFL is (well, was) the only publication I subscribed to, print included.

    Best of luck to Grant as well. Your insight and photography will definitely be missed.

  • mmike

    Congrats and good luck!

  • Core

    Ah, well this is scary to me.. .

    I got banned from making comments on the youtube channel of rideapart.. . For what reasons I am still not sure. I either make really smart comments, or normaly non bannable comments like this with no cursing or whatever. Plus no one ever got back with me from the channel saying why I had been banned from making comments after I sent them a message.

    Whatever the case good to know whats going on, and good luck. Hopefully this will be a good move. Only time will tell.

    You guys at HFL were really my first love when it came to motorcycles. What honestly got me into them. I guess I’ll find out if its time to move on or what.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      YouTube is notorious for having the most vile community on the Internet and I know DRIVE has been taking steps to try and raise the quality. You probably got accidentally caught in that net.

      Remember that we produce the show for the channel, that’s it.

      When I say bigger and better, I mean it. I’m in charge of RideApart’s content, and it’s going to be fucking awesome.

      Have to say, the concern is a little flattering though, thanks.

  • phil_schneider

    Best wishes for both you and Grant as you ride on different paths.

  • Jon B.

    We’re having a party on a boat in a few weeks, good excuse to celebrate.

    • Campisi

      Don’t toss the keys overhand.

  • Skank NYCFastest

    Can I still use bad words?

    • T Diver

      I believe so. Just preface it with, “no offence…”

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    Wow.

    Good luck with the new setup. I, like everyone else, hope the site stays as cool as it is now.

    P.S. Please hire me.

  • zato1414

    So what becomes of the HFL Site? Do we continue to check-in here? Good luck to your fame and fortune. Was Grant beaten with rubber hoses, is there any visible bruising?

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’ll keep on keepin on. Content may continue to be a bit slow until we get RideApart up and running, hire new staff and things like that.

      • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

        Good luck with the transition to all of y’alls!

  • Scott-jay

    Best wishes and congratulations, fellows.

    Change is good, especially when you’re young.
    Beware tho’, it can make you cranky & cynical later on : )

    Just me, or was there already a funky funeral vibe at earlier post/comments announcing subscribers-demise?

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      +1

  • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

    that’s like damien hirst buying his diamond-skull.

    what a Pro move! congrats! hope this will all turn out to be awesome for everyone, inculding us dudes at the bottom of the page.

  • ike6116

    Grant,

    Why did you believe in HFL but not RideApart?

    That’s an assumption but it seems strange to nebulously “pursuing other projects” when this is acquisition is sold to us as the metamorphosis and next level of the thing you poured your heart into and took a chance on.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Grant’s on a bike for a couple hours…Circumstances change and sometimes it’s just time to do your own thing. There’s no conspiracy here.

      • ike6116

        So would he have quit anyways had this not acquisition not happened?

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          An acquisition gives you the opportunity to make changes.

          • ike6116

            Are you saying you got paid mad loot and now Grant is popping bottles on yachts with models?

            It sounds like that’s what you’re saying.

        • generic1776

          In corporate speak, “_____’s taking the opportunity to pursue other interests” means the executive is has been fired, but you don’t fire CEO’s, they leave on their own with comfortable packages. They are typically bought out of their share of the company (which is probably half of the current value of HFL as the largest/most influential Bike Magazine on the web.)

          So “being removed” is not bad… in fact, imagine cashing out on 50% of magazine at it’s peak, it could be quite comfortable. Where Motorcyclist Retro died a fiery death after 4 issues… Grant is living it up!

          So while “acquisition gives (you) the opportunity to make changes” it also is a means of centralizing control of the company. When you have a startup, it takes strong personalities to drive it forward for success. The strong personalities, being separate, will diverge in choice of direction at some point. The best solution is a buy-out, this way the strong drive remains and centralizes and the “removed” executive get an opportunity.

          This is where you turn to study GE, and the transitions of CEO’s at GE, Boeing and Ford. The “loser” in a competition to become the next CEO of GE, competed for the position at Boeing and won, the loser left Boeing and took over Ford. Ford’s current success is due to Allan Mullaly’s leadership and decision making, but he was the “removed” executive from Boeing.

          So when an executive leaves from a successful business, may truly give them the opportunity to take their reputation elsewhere and “build”.

          I think both Wes and Grant will do extremely well, and I can’t wait to see what comes of each of their efforts.

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    The first thing I did when I read this article was go looking for more HFL stickers over at the HFL Shop. I guess the stickers are long gone.

    I’ve had many people (motorcyclists and not) ask me about the HFL stickers that are prominently displayed on my Ducati.

    • Restless Lip Syndrome

      My all-black AGV has a white HFL sticker on the back, the only decoration on the entire thing. It gets funny looks.

      • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

        Hey, me too! TWINS!

      • noone1569

        My Rubatone Variant has one on the back, the only marking on it, meow.

    • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

      I proudly display mine on the back window of my rape van/motorcycle hauler. I get strange looks regardless!

      http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s720x720/301741_1586628705775_998791229_n.jpg

  • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

    Congratulations Grant, Wes, Sean and the whole team! Looking forward to the evolution of HFL!

  • Wolfgang Romero

    I can’t belive I never got around to buy a HFL sticker!!!! Oh man now they are all gone

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    I think those of us that are aprhensive about this have seen lots of changes to our favorite sites in the past, only to loathe them. I sincerely hope HFL and RideApart succeed and bring more readers and viewing into the fold.

    I will miss Grant, though.

  • Denzel

    Congrats guys!
    I’ll trust in Wed & crews’ ability to make this a better moto world, based on track record.

  • Nick

    Oh well…

  • randry

    Congrats! I have a vision of Grant riding a wheelie off into the sunset!
    Wes, now you should have a big enough platform to shame Harley into doing the right thing, building the bike they should have when they had Eric Buell! It’s likely you’ll just be pissing into a fan though.
    Keep the passion burning and stand your ground in the corporte world, and remember “when in doubt gas it”

  • rvltng_bstrd

    All of you who acquired the HFL bug – consider yourselves cured.
    RIPHFL

  • R13

    This sounds like a great opportunity, Congrats guys your hard work and general being awesome-ness paid off.

  • HammSammich

    Very cool. I’m excited to see what’s in store…

  • mcfaite

    Congratulations you boys. I figured something was up as soon as you started talking about giving us our money back. That was just cray cray.

    Will miss Grant’s contributions.

    Please keep it from gettin’ all corporate-tastic.

  • je

    While we all know things come and go, it’s always disappointing when something you truly enjoy evolves/changes/bough out/cancelled/ruined/disappears.

    I have been visiting HFL multiple times a day for a while now so I will continue to show my support tell you give me a reason not to.

    I have http://www.hfl-se.com (second edition) on standby though, just incase you go US Top Gear on us.

  • Ben

    All the “Young audience” wording in that press release reminds me of a Harley Sportster add.

    well, at least I don’t have to pay for my subscription anymore!

  • MG

    All the best HFL – we learned to love you. Now we have to learn to love RideApart, I hope. Looking forward to it…

  • bahnzii

    Congrats!! Looking forward to seeing what’s next…

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Cool stuff!

    Now this is something I am actually excited about… unlike news of a bike magazine sale which would usually mean that they’re doing down the toilet!

    Looking forward to seeing what is planned!

  • jim

    Folks : No more subscription HFL ? I’m 60+, where else am I going to flirt ever so slightly with being hip ??
    In a few short years I went from a KLR to a Dorsoduro. I wear stylin’ footwear. No logos.( OK, I’m still powerangerish on my commute(so damn practical) But other rides : not so much.)
    I’m an optimist. Good luck Wes and the rest. Good luck Grant.The Future…..Bring it on.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

      as the resident hipster, i can give you my stamp of approval.

  • http://www.ClevelandCycleWerks.com scottydigital

    !!!!

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    Excellent. Can’t wait to see what’s in store. Sorry to hear about Grant going on hiatus-I’ve always enjoyed his photo albums and his unbiased perspective against the more opinionated writers (coughWEScough). Best of luck on your travels, Grant!

  • Justin

    Does this mean the HFL staff will be getting free cadillacs?

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

      with the way they’re pushing those new ATS’s during the Olympics and preseason football, nothing would be awesomer.

  • Sentinel

    So I guess since I”m not so young anymore I’m a nobody here….

    “It’s time for the motorcycle industry to reach a new, younger audience,” commented RideApart Founder and CEO Jon Alain Guzik. “Hell for Leather has successfully captured hundreds of thousands of passionate young riders, now RideApart will grow that audience, even while empowering them with tools drawn from from the mainstream consumer and automotive worlds.”

    • ike6116

      Im sorry you had to find out this way

  • joshua

    Grants leaving? But then there will be no more posts about stupid “art project” scooters? Who will send me nasty emails getting me confused with some other Joshua?

    Makes me sad.

  • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

    Congrats guys! Looking forward to seeing what RideApart is about and how it unfolds.

    Good luck in the next chapter!

  • Scott-jay

    Scarce weekend content at HFL seems safe for the time being.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      HFL is made by the kind of people that do stuff on the weekends. Stuff away from computers.

  • Denzel

    I confess I don’t ‘get’ the name “RideApart”…

    Anyone smarter than I care to explain?

    (leather and hell I get…)

  • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

    Congrats to you all, here’s hoping all your projects succeed.

    I am, as most and generally speaking, in the “don’t fuck it up” stance right now but on a precise point i’ll say this: many didn’t like the more mainstream targetting in the RideAppart show. I was not part of that group and recognized that being part of a primarily car oriented channel it was a necessity (and a smart move to showcase some very cool stuff that most -especially in the US- none riders didn’t know about bikes, be it about bikes themselves or stuff you can do on and around them).
    My worry however is this: i liked the HFl tone very much and while the show had to be more approachable, the website was not and that’s what made it cool. Some features were very interesting and funny to us because we share that passion and it’s codes.

    Please don’t lose that in the hopes of seducing the masses, stay a publication made by riders for riders (as corny as that sounds).

    All the best.
    sean (the french one)

  • Earl

    I hope your new position gives you health insurance–you have earned it and need it.

    • David

      LOL

  • Tony

    Congrats.

  • aristurtle

    Eeew, now there’s a big “RideApart presents…” logo above HellForLeather at the top of the page.

    • Wolfgang Romero

      That thing snuck up on me

      • rohorn

        Reminds me of seeing the AMF logo on Harley tanks…

  • EricP

    Ah. I guess this explains why I’m able to see content here today despite not paying the subscription. Seems like a win for everyone. Might start frequenting the site again now that I don’t have to give my money away.

    • EricP

      What I’m not sure about is if this validates my contention that the decision to have people pay for this scarce content was a bad move, or if it invalidates it. I mean someone thought enough of what you guys were doing to give you some money for it. But, the first thing they did was undo what I assume was your primary revenue stream: subscriptions. Curious. Very curious.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        One word: “Scale.”

        • EricP

          Ok, but how does that affect the zeitgeist of this site? What is the point of HFL?

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            What do you mean? HFL remains a lifestyle publication targeted at a young audience. That doesn’t change. The number of stories will grow, as will the number of contributors and we’ll be able to to do what we’ve been doing on a larger scale.

            • Donovan

              When do we get contacted about those refunds?

  • Von Scotch

    Its all went a bit Pete Tong.