PSA: The end of subscriptions

Dailies -



Recently, there have been comments that HFL is changing, and that’s true. Such is the life of a small, growing online company. Some of you have also noticed the subscriber-based pay wall has actually been non-functional for some time now. In fact, it came down just a little while after the last PSA I put up. I promised I’d follow up once I had some concrete to give you, and while I could bore the daylights out of you with tech-talk about widgets, databases, portals and revenue streams, I’d rather just say that HFL has decided to permanently dismantle the pay wall. 

First and foremost, we want to make sure we keep our subscribers happy.

Let’s begin with those of you who had recurring plans or who paid for a single month. What changes for you? Nothing. I turned all recurring plans into single-month plans, then I let all your single-month subscriptions lapse, which was set to occur just as the wall came down. That means all of you are taken care of and you can carry on a usual. Huzzah!

“That’s great for those people, but I paid for 6 months or a year, and I’m not getting the full subscription I paid for.”

For all remaining subscribers, you’re right. You have not received the full extent of what you paid for. While HFL could be slimy, email some legal notification that demands response before bothering to structure reimbursement, I refuse to be that kind of guy just as I refuse to let HFL be that kind of company.

To resolve the discrepancy, I’ve already tabulated each and every one of your subscriptions, the remainders of allotted time as per your subscription plans, and the individual amounts of which you are due. That said, I’ll be frank, you’re not all getting reimbursed tomorrow. But, HFL will begin immediately sending payments via your individual PayPal accounts and we hope to have all of you taken care of within 30 days.

Can you expect more answers in the forthcoming days and weeks about HFL‘s direction? Yes, you most certainly can. Wes is so excited and anxious, he’s like one of those shaken cans of soda that can barely contain itself from exploding.

On a personal note as HFL‘s acting CEO, I’d like to offer my deepest, most humble gratitude to all of you who gave money for subscriptions, commented, sent tips, and contributed material, all for the sake of the dialogue. Your participation has fed me, clothed me and paid for the shelter over my head. These past few years of adventures and all of the amazing people I’ve met along the way, those moments were all made possible because of you, and they’ve been some of the best in my life. For that, I can only say —

Thank you.

  • JaySD

    Good for you guys and good luck with the new direction, we will continue to support you

  • Holden and Annette

    Congrats and thanks!

    And I hope you continue to require people to register with their real names before they can write comments. The comments have such strong signals and so little noise, and it would be wonderful if we can keep it that way.

    • Wes Siler

      Probably one of the things we’re most proud of with HFL is how strong our community is. We’ll continue to protect and foster that.

      • Groomez

        Indeed sir! Glad to be on board. Let us know what the future plans are soon – and don’t pull a “Spies” err hem… get it?

        • Wes Siler

          Don’t worry, my Mom’s not going to yell at any mechanics about my riding.

          • $Lindz$

            ZZZZZZZZZZZING! I definitely laughed in real life at that. Well played, sir.

          • Costa Mouzouris

            Almost pissed myself at this one. Good luck.

          • pinkyracer

            hahahaahahahahaahahaha!!!!! poor House. He did indeed seem so beaten down when I talked to him on Thursday at Laguna. And it was intriguing the way Mary was marching around the AMA paddock looking like she was looking for someone…

  • Roman

    Is it weird that I’m kind of bummed that the subscription based membership is going away?

    • Sean Smith


    • Jesse

      All this.

      • BMW11GS

        I WAS IN A CLUB FOR THE FIRST TIME! …oh sorry, i’m just working this through.

    • Peter88

      I am bummed as well…
      Be that as it may. Good luck!

    • jp182

      me too!

      Wes, you or your money guy better know what he’s doing! I need this site!!!!!!!

  • Chris

    I hope this is a good move for the HFL family. I’ve enjoyed being a paying member despite the fact that I don’t comment much, and I will continue to come here daily. Huzzah for HFL & all that jazz. Excited to see what the next chapter looks like & I hope it means growth!

    • Wes Siler

      Thanks. It means significant growth. We’ll be able to say more very soon.

      • PCPaul

        I’m not sure that growth is good, I’ve grwn considerably over the past few year and now my leathers don’t fit anymore :-(.
        I kid!

  • PatW

    Cool, my old account still works. I’m guessing RideApart got picked up by a major lifestyle network.

    • AJ

      That would be good but it would undermine my investment in an internet enabled TV. Ride Apart and the other Drive shows are all we use it for.

  • Kevin

    So… you have people willing to pay you, and you’re not taking the money any more? I’m sure that makes sense. Doesn’t it?

  • aristurtle

    So the “ad-supported website” model crapped out (frankly, I saw the writing on that particular wall when I first installed the AdBlock extention for Mozilla Firebird 0.2 back in time immemorial) and now the “paid subscription” model is going away. I like you guys, even if content has been thin the past couple months, so where’s the money coming from now?

  • Restless Lip Syndrome

    I didn’t mind paying for a subscription, so whatever model you are using now, I hope everything continues to work out.

  • contender

    I was wondering when this news would come. Good luck guys.

  • randry

    You give the impression it is passion first, money second. I hope that direction is still intack. I hope this is because of good and not evil doing from higher powers. Love the work you do and it is appreciated, even though you hate Harleys. :)

    •,_That_Greeny_Flower Grant Ray

      I don’t hate Harley-Davidson, I just see a mountain of untapped potential and my patriotism occasionally gets the best of me. That’s all. At the same time, I’ve met guys on the road who have well over 200,000 miles on their bikes, so it’s not like the company doesn’t know how to make a bike.

      • Erok

        I recall a time when this site had Harley advertisement.

        • Wes Siler

          Never happened.

        • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]


      • randry

        Got ya and Amen to that Brutha.

  • ike6116

    This is so you don’t have to listen to people complain about the decrease in quality isn’t it… ISN’T IT?!

    What’s going on here, Gawker bringing you in?

    • cdeforrest

      Maybe now they’ll finally manage to get the byline to show up in the right place. :)

      Jesus, not Gawker. I doubt Wes would be so excited to re-enter that shit-show.

      • ike6116

        Money can make anything happen.

        Also, I seem to remember a certain magazine that used to rail against the SoCal Old Boys’ network of bro’s who used to ride motocross together til they plugged into it.

      • Core

        I hope not Gawker, as well… man they screwed their commenting system over.

  • Frosty_spl

    I’m an Art Director for a large ad agency, are you guys hiring? haha I’m super cereal.

  • Fizzy Fox

    Great idea. Just don’t turn into Gawker.

    • Braden (Griso 8V, SV650)

      Seconded, any direction for HFL is fine with me as long as it doesn’t end up like a Gawker site.

  • Mark D [EX500]

    You guys decided to quit this internet business, and start selling 6-month out-of-date glossy magazines exclusively in airport newsstands, didn’t you?

    • Wes Siler

      Glossy? Psshhh. Newsprint’s where it’s at these days.

      • PCPaul

        Gawd, I just love the black smudges on my fingers…

  • Nick

    Cool, nice job guys!

  • Sct Wallac

    Well since this seems like a ‘good thing’ I’m going to offer my congratulations!
    Since you rolled up and gave a personal accounting of what’s what, you get a second congrats for being better than 99% of what’s out there.
    I look forward to your next phase.

  • Beewill

    Awe man, I thought my subscription made me a part of a cool exclusive group, which in turn made me cool by proxy.

    In all seriousness, it sounds like things are going well and in the direction you feel is best. For that, congratulations on making your vision a success in yours and many others eyes. Good luck with the future and can’t wait to remain a part of your little online community.

  • Case

    I prefer the paywall because it raises the comment IQ so dramatically. But that’s me. Do what you gotta do to grow the company and pay the bills.

    The knowledge that gets dropped around here is awesome, both in the articles and in the comments. I hope that you can retain that.

    • Gene


      I hope you don’t end up like the FJR forum, SV forum, or just about any other free bike forum except for maybe ADV.

      Don’t worry about refunding me though, just take both dollars and run! :-)

      • brian


        You can keep my money as well…well worth the content and keeping d-bag flamers out.

        • Devin

          Agreed. The commentors before were sometimes fucking terrible, go look at the shitstorm with Skank and his crew about how bad it could get. (Just one I remember from the top of my head).

          • Campisi

            That’s the exact example I was thinking of when I heard about this. I was amazed that two bucks a month was enough to filter most of that noise out.

        • gsx750f

          Please keep the money from my subscription as well (if it’s not a lot more work to do so).
          Maybe it’s enough to buy a few beers.

          • Bronson

            + 1. No refund needed here. Keep up the good work.

      • Mike

        Keep my dollars as well; if you keep putting up excellent content I’ll consider it well spent, regardless of how much it costs for others. Thanks much!

  • BrianZooom

    Congrats! I, as a cheap bastard who never paid for a subscription, am glad to be able to view and refer to all of your great content, and not worry about doing so before it gets locked down. Whether it be Grants awesome photos, or Wes’s commentaries or any of your other guest writer appearances, I think it just helps the in name of HFL by allowing the greater and free-er exposure.

  • Paul

    The subscription was money well spent for a great product. cheap even. no need to send me a refund.

    • MicMacinACT

      +1 for me!
      ps – what’s ‘Gawker”??

      cheers from downunder

  • cookinginpawleys

    Will this be an open content site now, or will you still require a (free) subscription? Will the 12 hour window still be in effect for stories, or are we going to be able to share content/links on social media to non-subscribers?

    • Wes Siler

      You’ve always been able to share content and links. All stories are now permanently visible, however you do need to register a free account and/or login to comment.

  • Gavin

    Can we opt to be refunded in stickers?

    • the_doctor

      I will totally take my HFL refund in stickers.

      • Jesse

        Oh, hell yes. I was looking for the link to buy some new ones anyway. My new helmet needs a Dolly Deathsheep.

    • sargent

      Hey, that’s what I was going to suggest. Toss in the standard and a special “OG Subscriber” version and I’d be happy camper! Ohh, and badges and pins for our non-existent leather club vests!

      Seriously though, stickers would be cool but maybe a nightmare to coordinate?

      • Devin


      • Mykola

        Funny, I read that as leather-club vests rather than leather club-vests on the first pass. I don’t ride with any leather clubs but I’d get an HFL patch if I could.

      • The Blue Rider

        That needs to be spelled “SUBSKRYBA” and have like, FLAMES on it, dog… You know?

        …Or not. Really, really not. Ever.

        • Mark D [EX500]


    • Wolfgang Romero

      +1 here

  • Slartibartfast

    Well, as long as this is a good thing for this site, congrats for the HFL team! I’m curious as to how it is going to be structured though.. consulting for discrete motorcycle gear? inappropriate Video content perhaps? icanhascheezburger for motorcycle humor?

    I was wondering what was going on since I just forwarded my co-workers links to older articles after I noticed I had access without logging in(like the “ask a motorcycle thief” article – although sending him a link to that after his bike was just stolen yesterday is probably in bad taste). I don’t even remember paying much for the subscription… $3?

  • fasterfaster

    Congrats on the progress, fellas. Very excited to see what comes next. – Marc

  • Simon

    Not sure what the site will be like after the no pay as I’ve never seen much advertising on HFL. Like a couple of members above, I do not comment that often but I do enjoy the content and the editorial slant of the site and thought it was worth paying for.

    Best of luck whatever the new direction is!

  • Paul D

    Much luck with the new direction. I rarely pay for online services/subscriptions but yours was/is one I felt compelled to contribute and support. That says a lot.

    Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Anders

    Good luck! I’m curious to see how you will change, as HFL is already the better than most.

  • Edward

    The picture galleries are still not working for me. Has that issue been resolved yet with the pay wall going down?

  • Cro

    Have a bitchin summer! Don’t ever change! Love you man!

    But seriously: Thanks for the great content. Standing by.

  • d3fun

    Thanks and good luck

  • craha

    I’m sad… But congrats!

  • PCPaul

    No Wes, THANK YOU!!

    •,_That_Greeny_Flower Grant Ray

      Wes didn’t write the PSA. I did.

      • PCPaul

        No Grant; THANK YOU TOO!! :-)
        I never was any good at keeping track of a thread…

  • wwalkersd

    I do hope this doesn’t mean we will soon be inundated with ads while reading nothing but glowing reviews. I remember when used to be good.

    Then again, even hip motojournalists have to eat.

    But seriously, I hope whatever is coming is a really, really good thing for you guys. If it’s good for us, too, well, so much the better.

  • pplassm

    Good deal! If I overpaid, you can keep it!

  • brammomatt

    Knowing Wes & Grant, (and now very nice to add Sean and Ashlee as well thanks to the Laguna Seca round of TTXGP / MotoGP) I will trust this is a Good Thing… Keep the change. HFL was a literal bargain at $24/year anyway…

  • HammSammich

    If past is prologue, then change at HFL will only bring good things. I just hope that I’m able to continue to support your work somehow, in the absense of subscription fees.

    • ozgeek

      PS Have enjoyed your content and put it to good use.
      A* 365 gloves have kept me warm and dry during a very long wet winter in Oz.

  • Denzel

    Was there a hint of farewell in Grant’s piece? Certainly hope not…

    Good luck in evolving HFL… you’ve been doing things right so far, so I can only expect more awesomeness in the future.

    • ozgeek

      I Thor the same thing as I read it

    • je

      I sense that as well… the jockey journal was just sold and now this interesting piece…

      Well the best we can do is hope the site continues down a positive path. Good luck gents.

  • Xenophya

    You can keep our subs as well as long as you promise to stay independant and not become reliant on advertising. Don’t go the way fast bikes went when Colin Schiller sold it in the 90′s!

  • John Merlin

    Thanks HFL – great news, but I’ll support anything you need to do to stay an independent voice for our community.

  • 10/10ths

    I’m ridin’ Bitch with you where ever you are headed.

  • holdingfast

    this is weirding me out than i can make sense of,.. no more money? plus, change? really? we were all having such a good time knowing we were just a little better than the others out there…
    how will you pay rent boys? im a little worried over here.
    either way, jokes aside, i trust you guys to keep going forward in the right direction.

  • paulo

    Well I was always happy to pay what after all was small amount of cash for large return. All the best with whatever the next direction brings. It’s funny it wasn’t till I had login issues and was without my HFL feed for a week till i realized how damm much I’d miss it if it wasn’t around. So thanks again!

  • Michael

    Whatever is good for HFL is good for me, though I did like being part of the elite “Skull Club” on the site. Way to go guys and keep up the good work everyone here is pulling for you!

  • Ben W

    Cheers, Grant. You’ve done a heck of a job so far and I’m looking forward to the road ahead.

  • ike6116

    Anyway we former subscribers could get a little star next to our names so people know who among them is better than they are?

    • sargent

      Ohh, hows about A star with thick framed glasses, a mustache, and a “Hello My Name Is: HFLH” name tag on it. When you hover over the icon it could throw a tool-tip that says “Hell For Leather Hipster – original Hell for Leather subscriber, you’ve probably never heard of it.”

      • Gavin


      • Campisi

        Just have the tool-tip say “Le Filtrage.”

        • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]


      • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

        Yeaaah! And then we could form a retro scooter club and talk about cameras…

  • R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    Excited to see what’s next. Taking down the pay wall strikes me as a necessity for growth. Let me know if you ever need help in and around San Francisco.

  • craymor

    Good luck with the new direction guys,

    but I’ve got a question, could you maybe keep the subscription money and have a form just for those of us willing to pay?

    Because I love the community here (even though I almost never post), and it seems way better than most sites that I don’t pay for, it seems like a good way to spread the knowledge within our little community (I would sooner trust an answer given here than one from just about any other group of people)?

  • filly-fuzz

    Good luck!
    I’m innit for the ride, wherever you’re headed

  • mugget

    Cool stuff, dudes! Keep up the great work!

  • Markus

    Good luck also from old Europe. HFL is the best internet site and community I know of and I sincerely hope it will stay and grow further. The return was certainly more worth then the subscription fee – therefore no refund for me either. All the best for your future and this marvellous host of unbiased information and opoinions.

    • GGno

      +1 from europe too.

  • Random

    Even if the subscription was very cheap it could be a real pain in the a** for readers from other countries, requiring intl’ credit cards that only come with other account benefits – and that could even be denied to bankrupt people like me. I’d be happy to support the the old model if they let me but I’m happy it changed!

  • John

    Yeah, I just re-upped for a year. Couldn’t be happier. What’s all this talk about refunds? Do you boys even have health insurance yet? (Will Obama hang on for the win?) Queue Wes crashing in 3, 2, 1, …

  • JC

    *High fives*

    • JTourismo


  • Dana Seero

    If I wanted to just tell you “Keep the change” how do I do that?

  • Steve


  • Ron

    HFL has always been an interesting and refreshing change from all the other cycle publications (print and online). I hope to keep reading your work, in whatever format you guys find works out best…. and no need for a subscription refund, I already got way more than my “money’s worth” so “Keep the change!”

  • Von Scotch

    We fear change.

    Please don’t make me have to toggle to blog view or whatever. I’m a bit apprehensive. HFL has been my first stop at tea and lunch breaks for 3 years, however I trust your judgement. Keep up the good work!

  • Good Thomas

    congratulations on your evolution! my knowledge of motorcycles improved significantly since i started reading your stuff, especially the comments from the HFL community. keep it up!

  • JTourismo

    The decision making process has worked thusfar, I trust wherever HFL is going. Godspeed You Gentle People.

  • Core

    Like most people don’t comment much…But normally enjoy an article every now and then, and always enjoyed the others comments because a lot of smart people seem to linger around here.

    Anyways I’d like to say “Oh this “free” thing is great..” but I know nothing is “free” in life, and theirs always a catch. So this PSA actually has me worried and very leery, like a dog that’s been hit by a car one too many times and gets really jumpy around a highway.

    Guess I’ll just stay tuned and see where it goes.

  • Sasha Pave

    Glad to hear it. If there is extra time left on my annual subscription, put it in the tip jar or let it go towards a nice bourbon. Thanks for a great site!

  • Emmet

    Looking forward to the new direction. Hopefully bringing down the paywall won’t let in dbag haters. GIXXERS ARE THE BEST NINJABIKE LOLZ!!1!!~

  • stefano

    ya’ll can keep the change on my subscription as well. you’ve done a great job so far and i see no reason to think that this won’t be another smart move as well

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    Don’t fuck it up

  • sanjuro

    I like HellforLeather, and even though no other site similar to this has a paywall, I ponied up for 2 years.

    I’m picky about how I spend my money, so it does say something about how much I like what I read here.

  • William

    If I’ve got any money coming from my subscription don’t bother – it was money WELL spent!