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Common Tread

Hot Bike magazine closes

Jan 08, 2019

Today, Common Tread learned Hot Bike Magazine has ceased printing.

Parent company Bonnier AB has stopped printing Hot Bike, a magazine focused on custom V-twin motorcycles. It's the latest in a string of titles that have been eliminated or cut back by Bonnier. In 2018, Street Chopper and Baggers ceased printing. In the same year, Bonnier’s Dirt Rider, Sport Rider, ATV Rider, and UTV Driver magazines halted publication, as well. Motorcyclist was reduced from 12 issues annually to six and sister publication Cycle World followed suit, moving from 12 to four.

Editor's note: This article has been changed to include statements made by representatives from Bonnier AB in a press release dated January 10, 2019.

Also published under the titles Hot Rod Harleys and Hot Rod Bikes, Hot Bike's run began in 1994.

Neither website indicates the closure at the time of the writing, but Jeff Holt, Hot Bike's former editor-in-chief from 2008 to 2018, posted a notice on Instagram announcing the termination of the title.

With mixed emotions I post about the demise of @hotbikemag. It was a brand I was handed that was on life support that most thought was already dead. I spent countless hours and years breathing life back into it only to get let go in return for all my hard work. To think of all the great people I worked with, met and forged life-long relationships on this book making motorcycle history together is something I always cherish and will never forget. Now it is all for not due to corporate greed and mismanagement. Sure it will live online with re-hashed content and press releases just to juice unknowing advertisers out of money, but with no real editor or any kind of substance. All I can really say is I told all you at Bonnier Corp that it wouldn’t last a year without me. And it sure as hell didn’t. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. #vtwinvisionary @vtwinvisionary

A post shared by Jeff Holt (@jeffgholt) on

"We can’t thank Editor-in-Chief Jordan Mastagni and his team enough for making a great magazine," said Bonnier Motorcycle Group Editorial Director Mark Hoyer. “But as media and ad spending continue to change, particularly in the V-twin space, we have shifted our focus and efforts to our larger, more general interest, moto brands.”

The company also acknowledged the harsh economic realities print media faces presently.

“For years the Hot Bike magazine has been spared the disruptive changes taking place in the publishing community with ad support from the motorcycle industry," said Bonnier Motorcycle Group SVP, Andy Leisner. "Unfortunately, two significant reductions in ad revenue from an OEM and large aftermarket company hurt the print brand in 2018, and the decision was made to channel this content across other strong Bonnier Motorcycle Group brands.”

Hot Bike, one of the most influential publications in its genre, has struggled with the problem of content consumers increasingly move to electronic media in a shifting landscape due to both the interests and age of their reader base. Hot Bike will likely serve as another bellwether indicating the rapid decline of the popularity of the motorcycles once found within its pages, and those pages themselves.