A Brief History of Ultimate Motorcycling

Confucius is quoted as saying that “a thousand-mile journey begins with just one step,” and his advice is aimed towards making us feel less intimidated by starting something.

Although starting Ultimate Motorcycling (founded as Robb Report Motorcycling) seemed like an easy enough decision at the time, I have sometimes wondered if I’d known what I was taking on back in 2003, whether I would still have started the magazine? That thought always quickly disappears—of course I would!

Jett Tuning/Ultimate MotorCycling Track Day Arthur Coldwells
UMC President Arthur Coldwells

It does feel as though getting to the current version of Ultimate Motorcycling has indeed been a thousand-mile journey. CurtCo Media Labs had just acquired Robb Report magazine the year before, and the idea was to launch or acquire verticals and use the luxury brand halo effect.

Bill Curtis’ strategy worked incredibly well, and quickly the Robb Report name was used in a myriad of highly successful niche magazines—including motorcycles.

The cover of the premier issue was of the newly launched Confederate Wraith—an odd-looking but clearly very purposeful sport V-twin that came with an eye-watering price tag.

It was cool enough and yet quirky enough to make potential readers do a double-take at the newsstand and, ultimately, thanks to a gifted design staff, great writers, and instant support from the industry, the magazine was an immediate success.

I purchased Robb Report Motorcycling from CurtCo in 2008, retained the same staff, and rebranded it Ultimate Motorcycling. It was a glossy, coffee-table print magazine and here we are, 10 years later celebrating our 100th issue!

Time flies when you’re having fun, as the saying goes, and, boy, the past 16 years have been a lot of fun. My staff and I have traveled the world, and I have ridden most of the world’s preeminent racetracks on some of the most exotic machinery.

I’ve had a revolving door of the latest and greatest machines and gear in my garage at home, and I’ve truly appreciated all of it. But most satisfying of all, I’ve made a lot of friends in this industry, not least among my talented staff, all of whom are still with me.

Sure, there have been challenges, especially during the bleak Great Recession years, and also as the publishing industry business model transitioned from print to digital media. Thankfully, the ceasing of our printed issues and the conversion to our monthly digital app was completely seamless, and I’m incredibly grateful for that as well. All-in-all, we’ve weathered the storm and the future looks bright!

Finally, I’d like to thank you, our readers, for traveling this journey with us, I know some of you have been long-term subscribers to the magazine and have stayed loyal to us. Other readers are more recent, and it has been a joy to hear from people as they discover our tests, reviews, and opinions on all things motorcycling.

So, to all of you, thank you. It is much appreciated by everyone at Ultimate Motorcycling, and especially by me. Thank you for allowing me the freedom to indulge myself in a job that has enabled me to follow my passion—not many people are fortunate enough to be able to say that. You have prevented me from having to go out and get a real job.

Here’s to the next hundred issues—bring it!