Every once in a while, it’s a time for a change. Usually, people wait for a marker—the beginning of a new year, or some other odometer clicking over. In spite of that, I’ve been working at staying out of ruts like that, so there’s no time like the present.
We’re almost 150 issues into Ultimate Motorcycling, including the Robb Report MotorCycling era, and Alchemy—our feature on a motorcycle that is extraordinary, for one reason or many—has been in every issue. Well, let me back up on that. We used to call it Precious Metals, and our motorcycle tests were called Alchemy—something I changed once we separated from Robb Report as the nomenclature never quite lined up for me. To me, a custom motorcycle is pure alchemy.
Regardless of the name, our Alchemy feature is often the most challenging story to assemble each issue. This wasn’t as much of a problem in the RRMC and UM print days when we were bi-monthly. However, we’ve been a monthly digital magazine for a while and burn through twice as many Alchemy features in any given timeframe.
So, this month we’re taking an Alchemy break for the first time.
For those of you who are fans of the Alchemy features, don’t despair. We will continue to have Alchemy stories, even though they won’t be monthly. We love exciting custom motorcycles and interviewing the builders when appropriate and available.
The good news for the readers, and the staff, is that the freed-up time allows us to expand other parts of the magazine, and add in a couple of new things. Take a look at this issue’s Table of Contents, and you’ll see something you haven’t seen in UM before—Destinations.
Destinations will be cool places for you to go, where motorcycles are a central part of the experience. We’re starting Destinations with Bike Shed Los Angeles, which also features Coram Publishing President Arthur Coldwells and UM Associate Editor Teejay Adams having lunch with three-time Grand Prix World Champion Freddie Spencer.
Because we’re based in Southern California, our Destinations will naturally have a bit of a regional bias. Still, we get around, so you’ll see other locales represented. Feel free to nominate a Destination to us—especially one that is off the radar.
Destinations, Alchemy, and the much-neglected Classic Status (vintage motorcycles) stories will swap in and out on an as-needed basis, rather than on an arbitrary schedule.
Additionally, you might notice that we expanded our Gear Change (riding apparel) and The Garage (hard parts) departments—two sections we think our readers enjoy. As Gear Change gets more attention, it moves to the front, and The Garage, as it often is on properties, is placed in the back of the issue.
I have a long history with print publications, where pages were highly regimented. At RRMC, the bike reviews were either 1000 words (the lead review) or 700 words. Period. Those numbers were set in stone by the art department and the number of pages we had available. Now, the dog wags the tail, as our reviews are as long (or short) as they need to be. The pixel counts are infinitely flexible, which is an improvement for the readers and us. Yes, many of us miss print, but there are many advantages to the Ultimate Motorcycling magazine app from a content perspective.
So, while ruts are essential to the supercross and motocross racing experiences, they aren’t so good for the rest of us. Consider this Ultimate Motorcycling rut smoothed out—I hope you enjoy the latest refinement of our presentation. And, hey, you can’t beat the price!