Harley-Davidson’s nixing Hog magazine, replacing with upscale title

Harley-Davidson is jettisoning Hog magazine and replacing it with a newer and more upscale title, The Enthusiast, as it seeks to broaden its aging fan base with younger riders.

The first issue hits Friday with actor Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on the cover. It’s being mailed to 500,000 Harley-Davidson owners in the US and another 150,000 overseas. Single copies are available on the company’s Web site.

The Enthusiast is not a new Harley title. It was first published by Harley-Davidson in 1916. In 1984, the company published both Hog and The Enthusiast but merged it into Hog by 2009.

“In a year when so many people have been stuck inside, we passionately believe in inspiring riders and aspiring riders to get out in the world to rediscover adventure through socially-distanced riding,” said Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz, who was hired in May to woo new customers and revive sales.

Zeitz took the reins amid a five-year sales slump that saw the iconic American brand post a $23 million loss in the first six months of fiscal 2020 on revenue of $2.2 billion.

The emergence of a new Harley-Davidson mag in print may be a lone bright spot in the world of motorcycling magazines. Swedish publishing giant Bonnier, which at one time dominated the motorbike publishing market, said it was selling Cycle World to Octane, a power sports financing company.

Bonnier, which is in the process of jettisoning all its US magazines including Field & Stream, Popular Science and Saveur, had been cutting staff and converting most of its stable of biker magazines to digital only. The final print edition of the last remaining print title of Cycle World will be in October.

Octane CEO Jason Guss said he will continue to post product reviews and stories online. But the plan is to get consumers to move directly from research to loans for bikes and equipment. Needless to say, the remaining staffers are nervous.

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