The October 2020 issue of Cycle World magazine will be its last print issue ever. The publication is moving to a digital-only platform. This news should come as little surprise as fewer and fewer motorcycle publications go to print.
Motorcyclist, Cycle World’s sister publication, made this move in May of 2019, so the writing was on the wall for Cycle World.
However, the end of the print publication is only part of the story. Cycle World and Motorcyclist were owned by Bonnier Corporation. Bonnier sold its powersports publications to Octane, a powersports finance company.
“Our goal for this acquisition is to ensure that unbiased product reviews, rigorous and objective testing, and informed storytelling will continue to be available to powersports enthusiasts,” said Jason Guss, CEO of Octane. “When combined with Octane’s financing platform and dealership partners, consumers will soon be able to go directly from researching their dream vehicle to owning it, in a fast, seamless process.”
Octane said it will continue to invest in the publications to make them even better than they were before. Much of the staff at these publications will stay the same, though I’m sure there will be some changing of things as the transition occurs.
Many people see Bonnier’s stewardship of these publications and others as a major failure. The company bought Cycle World, Motorcyclist, and several other motorcycle publications and cut print issues and killed off publications that many said were still viable publications. Earlier this year, Bonnier tried to sell off all its powersports publications and even hired a firm to help it do that.
The move by Octane to buy the publications make sense from a business standpoint. The company is in the business of selling motorcycles, and that means all those old reviews that Cycle World and Motorcyclist published still have value to the company.
This could be a new way for large publications to exist. The antiquated advertiser and subscriber model is a tough one to do well in 2020, and Octane has an incentive to put out great content through these publications and make a killing on the back of that content through motorcycle financing.
It’s a smart move, and one that should see Motorcyclist and Cycle World continue on for years to come.