Do you know how to make a small fortune from magazine publishing? Start with a large one.
It's an old joke, but it's a goodie. Still it hasn't stopped my friend, and Sideburn supporter, Nik Ellwood from jumping into the fray of indie moto mags with both feet to produce the impressive Retro RR.
What is it?
132-page, A4, made in the UK magazine about the 'golden age' of supersport bikes, the 1980s and '90s. Think Schwantz, Rainey, '92 Fireblades, the RC30, Fogarty on the 916, Norton Rotaries at the TT, ZXR750 hoover pipes...
Why that era?
Well, if you have to ask you wouldn't understand, but publisher Nik writes 'I was marvelling at just how affordable the bikes I lusted over in my early twenties had become...' And one thing led to another.
It's an area that's quite well served with magazines, especially in the UK. Much of the UK staff motorcycle journalists, by that I mean full-time moto journalists working 9-5ish for publishing companies, date back to this golden era, with very little new blood coming after them, so it's not like Retro RR has picked a niche that was desperate for exploiting, but the quality of the paper is head and shoulders above the mainstream opposition and the mag is staffed by journalists who've done their time on newsstand mags. The roll call of contributors are very familiar names, all safe pairs of hands.
The best bits
The use of photography, the Mackenzie and Tardozzi columns, the pleasant surprise of the Harley VR1000 feature, sport stories written by people who were there, the overall quality feel.
I know this era well and would have liked to have seen a few more unexpected stories in the first issue (but then I always sway towards quirky and it's commercial suicide, so I understand the reasoning). I probably won't read the road tests of the iconic bikes. The mag's name could be a self-inflicted limiting factor.
Top quality title packed full of content, with very little that could be described as filler, made by a very switched on team. I look forward to seeing it develop.
£8.50 plus post per issue. £35 for a four issue sub.
Published four times per year in the UK
Order from www.retro-rr.com