A group of former IPC and Emap journalists are to launch a new motorcycle magazine, which is aiming to become the market leader within 12 months.
The launch of Two Wheels Only (TWO), predicted in Press Gazette (6 April), is promising wider coverage than any of the existing titles in the motorcycle sector.
TWO will be produced by a privately-funded publishing company – Two Media – set up by Grant Leonard, the former publisher of IPC’s Superbike, following his departure from IPC last August. Leonard has taken the role of managing director and poached staff from IPC’s Superbike and Emap’s Performance Bikes. He is hoping to add to the 14-strong team and the company will consider launching further titles once TWO is up and running.
"I am sure it will shake up the market and it is bound to affect sales," he told Press Gazette. "The market has been stagnant for a while against a backdrop of a massive boom in motorcycling. Sales grew 30 per cent between 1999 and 2000 yet there is no reflection of that in the magazine market. There is an opportunity to target writers who are not satisfied with the magazines on the shelves," he said. IPC is understood to have moved the publication date of Superbike forward and is planning an aggressive cover-mounting campaign.
Emap is believed to have invested in extra pagination. The launch could also have an impact on Motorcycle Sport & Leisure and Biking Times.
Leonard said the industry was experiencing the biggest biking boom in 20 years. He accused existing magazines of being "too introspective" and "navel-gazing".
"The journalists are a little bit up their own backsides and a lot of the people coming into the market are disenfranchised because of the lingo," he said. Leonard claimed the title would also stand apart for its testing methods and not feature "wheelies" on a Gold Wing. "It may be a laugh for a sports bike rider but most people see it as pointless and damaging – especially manufacturers and dealers," he said.
The bulk of the editorial will be features, road tests, fashion and race reports. There will also be a dedicated scooter section and UK listings of bikes for sale.
Alex Hearne, former road test editor of Superbike and deputy editor of Performance Bikes is editor. Bertie Simmonds, ex-Motor Cycle News, is assistant editor. Warren Pole, former deputy editor of Superbike, is deputy editor and John Cantlie, editor of Superbike until two months ago, is associate editor.
Leonard has also signed up several top names from the motor bike industry as columnists including Carl Fogarty, Chris Walker and the four times British motorcyle champion Niall Mackenzie. TWO will launch on 27 April with a print run of 190,000 and a cover price of £3.40.
by Ruth Addicott