British motorcycle magazine Visordown will sell its last hardcopy of its magazine this September, as the publication shifts to a digital-only format. Formerly Two Wheels Only (TWO), the magazine changed its name to Visordown in 2009. The move to an online-only format is result of the dwindling advertising revenue in the print world, which hit the motorcycling industry especially hard in the recession, and reduction in Visordown‘s circulation.

Most of the Visordown crew will remain at the publication, including long-term contributors Niall Mackenzie and James Whitham. The editorial staff of Mark Forsyth Ben Cope, and Tim Skilton will have their work cut-out for themselves as they build out, and come to terms with this whole internet thing. Can an old dog learn new tricks? We have a feeling many other print publications will be watching this move closely. Welcome to the fray guys.

Photo: Twitter

  • Visordown, best of luck guys!

    BTW, did you ever give me credit for the table you copied/pasted from my blog? Just checking. HTML tables suck to build and I value my time. I’ll let it go now. :D

    Seriously, I hope you guys do well.

  • Sean Mitchell

    I was always surprised that so many British mags were seemingly successful enough to sell througout the U.S. at major bookstores. Performance Bikes is my favorite, but Visor down is a close second.

    Will this online content be viewable only by paid subscribers? Or free to all?

  • Pingback: Asphalt_Rubber()

  • They don’t understand the internet, so they’ll get to it with a mag mentality, and slowly die away. Maybe once they realize that the net has its own rules, they may make it. Linking back, quoting sources of material made & found by others, cooperating between sites, etc.

    They do none, thinking they are above us all. Readers can feel it…

  • John Smith

    The guy who wrote this article clearly doesn’t know much about the UK bike magazine market. Visordown started way back in 2000(ish) as a website then formed a magazine,,

    more research please…!

  • John,

    I actually did know that Visordown started out as a web community back in the ol’ .com days, but what does it matter? As you can see from the first few comments already on this post, the folks running Visordown have already burned bridges with some of the most prominent motorcyclists online.

    We’ve had our own work here at A&R lifted by Visordown, and I’ve seen the work of other sites on VD as well. Despite being from the Web 1.0 days, there’s a lot about publishing on the internet that remains to be desired from the magazine.

    I really hope they succeed, the more the merrier. But this is a game won on inclusion, not exclusion. Print folks don’t really get that concept fully. Like Mike said, linking, sourcing, cooperating, that’s how it works.

  • Doug D.

    Shucks. Just bought my first newsstand copy two weeks ago and am still enjoying it.

    Websites like A&R are great for breaking news, but it’s so obvious that, on the whole, media outlets primarily invested in a physical publication (i.e., print outlets) produce far-superior feature stories than electronic-only media outlets. I appreciate the depth of coverage they provide.

    It comes down to the business model. Print outlets are better leveraged to invest in in-depth features complete with illustrations, photography and professional production. Mostly, sites like A&R aren’t able to fund the large group of professionals required to do this.

    A&R’s features are little more than glorified blog posts. I enjoyed reading about Harley-Davidson’s marketing woes awhile back, but the presentation was barely engaging.

    I’m not saying it will always remain this way, but I still see a need for magazines like Visordown, and Cycle World here in the states (though CW’s non-stop comparisons and shootouts is getting very stale).

  • Doug, you’re right in saying that print magazines can invest in in-depth features, like extensive ride reports, reviews etc, using large photographs. That’s what I see as a role for print magazines. But in the “old” days, people bought magazines to find out what is going on, news, etc. That is something that the web has taken over. “Glorified” blogs, whatever you want to call it, can let the world know in seconds whenever there’s something new.

    Another feature that the web provides, is things like this… instant feedback and comments. People can react. In the “old” days, you sent a letter to the editor, and a week or two, your comment was printed, so very little reader engagement.

    Also, the web is global, magazines aren’t. So for print magazines, it’s changing rapidly. Many will fold, and only a few will remain. There will always be a market for magazines, but there will be a few only.

    Electronic magazines is a whole different ballgame. Several have recently seen the light of day. In Holland, there’s an excellent electronic magazine (MotorKlick) and it’s successful, but it’s web driven. This means, they play the web game, not the print game.

    Hopefully Visordown’s web magazine will work out, there’s plenty of scoop for it, and it could enrich the web. But players on the web need to follow the “rules”, if not they become outcasts.

  • Pingback: Lionel Chollet()

  • Well just to add to this, my team and I have been building over the last 3 years in a similar vein to A&R and trying to have a unique swing at things, in the case of Bikechatter it is product reviewing rather than the motorcycles themselves.

    What I have seen in the Uk magazine market especially is that they all try and do the same thing, fill the same shoes and dont really offer a reason to buy one from another which is where I think Visordown has lost its footing having started as a forum originally that was individual and been swallowed up into print media, I dont really want to see a magazine go under but if Visordown’s departure from print brings even a touch more focus on us ‘net based outfits I support them (providing they play reasonably fair of course)

    What Doug says is true, print media can currently offer better articles, more ride tests and fund bigger staff levels but really only for a single reason and that is because the motorcycle industry is very much ‘old money’ when it comes to the internet.

    Motorcycle companies are only really dipping their toe into sites such as A&R and Bikechatter while putting more and more money into print publications that just cannot attract the diversity of the internet. That leaves online mags and news blogs in limbo – essentially fighting their corner until the industry wakes up and realises the internet is where it is at.

    Visordown may be going paperless but my feeling is they will feel the same pinch us other ‘digital only’ companies have been getting for years.