Tread carefully
6 December 2011
I read with interest your comments about the new layout, and the response received. I have been a subscriber from the first issue, when Bob Currie started the mag.

Yes, we have seen some changes over the past three decades, some good, and some not so good, but I think that what you have to consider when making changes, is the vast majority of people who buy your mag are like me in their sixties or older, and require what they relate to and feel comfortable with. When we subscribe to a mag such as The Classic MotorCycle we want something we feel that the people in charge have the same sympathy as ourselves.

I understand you come from a motorcycling background, but you are very young, and perhaps sometimes the things younger classic motorcycle enthusiasts want is far away from what the older and more traditional enthusiasts want.

I realise that under the 25 year rule of the VMCC, bikes like the Fireblade and such will be classed as classic bikes, and I have been concerned lately with the inclusion of more modern bikes and lately cars in the mag. If I or others who buy your mag want to read about modern bikes or classic cars, we can buy a mag appropriate to that need; let’s keep this mag for what Bob wanted it to be, a mag that was for the mainly British and European bikes we used to own, ride and still enjoy.

Okay, people in their early forties who grew up on the Japanese bikes will consider that they are now ‘classics’, but to us they are not in the true sense, though they may be in another 25 years.

Although you ride and look after a number of classic and vintage bikes, being the age you are, you cannot possibly remember and have experienced the feelings of the 1950s and 60s, but to many of us this is exactly the period we are interested in and why we buy TCM. I would suggest to you that sometimes in the search for new or more customers you may find yourself losing some who do not agree with your management style or ethos of ‘the mag should and will change’. There is an old adage that if something is not broken, don’t fix it. It would be most interesting to hear why you feel the mag needs these changes, and from where the initiative came? Perhaps next time you may consider consultation with your readers before acting and that way we may all get what we want in an orderly and democratic manner, but there again history shows us that all too often when someone has a position of power, they frequently use it in a inappropriate way with the excuse that ‘I did it for the good of all’.

The Seen from the Saddle and Straight from the plate articles are, I consider, a good recent addition, but with the wealth of info available to you in the archives you could keep running the mag on new/old material for years without repeating yourself. How about a couple of road tests reprinted in the classic and much enjoyed style of Peter Fraser, John Ebrell and Bob Currie, they would be interesting and helpful to would-be rebuilders, and buyers of these bikes. How about a hints and tips section? I’m sure this would be welcome to a lot of readers.

Thanks for reading this and hope you consider the points made; go carefully young man and consider your readership.

John Burston via email

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