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So, this is Christmas

Greasy Kulture's 11th year comes to a close

I can just about remember December 2017. I'd just published issue four of Greasy Kulture magazine. I was working a well-paid job as an advertising copywriter three days a week, using the remaining couple of working days to write, edit and ship my new publication.

The traditional chopper scene was still small in the US; almost non-existent elsewhere. I loved the bikes coming out of SoCal, built by young guys – many of them car club members – who'd been inspired by the greybeards they knew and the battered vintage magazines they pored over. 2007's mainstream motorcycle magazines weren't aware of this burgeoning 'old school' movement; or perhaps weren't interested. My only competition was DicE magazine, published in London by two blokes I kind of knew and who loved the same stuff as me.

I was living in Sydney, Australia, riding my Panhead and anticipating the birth of my first child the following February; this new magazine I'd created seemed to be far more popular than I could have dreamed. I sold around 12000 magazines that first year; pretty extraordinary for a part-time kitchen table publication.

11 years later, everything has changed – and nothing has. My taste in bikes is basically the same and so are the perameters set for content in GK. It's still a niche publication; but it's now a niche publication in a sea of niche publications. As traditional, newsstand magazine publishing has withered, so inedependent publishing has flourished. Which is beautiful to see.

None of the chopper/race events we attend today existed back in 2007; none of the independent bike magazines did, either. Traditional, vintage choppers and bob-jobs have become – if not mainstream – far less of a niche interest than they were, relatively recently. The custom bike scene has fragmented, with the emergence of the 'urban tracker rider' (and the magazines and high end shops to cater for them), the proliferation of 'vintage racing' events and the huge growth in businesses (clothing, parts, accessories) selling to customers passionate about anything and everything 'old school'.

It's been interesting to watch. And it's definitely a much better time to be into this stuff than when Greasy Kulture started, with more events to enjoy and many more accoutrements available to help maintain that 'chopper lifestyle'.

And so, at last, I think it's time for Greasy Kulture to change. Something it's never really done (other than the odd chnage of layout/logo and an expansion into retail). GK is no longer one of the scouts for a growing army of gearheads thirsty for knowledge of the world's most interesting builders and bikes; gathering information and photos to pass on to its followers. It's become one of the followers: looking on with its audience at what unfolds on the now-huge global custom bike scene.

So there will be a change of focus for Greasy Kulture in 2019. A change in direction. A change for the better.

Stay tuned.

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