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GOING THE DISTANCE
PHOTO BY GENGHIS
THE WORLD SYSTEM: Loyal IH readers come out from under cover.
EXCHANGE AT THE SEEDY-X BAR:
"I didn't know Larry well, personally. But I'm guessing this guy didn't either. This bike looks better in the video and pics than it does in real life. The tank seems to be four feet wide, everything is more cliche' than a "tribute". It was in Sturgis at the AMD "world championship of bike building" show. There were a few nice bikes, and some really weird ones. This was the one that stuck in my craw. Larry's bikes seemed like skinny riding machines, everything this 'tribute' piece of shit is not."
"A steaming pile of dog feces on a miserably frigid January morning has a lot in common with this "bike" Having just perused the latest travesty....oops, I mean issue of the Whores/Slack Street Jappers, I'm surprised it's not a FEATURED BIKE."
"Thanks for the personal insult. Appreciate it."
"Everyone has their opinions man, thats the way of the world. That you choose to take this personally makes no sense. My opinions on a whole range of topics may be a pile of crap to you. So be it. Thats what this message board is for. As for the content of The Horse/BC, my opinion is it's never been the same after Snow and now its gotten to be an offense to my eyes too. Just one man's opinion. I really don't give a crap what anyone else rides, Englishman, but we are gonna diverge totally, in our opinions of what the mag has become. I'm not here to insult you personally, I damn well don't even know you. I have my opinions and I'm gonna voice them, just as you have yours and make them known."
"Written your opinion just like that, it would have been fine. I'm not trying to sway anyone's opinion here. However, I am responsible for the bike content in the Horse, I don't expect everyone to like it, far from it, but the 'Whorse' name calling and the implication I would put this piece of crap in the mag, I DO take personally."
"Englishman, if you had not defended ya work at IH/BC it woulda been surprising. Go ta photobucket an search 19panhead50. Get an eyefull of Magdalena. Maybe she''s gonna be an offense ta your eyes. There's a lotta true believers in Snow's Iron Horse out here, an that ain't ever gonna change. Ya see, this exchange here between us is one of the things that was so compelling about that magazine. Sometimes rude, sometimes crude an sometimes totally unreasonable outcast-misfit bikers buttin'heads. Gotta go and crack open ONE more Guinness and toast Snows badass XLCH."
Bikers have never been accused of being delicate with their opinions, as 19Panhead50 says.
That statement by 19Panhead50 says it all:
"There's a lotta true believers in Snow's Iron Horse out here. and that ain't ever gonna change."
The very existence of John Lowen's new Facebook Site, "The Iron Horse World System" is proof of that. Check it out. It's full of energy and interesting ideas, which reflects how energizing and revolutionary David Snow's Iron Horse was. The degree of loyalty to Snow's Iron Horse, is unprecedented in the magazine world of the biker subculture. I can't disagree with 19Panhead50. Snow's IH would never have been caught dead or naked outdoors, with the lion's share of his magazine's motorcycle content dedicated to hacked up Kawasakis and Yamawhatsis, with dollops of all-the-same-looking Limey rigids thrown in, frantically trying to be Harley-Davidsons, and the rest of the rag showing Harleys as some kind of carnival consolation prize.
Any biker rag worth its 60 weight, oughta devote 95% of its pages to the motorcycle brand which acted as the very centerpiece of the Biker Subculture, the Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson. Say it, and historical bells ring---and I don't mean gremlin bells. The name has a hallowed substance that's hard to explain to outsiders, who if you had to explain to 'em, they wouldn't understand.
The Biker Subculture was not founded on the haphazard and intermittment tinkering with Japanese motorcycles in a futile effort to make them fit into the culture's formulary. It's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. With Japanese brands, the traditions and heritage in the biker subculture, are just not there.
The Biker Subculture was built on the bedrock of eighty years of bikers riding, personalizing and cherishing their Harley-Davidsons. Think of how indelibly your Harley is imprinted on your existence, and you can find a long-ago biker in the 1930s, who had exactly the same experience.
Harleys have indeed been the foundation upon which the subculture survived and thrived. Harleys have been the spine of the biker subculture, around which the musculature of traditions developed, and pivoted as a living thing, just as many bikers considered their Harleys living things. No other motorcycle marque can submit claim to the importance that Harley-Davidsons hold in our culture. Without Harley cycles, there would have been no biker subculture. There might've been a motorcycle movement, just a directionless floating mass without an anchor. Harley-Davidson motorcycles became the anchor, solidifying this ill-defined entity into a true Biker Subculture. The roots of the culture run deep and true, and at the very terminal of each root, there is a Harley-Davidson motorcycle firmly attached to it.
Never mind that Harley The Firm has an uneasy relationship with bikers. It is with their motorcycles, that we have made our covenant, and staked out our life's lot. I am married forever, to a Harley-Davidson.
It is Harleys that we have chosen as our instruments of expression, in a biker world where one's existence is an art form. Snow, being the consumate artist with word, picture and ink, was the perfect maestro to chronicle this. The Harley-Davidson motorcycle, is the Chosen Bike. Bikers and Harley dealerships have always had a love/hate, but symbiotic relationship with each other. Moreso than that, The Firm itself has had a much deeper relationship with the biker subculture, in this regard. Street bikers have granted The Firm free rein to their modification ideas, and The Firm has been able to stay afloat because of this largesse on the part of bikers. It is truly a trade of intellectual property, for hardware.
As a reward for this gifting of customizing ideas, The Firm has given us Big Twins and Sportsters to make our lives with, like a reluctant father-in-law marrying off his daughters. It's true, it was the dangerous greaser with tattoos, who ultimately won Daddy's Little Girl's heart.
Iron Horse's audience became a reflection of Snow. Intellectually curious, relentlessly honest, and righteous in convictions, bikers who read IH became Snow's alter ego, enthusiastically pursuing along with him, what it meant to be a biker. It's my opinion that the Iron Horse readership represented the smartest demographic segment of bikers. It was to this receptive readership, that Snow exposed vistas of the intricacies of the biker subculture, showing the good, the bad and the ugly with no rosy filtration.
Snow was a true leader, who made his magazine the wellspring for ideas and inspiration. Snow loved Harleys, The Firm---not so much.
Snow's IH made this abundantly clear: That We The Bikers, can survive without They The Firm, because we've got ours. Snow recently stated, "You couldn't give me a new Harley!"
We have our righteous Harleys, forever ours and apart now from the loins of The Factory that gave birth to 'em. They are ours forever, and they'll have to pry them from our dead, cold grip. Now Snow's got a firm grip on his Hardcore XLCH.
The Snow Horse was a once in a lifetime magazine, whose time has come and gone. Unlike publications that preceded and followed Iron Horse, the Horse defined the Biker Subculture with sharp and unvarnished illumination. Snow made it his mission to shed light on our subculture in sociological terms, never masking the ugly, while rejoicing in the beauty, and ridiculing the absurd.
Iron Horse became the first de facto reality show in the culture, where Snow's life, ideas and ideals were made part of the public domain. Today's magazines don't delve into the lives of its editors and writers, the way that IH did.
Since the 1997 demise of Snow's Iron Horse, magazines have made frail attempts to emulate the IH Gold Standard, but because of their inherent flaws and unforced errors of content, have not been able to reach Snow's watermark. That brings us to John Lowen's new website.
Something has been resurrected with The Iron Horse World System website, thanks to John Lowen. I think we all know what that is. It's the original World System. In Snow's own words:
FROM ITS MAGNIFYING TRANSMITTER HIGH ATOP NEW YORK CITY'S Empire State Building, powered by a succession of giant Tesla Coils, the Iron Horse World System is engaged in the continuous, wireless transmission of pure, unadulterated biker current directly into the brains of righteous riders around the globe, effectively bypassing the propaganda, doublethink, newspeak and other nefarious forms of thought control emitted by the corporate Molochs in Milwaukee and their mindless minions in the yuppie-biker press. Prepare to witness the awesome results as countless bikers achieve perfect harmonic resonance and split this weak world of bullshit in half! Resist the weak force! Join the strong force! The Iron Horse World System!