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Aug 18, 2009

Mitch Boehm's New Retro Magazine Hits The Mail

Moto Retro Illustrated is out!

Moto Retro Illustrated, a new vintage/classic magazine focusing on the moto culture from 1965 to 1985, has released its first issue, which begins shipping to subscribers and dealers this week.

Conceived, written and published by long-time motojournalist and racer Mitch Boehm, Moto Retro Illustrated is a unique spin on the vintage/classic magazine. "Moto Retro covers a more recent slice of the classic landscape," says Boehm, "the late '60s, 1970s and early '80s. As a result we feature a lot of Japanese bikes streetbikes, dirtbikes and minis, the motorcycles most baby-boomers grew up with."

Moto Retro Illustrated's roots stem from the three issues of Motorcyclist Retro published in 2008, which Boehm edited for Source Interlink. "Motorcyclist Retro did pretty well for a start-up," Boehm says, "selling more than 20,000 copies of each issue. But upper management killed it in December, wanting to concentrate on core products with the economy tanking. It was a bummer. But when I saw how popular it was, I decided to take the concept I'd nurtured and publish it myself."

Moto Retro's premier issue includes a wide array of back-in-the-day feature stories, including the "Eddie Lawson and the Replica" cover story, which covers the genesis of the '82 and '83 KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica, Eddie's Superbike career on the green machines, and also the famed S1 production racer sold to privateers. "I'd wanted to cover that bike and Eddie's racing connection with it for a long time," says Boehm. "We shot Eddie and his personal ELR at Auto Club Speedway, and Kevin Wing did a great job on the photos. The story runs 12 pages, and included are vintage photos along with interviews with Eddie, Rob Muzzy, Superbike collector Brian O'Shea and ex-Kawasaki man Mike Vaughan."

The issue also includes a story on Boehm's first-generation CB750 for the 750 Four's 40th Anniversary. "I'd written a piece 17 years earlier in Cycle World called 'West By CB750' about riding CB750s on Route 66," Boehm says. "CW Editor David Edwards and I bought a couple of first-gen CB750s from a guy in Illinois via Walneck's Cycle Trader, flew there and rode them home on Route 66. We had a pretty wild time; my bike holed a piston in Tulsa, and David's bike holed a crankcase from a thrown chain in the middle of Arizona. I wanted to revisit that story and that motorcycle, and since my current first-generation CB750 is pretty close to the bike I'd bought back in Illinois, I figured now was the time."

Also featured in the issue: A piece on Tom White's amazing motocross museum and collection; a story on the 1975 Unadilla Trans-AMA motocross event by Dexter Ford; a piece on Yamaha's first monoshock motocrosser; a short story on Hodaka's Super Rat; a feature on American Honda's 50 years in the U.S., complete with rare marketing images from the '60s; and short pieces on Wes Cooley and Team Yoshimura from 1981, Darryl Bassani, Jeff Ward, and more.

Moto Retro Illustrated is pricier than your standard monthly bike book ($9.95 per copy), primarily because it's oversized and printed on thick, luxurious paper, but also because the magazine's business model doesn't rely solely on advertising for revenue as do the majority of other magazines, many of which are experiencing hard times in this down economy. "We're relying on the reader more," Boehm says. "We don't need huge numbers to survive; just enough hard-core readers who'll pay a bit more for a beautiful, glossy magazine jam-packed with good stuff from Motorcycling's Glory Days."

Yearly subscriptions (four issues) are $39.95, and single copies ordered via the website (which include shipping) are $12.95. Right now, subs and single copies can only be had via the website (, though dealers and shops across the country will eventually stock Retro.

"We're all about a higher-end experience," Boehm says. "So not only is the magazine thick and glossy, something you'll want to keep, but we mail it in a protective polybag so it arrives as fresh as the day it came off the press. And with only about 15 pages of ads, issue one contains about 85 pages of great editorial, which we know our readers are gonna love."

For more information:

Moto Retro Illustrated
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