American Rider/Thunder Press History
The year was 1992, and the phenomenal growth of Harley-Davidson was in its infancy. To cater to the burgeoning V-Twin culture, Silicon Valley executive and H.O.G. member Reg Kittrelle created Thunder Press to bring V-Twin enthusiasts news, schedules of events, and reviews of American V-Twins and related products. It served as an outlet for readers to add their own voices and articles.
Thunder Press was launched in a tabloid format to reflect its newsy identity, and copies were sent to Harley-Davidson dealers and biker hangouts for free distribution. It proved an instant hit among the biker community. The popularity of the new publication grew by leaps and bounds, and Thunder Press expanded its coverage and reach beyond the San Francisco Bay Area to include all of California, and then the Northwest, the Southwest, and the Mountain states.
By 1996, a Thunder Press East edition was started to serve the northeastern corner of the country, and in 2001 we created three regional editions: North, South, and West. The North and South editions were combined in 2016 to create the new East edition. We became a fully national magazine in 2019.
In January 2020, Thunder Press switched from a broadsheet format to a glossy magazine layout. And then Covid hit, closing down dealers and cutting off the primary source of our distribution. Shipping and printing costs kept rising, so we switched to a subscription model to continue providing our readers with their favorite magazine directly.
There exists only about a half dozen national moto pubs still printing issues, and an even smaller number doing it monthly as we do. The vacuum created by the extinct motorcycle publications was an opportunity to serve riders who prefer to consume news and entertainment about moto culture on a printed page (or on a digital representation). We have a loyal following of readers who appreciate the premium experience of leafing through insightful stories about the V-Twin industry that are expertly laid out on pages both physical and virtual.
In May 2022, we updated our name to better reflect our evolution away from freebie newsprint publishing to a higher-end presentation. Thunder Press was reborn as American Rider. But we remain faithful to our roots, endeavoring monthly to provide the same useful mix of information, entertainment, events coverage, and motorcycle and product testing focused exclusively on the American biker community that got this thing rolling more than 30 years ago. That will never change.
We are American riders who love American motorcycles and the V-Twin riding community, so we are American Rider.