Motor Cycle News

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Motor Cycle News
Motorcycle News (logo).png
TypeWeekly newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) Bauer
PublisherRachael Beesley
EditorRichard Newland
Headquarters Peterborough, England
Circulation 85,651 [1]
ISSN 0027-1853

MCN or Motor Cycle News is a UK weekly motorcycling newspaper published by Bauer Consumer Media, based in Peterborough, United Kingdom. It claims to be "the world’s biggest weekly motorcycle newspaper". [2]


The title was founded in late 1955 as Motorcycle News by Cyril Quantrill, a former employee of Motor Cycling, and was sold to EMAP in 1956. [3] Bauer bought Emap's consumer media division in 2008.

The brand has expanded to include the MCN website, MCN Mobile, iPhone app, the 'MCN Compare' Insurance Comparison service, MCN London and Scottish Motorcycle Show and the MCN Live! at Skegness party weekend.

In 2009, average weekly circulation was 114,304 copies according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, [4] and 2010 it was 106,446 copies. [5]

The figure for 2018 was 56,839. [1]

Early years

Cyril Quantrill was an employee of Motor Cycling under famous editor Graham Walker, learning his trade both pre and post-war. The British motorcycle media was traditionally dominated by two rival publishing houses - Temple Press with Motor Cycling and Iliffe with The Motor Cycle. Both were weekly magazine-format Thursday publications.

Using his growing skill-set, Quantrill recognised an opening for a Wednesday newspaper-format venture which could better-showcase sport — an area largely not covered by his employer Motor Cycling or The Motor Cycle

The first edition 30 November 1955 Motorcycle News !st issue 30 nov 1955 masthead.JPG
The first edition 30 November 1955

With his friend Peter Baldwin — whose father owned a print-works at Tunbridge Wells — Quantrill established his own publication Motorcycle News from a small office off Fleet Street and, in conjunction with Baldwin Press, produced the first issue dated 30 November 1955.

Limited by a 3,000 issue print-run capability and underfunding, Quantrill arranged to sell to EMAP in 1956.

August 1960 example of Title reformatted from original Italicised script Motorcycle News 1960 masthead logo.JPG
August 1960 example of Title reformatted from original Italicised script

Under new ownership the issues were still priced at fourpence, but the title had changed to non-italic upper case MOTORCYCLE NEWS.

Quantrill stayed on as editor and with EMAP's backing the brand flourished. By the time of Quantrill's resignation in 1961 circulation was at 67,000. [3]

Quantrill continued working as a journalist, including as editor of Motor Cyclist Illustrated, published by City Magazines Ltd of London. Continuing Quantrill's earlier motivation of sports reporting, it had the strapline "the sporting monthly".

Middle years

Example of 1962-onwards logo with enlarged initial letters Motorcycle News 1964 masthead logo 150px.JPG
Example of 1962-onwards logo with enlarged initial letters

Motorcycle News as a sporting newspaper was pitched to beat the rivals to the newsstands by one day. Both of the rivals were still magazine-format and remained traditionally producing practical and informative general coverage.

By 1962, the front page had been restyled by replacing the centred-title with a left-corner masthead box. Changing the Title text to three stacked short words with larger initial letters released more space for headlines and larger images whilst creating the MOTORCYCLENEWS which in the public mind became the common name and gave rise to the acronym 'MCN'.

Motor Cycle News supplement 1966.JPG

In March 1966 MCN produced a colour ten-year anniversary supplement with various contributors including sporting notables Mike Hailwood, Bill Ivy, Jeff Smith, Dave Bickers, Alf Hagon and Charlie Rous summarising the developments and highlights of the past ten years' reporting, together with representatives of the major bike manufacturers stating their aspirations for future trading. [6]

In 1962, rival Motor Cycling had gone to newspaper format having more sporting coverage and with larger pages allowing for large action images. Another rival publication Motor Cycle (as it was by then known, having dropped 'The' from its title in 1962) continued as a magazine until August 1967 when it joined with elements of Motor Cycling to produce a newspaper format on Wednesdays as Motor Cycle Incorporating Motor Cycling. [7]

Later years

The two publications continued as rival 'papers. From the late 1960s, the MCN corner-masthead became blue, turning to the familiar red for the 1970s, gradually introducing more colour into the pages. Rival 'Motor Cycle' became Motor Cycle Weekly, which reverted to a glossy-magazine format in 1983 in an effort to boost sales figures by then-publisher IPC before eventual closure in late 1983. MCN continued from strength to strength.

MCN awards

MCN have been presenting an annual awards ceremony almost since they were founded in 1955. These included the popularity poll 'Man of the Year' and the overall 'MCN Machine of the Year' award:

1958UK John Surtees
1959UKJohn Surtees
1960UK Dave Bickers
1961UK Mike Hailwood
1962UK Derek Minter
1963UKMike Hailwood
1964UK Jeff Smith
1965UK Bill Ivy
1973UK Barry Sheene [8]
1974UK Phil Read [9] [10]
1975UK Barry Sheene [11]
1978UK Mike Hailwood [12]
1968UK Norton Commando
1969UKNorton Commando
1970UKNorton Commando
1971UKNorton Commando
1972UKNorton Commando
1973Japan Kawasaki Z1 [13]
1974JapanKawasaki Z1 [13]
1975JapanKawasaki Z1 [13]
1976JapanKawasaki Z1 [13]
1977Japan Yamaha XS750 [14]
1979UK Triumph Bonneville T140
1983Japan Kawasaki GPz1100 [13]
1984Japan Kawasaki GPz900R [13]
1988JapanKawasaki ZX-10 [13]
1989Japan Kawasaki KR-1 [13]
1990Japan Kawasaki ZZ-R1100 [13]
1998Japan Yamaha R1
1999Germany BMW K1200LT
2001Japan Suzuki GSX-R1000 [15]
2002Italy Ducati 999
2003Japan Honda CBR600RR
2004UK Triumph Rocket III
2005Japan Suzuki GSX-R1000
2006Japan Yamaha YZFR6R
2007Italy Ducati 1098
2008Italy Ducati Desmosedici RR
2009Japan Yamaha R1
2010Germany BMW S1000RR
2011Italy Ducati Diavel [16]
2012Germany BMW S1000RR [17]
2013Germany BMW R1200GS [18]
2014Japan Yamaha MT-07 [19]
2015Japan Kawasaki H2 [20]
2016Japan Honda RC213V-S [21]
2017Britain Triumph Street Triple RS [22]
2018Italy Ducati Panigale V4S [23]
2019Germany BMW S1000RR [24]
2020Britain Triumph Tiger 900 Rally Pro [25]
2021Italy Aprilia RS660 [26]

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  1. 1 2 "Standard Certificate of Circulation" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations. 1 November 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  2. Retrieved 24 March 2013
  3. 1 2 Telegraph, Cyrill Quantrill - obituary, life and career Retrieved 15 March 2014
  4. "Bauer Media Consumer Magazines: ABC Jan-Jun 2010" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 December 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  5. "Standard Certificate of Circulation" (PDF). Audit Bureau of Circulations. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  6. Motor Cycle News, The First Ten Years Anniversary Supplement, March 1966. Retrieved 26 April 2014
  7. Louis, Harry,"We're going bigger" Editor in Chief, Motor Cycle, 3 August 1967 Retrieved 23 March 2013
  8. Super Sheene! Man of the Year 1973 Motorcycle News , 28 November 1973, pp.2-3 and - front cover. Retrieved 4 January 2022
  9. It's Read. World Champion tops Man of the Year poll. Motorcycle News , 27 November 1974, p.1 (front cover). Retrieved 5 January 2022
  10. Showtime '75, Man of the Year 1974 Motorcycle News , 1 January 1975, p.1 (front cover). Retrieved 5 January 2022
  11. Sheene is your Man of the Year Motorcycle News , 21 January 1976, pp.1 (front cover). Retrieved 5 January 2022
  12. Man of the Year 1978 Motorcycle News , 17 January 1979, pp.27-30 and front cover. Retrieved 29 December 2021
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Kawasaki official site" . Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  14. Yamaha end four year era! '...but we'll be back' – Kawasaki Motorcycle News , 18 January 1978, pp.28-29, p.32 and front cover. Retrieved 21 January 2022
  15. MCN news archive, October 2001 Retrieved 7 April 2013
  16. MCN Awards 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013
  17. MCN Awards. Retrieved 7 April 2013
  18. MCN Awards, September 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2014
  19. MT-07 voted MCN Overall Machine of the Year 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2022
  20. MCN Awards 2015: Machine of the year. Retrieved 10 March 2022
  21. MCN Award winners 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2022
  22. MCN Bike Of The Year Awards 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2022
  23. Britain's Best Bikes: these are the 2021 MCN Award winners. Retrieved 10 March 2022
  24. Britain's Best Bikes: these are the 2021 MCN Award winners. Retrieved 10 March 2022
  25. Britain's Best Bikes: these are the 2021 MCN Award winners. Retrieved 10 March 2022
  26. Britain's Best Bikes: these are the 2021 MCN Award winners. Retrieved 10 March 2022