Magazine of the week: Esses #1

There are plenty of independent cycling mags out there, but few motorcycle mags (Australia’s Head Full of Snakes is the only one that comes to mind), so it’s good to see Esses turn up promising a fresh look at motorbikes and associated culture.

(names after the s-shaped roads loved by riders) is published by experienced editor-designer team David Burton and Jon Butterworth. They’ve won multiple editorial awards for their work on the army magazine Camouflage, and are currently employed during the day at Haymarket. By evening and weekend they’ve developed a lovely little magazine in Esses – literally little, the format being a neat A5.

That scale means the pages are tightly fitted together, with photography and text interlocking throughout and a general busy-ness. This reflects the subject matter well without going overboard on the motorcycle aesthetic. It’s masculine but not suffocatingly so (don’t let that ‘Women on Motorbikes’ cover line put you off – the feature, above, is better than that sell) , with some beautifully composed spreads.

The passion for and knowledge of their subject shine through, with a nice mix of reportage, clothing (Lewis Leathers, above) and history.

And even at this small scale they’ve worked the pace well, headlines shouting where necessary.

I’m not sure how fully Esses is going to engage non-enthusiasts, but it is a great introduction to the subject and if you like bikes you’ll love it.

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Comment on January 31, 2014 by Luke Ray says:

Hi there,

There are a good number of indy moto magazines out there. Greasy Kulture, Dice, Lowside, HFoS as you mentioned, all come to mind, and our title Tank Moto that is in it’s third issue. We would like to encourage you to review one or both of our titles please, as we have been working very (VERY) hard as an independent publisher for five years and would appreciate some recognition from the industry.

Thanks very much.
Luke Ray
Fuel Press.

Comment on January 31, 2014 by jeremy says:

Hi Luke –– great to hear of other bike mags, always keen to see more.

Please email me info at magCulture dot com

Comment on January 31, 2014 by jeremy says:

And for anyone interested, here’s a link to Luke’s mag:

Comment on February 3, 2014 by jeremy says:

Another mag to add to the mix: US title Iron & Air

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