Jeff Holt is one of those people who has been a part of the motorcycle industry since before the social media revolution. Back when magazines were King Jeff was the editor of Hot Bike Magazine for 15 years. Since a lot of big money has been pulled from magazines and the budgets for ads have disintegrated, Jeff evolved his career – and just how the industry changed, so did he.
If you want to stay afloat in this industry, you need to always be evolving and listening to the trends, and watch where people move their attention. Jeff successfully found his way through the changes in the motorcycle world and created V-Twin Visionary. When Jeff and I spoke for the first time, to create this article, I asked him – What exactly is V-Twin Visionaries? He told me, “It’s a lot of things. It’s an online news source, an Instagram page, an events company, a brand and so much more.”
I really related to this broad answer to what his brand is and wanted to know more. Under Jeffs’s brand of V-Twin Visionaries, he manages to produce up to 9 events a year, curate rides, and do product testing for new high-performance parts. He still writes and creates content about these parts and about his travels and his content is intertwined into his events, rides, articles, and social media.
In the “influencers” and known riders in the motorcycle industry, you can see how they have changed their sights over time and took their experience as writers, photographers, product producers, brand managers, riders, etc. and put it online in one way or another. Jeff is a prime example of how you have to really just figure it out, year by year and day by day, to be able to continue to make money while living your dream of riding motorcycles.
As Jeff said to me, “this shit doesn’t happen overnight!”
Even with all the time, work, and effort Jeff has put into his career and into the industry, he still manages to put his money back into what matters to him. Jeff is known to involve charities in all his events and is always donating to a cause that personally hits home for him.
I was assigned this article by Russ Brown and didn’t know Jeff at all beforehand. Even after multiple phone calls and e-mails, I still think there’s so much more to know about Jeff and so much I haven’t wrapped my head around when it comes to his job. So, even if you read this and still aren’t totally sure how this guy does it all, it’s okay. Look him up online and follow along with his travels via Instagram and online motorcycle news sources.
Here are a few questions I was able to ask Jeff to try and understand him better:
Who are you?
Jeff G. Holt of V-Twin Visionary
Where are you from and where do you live and work now?
I was born and raised in Orange County California. I now reside in Phoenix, Arizona.
What exactly is V-Twin Visionary?
V-Twin Visionary is an American V-Twin motorcycle-centric information and media hub.
How did you get into this work?
I was the former editor and brand director of Hot Bike, Baggers, And Street Chopper magazines. When paper magazines ceased to exist, I started up V-Twin Visionary with positive knowledge I gained from working at a billion dollar a year corporation.
What is your background?
I came from the bicycle industry, mostly BMX and Mountain Biking where I was a marketing guy who was in mainly charge of building and photographing catalogs and prototype product testing. I always built Harleys as a hobby since I was 19. One evening I received a phone call from a mutual friend who has seen my work and he offered me a starting job as an associate editor of Street Chopper magazine. 15 years later here I am.
I heard you do parts-testing in the motorcycle world as well, what exactly does a parts-tester do? Sounds like a dream job.
Pretty much manufacturers ship me parts to test and review. Since I have been doing this for so long I am now considered a person who has a large font of knowledge in aftermarket V-Twin parts. I have installed and tested thousands of parts in my career, so I can see and feel things, both bad and good before most others can. Sometimes even the people who design and build the parts. Yes, it sounds like a dream job, but there are always issues that arise with component incapability, parts availability, and other design and production issues, which can leave a test bike stranded on the lift for months waiting for the correct part to be manufactured or to come back into stock.
Tell us more about the V-Twin Visionary Bike Show with Harley Davidson.
This year we hit the road on a nine-stop Performance Bike Show series with Harley-Davidson being the presenting sponsor. Basically, we hit various cities all over the USA and have a single-day bike show that celebrates the performance aspect of the V-Twin realm and its builders.
What was the Covid Crossing?
The Covid crossing was a hare-brained idea I had where I would get a bike and ride it across the USA. I put the word out that I wanted to do it and Will Cole of Black Bear H-D in Virginia supplied me with a bike. My girlfriend Maggie and I then proceeded to fly out East and ride the bike back to California. We had a few sponsors so we could upgrade the bike for proper touring, and then we hit up friends and business folk along the way further customizing the bike. At the time most of the USA was on total lockdown, so at many stops, it was hard to get a meal or even fuel in many of the rural spots. It was quite an adventure. So much so that we just completed a ride to Sturgis called “The Sturgis Smash” and we are doing one this fall known as “The California Crossing”
What are you most known for in the industry and why?
That used to be an easy question to answer. I was just a Magazine Editor. I guess now in the current climate of events and of course social media, I would say that I am part editor, part producer, and part influencer. It really has just evolved that way.
We’ve heard about some charity work you’ve been doing, can you tell us more about that?
We have always been into working with various charities such as Juvenile Diabetes and with Veterans, this year we will be working closely with a charity known as Throttle Therapy that is just starting up. I am very excited about it.
How have you seen the motorcycle industry change over the years?
Yes. It is ever-changing – and in a positive way, I feel. The bikes coming out of both Indian and Harley-Davidson are works of functional art right off the factory floor. It is a great time to be a motorcycle enthusiast or customizer because so much is available – and not just in the USA. This is for sure a world-wide kind of deal.
What bikes do you own? What’s your personal favorite style of bike?
I own a ton of bikes and I am always buying, selling, and trading to get different makes and models. My personal favorite bikes I own are a 124ci 2005 H-D Dyna FXDX, a 1993 H-D FXRP cop bike, and a 2019 H-D Softail with a 140hp Leading Edge motor and a ton of carbon fiber that rides like a sportbike.
Who are some of the most interesting people you’ve met because of your line of work?
I meet so many amazing people through my work that I can’t point out just one or two folks really. I have gotten to meet all of my heroes though – guys like Willie G. And Bill Davidson, Arlen Ness, Dave Perewitz, Ron Finch, and a ton more.
Tell us a story about one of your craziest motorcycle trips.
A while back I once rode from New York City to Arkansas on a borrowed H-D Road Glide with nothing more than a beat-up Bell helmet, 501 jeans, hightop Vans, Dickies work jacket in the pouring rain for 3 days straight. I would take the trash can liners out of the bins at rest stops to use as rain gear. And the gloves I fell apart after the first sixty miles. It was the worst while it was happening, but such a good time now that I look back on it. I had only money to eat and gas up, so buying new gear was out of the questions.
What events can people see you at next?
Pretty much any of the larger bike weeks and events, as well as the remaining Performance Bike shows we have left in October, November, and December of 2020. Then we will be doing it all again next year in hopefully a much better situation.
How can people follow you and see more about you?
Thanks for your time Jeff! Hope to run into you soon! Make sure to follow along with Jeff as well as Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys online – Russ Brown is often involved in Jeffs’s events and will let you know when things start to pick back up again! Until then, ride on.
Interview by Becky Goebel