Buzz Kanter was born in February 1955 in Connecticut. His father, a second-generation magazine publisher, moved the entire family to England when Buzz was 8. The Kanter family moved back to Connecticut in 1969 and it wasn't long before the 14-year-old Buzz and his brothers purchased a Honda QA50 50cc minibike. His parents allowed the minibike but told the Kanter boys that they would never be allowed to own or ride a real motorcycle.
Once in college, Buzz couldn't afford a car, so he bought a used and abused Honda 305 Superhawk for $150 to ride as basic transportation. Much to his parent's displeasure, Buzz learned how to work on the bike and eventually traded it up for a series of larger displacement motorcycles.
In 1977, Buzz graduated from college and took up club racing motorcycles with his shiny brand-new red Yamaha RD400 in the now defunct AAMRR. (Other AMA Hall of Famers, including Mike Baldwin and Erik Buell, also were active in the series.) Over the next couple years, Buzz raced Yamahas, Hondas, and a Ducati 750 Sport with some success. The next year, he followed his father's and grandfather's footsteps and took his first job in the magazine industry.
Buzz left the family publishing business in 1989 to launch TAM communications with his wife Gail in a small spare bedroom over the garage in their house. For the first two years of publishing Old Bike Journal, it was Gail's income that the Kanters lived on. Buzz was responsible for all aspects of the magazine editorial, production and distribution, while Gail handled the finances and staffing issues.
"By 1991 the tiny staff had outgrown our spare bedroom," explained Buzz. "So we moved into the empty basement of my family's publishing business."
The timing worked out well as the spacious quarters were quickly filled when the Kanters purchased American Iron Magazine and moved it from California to Connecticut.
"There were lots of motorcycle magazines back then, and the Harley ones focused more on the skin than the tin," Buzz explained. "Gail and I literally bet everything we had that there was real demand for a high quality Harley publication without the girls."
The Kanters’ instinct was correct, and American Iron Magazine has grown into one of the best-selling motorcycle magazines in the world.
In addition to launching a number of motorcycle magazines, including 90 Years of Harley-Davidson, Indian Illustrated, Hot XL and RoadBike, Buzz Kanter has created and promoted various motorcycle events, including a series of Honor Rides from Connecticut to Milwaukee to celebrate Harley's 90th, 95th and 100th anniversaries, FLASH (Fastest Legal All Street Harleys) Drag races, AMDRAGS racing association, New York City's Gotham Motorcycle Classic and others.
Buzz, an active rider and promoter of the motorcycle industry, can often be seen at various national or local events on one of his classic 1930s, '40s or '50s Harley or Indian motorcycles.
He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002.