Malcolm Stevenson Forbes is popular for two things. First and foremost he is known as the founder of the successful Forbes magazine. Second, and perhaps he is more famous for this, as a loyal rider and collector of the Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Forbes tried to dabble in politics for a while between 1951 and 1957 but he settled to managing Forbes magazine in 1957. The success of the magazine today is evident of the hard work invested by Forbes in his business. But all work and no play can make jack, in this case Malcolm, a dull boy so he compensated hard work with a very lavish lifestyle which included his priceless art collection, a B727 trijet named Capitalist Tool, yachts and of course, his collection of Harley motorcycles.
His name has always been included in the list of top Harley motorcycle collectors. In fact, he always topped the list thanks to his over-50 Harley motorcycle collection. Forbes is known to mingle with the most powerful people from Hollywood, politics and business.
He is a known close friend of movie legend Elizabeth Taylor who received the Purple Passion Harley Davidson motorcycle from him as a gift.
He has led quite a busy life building his name and fortune that hobbies cam late for Malcolm Forbes. He started his love affair with motorcycles when he was in his late 40s and has in fact formed and led a motorcycle club known as Capitalist Tools. New Jersey motorcycle enthusiasts who belonged to his circle often congregated in his New Jersey estate.
While Forbes had a stable of motorcycles as part of his collection, he was terribly loyal to the Harley Davidson motorcycles. He was so passionate about motorcycles and riding such that motorists should give him credit for being instrumental in the passage of the law which allowed motorcycles to pass through the New Jersey Garden State Parkway in New Jersey which used to be a cars-only area.
His passion for the two-wheeled vehicle was honored in 1999 when he was inducted to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. No one has perhaps influenced the way people looked at motorcycles the way Forbes did with his high publicized motorcycle adventures along with his powerful group of business leaders, celebrities and even members of the fourth estate or the press.
Motorcycles used to be identified with the rugged and the bum but that was before Forbes and his rich and famous friends were publicly seen riding their Harleys. He has made people realize that motorcycle riding is a socially acceptable behavior which can become a satisfying pastime for all types of people, rich or poor.
He is known for criticizing the critics of motorcycles even if they come from the halls of Congress. He said those who hurled legislative assaults on motorcycle riders do not know a thing about motorcycles. His efforts were acknowledged by motorcycle groups like the AMA which gave him the AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Awards. The award, which was given to Forbes in 1987 or three years before he died, is the highest award given by the association for people who have generated positive motorcycling publicity.
Malcolm Forbes is perhaps the only individual who has his name etched in two motorcycle museums: the Motorcycle hall of Fame Museum in Ohio as well as the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee