A side benefit to riding motorcycles is that a rider’s age is fairly easily obfuscated by riding gear and a full-face helmet. Thus attired, I could pass myself off as a 20-something even though I’m carrying around a number twice as large.

While you might not be able to tell my age when I’m geared up, you could if you glanced into my home office. My collection of motorcycle magazines numbers in the many hundreds – perhaps thousands if including a decade’s worth in my mom’s basement – stretching back to the 1980s. It’s a sure indicator I can’t qualify for millennial status.

Millennials, apparently, are largely unfamiliar with words printed on paper, instead getting their info almost completely online. To me and the generation I come from, a library of back issues was once an invaluable resource of information that was otherwise inaccessible.

But then the world wide web came into being, and moto information began its dissemination digitally. The publication you’re browsing now began spurting dribs and drabs of moto-centric content way back in 1994. A few years later, in 1997, I had scored my dream job of a staff position at a national motorcycle magazine, and I was shocked when my first new-bike launch included an invite to the web: Motorcycle.com.

1998 Honda CBR900RR Review

At that point in time, the internet was generally regarded as little more than an electronic version of a bathroom wall – a bunch of people with no authority spouting off about things they had only cursory knowledge about. With my longstanding love of printed magazines and the marginal penetration of the web at the time, I remember feeling as if Motorcycle.com was just an imposter in a respected and professional industry. But MO was blazing a trail…

Motorcycle.com’s founder Brent Plummer was one of the fastest journalists at the press introduction of Honda’s 1998 CBR900RR. Kudos to Big Red for being an early adopter of the web.

Motorcycle.com’s founder Brent Plummer was one of the fastest journalists at the press introduction of Honda’s 1998 CBR900RR. Kudos to Big Red for being an early adopter of the web.

After bouncing around a few print pubs, I got hired by an online publication in 2002. I imagined my tenure there would be short because I expected to be coaxed away by a better offer from a print pub. Although public engagement with the web was rapidly developing, OEMs were still only modestly interested in online magazines. Support was weak but began to pick up as MO and Moto USA drove each other to higher levels of quality and originality. Meanwhile, most everyone with disposable income – like those who could afford to shop for a motorcycle – were enjoying internet access and were looking for the latest news and pictures. Soon, they’d be expecting video, too.

And it’s video that inspired this editorial. Some readers have voiced criticism about how our videos sometimes begin playing automatically after the page loads. This can be annoying if, say, the volume of your internet device is turned up high. Doubly so if you happen to be viewing a page while at work across from your boss’s cubicle.

While I feel empathetic to this critique, I also have to give my brain a shake and remember how media formerly was delivered: It would be sent to your door or local magazine rack months after the info inside was actually gathered by magazine staff. Photos, which a generation ago needed to be developed, were often in black and white and numbered only a few. Today MO regularly delivers a review of a new bike just a day or two after riding it, and in our review are dozens of photos that can be seen more than a foot wide if you’ve got a big monitor.

Me and the CBR600F2 I bought new in 1991 based on the glowing reviews I read in every print magazine. The money I saved racing on the stock Michelins went to my head: a Jimmy Adamo Arai and a perm! Note the pre-knee-puck Dainese leathers.

Me and the CBR600F2 I bought new in 1991 based on the glowing reviews I read in every print magazine. The money I saved racing on the stock Michelins went to my head: a Jimmy Adamo Arai and a perm! Note the pre-knee-puck Dainese leathers.

And then a few days later, we usually deliver a professionally edited video from the bike’s media introduction – a motorcycle alive in motion and sound, a quantum leap or three ahead of just two decades prior! And how much do we charge for this avalanche of media delivered directly to your living room, subway seat, bathroom or wherever?

The only cost to you is your clicks on MO, whether it’s the click to arrive on our pages or the click to mute or pause a video. Compared to the thousands of dollars I’ve spent through the years on motorcycle magazines with small photos, delayed info and no video, these few clicks on MO are a small price to pay – it’s a genuine bargain.

Same goes for the button pushes we request when you browse our Top 10 lists. The clicks you make add to our page-view count, which is one of the metrics ad buyers look at when deciding which publication to support with their dollars. Without ad revenue, we can’t pay for all the good stuff that costs money like video productions and the best staff in the moto industry.

Duke’s Den – Courtship Of Editors

But, for me, the viewer whose critique went past whiney and approached a-hole status was the commenter on a Youtube video of ours who complained about our end-of-video tease to visit Motorcycle.com for the full results of our shootout. He burned about 300 keystrokes whinging about having to click a button or two to visit our site!

MO’s Youtube Home Page

Anyway, I sincerely hope the information and entertainment you get from Motorcycle.com is worth the few clicks you have to acess it. You’ve got a half-dozen highly experienced moto enthusiasts working their asses off for you, and we believe there is no better value for moto fans on the dubya-dubya-dubya. Now, go click on another story. We’ve got mouths to feed!

  • 12er

    Worth every one of the probably hundreds of thousands of clicks Ive given you guys since the 90’s. Keep up the good “free” work.

  • JMDonald

    I am amazed by the amount of quality content available on this site. No paper rag comes close. Lang may yer lum reek.

  • John B.

    Well worth it Kevin!

  • spiff

    You just jogged my memory, the first time I visited MO there was an RZ500 as a feature.

  • Old MOron

    Were we talking and laughing over a beer, I would give you my unabridged response. But since this is the internet’s ersatz version of camaraderie, I’m going to avoid the topic by going off on a tangent.

    Thanks for posting the link to an earlier “Duke’s Den,” http://www.motorcycle.com/editorial-2/dukes-den-courtship-of-editors.html I followed the link and found this picture.


    T-rod reminds me of Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords.


    And if you’ve never heard of Flight of the Conchords, you must watch and listen: https://youtu.be/AqZcYPEszN8

  • BDan75

    I think my first visit was in ’98. At the time (just out of school), I thought I wanted a Shadow ACE 750 and was looking for a review. Ended up with a ZRX1100 three years later. Glad I waited (still have the bike).

    Anyway, yeah, people are spoiled. Though sometimes I wonder if you guys would be better off to actually go lower-quality on the vids. Looking at YouTube, it’s kind of amazing how many people are willing to listen to some random dude’s unedited babbling about a particular bike, just because it seems unbiased and comes with decent-quality onboard footage from something approaching rider’s perspective.

    Actually, I’m not that amazed. I watch those vids all the time, mostly for the onboard footage and sound…less for the babbling.

    • SteveSweetz

      Yeah “vlogs” can actually be pretty valuable. Even if the rider is far from an expert (just like the rest of us), sometimes you can glean info on a bike that you don’t get from professional journalists that feel confident to review bikes which they don’t have to pay for after a whole *hour* of riding them on some track or guided route…

  • Alexander Pityuk

    Glad that you clarified it. For some reason I always thought, that clicks and pages were considered ineffective by advertisers, and that only unique visitors counted.

    • Kevin Duke

      Uniques are the most important metric, just not the sole one.

  • Kenneth

    I love this website, and the talented and credible reviewers/writers creating high-quality content (who greatly counter my feelings of loss of Peter Egan’s regular columns and the late Kevin Ash’s detailed reviews). I also appreciate the format – if that’s the correct term – which avoids huge ads seemingly thrown in my face, and “hooded” pages containing ads at the top, bouncing in-and-out, with text bouncing up-and-down as the page slowly loads; I hope that continues, here, and is well-worth a few extra clicks to me.

    • So nice to hear that! I’m honored I can do this and make a living.

  • Gruf Rude

    Heck, I remember sending a real subscription fee to MO a long time ago when there was a brief flirtation with ‘pay-to-view’ – the content was worth it to me even back then.

    • Not so brief! We did it for over 4 years if I recall correctly.

      Some MO trivia: the subscription price–$11.97–was the exact cost of a 12-er of Coronas at the local minimart when the MO staff started collecting subs. We were literally working for beer money!

      • john burns

        thought it was $11.94? did we have a pledge drive?

        • Hey! You’re supposed to put in your two cents, not three.

    • Dale Finch

      Yep, me too. Paid the subscription price twice. This is still the site I go to first and is bookmarked on my laptop, Smartphone and tablet.

  • Michael Howard

    If being annoyed by videos that autoplay every time the page loads makes me ungrateful, so be it. I have absolutely no problem clicking links to view the superb content produced by you folks. But videos should only play when the viewer chooses to view them. “Autoplay” on websites has been considered poor site design since the Web’s early days.

  • Jason

    If I recall correctly I found motorcycle.com back in 1995 when I was taking an “internet” class at the local community college during my senior year of high school. I’ve enjoyed the quality content every sense.

    Auto start movies are annoying, no getting around it. Especially for me as I have no interest in the videos. The ones I’ve watched have little or no additional content compared to the article and just take too long to watch. I can read the article (silently at work) in a couple of minutes.

    • di0genes

      For those who don’t want to be annoyed by autoplay, especially that stupid intro sound track, use google chrome or opera instead of MS exploder.

      • Jason

        That works for me at home. On my work computer the only option is Internet Explorer.

        • di0genes

          LOL busted!

          • Jason

            Our computers at work are so locked down I’m surprised the let us change the wallpaper.

  • vtwinsrbest

    Been a fan from day one. Thank you one and all for the hours of reading and viewing pleasure. And by all means, keep up the good work!

  • Andrew Capone

    All ad impressions are not equal. Versus a promiscuous online ad network, Impressions delivered by motorcycle.com should be considered premium due to the bespoke content and concentration of attentive, enthusiast consumers. I’m assuming MO ad sales force positions accordingly!

    As for auto play ads/ video, as a consumer I don’t dig them, but they are part of the online ad ecosystem, and not likely to go away. The ‘freemium’ model where subscribers can elect to pay a monthly fee to avoid ads is an option, but there are only a few successful examples of that.

    Flight of the Conchords, damn I loved that show!

  • ADB

    Some of us actually like the babbling. Keep up the good work, and keep up the vids. You capitalists, you.

  • ADB

    Some of us actually like the babbling. Keep up the good work, and keep up the vids. You capitalists, you.

  • Kirk Harrington

    Think my first MO encounter goes back to 2000 or 2001. I’m not involved in the forum like I was but I read nearly everything they post up on the site. Heck, Duke gave me an opportunity to contribute. How cool is that? I’m a fan of the site and I got to write. I look forward to every new article and story. Thanks, Gang.

    • Kevin Duke

      Thanks for the nice works, Kirk!

  • B.Hoop

    I’m another long time fan from the pay-to-view era, and this is my go-to website for credible content. Thanks for explaining the motive behind the 10 best lists, that’s probably the only thing i don’t care for, especially when I’m using a tablet that loads the pages wonkily…

    I became a print junkie in the early ’90s and had every issue of Cycle World and Motorcyclist from about ’91-’01, as well as a pretty extensive collection of several British titles from ’93-on. After moving them a couple times and getting sick of them taking up a room of my house, I got rid of them. I used to spend probably $40+ a month, but now I only occasionally buy a print mag, and only if it has an article that I’m really interested in. The amount of free, quality content available on the internet now is astounding, if you think about it!

    Thanks for putting it out there!

  • Pushr0d

    Another ‘Pay per View’ veteran here! I don’t remember when I first typed ‘motorcycle.com’ into the computer.
    For those of you irritated by ads, try the ‘Adblock Plus’ extension (for the Chrome browser). It works GREAT!

  • Jack Meoph

    I was on the web in it’s infancy, and put up my own content of whatever bike I owned. Then the MC mags started gaining traction and I was more than happy to read what ‘professionals’ had to say about….anything, moto related. You also got race results in a timely manner. Now it’s not only established players, but it would seem anyone with a vid cam and a youtube account can do a review. But having seen some of them I’m glad for sites like motorcycle.com and don’t mind a few click throughs so they can pay the rent. Because the bills has got to be paid.

  • John B.

    My kids tell me college is more difficult now than it was when I went to school. When I tell them we did not have Google, did research using the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, and typed papers on a manual typewriter they think I’m joking….. Receiving magazines in the mail was exciting though….

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      Typewriter? Luxury! When I were a lad we scribed the cave wall with charred bone, and we liked it!

      • Rex

        Charred bone? When I was a pre-Cro-Magnon man, we couldn’t even dream of using a charred bone (plus, we didn’t have fire and it would have taken days to trek to the nearest active volcano to burn a piece of bone). We had to stab ourselves in the hand with a sharp stick and make markings on rocks with our blood…and that washed away in the next rain because we didn’t even have caves (on account of sabre-tooth cats, bears, pterodactyls, and the guys with charred bones). You effin’ one-percenter snob!

  • therr850

    Without reading any of the comments already posted, I am one who dreads the day the paper magazines go away. I am old enough that I have trouble reading from an electronic screen for extended periods. Paper is much easier to carry around and I seldom have to find the charger to finish the article. I do get MO sent to my inbox but this is the only digital publication I subscribe to. I have gone to the paper electronic posts and updates only three times. If there is information that completes a paper article,,,,,,,, oh well. I’ll not pursue it. I read in Sport Rider several years ago that Andrew Trevitt’s research revealed less than half paper subscribers visited the web and less than half the digital subscribers read the paper version. Don’t know if this has changed much but was interesting at the time. As a side note, I normally don’t read MO till it is at least a week old so “up to date” is not a big priority to me.