For the past week, I’ve been thinking about the reaction to our selection of the 2015 Motorcycle of the Year, or more accurately, the reaction from some readers to our selection of the Indian Scout as the recipient of the MOTY. You’d think that, after so many years in the moto-press, I’d be immune to the vitriol spewed online by people who don’t agree with a choice or statement or evaluation I’ve made. For some reason, however, being accused of accepting bribes in exchange for the MOTY chapped me, where normally I’d laugh off this kind of dreck. Maybe it was because I was the one who initially suggested the Scout was the best choice for the award.

2015 Motorcycle Of The Year

First, I’m all for discussion around differing opinions. They can be a ton of fun – especially when the sparks fly. (If only you could listen to some of the arguments that erupt when we’re discussing the competitors in a shootout.) Also, I used to hang around a few motorcycle forums “discussing” bikes and other issues before work and parenthood made me decide that my dwindling free time should be spent doing things like actually riding. (Ah, good times!) Second, anyone who knows anything regarding those of us who scribble about bikes for a living understands that we certainly wouldn’t do it for long if earning lots of money were a priority. The cliché about park rangers getting paid in sunsets applies here, only we collect apexes. While that may be a huge part of the initial attraction to this gig, those of us who stick around end up suffering from an almost incurable malady: We genuinely love motorcycles and can’t spend more than a few days without them. Those who don’t never last long.

Whatever! – Consensus

Once the hook is set, the lifers in the motorcycle journalism biz (and I don’t see a single member of the MO staff that isn’t a terminal case) dutifully go about doing the best job they can of conveying the good and the bad of the machinery they can’t get enough of. Yes, it’s true, sometimes we’re invited to go to exotic locations to ride the latest bikes at venues any moto enthusiast would love to sample.

What do we do after a day on the track or some winding mountain roads and a fattening meal provided by the manufacturer? Generally, we retire to our hotel rooms after dinner and begin typing until the wee hours to meet a deadline. John Burns touched on this in one of his recent columns: “It’s a hard and dangerous business passing judgment on all these new motorcycles. Not so much physically dangerous (though there is that), but more like dangerous we’ll get it wrong.”

Whether it’s testing the latest motorcycle or helmet technology, the staff at MO brings an unmatched level of dedication, experience, and professionalism to everything we publish.

Whether it’s testing the latest motorcycle or helmet technology, the staff at MO brings an unmatched level of dedication, experience, and professionalism to everything we publish.

Sometimes that does happen, the getting something wrong thing (usually when rushing to meet a short deadline), and when it’s pointed out to us, we really do appreciate the correction. I know I do (I’m pretty sure this sentiment is shared by my coworkers), and I make a point of thanking the folks who pointed out my error. After all, we’re in the business of sharing the best information we can about motorcycling (hopefully, while beating our competition into submission by doing it in a more entertaining manner), and if we weren’t interested in constantly learning new things, we’d have chosen a field that required less annual churning of information. Working on a web publication means we can immediately correct mistakes, preventing them from being disseminated to more readers. In print, we’d have to insert the correction into the next production cycle, possibly waiting a couple months before the correction hits the newsstands, while the faulty information lives on in its originally published form forever.

Weighty stuff, no? It’s the type of stuff that makes us wake up in the middle of the night to check a fact about a story we’re writing when a new thought makes that leap from our subconscious.

So, let’s say you think I’m mistaken for lobbying my fellow MOrons to the cause of the Scout as MOTY instead of, say, your beloved Kawazuki-Davidsilia. Give your reasons for disagreeing with our choice. Make it a discussion. A debate, even. Then, after the cogent debate, you can insult me.

When you immediately accuse us of being on a particular manufacturer’s payroll, you do two things. First, you belittle yourself. If you truly believed that we’re on the take, it’s strange that you’d bother to come here. And if we produce a story that you believe is a product of this bribery, why are you outraged about a selection you expected to be dishonest? Popping off about something without providing any support is about as constructive as farting in a crowded elevator. Yes, everyone did notice, but how has it contributed anything productive to the topic you apparently feel so strongly about?

I understand the desire to vent your spleen on the unsuspecting soul on the other side of the computer screen. Lord knows, I’ve done it enough times, but the funny thing is, on a few occasions I’ve recognized an error and apologized for my cranial-anal-inversion, and I’ve gone on to become friends with a detractor despite our differences. Try it out. You might find the pleasant exchange of information about motorcycles to be more fun than trading insults.

Then again, you might not. In that case, just put a sock in it.

  • Gabriel Owens

    still hate the scout, still love this publication

    • Ducati Kid


      Perhaps an INDIAN ‘Scout’ Concept motorcycle might interest you then?


  • TalonMech

    What difference does it make anyway? You guys picked what you picked, and that’s that. I really don’t understand why some people get so butt-hurt because they disagree with something. It’s the petulant man-child syndrome created by the everyone gets a trophy society we now live in.
    Is it really worth all the hand wringing, crying , and anger?

    • nickatnyt

      Thank you for writing exactly what I was thinking,

  • Curtis Brandt

    Let it roll off, Evans. I come here to see what y’all think – and you consistently share that. Keep up the good work.

  • JerryMander

    wtf man share some of the crazy emails and tweets or whatever. If no one called you the devil, you’re not doing it right. Thanks Obama

  • SteveSweetz

    I will never own a cruiser but I think the Scout is fine choice; I at least understand the purpose of that bike, MO’s arguments for it, and what makes it a good example of its type. The H2 on the other hand still perplexes me. I don’t understand who it’s really for and why it exists. All that everyone, including MO, talks about its stats and technology, but not why they’d own one or how it justifies its existence – why actually *riding* it is better than riding anything else.

    BTW Assuming that you guys determine the MOTY winners via a round table discussion, you should record that and put it up as a podcast. Joke around and be yourselves. The future of enthusiast press is personality driven and you guys like 60-70% way there with your videos, but still could go a lot further.

  • Kenneth

    My 2 cents: I have only respect for the reviews and ratings of the current writers for MO (not to mention the great writing, as well). While I have sometimes been suspicious of the motives of a couple of other bike-oriented sites, that hasn’t occurred to me, here. I’m happy to find the writings/opinions of these guys, whom I’ve enjoyed reading elsewhere over the years, together at one website.

  • Old MOron

    FWIW, I disagree with the calls for “behind the scenes” banter and emails. I don’t want MO to devolve into a “reality” show. You MOrons are very thoughtful and professional. You alternately wax philosophical and poetic about the bikes you ride. This is why I like MO. Yes, your irreverent, playful side is essential. But irreverent-and-playful is completely different from Kardashian-like.

    • Alexander Pityuk

      Totally agree. Facts should be > than fun. Otherwise people will stop to take it serious, like Top Gear for example. I mean, something like Face of consensus picture is more that enough for those of us, who know the details. And those who don’t won’t even understand what it’s all about, which will not allow them to make accusations of unprofessionalism.

      • SteveSweetz

        Bikes, like cars, are *far* more than a sum of their spec sheet. Opinions are intrinsically involved in rating them, and there is no such thing as an objective opinion.

        The most useful review is one from someone you know whose tastes align with your own, or whose views you can skew appropriately based on knowledge of how their tastes differ from yours. To that end, you have to know the tastes and personalities of the people doing the reviewing. That comes through in MO’s videos and those videos are the only reason I started visiting the site.

        Regarding Top Gear, at some point they didn’t *want* to be taken seriously. They knowingly transitioned to being a full on entertainment show (and making people laugh is a far more noble pursuit than informing people how dismally boring but perfectly functional the newest Accord is anyway), but for a a couple years post-reboot they were doing some actually useful, yet comedic reviews of everyday cars that more people tuned in for than would ever read some stodgy car blog.

        Also look at something like Chris Harris’s videos. There’s a lot of his personality that comes through and the occasional use of hyperbolic adjectives, but his videos are also useful reviews. You know based on his videos and your perception of his personality whether you care about his opinion or not. Giving you the tools to judge for yourself whether a review meaningful to you is better than an opinion your supposed to accept as “the right one” simply because it’s coming from someone who was hired by a website or magazine.

        Lastly, if you think facts are more important than fun when it comes to motorcycling, I’d say you’re kind of missing the point of the hobby.

        • I’d hire Chris Harris in an instant.

          • SteveSweetz

            Not saying MO should be Top Gear (that space is better filled by Ari and Zack from On Two Wheels [the Gromkhana guys]- if only they could find a suitable home and someone to give them the promotion they need), but if you guys have playful internal deliberations about what bike wins awards – you can let us in on those.

            Like I said in the other post, sit down and record a podcast for it. There’s lot of enthusiast outlets for stuff like video games and movies that do that for their [Whatever] of the Year awards and the discussions that come out of those are often fun and informative – more so than articles.

          • Old MOron

            More informative than the articles? I guess if the articles aren’t very good to begin with…

  • DickRuble

    Please forgive some of the readers for having misinterpreted the disproportionate number of articles on polaris/indian/victory. I simply think that your arguments, just like your spreadsheets, don’t add up..There is nothing innovative about the Indian scout..some (one or two at most) thought that you have discerning taste which led them to conclude that corruption is the only explanation for the bizarre choice.. Take it as compliment


    I am not a devotee of cruiser style bikes. Straight line sledding does not appeal to me. I do however understand that a good percentage of riders like them. Good for them. The common denominator we all share is our appreciation of motorcycles even though I may not share the enthusiasm for certain machines that others do. MO has declared the Scout to be in their opinion motorcycle of the year. So what? I clearly see the logic behind the decision and do not feel threatened by it. I see a genuine attempt here to truthfully depict the machines reviewed at MO. If I didn’t I wouldn’t frequent this site. Any manufacturer will make the effort to sway opinion about their offerings to anyone who will listen. It means they stand a better chance of selling more. Surprise surprise. Surely, some reviews or decisions may seem to over embellish certain features, impressions or whatever giving the impression they are on the take for a certain manufacturer or technology. Electric bikes come to mind from my perspective. MO readers are smart enough to know the difference between hype and creative writing. Bottom line for me is all I need to know is what I like. I wouldn’t worry too much about flawed opinions.

  • Shlomi

    I don’t get the pick, what the Scout brings to the table that make it that special? It’s new motorcycle for relatively new manufacture. Isn’t it just an alternative to HD V-Road?

  • John B.

    It’s important to hold accountable those who would impugn your personal or professional integrity. To state the obvious, an unexpected outcome, like the Scout winning MOTY, without corroboration such as stock certificates, cancelled checks, large cash transactions, an Ashley Madison account, etc., does not prove payola. As the old lady asked in the old Wendy’s commercial, “Where’s the beef?”

    True to form, with respect to MO’s MOTY choice, a whole bunch of people would have had to go along with the corrupt scheme to choose the Scout, which seems improbable. Some people immediately suspect corruption when things don’t go as they wish. Typically, these people are not deep thinkers and can be easily dispatched as Evans did above.

    Perhaps the most insulting thing about the unfounded corruption allegations related the MOTY award is the person alleging corruption believes for a few dollars you would throw away your career and potentially bring down this wonderful publication. That’s a real shot across the bow. No wonder you were insulted!

    Always call out those who attack your integrity. Sunshine remains the best disinfectant, and those who make such allegations rarely have any proof.

  • C.R. Mudgeon

    Who the hell wears Tupperware these days?

  • Craig L.

    A good riding buddy of ours, who is currently a dual-sport rider and was formerly an MX racer, took the Scout for a ride and couldn’t say enough about it. He hasn’t traded in his off-road bike, mind you, but there is something about this bike that might not be understood until you try it. I have no interest personally, but for those criticizing MO for choosing it as MOTY, maybe ride it before you deride it.

  • Old MOron

    Alright, since you’ve invited dissenting opinions, here’s where I think things went wrong. As far as I can tell, there are no published criteria for becoming MOronic MOTY. We MOronic readers have no idea what MOTY means to you MOronic editors.

    We *thought* we had the gist of it. Consider the view from this side of the Web.

    MOronic Editors and History
    Brent Plummer was a racer.
    Kevin Duke was a racer.
    Trizzle was a racer.
    Sean was a racer and a WERA champion.
    JB was (an AHRMA?) racer.
    MO has consistently evinced a dedication to sporty function and performance.

    MOronic Choices
    2014 MOTY: KTM 1290 Super Duke R
    2013 MOTY: BMW R1200GS
    2012 MOTY: Kawi ZX-14R
    2011 MOTY: BMW K1600GT/L
    2010 MOTY: BMW S1000RR
    2009 MOTY: Triumph Street Triple R

    Based on all of the above, and supporting JB’s sentiment that readers can sync with editors,, I thought I enjoyed some MOronic harmony.

    Then came the 2015 MOTY Indian Scout. What?!

    I guess I support your choice, but my support is based on faith rather than understanding or commonality. It would help if you declared your criteria for choosing the MOTY. It looks like this year’s criteria were different from previous years’.

    Until you declare your criteria, all your MOronic readers see is that you’ve gone 180 degrees from your established MOTY sensibility. And that’s a sensibility to which your readers have formed an allegiance! The slings and arrows headed your way are well deserved (granted some have been crude). Don’t complain. Explain yourselves.

    • Evans Brasfield

      Well, isn’t this awkward. I call for debate and get a great response while I’m on deadline and traveling. (FYI, Portland WiFi is pretty good for free.) All the MO staffers are (former) racers, a fact that helps in evaluating all kinds of bikes.

      If you look at the lead in to the 2014 MOTY, you’ll see some of the same reasoning behind that choice follows our choice of an Indian (surprising change in a short time plus being a good omen for what we hope the company may produce in the future). However, because it follows our close affinity for sporting machinery, it didn’t need as much explanation for MOrons to accept.

      The 2013 BMW R1200GS featured a new from the ground up engine that many feared could alter the Boxer landscape. This choice was a celebration of how BMW had succeeded – in spades. Again, I don’t see it as being that different from the Indian choice.

      For the 2012 MOTY, I can see your confusion.

      2011 BMW K1600GT/L is a touring bike. Yes, it has performance creds, but it is still a touring bike – and one that reset the bar at that.

      In 2010 the BMW S1000RR rewrote what was required to compete in its class, much like the R1 did at its introduction. So, aside from it being a sportbike, it was still a landmark motorcycle.

      Almost time to board my plane, so I’ll cut to the chase. (And leave it to Kevin to correct me if I’m wrong.) My understanding is that the MOTY is a bike we voted best in its class that also displays something extra in its context that makes it stand out as an important bike for motorcycling and not just as the motorcycle itself. If you read all of our tests of the Scout, it clearly has the chops to excel in its class, garnering the Best Cruiser of 2015 award. Similarly, I think the tests, when taken as a whole, state what an accomplishment it was for Indian so soon after relaunching.

      Some of the confusion may have come from my error in labeling the Scout Best Motorcycle of 2015. I was following the format of the previous 2015 awards and neglected to change the title to Motorcycle of the Year. Still, my belief is that, when taken in context, the Scout more than qualifies for MOTY.

      They’re calling for boarding. Gotta go.

      • Old MOron

        Given the stated criteria, I do see the MOronic consistency of your MOTY choices. And I continue to support your choice for 2015. Thank you for your reply.

        PS: I know it’s too late, but bon voyage!

    • The Scout is exceptionally sporty for what it is. We don’t consider ABSOLUTE pace to be prime criteria. If you look at the still vast sales numbers for the “cruiser” segment and you look at the sportiness of the Scout, its pick for MOTY really shouldn’t be surprising given MO’s acknowledged bias for fun and/or performance in motorcycling. The Scout is fun to ride and inexpensive without resorting to too many “cheap” shortcuts, it’s also ballistic in a straight line and weighs less than the Exxon Valdez. There is nothing shocking in the pick when you think about it. I don’t think many of us would by a Scout as our personal bike, but God damn that thing makes us all hopeful for the future of the cruiser universe.

      • Old MOron

        Well put, Sean. Thanks.

        PS: if you didn’t have that thick head of hair, you could be the Bradley Smith of MO!

        • Smith tilts his head the wrong direction, what a poser!

    • Kevin Duke

      The fact that most of the MO staff has raced is indicative of the riding talent preferred to jump on any bike and find its high and low points within its limits, whether it’s a sportbike or a cruiser or a touring bike. Sportbikes have the greatest opportunity to get a MOTY because of the regular updates and improvements to sporty bikes, especially in relation to cruisers – think about how many years between significant updates of all cruisers.

      But your point is not lost on us. For our 2016 MOBOs next summer, expect a video discussing the nomination process and the debate in determining the ultimate winners. Sound good?

  • Jeff Brown

    You guys are the best in the business. Period. Opinions are like a–holes. Everyone has one. Keep on keeping on. I wish I were you.

  • jeff gravitt

    Well said, Mr Evans. Even the great Cook Nielsen himself couldn’t have put forward your case any better.

  • krishan adhikari

    Please don’t take the negative comments to your heart. You guys are doing a great job. Last not but the least you would always get the bouquets with the brickbats 🙂

  • motorock

    It’s the internet- people say a lot of crap. They often don’t make sense and try to boost their own piddly egos by trying to belittle other people’s opinions even if it means going against good sense or logic and definitely decorum. I am not a fan of cruisers and perhaps I don’t agree with the choice, but I can see why it can be. And this is just about choosing a MOTY. Think of all the real stuff that people on the internet hate upon- going against every grain of sanity, sensitivity, sensibility and logic. Carry on MO- the world is still standing.

  • howard kelly

    Sad that the ‘bribe’ thought is still the first thought when someone doesn’t agree…. and yet they come back to read what you wrote the next day…..

  • Horace

    Personally, I’m glad you came to the conclusion that the Scout deserved an award. I’m so sick of the HD Uber Allas crowd that I would be pleased if you selected a Zundaap 250 for cruiser king. Anything but another poorly engineered overpriced underachieving porker.

  • Beemer713

    It seems to me that you guys at MO have more riding experience on more different kinds of bikes than I ever will. You also communicate those experiences better than can I. If you guys think the Scout deserves the MOTY then I would have to bow to your superior knowledge. The dipsquat who accused you of receiving bribes probably didn’t even read the whole article.