At the top of one of our favorite testing routes resides Crystal Lake Cafe, and on the menu Frito Pie. The combination of chili, cheese and Fritos is available at a lot of places, but I will always associate it with testing bikes for MO and scarfing lunch at Crystal Lake Cafe. The road getting there, Highway 39, is an ascending mountain course rising from a few hundred feet above sea level to more than 6,000 feet. Years ago Highway 39 connected to the famous Angeles Crest (Highway 2). A rockslide forever closed it as a throughway, so traffic is limited to the few motorists willing to drive to a dead end, bicyclists, and people camping at Crystal Lake Campground. During weekdays the only folks you’ll see are other people lucky enough to not be working that day. And MOrons.

  • 12er

    Its been a pleasure my good man, good luck in your future endeavors.

  • John B.

    Thank you for all the great content you produced at MO, and best wishes in your new career.

  • john phyyt

    Very sad days indeed. I will miss your wonderful writing. Please accept my best wishes .
    I do hope that the loss of these two exceptional moto journalists does not mean anything nasty for motorcycle.com

  • Jeff Buchanan

    Tom!? No, no, no. Leaving the ranks of moto-scribe? Where art thou off to?

    • Expanding family business is hogging all my time. This is the point in life that’ll I look back on and say “I finally made the mature decision.”

      • TriumphRider87

        Oh no! He’s taking the responsible route. And there goes another one… Seriously, best of luck.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Honda dealer on the Central Coast? I bought my first two ‘big’ bikes, both Hondas, at a dealer in Lompoc in the late ’70’s. Anyhoo … sorry to read you are leaving the biz, Tom. Still Burns did that at least once and came back, so we’ll hopefully see you again.

  • Jon Jones

    My best!

  • novemberjulius

    What!?

  • Old MOron

    T-rod, you are interrupting my vacation. I came to Assen for the Moto GP races, and while I’ve checked MO occasionally via hotel wi-fi, I’ve been happily ignoring everything but my holiday until now. I’m genuinely sorry to see you go. I’m also genuinely happy for you. Change is good.

    And thanks for introducing the FNG. I know that thick skin was part of the job description. I hope he’s got what it takes 🙂

    My wife was on Cloud 9 watching Rossi win last weekend. I hope Maria enjoyed it, too.

    • I had to watch the race twice 🙂

    • John B.

      Enjoy OM!!!

      • Old MOron

        Thanks. It was a fantastic weekend.

  • Starmag

    Best wishes to your new endeavors Guns.

    First Troy, now Tom, 17 (17!) ad trackers per page and remote social media posts by Seth. I’m a little concerned about the health of my favorite motorcycle site. Do I need to click on more ads?

    • 18 via Ghostery, 22 via uBlock Origin 22 via Privacy Badger, 5 via AdBlock

  • Gabriel Owens

    Wtf…

  • Johnny Blue

    I am not happy after reading this article. I have to confess that I stopped reading it after learning that another good writer is leaving! Anyway, good luck Tom, wherever you go!

  • John B.

    The motorcycle dealerships where I live are bursting at the seams with unsold new inventory; i.e., sales are down. I am not a motorcycle industry or moto-journalism expert, but it seems both industries are in upheaval due to demographic, economic, and technological factors, and it’s not clear what the reformed motorcycle and moto-journalism industries will look like in five (5) years.

    Perhaps, the proliferation of moto-vloggers and other social media outlets for motorcycle-related content will render the flagship motorcycle industry publications obsolete. Or, maybe they will operate with fewer full time editors and writers.

    Manufacturers have begun to invite moto vloggers with large YouTube audiences to first ride launches in exotic locations. Though vloggers do not possess the expertise found among moto-journalists such as those at MO, several produce high-quality and entertaining videos. Moreover, these vloggers theoretically depend on viewers as opposed to advertisers, but that’s an oversimplification. There are only so many invitations to a first ride launch, and I suspect these moto-vloggers are displacing mainstream moto-journalists.

    I would be great if Tom and Troy and other moto-journalists who leave moto-journalism could make periodic contributions to motorcycle-related publications while pursuing other careers. Who knows, maybe that will become the new normal (I hate that phrase) in moto-journalism. There is no substitute for content from writers with real expertise, but if the motorcycle sales continue to founder, the industry will continue to lose talent.

    Change (i.e., transitions) is never easy.

    • Kevin Duke

      Astute observations…

    • Mad4TheCrest

      Too true. Brian Catterson left sunny SoCal and the journo-biz to work a sales gig at a dealership in Oregon, and the Sport Rider website hasn’t updated its news feed since before Assen! (Thank Heaven for Bruce’s posts here). I am doing my best to be a good moto-consumer (bought a new bike this year) but I guess it ain’t enough.

    • Old MOron

      Darnit, now you’re pulling me out of my holiday, too.
      In theory the www is a great equalizer. Anyone with talent and skill can have access to an audience. No need to grovel at the feet of established content providers.

      The problem is that anyone with no talent and no skill also has access to an audience. Sometimes established providers serve as guardians of quality. Okay, I don’t have to click on Joe Sixpack’s vlog site, but if the OEM’s start favoring vloggers over MOrons, I’m going to stop reading/watching.

      • John B.

        I mostly agree with you OM.

        I divide vloggers into two categories; Maniacs and Charismatics. Arguably, both groups have some talent and skill, but only the Charismatics have attracted OEM attention. Maniacs ride like bats out of hell and the best crash spectacularly. Maniac videos mostly attract voyeurs. Charismatics are enthusiasts with interesting and/or compelling personalities. They mostly ride responsibly and rarely crash.

        Manufacturers have realized Charismatics with large audiences, irrespective of their expertise, connect manufacturer’s products with customers. For example, Triumph gives at least two prominent Charismatics (one in the U.K. and the other in Georgia (U.S.), long term loaner motorcycles. The vloggers are giddy to have these bikes, and dutifully makes several videos that highlight the bike’s features (electronics, etc.), and enthusiastically praise the manufacturer’s generosity. Publications like MO have to be objective, and for them loaner bikes are a means not an ends.

        These vloggers have NOT ridden every motorcycle in the class, nor have they ridden bikes in this class for years, or decades. Despite this lack of expertise and perspective, the best vloggers produce content motorcyclists want to consume, and they influence motorcycle buying decisions. With motorcycle sales slumping, Charismatics give manufacturers inexpensive access to customers.

        ATTENTION KEVIN DUKE: I suspect at least one motorcycle publication Motorcycle News (“MCN”) has a deal with a UK Vlogger (Missenden Flyer – a.k.a. the Mister Rogers of moto-vlogging) who periodically makes videos where he reads from the MCN tabloid. It’s more interesting than it sounds. Perhaps, going forward mainstream motorcycle publications will collaborate with Charismatic vloggers.

        Publications like MO have at least three (3) disadvantages in competing with moto-vloggers:

        1 – Publications like MO must have journalistic integrity, while vloggers can do and say whatever they want.

        2 – MO cannot compete with actual morons: MO staff may NOT ride like Maniacs on the streets, and their employers and families prefer they do not crash. If you want to see someone riding a Yamaha FZ-09 or BMW S1000RR (or any other motorcycle) at its limits on city streets and highways, Maniac videos are your only choice. These videos attract a large audience, and (oddly) they can be informative. For example, after watching a Dallas-based Manic ride a FZ-09 at triple digit speeds in neighborhoods near where I live, it occurred to me that for rides around town, I would never need the additional power a FZ-10 provides. (MO editors say as much, but seeing someone ride an FZ-09 at its limits on city streets really drives home the point.) For a million good reasons, the most reckless thing you see on a MO street ride video is an occasional wheelie. (To my knowledge, manufacturers have not shown much interest in Maniacs.)

        3 – For the most part, vloggers are hobbyists who do not depend on vlogging as their only source of income. Moreover, they operate from local dealerships or at home, and have little or no overhead. With a drone a couple thousand dollars in video/audio equipment vloggers produce high quality videos. No staff, no benefits, no back office, no sweat.

        All this to say, we need to attract more people to motorcycling. More riders means more revenue, and more revenue means the industry can retain its talent. Of course, there is no easy answer as to how to attract more people to motorcycling.

  • Thanks, everyone. Nothing bad happening with MO, just a slight adjustment to its masthead. Duke, Burnsie, and Brasfield are still here, and I’m sure you’ll learn to like Ryan Adams.

    • BDan75

      Only if he plays “Summer of ’69.”

  • TriumphRider87

    Sad to see you go. Come back & do a guest spot now & again, if you can.

  • Craig Hoffman

    27 years is a good run, and am amazing accomplishment in a difficult industry. Good luck in your future endeavors!

  • Andrew Capone

    Best of luck in your future endeavors, Tom, I’ve really enjoyed reading your work over the years. Great legacy.

  • JMDGT

    Good luck Tom. Your review of the Street Triple RS helped me make the decision to buy one. That is the highest compliment I can pay you. I wish you well.

  • JerryMander

    Pushed out for someone younger and cheaper with a functioning amygdala. I have my doubts about the ability or desire of people who need mirrors to take selfies to form any kind of complex sentence.

  • Auphliam

    Well damn. Sorry to see you go, Tom, and wish you all the best in whatever lies ahead.