Ask MO Anything: Why is MO Called MO Anyway?

John Burns
by John Burns
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And it's not just because it's mo' better!

Dear MOby,

Why is called MO anyway? I already know, but I bet a lot of your readers don’t know why you call yourselves MOrons.

Old Moron

Because Larry and Curly were already taken? Hah! Thanks for a good opening for a little MO history lesson. In 1994, the following notice appeared “online,” even though at the time very few people knew what online was or had any idea how to get there.

Brent Plummer
ANNOUNCE: Motorcycle Online, the World’s First Online Motorcycle MagazineWelcome to Motorcycle Online! We are pleased to announce the opening of our World Wide Web (WWW) server at You can also subscribe to the e-mail version of Motorcycle Online by mailing “majo…”. In the body of your message (the subject field doesn’t matter, you can leave it blank) write “subscribe motorcycle” without the quotes.

We’re sure you are anxious to find out what’s inside each issue of Motorcycle Online, so below is a plain-text version of the WWW page. Enjoy!

Motorcycle Online Is Here!

Motorcycle Online is your one-stop Motorcycle resource: From world-wide virtual motorcycle tours to as-it-happens race reports to our definitive how-to technical articles and specialized sections, there’s something here for everyone. And Motorcycle Online is continuously updated, so check back often! There is also an e-mail version of Motorcycle Online. Subscribe by writing “subscribe
motorcycle” in the body of an e-mail (without the quotes) sent to majo…
If you can’t use the above mail form to majo… or can’t see the full-screen photos in our Photo Archive, you need to read this letter from the editor about World Wide Web Browsers that are compatible with Motorcycle Online.

Feature Articles

This week, we’ve reviewed the new 1995 CBR600F3. Also new this week: Read about the long, hard process of restoring a 1948 Indian Chief; and How Two-Stroke Expansion Chambers Work, and Why Should You Care, and much, much more. Soon to come: Riding the Suzuki GSXR1100 at Laguna Seca; Desperately Seeking Horsepower- Can Computer Software Find the Power?; A series of “9.99 for $999” (in the quarter mile) stories; Track Tests–Honda RS125, Sidecar ‘Worms,’ Yamaha TZ250, Matchless G50; Road Tests: Suzuki RF600, Honda ACE, Kawasaki’s ZX-9, Yamahas, Hondas, Buells, Harleys, Bultacos and anything else that rolls on two wheels; Product Evaluations– AGV & Shoei Helmets, Z-Leathers, T-Pro Body Armor.

Photo Archives!

Nationally renown photographers Tom Hnatiw and Brian Nelson have opened up their archives for us–we’ll have hundreds of pictures for you to download.

Video Archives

We will have onboard video footage of every racetrack and country in the world for you to download and play on your computer!


NewsBytes is your one-stop source for the latest happenings in the world of motorcycles. Here, you’ll find general-interest news as well as the special-interest sub-sections RaceBytes, and VintageBytes. Like everything else in Motorcycle.Com, our NewsBytes section will be continuously updated, so check back often!

The Virtual World

In our Virtual World section, read along as our globe-trotting international staff visits the world’s best motorcycling locations. And view full-page photos from around the world! Similarly, download cool videos from around the world!

Ask Velasco

World-Famous tuner Mike Velasco will answer your four-stroke performance tuning questions here. And win a free T-shirt if you stump Velasco! Every six months, look for the Four-Stroke Tuner’s Handbook, a compilation of Velasco’s knowledge from this forum.

Ask Lassak

World-Famous tuner John Lassak will be answering your two-stroke performance tuning questions here. And, win a free T-shirt if you stump Lassak! Every six months, look for the Two-Stroke Tuner’s Handbook, a compilation of Lassak’s knowledge from this forum.

Nuts & Bolts

Nuts & Bolts, our technical section, will show you how to repair and rebuild your motorcycle in the comfort of your own garage. Also, read cutting-edge technical features here.

Buyer Beware!

Buyer Beware is our product evaluation center where you will read in-depth evaluations of a plethora of motorcycle-related products.

Vintage Voyeurs

Vintage Editor Robin Tuluie is a National Championship-winning rider and physicist at Penn State University. Robin is dedicated to covering all things antiquated, as well as serving double-duty as our resident technical genius. Look for monthly features, VintageBytes news clips, and from-the-hip race reports by Vintage Editor Tuluie.

The Virtual Museum

In The Virtual Museum, you can search our online-database of vintage bikes or take a virtual tour of world-famous museums. Also, read about Virtual Museum Curator Dave Tharp’s restoration projects here.


If you’ve got an e-mail account, sign up for our RacEMail–every Sunday night, you’ll receive the latest race results from around the world, automatically.

The Complete Motorcycle Database

For starters, we’ll have all 1995 motorcycles in an online, searchable database so you can find info on the latest motorcycles: Inside, you’ll find complete specs, a brief impression, photos, and Quicktime Movies on all your favorite motorcycles. Eventually look for every motorcycle that ever was to be included.

Skeptics Society

For the I-Want-My-Info-Uncut anti-editorial types, we’ll be uploading all new press releases as they come across our desks. Here, you can find out about new motorcycles first, and download high resolution, copyright-free photos.

Neat Computer Enhancements

We’ll be making screen savers and start-up screens for Macintosh and Windows Platforms to take the drudgery out of computing. Keep an eye out for Computers Online, our sister site.

Computers Online is entirely dedicated to product evaluations and how-to articles. Here, you’ll find out how to produce video tapes on your computer, read about the best, fastest and slowest computers, discover the latest net-happenings, and find many intuitive articles.
Suggestion? Comments? Click here to send mail to the Editor.

Motorcycle Online is:
Publisher: Erika Waechter (waec…
Editor: Brent Plummer (edi…
Technical Editor: Eric Murray (er…
Vintage Editor: Robin Tuluie (tul…
Associate Editor: Matt Porter (por…
Graphic Designer: Brent Plummer (br…

Special Projects Staff:
Formula RD Editor: Aaron Cooley (coo…
Virtual Museum Curator: Dave Tharp (th…
New Zealand Desk: Geoffrey Merryweather (merryw…

Technical Support Staff:
Net.God: Eric Murray (er…
Software Engineer: David Keefer (d…

Contributing Writers, Photographers, Graphic Illustrators:
Kris Bernstein. Tom Fortune, Tom Hnatiw, Jason Katsoff,
David Keefer, John Lassak, Larry Lawrence, Brian Nelson, Mike Velasco.

And if you want to become a contributor to Motorcycle.Com, e-mail a
resume (preformatted in 9 point Courier, 80 characters wide with
carriage returns) and a brief explanation of how you can enhance this
site to Brent Plummer at edi…

Notice that even though that URL is (what’s a URL?), our glorious founder Brent Plummer called the site Motorcycle Online, which we suppose you had to do at the time in an attempt to explain to people that it’s, like, a magazine, but not a paper one. An Online one! On what? Motorcycle Online got immediately acronymed into MO, and here we are 22 years later. Kids my son’s age, who was also born in ’94, can’t imagine a world that’s not online.

Personally I had no clue as to online or www in 1994, but Larry Lawrence did, whose photo we lifted of Brent Plummer for our lead, and whose following quote we likewise borrow from his Rider Files:

ask mo anything why is mo called mo anyway
I’ll never forget in 1994 when Brent called me and told me he had just launched a site on the World Wide Web. I’d been online (with CompuServe) since the mid-1980s and was fairly well versed in online computing – even having heard inklings of hypertext – but I had no clue what the Web was at this point. Very few did since it had just been initiated. I had to go to my local college to find a computer with a browser (Mosaic) to view the site. Plummer instinctively knew the Web was going to be a big step in the world of communications and he staked his claim early with He also wisely bought dozens of other domain names before anyone knew their value. I’m guessing owning those domains probably later made him wealthy.

Later, MO may have made Brent somewhat wealthy (when he sold it to our current owner, Verticalscope Inc.), but in the meantime it was tough sledding getting advertisers online when not many of them had ever heard of online, either. Lack of funds made it tough to fulfill those early promises. So did the fact that Plummer also kept busy in the ’90s developing some very fast Buells to run in the AMA’s old Pro Thunder class, racing bicycles, and was also a bit of an irreverent smartypants who didn’t always play the game by the established rules.

In 2001, yours truly came to work on a part-time basis at MO, and not long after that received an education in transgender issues when Brent Plummer returned from a trip to Thailand as a woman. A really surprisingly lovely woman, in fact, who as it turned out, was a much easier human being to get along with than BP had ever been. She’d spent her whole life, ex-Brent said, being a woman in a man’s body and finally felt normal. Who could argue?

The new Brent, whose name I guess we should keep to ourselves to respect her privacy, had fallen in love with Thailand and relocated there to open an orphanage (!) and roost two-stroke dirtbikes up and down the beach. And though she did stay in touch with some of the MO crew for a long time, she’s lately fallen out of touch. Wherever she is, our hats are off to the founder of MO, we wish her happiness and our undying gratitude as we approach our 25th anniversary of being the world’s first online motorcycle magazine, and we hope to terrorize the populace with her again someday soon on two wheels or not.

Direct your motorcycle-related questions to, though some say we’re better at non-motorcycle-related ones…

John Burns
John Burns

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4 of 9 comments
  • Old MOron Old MOron on Oct 04, 2016

    For the record, I addressed them as, "Dear MOrons". I have no idea WTF "MOby" comes from. But that's okay. I enjoyed the story.

    • See 1 previous
    • Old MOron Old MOron on Oct 05, 2016

      Well, now that you mention it, it's not THAT far from Dear Abby.
      But there are a few things that send us MOrons in the wrong direction.

      I think MOron is pretty strongly ingrained here. MOby is too far in left field.

      There is the Dear Abby connection, but I believe hers is basically a polite advice column. "Ask MO Anything" is out of her league.

      The alliteration between Abby and MOby exists, but it is beaten too far into the background by the first consonant, MO.

      Maybe it is just you. Are you one of the few folks who naturally uses fully disjunctive reasoning? http://www.scientificameric...

  • HockeyChat HockeyChat on Feb 05, 2022

    Old Moron is a wanker. And Michelle Duff beat Plummer to the punch.