Duke's Den – A Farewell

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

To my fellow MOrons: ciao, sayonara, auf wiedersehen and goodbye

Well, this is awkward, a supposed wordsmith struggling to find adequate words. I hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to say goodbye to the countless readers who have enjoyed my work on the pages of Motorcycle.com for nearly 11 years.

I’m willing to bet that just about everyone reading this will wonder how anyone could possibly leave what they see as the best job in the world. Believe me, the internal struggles I’ve gone through when making this decision were nearly debilitating. After all, being a motojournalist is literally my dream job, and rising through the ranks to become chief editor at perhaps the biggest motorcycle website on the planet was even beyond my initial aspirations.

It’s almost always fun riding a motorcycle, even if it rains!

When I was pondering the possibility of leaving my job, I was often reminded of the pithy statement of a former motojourno colleague, Aaron Frank, who once said about being a moto-J: “It’s the best job in the world… three days a month.”

Duke’s Den – A Decade At The Helm

Using the power of deduction informs that some of the other days of a month weren’t quite as fabulous. After all, traveling to a new and/or exotic area to test a motorcycle before anyone else in the world is an exclusive treat, and anything after that would have to feel dull in comparison. Deadlines always loom, especially when we can publish 24 hours a day, and the internet is never (ever!) full, resulting in having to flit from one project to the next with little opportunity for the gratification and relief felt from a job well done.

Duke’s Den – You Got A Problem With Free (online content)?

The State Of Moto Publishing, According To Bonnier Motorcycle Group

I’m happy to have checked off Phillip Island from my racetrack bucket list last year.

Duke’s Den – Racetrack Bucket Lists

Duke’s Den – My Tour Of Racetracks Around The World: Part 4

I’ve been writing about motorcycles in a full-time capacity for more than two decades, and I literally couldn’t have even dreamed of all the fantastic opportunities on and around motorcycles that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been able to travel across the globe to ride and test the latest motorbikes, produced and starred in videos that have been viewed millions of times, looked behind the closed doors of several motorcycle factories, taken part in the world’s biggest motorcycle shows, and talked to many of the biggest movers and shakers in the business. Frankly, I’ve pretty much done it all.

Duke’s Den: Inside EICMA, The World’s Biggest Motorcycle Show

Inside Yamaha’s MotoGP Race Shop

If there’s a Moby Dick missing from my motojourno career, it’s not ever having the chance to ride a legit GP/MotoGP bike. Perhaps in my next life…

So, rather than risk stagnating on that perch, I’ve decided, with much consternation, to hang up my motojournalist hat. I’ll soon be moving into a gig in which I’ll be producing videos to support the marketing efforts of different companies. Some of them are powersports enterprises, so I’ll still be hanging around behind the scenes.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some exceptional people at MO over the years, and I will miss my brothers enormously as I move on to new challenges. I leave behind Evans Brasfield, surely among the nicest fellas in the biz and a sharp shooter behind the lens, whose broad shoulders will be assuming extra weight in addition to his managing editor duties. It’s been a privilege to be part of a writing team that includes the estimable John Burns, one of the cleverest motojournos that has ever put pen to paper or screen – always worth the time to read his musings.

Duke’s Den – Courtship Of Editors

From sportbikes to cruisers (and dirtbikes when they don’t try to break me!), I love riding on two wheels.

Brent Jaswinski, our newest hire, has already exceeded expectations for his dedication to improving his craft and providing a new and desirable voice to these pages. A regret I’ll carry with me is not having the opportunity to mentor Ryan Adams for a little longer, as he’s the epitome of what an enthusiastic 20-something can offer to the world of motojournalism.

A special call-out goes to Dennis Chung. Dennis has been by my virtual side for almost the entirety of my tenure at MO, even though he works 2,500 miles away from where I do, and he’s helped me and the site in countless thousands of ways for more than a decade. He’s our unsung hero and deserves way more praise than he receives. This entire crew will remain my friends as the wheels continue to turn.

My EiC chair was enough to convince a few TV networks to put me on the airways over the years.

And to you, my cherished readers, the relationships I’ve built with you via this outlet have been more rewarding than I could’ve imagined. I’m truly humbled by the faith you’ve invested in me and my words over the years, and I’m always flattered when I’m recognized out in public.

I’ll treasure being trusted to provide impressions of motorcycles I’ve ridden enough to actually purchase motorcycles I’ve written about. I’ll hold dear the opportunities I’ve had to share my stories with you, knowing that the insights and experiences I’ve gained on motorbikes have been passed along to millions of you over the years and into the future. Your readership has kept me inspired through the years to maintain the quest for excellence at MO.

I hope you’ve relished the rides I’ve taken you on. It’s been my privilege to serve you and your appreciation of the world on two wheels. I’ll still be working within it, and I hope to see you out there somewhere around motorcycles.

Until we meet again, peace out.

Some Related Reading Highlights
Duke’s Den – My Favorite Wheelie Photos
Duke’s Den – Most Memorable Motorcycles
Kawasaki H2R 200 mph Review
Duke’s Den – Ride More!
Duke’s Den – Risk/Reward
Duke’s Den – Kids On Bikes
Duke’s Den – Father’s Day
Duke’s Den – The Joy Of Riding Slow-ish Bikes Fast
Duke’s Den: The WFO Nut
Duke’s Den – You Can’t Help Getting Older
Duke’s Den – Is Electricity The Savior Of Dirtbikes?
Duke’s Den – Motorcycle Riding vs. Car Driving
Exploring Lightweight Materials On Motorcycles
Serendipity Finding A Vintage Motorcycle: Starr-Crossed Lovers

Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

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  • Ron Hayes Ron Hayes on Feb 24, 2018

    I just read the article again in shock. I have watched 3 of you leave in the last year and the videos and review will be missed. Evan and John are the two experienced writers that at are remaining and I hope they provide the humor you guys did with small Grom comparison. Priceless:)

  • Bunkster Bunkster on Mar 06, 2018

    It seems so ironic that, at a time when the moto industry is able to offer an incredibly wide array of amazing, high quality, high tech products, they (and perhaps we readers/riders) seem unable to support the very people who helped said industry achieve its pinnacle. Anyway...

    The best journalists make readers feel like we know them well, we share their enthusiasm for the subject matter, we have gained knowledge and insight from them, and we'd relish the opportunity to share a beer and a story with them. Kevin, I think I speak for all of us when I say you have succeeded in doing all that. Thank you for your many years of professional commitment to our sport. Enjoy the next phase of your life. Be strange, but don't be a stranger!

    • Kevin Duke Kevin Duke on Mar 16, 2018

      Thanks for the kind words! Makes me realize all the moto friends I have out there...