If only magazines didn’t require ink and paper. Here we are in late August and I’m holding an early copy of the October issue of Dirt Wheels. The only problem is that the October issue was written back in early July. The people who run those massive printing presses in the Midwest require weeks of lead time, thus requiring Dirt Wheels to operate in two different time zones--print time and web time. Both mediums are absolutely necessary and fill different needs; people call it lean-back reading and lean-forward reading.
The lean-back stories in October are good, solid reads that you can keep around for reference for a long, long time. There’s a sand tire test that you can actually take with you to the dealership. And the Honda Rincon on the cover is a classic example. With the help of Thumper Racing we built an over-bored 710cc Rincon. Along the way we conquered every hurtle that a Honda owner might encounter when he builds his own project. Even if you don’t have a Rincon, you’ll want to keep this story on hand, as it deals with products like Goodyear tires, Elka shocks and FMF exhaust. The same holds true for the fuel-injected Banshee. Aside from proving that EFI is viable for two-strokes, this story deals with how to bring your Banshee into the 21st century. There are a number of companies who work almost exclusively with the legendary two-stroke twin, and this story deals with several of them.
You could also keep the October issue around for Dustin Nelson’s Five Steps to Better Riding. Nellie is Yamaha’s top west-coast racer and test rider, and he provides illustrated tips on turning, jumping, starting and going faster. It’s the type of story you take with you to your favorite riding area for reference. Try doing that with your computer.
I freely admit that there are some things that you just can’t accomplish with a printed magazine. It’s the lean-forward stuff; timely new items. That’s why we have www.dirtwheelsmag.com
, where we try to give you updates. It’s not just about racing, either. When the October issue was almost done, I traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit Highland, an American ATV manufacturer had just opened a new factory. I met with Mats Malmberg and Chase Bales, the two main figures in the company, who showed me a impressive facility hard at work on a number of projects. I had the notion that I would rush back to get the story into the October issue. That was on July 9. On July 10, Mats, Chase and company CFO Damian Riddoch were killed in a plane crash. I was devastated emotionally and confused professionally. I had no idea if my story was still valid, or even if Highland still existed. As a result, I held the story for the November issue, so that the smoke could clear somewhat. That’s the obvious advantage of websites like this one.
For the record, Highland is still in business, but the company’s timeline has been altered. The existing employees have shown remarkable resolve to keep the dreams of Mats, Chase and Damian alive, and will produce ATVs in mid 2011. That story has already been written along with the rest of the November issue. It’s currently sitting at the printer awaiting its time on the press. Oh, well.