It’s tear sheet time again. That’s when I timidly open the new issue of Dirt Wheels and look for the good and the bad. Working on a hard-copy magazine is like building something with hand tools. When you’re finished, you have something that you can look at, touch and feel. And it will be with you a long time. It’s not like a website where things come and go rapidly. Once a magazine rolls off the press, it’s officially a part of American lore. People routinely ask me about stuff I wrote 20 years ago. It isn’t that they have such a great memory, it’s more likely that they just opened an old box of stuff and saw an old issue of Dirt Wheels, Dirt Bike, Cycle World, Cycle Guide or Cycle News that had my name in it. Old magazines, like old editors, can lay around for a long time before they turn into dust.
So I just looked through the September issue of Dirt Wheels to see what people will be asking me about 20 years from now. There’s a lot of stuff in there. Two tests really stand out. The new Can-Am DS450XXC is one of the first 2010 models that we’ve ridden. Cain went back east to test it in its preferred environment at a GNCC. The other machine that gets attention is the Polaris RZR-S. This is a wide, sportier version of the RZR. Brad compared it to a custom built-up RZR. Which is the best way to go? Should you build your own or let Polaris do it for you? Interest in the “S” version is so high that the aftermarket was going crazy trying to get our test-unit for product development. DG called us every day, wanting to know when the test would be done.
Brad put together a three-level Raptor 250 story that was pretty cool. The Yamaha Raptor is by far the sportiest 250cc ATV you can buy, but a the end of the day, it’s still a 250cc, four-stroke, entry-level ATV. Brad built one version with budget constraints. He used some parts off eBay (like used TRX450R shocks) and a lot of good set-up. The next version was mildly modified with GYTR stuff and the ultimate version was built by CT Racing. That last one was capable of running with stock 450s.
On the milder side is a TRX450X that I tested with the help of Breanna Jones, daughter to four-time MX champ Gary Jones. The whole Jones family is involved with testing various hardware in Dirt Wheels.
Even closer to home, I had my kid Jesse help with the test of the 3Built remote kill switch. This is a device that lets me turn off the motor from 250 feet away. There’s a not-posed photo of five-year-old Jesse with his hands in the air in frustration after the LTR50 stopped in its tracks. “What happened?” I’ll never tell, but he’ll dig seeing his photo on the newsstand. Cain’s mom will also like seeing his picture in the axle buyer’s guide (shown).
But one of the most interesting photos in the magazine is right up front, in “Over The Bars.” It’s a photo of a concept ATV of the future with something like a hundred wheels. I don’t know where D. West comes up with this stuff, but if you blaze past OTB you’re missing some of the best parts of the magazine.
I’m sure that ATV riders of the distant future will still have this issue laying around and they’ll get a kick out of that photo, too.–Ron