Recently read your editorial idea about running out of ideas to test bikes, maybe your team has tested sooo many bikes that you need to step back and look at what value in total ownership is rather than just performance of a bike. I am an average skilled 45-year-old rider with two kid riders and a wife rider who piles up at least 2000 miles a year on a ’07 KTM 200XC. Between the four of us we have eight other bikes as well. Most weekends we ride. We don’t care about $20,000 250F bikes. We care how long it will take us to service the bike before we ride, because we have worked 60 hours that week and we only have one afternoon to ride not to take out an air filter, or adjust valves. We have sold nice riding bikes because they are a hassle to service. We care about the life of wear items on stock bikes, chains, sprockets, grips, etc. Fuel range is a big deal – our trails take us thirty miles from the truck. Parts availability is important as well, but cost and used parts availability is also a reality, along with what the bike is worth when I am done, and if I can part it out. New bikes should also always be compared to their previous counterpart – should I buy new or used. Owner’s manual info and tool kits are great. And sound has to be stressed! Loud bikes are unusable. As this sport I have enjoyed for thirty years + is moving more and more into the realm of 300lb, electric start, four stroke, 100db, 500cc, EFI, traction controlled woods cruisers I fear we have lost our way. Are our new bikes technological improvements, or are they the antithesis of the lightweight simple Hodakas, and DT1s we learned to ride on? I do not want to be encumbered with technology for technology’s sake, and looping my trails ten minutes faster means nothing to me. I want my bike to be the ultimate prosthetic, while I ride it should almost be a part of me, not something that overwhelms me. As writers of such a popular periodical you have a responsibility to the sport that you enjoy and provides you your livelihood, and current trends in our sport suggest it going the way of snowmobiling, and PWCs – sports I believe are doomed because technological, expense, and complication issues are making them inaccessible to new comers and pushing out long time supporters. Ask yourselves – why do I ride?Anonymous
We do get wrapped up in our job to the point of not being able to see outside sometimes, but we are also not afraid to ask for help when we get there. So thanks for the letter and your point is taken. But if you are right, why are riders not buying the cheaper less technological advanced bikes that are available or responding to market research surveys to guide manufacturers into that direction? For instance a good air-cooled, well-suspended electric start four-stroke trail bike seems like a nice machine? Is the used market taking up this slack? Is the media controlled by the advertisers to the point that we can’t control or stop this trend you outline? These are all good questions for which I only know a few answers. And I’m about as normal as you seem to be in a lot of my views. —Jimmy LewisWant to send a letter to Dirt Rider? Send us an email email@example.com. Heck, we might even send you a prize! But you must include contact info—first and last name and mailing address—in order to be eligible for the Letter of the Week prize. All letters may be edited at our discretion, and anything you send us may appear in the magazine, too!