Too Much Jimmy?! - Feature Review - Dirt Rider Magazine

Editors note: The following letter was posted to one of the forums on our message boards. We took it down because the title was a bit too derogatory, but we felt compelled to respond and see what our readers think about all this. We have re-posted it on our message boards; click here to see. Feel free to respond, and yes, we look at the posts! We want to know our readers and stay ahead of any trends we see developing._Has anyone noticed that the quality of Dirt Rider magazine has really gone down in most of the things that matter? I have been a subscriber for about 10 years and I am ready to dump my subscription. This mag has gone from the best most complete mag to the worst form of ego boosting/boasting I have ever seen. A lot of the new changes that the new editor Jimmy Lewis has made are making this magazine go downhill just like MXA is. MXA turned into Jody Cross Action (So I dumped that subscription too.) and Dirt Rider is turning into Jimmy Rider. Here is my supporting evidence. After reading through this ranting, if you agree or disagree, please chime in.This is just my opinion based soley on my own observations. After each rant I will provide what I would think as a solution. As I said before—just my observations.Problem 1: It seems that every other pic in the magazine is of Jimmy Lewis. I have seen him ride many times and I can tell you, he is amazing on a motorcycle and has accomplished many big things. Can we just leave it at that? Do we need to have about 15 different pictures of him blasting a corner or going over a log or whatever and giving him a column where he can brag about how great of a rider he is? ("So you want to go riding with me? No you don't") etc.Solution: Put Jimmy's ego back in his gear bag, take some pics of some other test riders and other racers at the events. I know that in SoCal that there are _hundreds of pro/intermediate riders who can blast berms and would jump at the chance to be in photo shoots. Kris Keefer is awesome but it looks like you guys are using him less and less to make room for more Jimmy and some of his buddies. Instead of having Jimmy write a column about himself and what a great rider he is, how about having his column be more entertaining and insightful like Ken Faught's used to be (instead of a place for the new guy to blow hot air about how great he is)?Problem 2: Race Coverage OK, this is where Dirt Rider used to rule. They used to have the absolute best race pics and stories, and that is all GONE! Example: Daytona is the biggest supercross race of the year and there are more riders, publicity and stories surrounding it. Now go look at the race coverage of Daytona in the July 2005 issue (with Jimmy Lewis on the cover no doubt)! There are a total of five pictures and six of them have blury backgrounds. There is no picture of the track, there is only one paragraph about the 125 class, some really stupid camera filters and not much else.Solution 2: Show us the track, show us the bikes, show us the pits, show us the bar banging without stupid camera filters and PhotoShop tricks. This sport is about riding and racing, not quirky visual gimicks. Get back to what you used to be great at.Problem 3: Product Ratings Systems OK, now this one is really dumb. You have different limits in five different categories that total 100 points. I have no problem counting to 100 or even doing math, but what was wrong with a scale of 1-10? Now you have rating ranges that go from 10 points to 50 points. It seems pretty lame and uneccessarily confusing to have different point limits for different categories.Solution 3: Go back to the simple 1-10 point system. If it isn't broken, don't fix it.Problem 4: Riders Letters Where did they go? Why did you get rid of that feature? Those things were fun to read, colorful and occassionally informative.Solution 4: Bring back the rider writes.Some Good Things!
I love the ads! Ads let you know what is available to purchase and see what is new in the motorcycle world. The magazine makes money by selling its ad space and that is a good thing. The ads are cool. I don't mind them one bit.There is more focus on some of the unkown riders, up and comers, weekend warriors and privateers. This is always a good thing, as well as ispiring. Keep it going.The bike tests are still decent although I prefered the older method of scoring and averaging.The interviews are still pretty good (i.e., Doug Dubach).I could probably go on but this is getting too long. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this stuff?

Jimmy Rider here, Cydonia, let me respond.As for problem #1, I can admit I never get sick of looking at myself. And thanks for the compliment on my riding; I work on it a lot. I'd love for anyone to ride for photo modeling if they can do it. We use Keefer as much as we can; it's difficult when he is racing in Canada or working for someone else testing bikes. And I don't care who the rider is, as long as the photo and action are good. So why is it that I end up in a lot of them? Mostly because I'm there and I can. I've been doing this for over 20 years! I cannot get any of these riders who you'd think would be so good to drive 100-200 miles, be at the track at 6:30 a.m., be ready to do each turn or jump 100 times and stick around all day to get more photos when the sun goes down. They whine, cry, complain then get pissed off when some old fart takes the bike and gets the shot. We've tried to use a lot more guys than you can imagine, and they just don't look good or take way too long to get the shot. Keefer looks great, Matt Armstrong is an excellent photo model and so are the "new guys" you are seeing in the mag lately. I'm sure there are more guys and I'd love to meet them. I wrote a column (most likely just blowing my ego again) a few months back about being a photo model. I thought it was insightful, maybe you missed it. My ego has nothing to do with how many times my picture is in the mag, but I really think I should be rated a lot higher on that exposuremeter that Transworld Motocross does, but Dirt Rider pages don't rate over there.Problem #2 explains exactly why we don't do race coverage like you want it. If you want what you say, look at the internet, better yet, www.dirtrider.com, on Monday and most of that stuff is already there. We didn't need to run a typical picture of the Daytona track because B.J. Smith did a really good job of explaining it in words. We covered more of what Daytona was about, it is more than just a SX. The magazine has to have some shelf life, so we put stuff in there that you won't get in your typical race report. And there are some other really good magazines that do an outstanding job of covering races as you prefer. We are not about to copy them. (Hey, they'd never put my picture on the cover either!)As for the 10- or 100-point system, problem #3, I'd just divide by 10 if I didn't like 100. But I really like the 100-point system, sort of like I got graded in school. There is a difference between a 92 and an 88, but it isn't the same as a 9. Plus, with the new and improved breakdown you can see just where products got docked. Sort of hard to do with 10 measly points. As I always say, more is better (sort of like my pictures in the magazine)!Problem # 4 refers to the letters section that Ken Faught killed a long time ago. You'd be interested to know that we've talked about bringing it back, but we don't want to have to make up letters when we get 20 about "which is faster, my YZ125 or my buddy's XR250?" Your articulate letter is much more of a rarity than you can imagine. In fact, this "Letter of the Week" is a testing ground to see if letters will fly in the magazine.Our advertisers love you, too! We hope we bring you the most authoritative tests with information you can trust and rely on. We hope that brings in a good strong and loyal reader base. We also hope advertisers will want to be in the magazine that talks directly to their customers, you guys! I hope they make really good-looking ads as well, because it makes the magazine look better. And I, too, look at the ads to see what new stuff is out there! By the way, Dirt Rider is for those who ride. We are not a spectator magazine, 'cause if you saw some of our reader surveys, you'd be surprised at what our readers are buying, and lots of it.We know there is more to dirt biking than RC and Bubba, right down to the kid in the pickup truck. Everybody was that guy at one time. Some of us still are at heart.At least you still like the tests.OK, we'll keep doing the interviews. How about one with me?Best regards,
Jimmy Lewis