Favorite driver's magazines

"Dirt Rider", March 1, 2013



Photo: JP Van Swae



While cleaning the infamous spare room, I found my hidden hoard of DR past issues. It’s time for the Dirt Rider Magazine long-term review:

Remember when KTMs were mint green and Yamahas were hot pink? Remember when the big names of off-road were Fredette and Roeseler? Remember when the King of Supercross was riding a 125 and the G.O.A.T. was learning to ride a mini? I do, because I read about it in my old DR magazines.

The first thing to catch my eye was that those old rags were only half color! The rest was cheap newsprint. I then noticed that there wasn’t a single “www.” or “.com” to be found. How the heck did we order parts back then? While the photos were black and white, the writing style was very colorful. The articles were not only full of great information on the machines, but they gave a great account of the races the staff entered to test those machines. What it felt like, what went wrong, what went right, starting line nerves, forgetting to turn on the gas, huge lip skids, monkey butt and still getting a decent eighth overall.

The newer issues are beautiful! Advances in design, photography and printing are obvious. The issues are stuffed full of detailed technical information, but (sorry, and I’m sure you saw it coming) you’ve lost some of the personable, entertaining and humorous style. Having said that, I’ll also say this: Thank you guys for a great job. Keep up the good work and I’ll write again in 25 years.

A word to your advertisers: Those “.com’s” in the back really do help your business. Many times have I pawed through several old DR issues looking for an ad that I thought I saw in this issue...or was it that issue?

What actually prompted this letter was to ask whatever happened to Ed Hertfelder? It always gave me hope to think that somewhere out there was a worse rider than me with a crappier bike than mine.

John O’Brien

Cheyenne, WY

Thanks for the awesome perspective, John — it’s fun to hear your take on Dirt Rider in comparison to the mags of old. We have an extensive vault of back issues that we consulted while redesigning the magazine last year, and I’m sure you understand how much fun we had going back there and thumbing through them. Remember when the only four-stroke at an off-road race was the one Scott Summers was carrying under his arm? Remember when “GoPro” was what riders did when they got too fast for the amateur ranks? Remember when the only semis at supercross races were the ones held between the heat races and the LCQ? I’m sure you do, because you read about them in Dirt Rider!

We understand that this rich history is an integral part of the magazine, and we try to honor it in every way possible. I appreciate your honest criticism of the mag, and we will definitely keep that in mind going forward. Also, I did some research and was told that Hertfelder is “living in Tucson, whiling away the days, still writing for Trail Rider.” I agree, his articles were the best, and I can only hope that in 25 years people will be thumbing through this issue of Dirt Rider thinking fondly about the stuff that we are writing. — Chris Denison



Isn’t this a sweet Factory 4 stand from Works Connection? Along with a hat and T-shirt, this stand will have you looking like the real deal when you show up to ride with your buddies. This prize pack valued at just over $150 is going to turn some heads, Mr. O’Brien.


The forces trying to shut down off-road are everywhere. However, I think this battle is a little unique. I would like to see more coverage of what’s happening to Carnegie SVRA. This is of interest to everyone in the OHV community. You have probably heard of the lawsuit trying to shut us down, but it’s a lot more than that.

In 1998, the division finished the purchase of the Alameda-Tesla property. The price was some $7 million, all from the OHV Trust Fund. No general fund monies were used. In all this time we have been fighting to open the land, but now the local East Bay Regional Park is trying to just take over the property purchased with our funds as a non-OHV park. They already control 112,000 acres with none of it for OHV use. OHV users from all over the state contribute to the Trust Fund. The OHV division was formed to protect our funds and make sure the money was spent for OHV. It’s bad enough when the state decides to dip into the pot, but if these people are successful it’s an invitation for other local agencies to belly up to the bar.

Is this local agency more powerful than the state, or is the fix in? If so, it means the state is breaking our agreement. It is betraying our trust. We should all be very angry. Look into it. Report on it. Get the word out.

Chuck Oliver

Via DR Mail

Chuck, thanks for writing to Dirt Rider, we love hearing from our readers about what’s going on. I did some reading and can understand your frustration with the Carnegie SVRA. We try and encourage our readers to join the AMA, the BlueRibbon Coalition and other rights groups which work to keep the riding areas they enjoy open. If every single dirt bike rider joined the groups fighting to help keep land open, we would stand a much better chance against these large and powerful forces trying to shut us down.

It’s wrong but you shouldn’t be too surprised if the state breaks an agreement; dirt bikers aren’t filling the pockets of the people in charge like some groups are, we need more dirt bike voices out there! I found some very biased reports on the land and the expansion, and it never favors dirt bike riders, ever. The www.carnegieforever.org site hasn’t been updated in a long time, but there was plenty of other info links off Google. Anytime you have current info, please forward it on to Dirt Rider; we’ll do our best to get the word out. — Adam Booth


Howdy, thought I would drop a note before I consider resubscribing to Dirt Rider. First off, I’ve been an active trail rider for 35 years, strong supporter of BRC, and I currently ride a 2006 KTM 300 XC-W on extreme trails in Oregon.

Now the November 2012 issue was odd with the 3-D images. It did nothing for me. Waste of ink, really. I would much rather read as much as possible from your magazine, not the Internet! I read Dirt Rider for the well-written DR Tested, Dr. Dirt, Trail Tips and Reader’s Bike Test articles. I think having readers go online for “Want More” is a rip-off for subscribers. I want to read the entire magazine as I wait for fellow riders in my pickup, as I sit on the toilet or at lunch in the woods, but not online. I don’t bank, order parts or shop online. Nor do I carry a cell phone when I ride.

Keep writing truthful articles about dirt bikes and I’ll keep subscribing. If you continue to refer people online, I’ll cancel. And yes, I would pay more if it required you folks to increase ink and paper costs.

Dave Sutton

Roseburg, OR

How much more will you pay, Dave? Because I will print out those website and iMag extras and mail them to you for the right price. Now, I’m with you in your (our) aversion to doing things online. I won’t even deposit a check in an ATM; I go in to the teller. But I also refuse to watch a video in a magazine! Our website is filled with bike test videos, as well as “first impression” web tests on bikes and stories that people interested in that particular story will likely want to see. If you refuse to acknowledge the Internet, just treat those “Want More” call-outs like the safety warnings on...everything these days. — Pete Peterson


I’m writing this just to try and discuss today’s morals and possibly get some tips on keeping a bike running well without spending a fortune. I’m 16 years old, a junior in high school and I just got into motocross the summer of my freshman year. I started off cutting lawns and shoveling snow to save up money to get a bike. After months of saving, I finally had about $650 and my dad loaned me $100 so I could get my first bike — a 2001 KX85. Later, I finally decided it was time to stop being a 125-pound 16-year-old fooling around on minis.

After much searching, I found my next bike. I fell in love with a 2000 Yamaha YZ125. Now I’m riding that and loving it! I paid about $1,000 for it and it needs clutch plates and a new top end, as well as some cosmetic stuff like plastics and what have you. After buying a cheap car and a bike, I didn’t have much money left. I’m currently working at a retail store as much as I can because, like always, I have been the one financially supporting motocross. I feel like most of these kids whose parents just buy them a brand-new four-stroke don’t understand the feeling of accomplishment and hard work. That may not always be the case, but at the end of the day, I like looking at my bike and my gear and my workbench I built and thinking: “I paid for this all myself.”

Maybe I was born in the wrong generation, but I’d take buying a used bike and repairing it to race-bike condition over having one bought for me. Anyway, if you know where I can get good-quality parts that aren’t going to break the bank, it’d be greatly appreciated! Also, I can’t seem to find any Dirt Rider stickers anywhere, can you help a premixer out?

Brad Lessl

Macomb, MI

Just from your letter alone, I can tell that you’re on the podium of hard-working kids in your school... You might have even checked out from the pack. Brad, you’re absolutely right about young kids being handed brand-new, top-of-the-line motorcycles to ride and abuse at their leisure. I’m sure it really makes you cringe to see them mistreat such a pristine bike when guys like yourself are spending half of their available “dirt bike” time making sure their trusty old steed is ready for a bit of moto. But the beauty is, the pride that a spoiled kid has when he and his machine finish a day of riding is nothing when compared to yours, and the time and effort you invested to make that day of riding go down in the books definitely makes you the hero.

Now I recommend this to everyone who asks for tips to keep their bike running for a long time. Go to one of the many advertisers in this magazine who make hourmeters and pick one up for about $40. Read your bike’s manual and come up with a cheat-sheet that will help you stay true to when you need to change the oil, replace the top end and even service your suspension. If you stay ahead of general wear with things like chain guides and sliders, you’ll reduce the chances of your chain wearing into your swingarm or locking up on an old blown-out chain guide. If you’re unsure about when something has last been serviced, it’s probably not a bad idea to go ahead and replace it — or park your bike until you can get it fixed. Don’t limp the poor girl around; buy her a new chain if she needs some jewelry. If you have all the bugs worked out and she’s running well, keep her healthy and she’ll treat you like a gentle-man. And we keep our DR stickers locked down for test bikes only. But if you send us a self-addressed, stamped envelope, we’ll be happy to send you some “official Dirt Rider reader stickers.” — Chris Green

To submit a letter to Dirt Writer, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please do not submit any photos larger than 2 MB in size. You must include contact info — first and last name, phone number, email contact and mailing address — in order to be eligible to receive any swag. All letters may be edited at our discretion. For more info and letters, log on to www.dirtrider.com.

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