By Kevin Duke
The past decade has brought about radical changes around the world. During this epoch, not only has America elected its first black president (and first orangey one), motorcyclists have been introduced to a plethora of ground-breaking new technology. Back in 2007, traction-control systems and ride-by-wire throttles were just coming on line, and things like semi-active suspensions, IMUs and Cornering ABS were unheard of from production motorcycles.
Meanwhile, there was a moto battle going on in the online publishing industry. Motorcycle.com has the longest history among motorcycle websites, as it was inaugurated by visionary founder Brent Plummer in 1994, a time when web browsers (like Mosaic and Netscape) were only in their gestational phase. If riders were interested in getting motorcycle information on the web in the 1990s, MO was pretty much the only place to go.
I was slow on the internet uptake, scoffing at the lack of credibility prevalent on the web while I continued to add to my library of reputable and beautiful motorcycle magazines. The print and web worlds collided for me during the autumn of 1997 when I attended the first “press” (as in printing press, before we became “media”) introduction of my budding motojournalism career.
I had recently joined the masthead of “the world’s largest streetbike publication,” Motorcyclist magazine, and I must admit to looking down my nose at seeing reps from Motorcycle.com (or Motorcycle Online as it was known at that time) at the 1998 CBR900RR’s launch. I remember thinking: “What were these interlopers doing at my press intro?” It turned out that Plummer could bomb around the racetrack faster than pompous ol’ me, and he had considerable knowledge about motorcycles, too. Drats!