“S o, if you want me to check over all your technical data, I’d be happy to do it. You kinda messed everything up with the 2015 KTMs.” During a motorcycle trade
show, a guy cornered me at a crowded cocktail party.
“What do you mean ‘messed up’?” I was trying to
maneuver around him to get to the mini wieners. They were
a very popular item and going fast. “I wrote that myself. It
was all from KTM’s press info.”
“Well, you said that all the new bikes were coming with
the 4CS fork,” he said.
I succeeded in reaching under his armpit and was closing
in on the appetizer tray when another hand reached in from
the other side and grabbed the four remaining wieners in
one big, hairy fist. “Yeah, I meant almost all the new bikes.
You have to read in the almost; it goes without saying.”
“What about the Husky info?” he continued. “You said
they have a one-piece subframe/airbox combo. It’s actually
three pieces, you know.” He paused a moment, probably
picking up on the massive frown spreading across my face.
He softened his tone a little. “I don’t mean to nitpick; I’m
just saying these are easy mistakes for me to catch.”
My frown didn’t go away. In my haste to get the mini
wieners, I had completely missed out on a new plate of
egg rolls. I was devastated. “I meant almost one piece. If
you look on the contents page, there are 16 “almosts” in
a little box. That’s a full supply for every issue for you to
put in wherever you feel the need. It’s the new interactive
By Ron Lawson
“On the XC-W.”
“So I was right!”
“No, I mean the bottom for the SX,” he stammered.
“Make up your mind.” I finally maneuvered myself away.
Once I was clear, I looked in the magazine myself. He was
right about the injectors. And the fork too. Darn, there was
the airbox comment.
I bumped into someone. “Hey, aren’t you Ron Lawson?”
he asked. I nodded. “Yeah, you’re the guy who thinks the
Triumph Tiger 800 is a twin. First you said it was a triple,
and then you said it was a twin in the same story. By the
way, loved the story on the new Yamaha WR250F in the
December issue. How come you never mentioned it was
a six-speed? I had to go to another magazine to find that
Enough was enough. “You mean you had to go to
another magazine’s website to get that info,” I spat out.
“No other printed magazines had anything about the WR
in print. When we put the WR story together it was back
in October, and there was no official Yamaha information
at all!” A little bit of spittle hit him in his thick glasses. He
leaned back with a look of shock. I turned and walked
away. Everyone made room.
Okay, we make mistakes. The biggest disadvantage of a
printed magazine is that once it leaves the press, it’s in the
permanent fossil record. People are still reading the mistakes we made in 1971. There’s no going back and changing the file, no updating the page with new information, no
erasing all traces of past misdeeds. We do a pretty good
job of covering the world of off-road motorcycling, whether
we present it in print, digitally or on the web. But, you still
have to bring a small personal supply of “almosts” to each
“Hey, aren’t you Ron Lawson?” he
asked. I nodded. “Yeah, you’re the guy
who thinks the Triumph Tiger 800 is a
twin. First you said it was a triple, and
then you said it was a twin”
“If you look on the contents page, there
are 16 “almosts” in a little box. That’s a
full supply for every issue for you to put
in wherever you feel the need.”
edition of the magazine.” He opened up a copy of Dirt
Bike and started looking while I tried to make a break to
the other side of the room. Unfortunately, I was blocked
by a near-stampede of people trying to get to a waiter
with a tray of mysterious little brown balls on toothpicks. I
learned not to trust unidentified toothpick meat last month
in Sweden. I had been at the Husky intro where they were
telling us about the three-piece airbox, and the odd-tasting
hors d’oeuvres that I ate by the handful turned out to be
reindeer heart. I watched too many Rudolf cartoons when I
was a kid to go unscarred by that.
“And right here you say that the injectors on the SX
throttle body are on the top. They’re on the bottom—it’s
the XC-W injectors that are on the top,” he continued.
“That’s what I wrote,” I replied. “The injectors are on the