Monday, December 14, 2009

David Edwards Update

So, as some of you already know, after 25 years of working for the magazine, David Edwards is no longer the editor of Cycle World magazine. I first found out last week when reading Cycle World at the magazine rack. Yes, I had become a lowly grocery store rack reader. The Cycle World sub ran out a few months ago so I've been keeping tabs on things at the store along with all the other good auto and motorcycle titles. Now I'm glad I was slow to renew. When I read the CW editorial by a new editor this month I was trying to figure out what I missed. No goodbye editorial by David, just a unceremonious "thanks and good luck" from the new guy. Going over the CW online forum provided some answers, and they ain't pretty. The big wig explanation is here if you want to give yourself a headache. Whatever the reasons, I'm sure we are going to lose the one motorcycle magazine that still gave us the historical perspective of all areas of motorcycling while balancing that content with the latest MC news and models. With the loss of David I predict a content change as well. No more stories like the ups and downs of the Kenny Dreer Norton saga? No more stories about new Vincent's or Indian's? No more biographies on old racers or infamous MC personalities that would otherwise be forgotten? No more American Flyers? Cycle World has always been a perfectly balanced publication covering the old and the new of all that's interesting in the MC world. I suspect that along with "better paper and no staples" the focus is going to be on marketing and catering mostly to the folks looking to buy new motorcycles and accessories. There is already a magazine that does that. It's called the Motorcyclist, another title that went from greatness to mediocrity many years ago. I'll be keeping tabs at the magazine rack, but not expecting much. Looks to me like The United Corporations of America have taken another one away from the enthusiasts to feed the consumers...

On a more positive note, I sent David a email of support after all this and to offer posting of his Von Dutch Triumph project or anything else he'd like to share and I received a great reply. Here's part of it starting with the Von Dutch Triumph restoration.

"Here's a short update. Bill Getty has all the motor parts rebuilt, reconditioned, polished up, etc. and is ready to put everything back together. Judging by the wear inside the engine and gearbox, this was definitely an old Ekins desert racer that Dutch turned into a street custom
after its competition days were done. Denny Berg says after stripping the paint off the frame, there's lots of damage to the bottom rails, too, further backing up the desert sled story."

"Meantime, see the attached photos. How's that for a barn-find? Actually, it's an "attic-find." Built 30 years ago by Texas drag/dry-lakes hall of fame builder Ed Mabry, it won the bike class at a big hot-rod show in Fort Worth, then was put into storage, never having been fired. Ed had more important matters to attend to, like building the world's fastest Triumphs (double-engined T150 partial streamliners), so the custom just gathered dust. I saw it a couple of months ago on a visit to Ed's Fort Worth shop, and despite the poor light in his attic and the years of accumulated mung, could see how very cool it was. The frame is a one-off built by Mabry, chromed of course. Note the double-decked swingarm; has to be one of the earliest examples of this type of design--maybe the first? Three-cylinder T150 engine was done by the famous Jack Wilson of Big D Triumph."

"Photo was taken in the shop at the rejuvenated Big D Cycles in Dallas, run by Triumph guru and all-around good guy Keith Martin. They're recommissioning the bike for me (new rubber, fork seals, carbs sorted, ignition dialed-in, etc.) so it'll run, but aside from a good clean, we're leaving everything else as found. Some of the chrome is lifting from the aluminum parts in a few places but that's part of this bike's story."


A better cure without tits for any unemployment blues does not exist. With a Jack Wilson built engine and that super trick Mabry chassis, I suspect this thing will eat your typical UK style cafe racer for breakfast and hot Sportsters for lunch. Pure American style Triumph Hot Rod and a absolute Show & Go masterpeice from true icons of motorcycle racing history. I need to hear a road test on this one. Love it! Check the Big D Cycle website out. It's a good one and they have a really neat blog connected to it too.

"Here's a shot of one of Mabry's later Bonneville bikes. This one went 256 mph, not bad for a couple of punched-out, turbo'd, air-cooled Brit Triples. Ed (far right) calls it the world's fastest non-Hayabusa."



  1. An email from a Show & Go supporter:

    "Please pass along my best wishes to Dave Edwards when you have a chance. I had the good fortune to meet him and spoke with him over the years at the CW Int'l. Bike Shows, Hansen Dam BSA Owner's Club rides and once at the old Del Mar show. He seems a very genuine guy and I was surprised, at first, that he took the time to converse with a very ordinary motorcycle nut like myself. I would not have been surprised if someone from the big four want him beheaded for his occasional suggestion, that we might be happy buying and riding an old, air-cooled, relatively low tech bike instead of forking out all our hard earned bucks for a new one.
    After reading that press release, I can tell you that such a b.s. corporation doesn't deserve a guy like Dave. It just reminds me of what a sad state the modern motorcycle industry has become.
    I guess I'll take this opportunity to again tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I don't know how you find the time to do it or where all the great material comes from but I hope you never stop. Thank you, so much!" -Kevin Haggard, Crestline, Ca.

  2. Yes, give Dave Edwards the best from "Honda919Rider". Good to hear that project is moving ahead.

  3. Another email:

    "I stumbled on your blog tonight while searching for an explanation or at least more information on the firing of David Edwards. I liked your thinking on the subject (we agree). Unfortunately, I just renewed for three years and am wondering if I shouldn't ask for a refund before the magazine turns to shit."

    Best regards,


  4. I thought Dave must have been killed in a MC accident. Here today, gone tomorrow. I'm glad that's not the reason he's gone from CW.
    Yes, the world is changing like never before. An editor who uses a Norton Combat Commando as his bike logo cannot be long for this corporate world. CW is the poorer for it. I'll bet Motorcycle Classic makes him an offer.