“DIBS ON BIKE.” Those were contributing editor Zach Bowman’s words after learning we’d be racing a pair of supercharged Kawasaki super-tourers across land and water for this issue. With frontiers of technology and performance to explore, and the stunning red-rock canyons of southern Utah laid out as incentive, Bowman—a grown-ass man—effectively licked his weapon of choice like a kid laying claim to a cookie. And I get it. There’s something about this hobby that rewards reductive thinking. A trust that, at its core, motorcycling itself is the right answer. That even devoid of technology, there’s always goodness to be had in a ride. Zack Courts argues that case well in this issue as he takes a lap in the mountains astride three tried-and-true dual-sport machines, all of which hit the market before the invention of the modern internet. Imagine the 1987 Ford Mustang or the 1993 Honda Prelude gleaming brand-new under dealership lights. It says a lot about motorcycling, and our values, that these brilliant old dual-sports are still available for sale today.
Regardless of your motorcycling tribe, those values are universal. We all live for a handful of throttle, for feeling the bike tremble right at the edge of adhesion. From the motorcycling women of Babes in the Dirt, obsessively photographed by Yelena Sophia on page 15, to the lunatics at Biltwell who took on Baja with an obsessively prepared Sportster on page 86, to the razor precision of racing great John Surtees’ AJS racer on page 42, the feeling is the same: On a motorcycle, we are essential.
That’s why “dibs on bike” is never the wrong call.