On The Media: Hi-Torque

With SNAFU's dive into the MTB scene comes a fair amount of press relations that I must say I enjoy immensely. Reason: because like the magazine and online editors I communicate with today, I used to wear my own press credentials with pride. My earliest dreams in BMX were to to write stories for magazines, and John Ker at BMX Plus! helped me realize that dream in 1982. That's when I sold my first story to a magazine, a race report on the Murray World Cup in Tennessee. Harry Leary won what was at that time the richest pro purse in BMX history, and I was hooked. After apprenticing at Bicycles Today, the NBL's monthly racing newsletter, I moved to California to be a part of the industry I worshipped for the previous eight years. My first employer: Torker, the same company that sponsored me in BMX since 1979.

When Torker went belly up the fall of 1984, I got the associate editor position at BMX Plus! under John Ker. This journalistic staple in the 20-inch trenches was produced by Hi-Torque, publishers of the best motocross and off-road magazines in the game: Motocross Action and Dirt Bike. Before there were BMX magazines, there were stories about BMX in MXA and Dirt Bike, so I was familiar with both titles.

The editor of MXA, Jody Weisel, was a cyclist himself, so when Hi Torque launched Mountain Bike Action, the editor of MXA was thrust into the bicycle business. His associate editor in this endeavor was Zapata Espinosa. Like me, Zap was an avid motocross and cycling fan who rode into the editorial spotlight on the back of his passion for words. My days at Hi Torque ended before Zap's began, but we have been friends since our first official meeting. That occasion was at a press intro for GT mountain bikes in 1987. Zap arrived for his private showing of my employer's brand-new MTB's on a Harley-Davidson wearing a full-face street bike helmet with flames on the front. I wasn't into street bikes at the time, so a moto- and bicycle-magazine editor on custom cruiser seemed kind of strange. Still, Zap and I hit it off, and we've been friends in the business ever since.

Last week I sent Zap and Jimmy Mac—another long-time friend in the media game—samples of the 700c and MTB parts I've been working on for SNAFU's intro to the fixie and urban/dirt-jumping scenes. Jimmy Mac graciously showed us some love on the MBA website, and I appreciate it. What Zap does with his SNAFU 700c components remains to be seen, but I'm sure he will be fair. People love to hold up Hi Torque rags like BMX Plus!, Mountain Bike Action and Motocross Action as poster children for mediocrity, but the truth is, these titles always have and will continue to deliver the news to their audiences with honesty that's refreshing in the media game.

To Roland Heinz, Zapata Espinosa and Jimmy Mac, thanks for sticking to CMYK in an RGB world.


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