The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Four


What would you call somebody who turns down a challenge to a race then tries to snitch on you to your employer? You’d call that person a coward, if not worse.

Yamaha’s Bruce Steever is a coward, if not worse.

And he has wayyyyy too many skeletons in his closet to be a snitch.

Let’s take a look.

A few years ago, I wrote a quick column about “darksiding”, which is the practice of putting car tires on the back wheel of touring motorcycles. Darksiding is a very controversial topic in the motorcycling community, but nearly everybody who has tried it is sticking with it.

My column neither endorses nor attacks darksiding. Instead, I discuss the fact that the much larger market and faster product-iteration cycles associated with the auto-tire business as compared to the motorcycle-tire business is permitting auto tires to advance at a faster rate. Nowhere in the article do I tell people to put a car tire on their Goldwings.

But my value-neutral stance on the issue didn’t sit well with self-styled motorcycling-industry Bruce Steever. He and Wes Siler decided to “school” me on my Facebook page. The idea of me taking any “schooling” from these two borders on the vomit-inducingly hilarious. Both of them are casual riders at best, with no competition experience whatsoever. Wes is primarily known for crashing a motorcycle and posing with a dog; Steever is primarily known for, uh, a couple of fawning interviews in Motorcycle Consumer News.

So I told them to fuck off, and then I challenged them to meet me for a 250cc road race in 2015. Neither of them accepted, because they’re not the kind of people who do well in actual competition. Racing has a way of humbling loud-mouthed dipshit wannabes. So I went racing without them — and got a broken tibial plateau for my trouble. That’s okay. I’d rather my son see me limping around for the rest of my life than have to tell him that I was too afraid to compete.

Steever’s way of coping with this humiliation was uniquely bitch-made; he complained to Facebook that I wasn’t using my “real name” on Facebook, which led FB to close my account. Good riddance. I can’t say I was even that angry with him about it; he did me a favor of sorts. Gave me back a few hours a week to ride motorcycles.

Yesterday, Steever got on Jalopnik and started passive-aggressively begging Patrick George for a job. Which is odd, because Steever already has a job as the guy who washes out jockstraps for real racers at Yamaha. He’s always talking about Yamaha — that is, when he’s not libeling the competition and insulting their customers. So I called him on being a snitch, at which point he revealed that he’d contacted R&T and tried to get them to can me!

I assume that everybody reading this blog knows the difference between being a man and being a snitch. A man responds to aggression with courage. A snitch responds to humiliation with sneaky behavior. Bruce Steever should be ashamed of himself. Yamaha should be ashamed to have him working there. But there’s no way I’d call Yamaha and try to get him fired. That would be pathetic.

The funny part is that if Yamaha had any idea what Steever writes in public, while representing himself as a Yamaha employee who speaks for Yamaha, I think they’d go crazy. Examples:





There are dozens of comments on Jalopnik like that, where Steever alternately insults motorcyclists then lectures them about Yamaha products. Keep in mind that Bruce Steever works in Yamaha marketing. A while ago, I got into a disagreement with Ed Loh while I worked at Honda, but I was in production. I’ve never represented myself as a marketing or PR mouthpiece for Honda. I didn’t speak for Honda when I worked there and I don’t speak for them now.

Steever, on the other hand, represents himself as a Yamaha employee who speaks for the company — and then he calls female bikers “cunts”. Not a good look for Yamaha, if you ask me.

Luckily for Bruce, Yamaha has only a vague idea that I’m alive and they certainly don’t read this blog. Nor would I ever snitch him out. But I will say this: I’d had some plans to buy the new FZ-10. As long as Steever is involved with the company, I’m not going to buy one. I’ll get something else. I don’t feel like funding his online behavior. That’s the only proper and ethical way to respond to somebody like Bruce Steever, and that’s all I’m going to do. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go ride my motorcycle.

Less talk, more riding.

Bruce Steever should look into doing the same.

41 Replies to “The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Four”

  1. phr3dly

    I am becoming increasingly convinced that this entire industry, yourself included, is staffed with 12-year-olds.

  2. jz78817

    yeah, that guy is something else. But Jalopnik’s experiment with decent motorcycle coverage ended a few months ago.

    Darksiding is a very controversial topic in the motorcycling community, but nearly everybody who has tried it is sticking with it.

    it makes sense to me. so many motorcycle tires are bias ply, and thanks to the high internal stresses in the sidewalls when heavily loaded, they don’t last too long. When cars still used bias tires, blow-outs were fairly common. When cars moved to radials that improved by leaps and bounds. I’m actually a bit surprised how hot the rear tire gets on my Dyna. and yes, I maintain the proper air pressure.

  3. jz78817

    oh, and I liked Sean’s reply to him in that thread:

    “This is why you struggled as a moto journalist. Not everyone has to ride an adv bike in Rev’IT adv suits.”

  4. Paul Alexander

    Jack, what a beautifully subtle destruction.

    What gene do these cowards lack that make them impervious to logic, reality and self-reflection? And it’s not good enough to keep it to themselves, they have to flaunt their character defects flagrantly. Perhaps a cry for help from that last shred of dignity buried somewhere deep within their outer shell of buffoonery?

  5. everybodyhatesscott

    That’s okay. I’d rather my son see me limping around for the rest of my life than have to tell him that I was too afraid to compete.

    Competition has a way of humbling people

    There are dozens of comments on Jalopnik like that, where Steever alternately insults motorcyclists then lectures them about Yamaha products.

    Ah yes, the ‘everybody who disagrees with me is stupid’ guy. Also known as the guy who needs to get laid more. And I wear a full face helmet when I ride.

    • jz78817

      You realize that 95% of us are that “everyone who disagrees with me is stupid” person, right? Just look at any discussion of politics here, on TTAC, or anywhere else.

      • everybodyhatesscott

        Disagree. You and I probably politcaly disagree on 95% of stuff and i dont think “oh, he’s just an idiot”

        If your go to on someone disagreeing with you is “they’re dumb” you’ve got issues. I’m not saying its never the right response but if thats always your response, you might want to look in a mirror (i dont mean you in the personal sense )

  6. Yamahog

    Ugh. I have no idea why the Japanese factories employ so many friggin jackoffs. Companies with 15% marketshare (in on-road motorcycles) can’t afford to antagonize anyone. And their product design is so friggin weak. It’s absolutely SHAMEFUL that their Japanese engineers who sit at computers for 12 hours per day know how to make bikes that hit the market better than the bikes spec’d in America. All the while, Yamaha’s Star division falls further behind the curve because they don’t make bikes that resonate with rich dentists and people like our featured man find time to argue with potential customers on the internet.

    the new X-diavel is cruiser of the year in many of the rags and the V-Max gets a nod because guys like him couldn’t be assed to imagine a world where a muscle cruiser would be engineered well enough to appeal to most people.

    Mark my words, before I retire I’m going to shake all these friggin jackoffs out of one Japanese motorcycle company’s US marketing divisions and I’ll change the world by giving people a great mix of things they want and things they never knew they wanted.

  7. jz78817

    ” All the while, Yamaha’s Star division falls further behind the curve because they don’t make bikes that resonate with rich dentists and people like our featured man find time to argue with potential customers on the internet.”

    while I’m sure a fairly sizable chunk of Harley customers are wannabes who watch too much Sons of Anarchy, They do offer something practically none of the Japanese cruiser makers do, and that’s customizability.

    • everybodyhatesscott

      I don’t necessarily hate Harleys but I’ve ridden them and looked at the price tags and I can tell you ‘I don’t get it’

      What one man (spends his money on is none of my business and I will not deny they look great but the ride just didn’t do it for me.

    • Yamahog

      And they won’t as long as their employees spend their time arguing on the internet rather than taking notes.

      The metric cruiser advertising is basically as tone-deaf as hillary ads for young people.

      Heck, they still try to come at it from a ‘look how cheap and oil tight we are’ as though that matters to the bulk of original owners who maybe put 5,000 miles on their bikes during their ownership.

      Crusiers work because they’re comfortable, and they offer self-expressive benefits. The metric crusiers sometimes have weird ergos, poor parts catalogs, and they usually miss the aesthetic mark.

      It’s not hard, talk to the people buying the expensive harleys. For every blue collar worker with a union job, there’s probably 3 professionals who just want to feel some way or get others to feel some way about them. And none of the metric crusiers sell that.

      • jz78817

        It isn’t that, so much as it is the sameness. Go look at the Honda Shadow, or similar. You can get it in like only one color and any “options” are a handful of dealer installed accessories. Up until recently, on a Sportster 1200C you could choose from like 14 different paint schemes, a dozen wheels, seats, bags, he’ll you could even get either a chrome- or black-dressed engine.

        • Jack Baruth Post author

          Listen… I own three Honda motorcycles RIGHT NOW and I wouldn’t be caught dead on a metric cruiser. Not never. As you point out, they have the same spec philosophy as the Civic with half of the panache.

          That CVO Breakout, on the other hand…

  8. Yamahog

    Also, the GSXS-1000 might be up your alley. They’re a pretty solid deal, they’re great bikes, they steer wonderfully (and between us two cats, Suzuki makes the sweetest gearboxes), and you can get them with ABS which is the #1 thing that extends the riding season.

    Someone wrote an article about prepping one for a race in New Zealand. I think he just changed the brake pads, added catch cans, and got a fourth overall in a pretty fast class on a bike he got just a few days prior:

    I think I saw the article in cycle world but can’t find a link.

    Also the Z1000 is supposed to be pretty good.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      There are brand-new FZ1s for sale at $5,995. Hard to believe what with their awesome marketing staff.

  9. Don Curton

    The full face helmet comment is kinda weird. I recently went looking for an open face helmet for summer riding. My last open face was gifted to someone else in the hopes that they’d at least wear something. In any event, a dealership salesman pretty much refused to show me one. Proceeded to lecture me about safety. I’ve been riding street bikes since the 1970’s. So I cut him short and went elsewhere. Second place (motorcycle accessory store), the sales girl comes close to refusing, and only shows me an open face after I persist in asking for one. And I get second safety lecture from a person half my age. Didn’t buy there either. WTF? These people only ride with a full face, full armored body suit, gloves, riding boots? Spare me the lecture and sell me what I want.

    Thank God for eBay, Amazon, and a dozen other sites.

      • Don Curton

        That’s great. For you.

        But that same basic attitude, with extended lecture included, costs two different places a $270 sale on a Shoei open face helmet. You know, the same basic model that all police dept.’s use.

        If you don’t accept that riding a bike increases your risk by an order of magnitude over driving a car, and that all the safety gear in the world won’t change that, then you are mistaken. I understand risk, I drive defensively, and I’m comfortable with different levels of “gearing up” for different drives.

        • Jim

          My philosophy on what you encountered is if the shop’s ownership felt that strongly about it then they should not stock or offer it – the sales help then could or should just say we don’t carry those as we believe the full face is a better choice. Can I show you one of those instead?

          But if the shop’s owner carries them, then the staff (employees) has zero right to make it difficult to purchase and the ownership should be notified of the lost sale. In the long run, lost sales make it difficult to stay in business and will make it more difficult for you to purchase what you want when you want, i.e. a new set of gloves on a cold day if they are no longer in business due to losing sales.

          I personally love Amazon and love online shopping but completely agree that it is not good for local businesses. It’s somewhat analogous to offshoring jobs as it takes them out of the local economy (and replaces them with UPS driver jobs). No local business should make it harder to buy something they have in stock as compared to clicking a button to purchase. My laptop doesn’t dissuade me from buying what I want when I want.

          • don curton

            Jim, completely agree. I really wanted to buy local for the reasons you stated, but my experience with the sales staff drove me away. I probably should have said something but I tend to walk away instead.

  10. VolandoBajo

    Outstanding. Perfect response to what my Matt refers to as a douche canoe.

    Your expression of the difference between a man and a snitch will be put on his recommended reading list.

    Keep on keeping on, my brother …

    • VolandoBajo

      And an afterthought. Un esprit d’escalier.

      Steever doesn’t even realize he snitched himself out as stupid when he claims dark siding is stupid and dangerous but then acknowledges that people don’t seem to pay the price for it much. Went right over his head that he had just rebutted his own assertion.

      He’s a sad clown without a portfolio.

  11. VolandoBajo


    Had not heard of Dunning & Kruger before but glad you tipped me to their research.

    The effect is ubiquitous so it is helpful to have a succinct name for it.

    The concept also seems useful as a way to triage posters in places like this and TTAC.

    What I still can’t fathom is what would both motivate Steever and lead him to believe that he would be successful in getting Jack fired.

    I find Jack’s R&T articles to be both informative and entertaining. Further, the info he provides is not only factually accurate but also filled with meaningful subjective observations.

    It’s not like he would crank out lame crap like the reviewer his brother recently parodied did.

    Imagine – “the Huracán is The Lamborghiniest Lamborghi of allí Lamborghinis, a car that will defiantly make you feel as stiff as it’s suspension.”

    Which makes me think that perhaps we could have an April 1st Bad Jack writing contest, similar to the annual Bad Hemingway contest.

    Or maybe we should just forget that altogether.

    It’s too bad that there are so many tools like Steever in the world. As we used to say back in my dinosaur HS days, if he had a brain, he’d be dangerous.

    • jz78817

      I don’t think a day goes by without phone calls and e-mails sent to try to get Jack fired.

      I dunno, I thought Bark’s review of the Compatriot was amusing. it’s not that it’s a cheap car, it’s that it is literally ten years old now and has barely been changed in that time. It sells on price (and the Jeep name) alone. It’s not a bad car; I briefly considered buying one (stick shift) back in ’09.

  12. David Blumgart

    “Let’s take a look.”

    No, let’s not. In the words of Christopher Moltisanti, “How can i express how little I give a fuck?”

  13. -Nate

    Hm ;
    I liked this article , it made me smile .
    I just wore out the original Russian rear tire on my Ural Solo sT , it looked pretty old tech so I bought a Michelin Pilot Active to replace it , I hope this will be an O.K. tire , I’m no Racer (God knows) but that old stock tire held well enough to drag the mufflers at will and keep up with the faster guys I ride with…
    My Son (are competitive Racer I never bother trying to keep up with) suggested it .
    Agreed , saying one thing then being to cowardly to back it up , is ignorant , possibly stupid .
    I too laughed at Mark’s Jeep article , I know bupkis about modern Jeeps and no longer drive in snow so who cares ? those parking lots bumps can be nasty , as he mentioned , I’ve spilled my giant Slurpee over one , never stopped to consider 4X4 to prevent that , I couldn’t afford a new Jeep anyway =8-) .

  14. Bruce Steever

    Man, you really don’t give up, do you?

    Keep going with the slander, but here’s the deal: I said some stupid shit, and i moved on. You also said equally stupid shit (particularly the comments about my wife, very classy) and then posted this blog… to what, exactly? Get revenge on me? How, exactly?

    If this is still some sort of sick contest, one of us is still losing points for bad behavior.

    Good luck in life, you’ll need it.

    Sincerely, Bruce Steever


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