My Plan To Make Motorcycle Journalism Not Suck Anymore

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Last month, Jalopnik managing editor Patrick George announced that Jalopnik had finally come to its senses, acknowledging motorcycles are awesome, and that Lanesplitter is going to try to be the motorcycle site the world needs. This month, some idiot convinced them that in order to achieve this goal they needed to hire me.

Patrick ranted about the current state of motorcycle journalism. Failed ex-racers chasing some semblance of bygone glory, the shootouts that provide little-to-no information beyond specs doled out by manufacturers, the obsession with bikes unrideable and unaffordable by the common man. It was all fueled by an earlier article written by a Bear Grylls wannabe, and the whole thing made waves as it affirmed the opinions of many and pissed off even more.

The thing is, for the most part, Patrick and Wes were right. Motorcycle magazines have been castrated by the business side of things which means the content has become too advertorial. These outlets are staffed by a lot of great guys and great riders, but none of them are challenged to make content that’s actually interesting or engaging — nor would they be allowed to if they tried. It’s an old boys’ club industry (though we’re seeing a lot of new staff at the OEM’s who are working to change that) that doesn’t take kindly to people who care about meaningful content, or serving readers over ad buys, or getting invited on the Cycleworld Trek.


That’s where I come in.

I’m coming to Lanesplitter and I’m bringing in-depth articles like this Monster review with me.

Who Am I?

My name is Sean, and I’m the new editor of Lanesplitter. Previously, I was the Lead Editor of RevZilla’s Common Tread. I worked at RideApart and Hell For Leather with Wes before that, and I contribute motorcycle and auto content to sites like WIRED, Maxim, and Supercompressor on the side. In my previous life, I taught middle school special education for eight years and, as the dog camping dude will love to point out, my abs have been on a billboard/magazine or two (yes, he added this link too).


I feel like the new kid in class, up in front asked to share a few things about myself so the group can get to know me, so here’s a bit of my work:

I’ve followed Lanesplitter for a while and think it’s in a unique place to become the site HFL should have been. My inbox filled when Patrick announced Lanesplitter 2.0 with people telling me I should jump over, but it wasn’t until about a week ago when they finally reached out that it became a reality. Jalopnik has the size and the balls to pull it off, and they’re smart enough to hire someone they trust and then give them the freedom to do what’s necessary.


Where Are We Headed?

Motorcycle stories should be interesting. Motorcycles are emotional products and our job is to inform you, entertain you, or excite you. As far as my bosses are concerned, my job is to grow the site’s audience, or at least not completely alienate people. As far as I’m concerned, my job is to serve you. To help find and show you the fun stuff, to teach you the stuff you don’t know, to help guide your motorcycle and gear purchases, and to motivate you to get out there and ride.


Love it or hate it, I love all things with a motor (almost) and I think most of you do, or should, too. This means I’m going to play with side-by-sides and personal watercraft and evangelize to you about their awesomeness (even if that partially goes against the second task given to me by my bosses). It also means I’m going to write love poems to the Suzuki DR-Z400 and try to find some redeeming quality in the Can-Am Spyder... yes, I know that will be hard.

The powers that be have told me the more I grow the site, the more free reign I will have to be awesome. I have a kick ass new troop of contributors you’re going to start seeing pop up, and I have one or two names in mind for a full time partner in crime at some point. Oh, and I’m going to make that Wes guy write more moto stuff, because he owes me six months of rent and I never call him out when he makes up some story to sound cool to his girlfriend.


So, bear with me as I get acquainted with you all and introduce yourself if you’ve been a part of other motorcycle communities I’ve contributed to. Know that I love you when I tell you to quit whining about not wanting to see ATV content every once in a while, and drop me a line when you have a tip or catch one of the million spelling/grammar mistakes I’m bound to make.


I’m so thankful and excited to be here and, much to my girlfriend’s chagrin, promise to work tirelessly to give you the site you deserve. Thanks to Patrick and Matt and the Jalopnik team for the chance, and thanks to you, the reader, for giving a shit.

This is going to be fun.

Sean MacDonald is the brand spanking new Editor of Lanesplitter. He likes long walks on the beach, searching for the best new burger spots to ride to, and his girlfriend says his snoring sounds like “braaaaap.” Follow him and his adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.