The Manchurian blog

Dailies -



So far as conspiracy theories go, HFL collaborating with Icon and CCW to push a pro-Chinese agenda to American consumers is a solid one. Not only does it adequately capture all three company’s intelligence and ambition, but also our capacity for evil. We just wish we’d thought of it ourselves instead of leaving it to “NotNecessarilyWrong” and the other tinfoil hat aficionados over at Reddit. Still, it makes for a good read, check it out here.


    that ‘.’ for the read about it link was a little hard to find :)

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      As of 1210p EDT, the link text is fixed, but now the link is broken. The broken link looks like it’s a relative link instead of an absolute link.

      For all y’all readers who are too lazy to edit the URL field in your browser, here’s the correct link:

      Wes, feel free to delete this comment once the link is fixed.

      • Wes Siler

        Should be all fixed now, sorry about that, doing 10 things at once.

  • the_doctor

    Can I get this picture as a sticker, please?

    • jp182

      me too, i think it would be something nice for people who do the long term subscription

  • Gene

    FYI, I got a survey from the AMA… one of the questions was “which magazines do you read?” and one of the options, along with Motorcyclist and the rest of the usual suspects was HFL. Sure shocked the coffee out of me.

    • Grant Ray

      GTFO. Pictures or it didn’t happen.

  • Peter88

    Keep up the good work Mr.Siler…charismatic?

    • Wes Siler

      I prefer incredibly awkward and nerdy, but whatever works.

      • Jesse

        One of us, one of us.

  • BMW11GS

    I knew it! When does world domination start?

  • aziai79

    I get responding to defend journalistic integrity, but anyone with half a brain would realize about a quarter of the way through this guy’s post that his shit is all based on conjecture. You guys rip enough products provided to you free of charge that I’m pretty sure no one questions your journalistic integrity. Keep up the good work and fuck the naysayers.

    Now that that’s over, any comrades on the website wanna go riding up the banks of the Yangtze? Hit me up on my imitation iPhone if you’re down.

    • Danielsohn

      The product maker – product reviewer relationship is always a sketchy one and reviews should alway be viewed with a critical eye. Seems to me HFL is pretty transparent about their arangement: they get free shit, and if it makes the grade they write about it. If not they won’t waste the pixels.

      If instead they outright trash one maker’s product, that company won’t be sending any more samples and there is no chance of an honest review in the future. I don’t’ see HD offering any demos this way any time soon and don’t expect Victory to either.

      • stempere

        The only real problem with getting free stuff to review it VS buying it is the chance that the manufacturer would provide a carefully chosen sample (helmet weight variations are a good example) or even a modified one (or two) that is nowhere near what the final product will be.

        • Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

          if only the people who sent the stuff out were that on top of things. 90% of the time they send the wrong thing or the wrong size or with the wrong graphics and we have to exchange it. i wont name any names, but one of the recent batches we got took three trips to get it all right.

    • DavidMG

      “Now that that’s over, any comrades on the website wanna go riding up the banks of the Yangtze? Hit me up on my imitation iPhone if you’re down.”

      I LOLed

  • Your_Mom

    Tinfoil hat indeed. We have ‘truthers,’ ‘birthers,’ and now ‘NotNecessarilyWrongers.’ Is there any relationship to Michele Bachmann? If not, there should be – it would make more sense.

  • Racetrack Style

    I didn’t know CCW had that depth of pockets to buy favors.

  • NoVeloNoVin

    “companies’” Wes, not “company’s”, “company’s” being the singular possessive. Also, if I had a nickel for every time you’ve written a sentence beginning “There’s . . . ” (correctly a contraction of “There is . . . “) followed by a plural predicate, I could come close to paying for my subscription renewal. Remember: real journalists don’t proofread with the spellchecker!

    • nick2ny

      Remember: If the introductory phrase preceding the colon is very brief and the clause following the colon represents the real business of the sentence, begin the clause after the colon with a capital letter.

      Note: I must say that responses to critiques that merely critique the critiquer drive me bananas, so don’t take this too seriously.

  • damien

    damn commies.

  • Danielsohn

    I always wondered why not add someone to the staff who enjoys (or at least tolerates) the laid back impracticality of a cruiser? I guess that question might answer itself…

    • nick2ny

      I dig riding this Victory (then again, I can find something to love in any motorcycle).

    • Kevin

      Agreed. If you like cruisers, you want someone reviewing cruisers that likes them.

      Disclaimer: I do not like cruisers.

    • ike6116

      Wes has a penchant for reversing himself, I think someone could actually make a decent cruiser but nobody does.

      Closest thing probably the retro Honda shadow?

      • Wes Siler

        Closest thing is the triumph bonneville.

        • ike6116

          Totally not a vtwin brah

          • Jesse

            Triumph Scrambler. Still not a v-twin, but feels great, sounds money with the Arrow exhaust.

            • Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

              wes hates arrow exhaust on triumph’s

              • Wes Siler

                I just hate bikes that you can hear 30 miles away. Wait, was that you starting the Bonnie just now?

                • Devin

                  Worlds most agile cruiser. I actually googled lean angles and such because I was afraid coming from an EX500 that I would scrape pipe in corners on the Bonnie.

        • damien

          Yeah, any “modern classic” triumph with a nice exhaust, and bob’s your uncle.

        • Gavin

          Any thoughts on the Thunderbird? Last review I read said it handled well for a cruiser. As a fat Midwesterner who comutes I need something that can move a bit faster than my current shadow but is comfy while I sit and wait in traffic on the way home.

          • Wes Siler

            “for a cruiser”

            Get a Bonnie.

        • coredump

          Hyosung GV650?

        • Campisi

          CCW Heist?


  • Wolfgang Romero

    Freedom of speech it’s a beautifull thing, I respect that guys opinion but I think he needs to chill out. What I got from the CCW episode was that there is an affordable option out there for us the non rich crowd that actually looks good And rides well, I really don’t care much where they came from and they produce jobs too, maybe not thousands but better that none.

    • Holden and Annette

      Yeah. And you know, here’s the thing: Millions of Americans might enjoy riding motorcycles if they could buy a good-looking, inexpensive, low-displacement, nimble bike with good brakes. Start out with a pretty, 250cc thumper and move up. It’s a concept that can save the motorcycle industry.

      Scott at CCW realizes that. HFL staff agrees.

      • Dani Peral

        I agree too. In Europe you are restricted to 34hp your first 2 years of license…thats the power of a good 250…but thanks to the lack of good 250 bikes to choose from, everyone chooses a 600+cc limited to 34cv.

  • T Diver

    You guys are journalists? I would use free crap too. I think I read their crap because it’s entertaining. Not just for product reviews. What’s with all the hate with free gear? That’s America. Anyone who hates free gear probably hates America. Maybe you are a the real commie “NotNecessarilyWrong”!! I’ll bet you hate puppies too.

  • slowtire

    He’s used to life in the fast lane, travels all over the world, already risks his life racing at over 300km/h and seems to be handy with a gun,”

    Moto Hari

  • Matt


    From your excellent response: “Our articles about gear tend to be positive because I simply won’t wear (and therefor won’t write about) the stuff I don’t like.”

    How about an article about what gear didn’t make the full-review cut, and why?

    • Wes Siler

      Eh, most things out there that we don’t feature.

      • stempere

        A full list would be boring, but an article on the worst gear you’ve tested could be entertaining, although it could damage your already less than perfect relationship with manufacturers, so yeah maybe not…

    • Mark D [EX500]

      Also: if you ever find yourselves with a sz 40/50 one-piece leather track suit that “doesn’t make the cut”, uh…let me know.

      • Wes Siler

        Gave exactly that away to a friend last night. I left my house with a very large grin on his face.

        • Mark D [EX500]

          Ha, you guys are the Robin Hoods of gear.

          • Matt

            Robin hooding is overrated. Make these people write reviews in exchange for the free stuff!

            Would be interesting to compare Wes’s reasons for giving it away to the recipient’s reasons for why it works for him.

            I could just imagine the “Review it and it’s yours!” bin at HFL HQ. I’d stop by and rummage through it next time I’m in LA!

            • Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

              Wes: “i just got a better one made of kangaroo hide/that inflates when i crash”

              Friend: “i dont have one at all”

              • BMW11GS

                haha! Classic

              • Wes Siler

                Says the guy with a brand new suit, gloves and boots.

                • Jesse

                  Last set wasn’t looking so hot after the date with the pole.

  • Brammofan

    Has “notnecessarilywrong” come out on HFL? He says he’s a subscriber. Come on, dude. Wes had the balls to show up in your arena. Come on here and talk about how sorry you are.*

    *Unless, of course, “notnecessarilywrong” is just another reddit user name that Wes is using in order to gin up article ideas. There’s your real ‘tinfoil hat.’

    • Campisi

      I dunno, man, the Federal Reserve is involved in this somehow…

  • isambard

    Mostly he was getting all worked up over nothing. But the Suzuki truck puff WAS super puffy. Just sayin’

  • Frosty_spl

    I like all the people bashing your reviews, when they haven’t ridden the bikes, worn the gear, or driven the Suzuki truck themselves.

    • isambard

      I’m not saying the Suzuki is a bad truck. I’m saying the plug Wes gave it looked like a puff, and the explanation he gave on reddit didn’t really change my mind on that front.

      I’m sure it’s a pretty tricky line he has to tread to get access to gear while still being true to himself and his readers and I think he does a good job most of the time. Sometimes he seems to bend over backwards to find something nice to say about a product (the gsxr1000 review, for example) but any regular reader would spot that and read between the lines, I think. I’m only pointing out the truck thing because it struck a bum note with me, too.

      For all the hyperbole in this conspiracy theorist’s post on reddit there is a germ of truth in what he’s saying. The more successful Wes and HFL get, the greater the pressure will be on them to go along to get along. I think it’s a mark of respect for Wes and HFL that folks hold him to a higher standard and I hope they continue to do so.

      • Wes Siler

        Eh, I really don’t find it hard to maintain integrity. I’m kind of a dick, which helps.

        Really don’t understand people’s issue with the Suzuki truck, it’s legitimately on the short list for a purchase this summer.

        • isambard

          Maybe it’s just the awkward way it was cut into that episode. It looked like a “here’s a word from our sponsor” moment, even it wasn’t one.

          I get that being a dick is a necessary part of your shtick, and that there’s no other way to realistically review stuff other than to accept freebies, but there’s a reason that businesses hire PR and cook you tacos and lend you a truck and it isn’t just to make your job easier. The effects are insidious, even on a journalist with integrity like yourself: one clumsily handled moment can make you look like a shill.

          FWIW I recently bought a used low-mileage Ford Ranger with the 7 foot bed to haul my bike. It’s obviously not as nice as that rebadged Nissan, but it is the only compact truck that can haul a bike with the tailgate up and it cost me under 10k – worth considering if cost is an issue.

          • Tony T.

            Those 7′ beds are a commercial option and the used ones I’ve seen have been very high mileage. Good thing they run for-fucking-ever (just get the injectors replaced or cleaned first).

          • Wes Siler

            Yeah, trying to find a 7-foot bed in a compact truck is fucking hard. I’m also looking at the new EcoBoost F-150. I just can’t stomach getting 12mpg on the highway…

            • isambard

              It took me a while to find one near Chicago, but they are out there. Mine had 36,000 miles on it. A couple of months ago there were still a handful of brand new ones on dealer lots in Georgia and Florida. Dunno if they still have them, but they seemed willing to sell to the general public.

            • Campisi

              Chevy Silverado work trucks can be had with longer beds on the cheap, and the smaller engines available to them get surprising mileage. My friend and his father run a regional roofing supply business with a few 4.7-litre Silverados that actually manage around 23 mpg on the highway.

              They’re not as nice or technologically developed as an EcoBoost, but they’re reliable, cheap to buy, and economical to run.

            • parkwood60

              My Chevy Colorado doesn’t have a 7ft bed, but it has a half way notch on the tailgate that allows me to haul bikes no problem. I honestly don’t know why all truck don’t have it. Its just another hole in the straps that hold the tailgate in the down position.

  • Robert

    All I can say is that every month, for the last 8, I have been thinking about dropping my subscription. It is starting to get like, y’all are just filling space.


    • Kevin

      Disagree. There’s goodies you get here you don’t get anywhere else.

      $1.99/month. Seriously. Everybody who likes motorcycles will get a lot of value out of that.

    • Wes Siler

      We’ve been really, really busy working on a project that’s taking a little longer than we’d intended. Your patience will pay off, thanks for bearing with us.

  • je

    If you review the 1190rs and it doesn’t make the cut, please consider the space between my legs as a owner.

    • noone1569

      I’ll gladly fight you to the death for it.

  • longtravel

    Just read through all the important parts of the reddit post and damn it was nice reading what more or less amounts to a comments section and not losing IQ points. This gives me just a tiny glimmer of hope for the internet.

    • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

      I was pleasantly surprised as well. Is there a pay wall on Reddit that I don’t know about?

      • Gavin

        no, /motorcycles is a little better than the rest though…

        • Frosty_spl

          Motorcyclists are usually not hermit nerd types who can only talk trash through a keyboard.

  • KR Tong

    That guy just doesn’t understand the global infrastructure. America sells technology. China sells labor. We build labs. They build factories. We recruit scientists. They don’t recruit anyone because Americans would never move to another country for factory labor; Even if they’re on welfare they’re doing better than the Chinese.

    Factories are like cattle ranches. They’ve been struggling in America since day one.

    • randry

      I’ve been to China and seen it first hand. It’s hard for anyone to compete with 2 dollar an hour labor (most work for less). The company I work for has most of it’s eggs in that basket and I have to deal with the lack of quality and hand holding everyday. Patent infringement is rampant there. We have moxie, something they lack. We will always be ripped off. Things will even out someday, but not in my lifetime. That being said, I can’t blame CCW for what they are doing, they have a challenge ahead though with quality control and shipping logistics. Gotta do what you gotta do. Good Luck.

  • DavidMG

    That was actually a very enjoyable read in no small part because of the great reply.

    God, I’m such an HFL fanboy. I “get” what you guys are doing, I feel like we’re definitely on the same page.

    • mugget

      Yep, great reply from Wes. I was getting all ready to fire back a snarky smart-arse comment of my own, but no need after reading Wes comment.

  • scottydigital
    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]


      I don’t get it.

      Nice photos though.

      • pplassm

        “Jason just wanted to show everyone what Hell for Leather used the money we bribed them with to write a good review for us was used for. See our bribe money went to a good cause, public art!”


    • zipp4

      Scott, who does your design work?

      You aren’t looking to expand the team… are you?

  • Denzel

    I’m an HFL junkie…but Wes, I’ve always thought you should own a bike… on principle…

  • jason

    ABout Scott and CCW: In the Northeast small companies have been screaming for years about the neglect of american manufacturing and the indifference of the government to the death of it. Just go on I95 through Bridgeport, CT and you pass MILES of vacant, abandoned factories. Every attempt to put startups in these empty buildings has been killed by government idiocy. I can understand Scott’s frustration: as a craftsman myself, my best market is overseas. the USA just does not appreciate it. Good work CCW: persevere !!

    • randry

      The main reason we will NEVER be on fair ground is this nation is too sue happy, everyone wants something for nothing.

      • JVictor75

        AND their chicks for free!

        • Jesse

          *guitar solo*

  • Alec

    So here is my slightly off topic question for you guys: what are peoples OTHER favorite motorcycle sources? I love my HFL subscription, but sometimes it’s just not enough moto/day for me. Thoughts, suggestions?

    • Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

      not NEARLY enough. i’ve looked and there really isnt anything else to get me through the slow days at work.

    • aziai79

      I have the same problem. Between the one, maybe two, updates per day on HFL and the once every other day update on BikeEXIF, not nearly enough motorcycle-related material online to keep me sated.

      • JVictor75

        Well, I’m not personally sated with all the auto/moto specific content I partake of. My SysAdmin, however…

    • Eric

      The kneeslider. “moto news for positive people” is very good. It wont fill the day but it’ll fill a HFL gap.

      • mugget

        +1 for Kneeslider.

        Very, very different articles to HFL, but always good for a read when you’ve caught up on the latest content here…

        • Sean Smith

          +2 Best place I’ve found to geek out.

          • rohorn

            Some novel content (i.e., articles based on links to older material provided by readers) there. But place has become little more than a hit generating site for truly stupid and smug hecklers (“Todd”, “GuitarSlinger”, “Klaus”, “Dolf “, et. al.).

            (Looks around to see if my post here will be deleted by Todd the Moderator…)

            Wouldn’t want any project of mine there – anymore.

    • Pete

      Motowise has some good stuff too

    • Gavin

  • mugget

    Hahaha…. this is classic.

    Well, I just wanted to wish you all the best on your new pro-Chinese secret agenda.

  • JMS


    Thank you for being awesome.

  • Keith

    All of this chat about “pay to review” products and where stuff is manufactured pales in comparison to the bull shit and hype about “green” products.
    EcoBoost F-150 ?!?!?!
    Give me a fucking break!(sorry…just had to say it…)
    Anyway, keep up the good work Wes (et al) and don’t take it personally that I view ALL product reviews with a critical eye.
    As for Made in China, get over it folks.
    Made in USA has looooong passed.
    “Live better…spend less” Sound familiar?

  • Ducky

    LOL, I still remember when a couple of posters and I suggested that you guys cover CCW (back in the day when Grant’s awesome photospreads were still a regular feature), I didn’t think it would create this kind of reddit-level controversy.