RevZilla rides: A year of motorcycle reviews

Jobs are tough. Six days, 84 hours, 205 GB. Ten locations. Nine locations. (Thanks, officer!) Six crew members, four video editors, two completely different bikes.
And that’s just one lone work junket the ZLA Video crew took this year.

Let’s rewind for a sec. (Video joke, right?) Back in 2014, the RevZilla team was focused on making the most in-depth motorcycle gear videos possible (and we still do). All the while keeping our audience entertained as we came up with a crazy skit every month (thank God for Anthony as Apollo Creed). But the weird thing about production is that every time you finish one, you can’t stop thinking about the next big thing.

At the Friday night happy hour, “Did you see that killer Gromkhana video from Motorcyclist?” In the break room, “No, his vlogger name is Baron Von Grumble.” In the brainstorming session, “I can’t believe they did that. Icon and zombies. Yes, please.”

As much as we love watching, and discussing, the content that other folks in the industry are creating, talk is cheap. And at RevZilla, we’ve never shied away from taking a leap into the unknown. The result: We weren't just going to do gear reviews and schtick, any more. We were going to review motorcycles and do it the way we think it should be done.

For those of you who may not be familiar with video production work here’s the basic gist:

Step 1: Have an idea that you don’t know will work or not.

Step 2: Plan for weeks on end around numerous creative approaches and contingencies.

Step 3: Convince the top brass the juice is worth the squeeze.

Step 4: Dive into the unknown. And hope the world likes it.

Step 4 codicil, written by my good friend Murphy: What can go wrong will go wrong.

So, I asked our team to do this. Remember those statistics from the first paragraph? I actually asked for nine of those excursions this year. And I didn’t cut a single production assistant or editor a break. Regular RevZilla gear reviews had to keep rolling out on their normal schedule.

Of course, I also had to ask two guys to put themselves before the entire world to represent 180 proud folks as a new voice of authority. They brought no pedigree and no podiums. Hell, they’ve never even taken an acting class. Just a couple of guys who’ve each spent more than a decade wrenching, riding, breaking down and fixing. Who by some coincidence ended up in our corner. I guess that part isn’t that strange. If you sleep, breathe, and eat motorcycles, you’ll wind up at RevZilla. We’ll find you.

“You’re serious?”

“Do you know how much that takes to do?”

“How much time we’ll need?”

“I’m talking reading and re-reading the manual. At least a thousand miles per bike.”

I didn’t expect that response. But then again, we were asking for a RevZilla review.

Nine productions later: V-Rod, Thruxton, Street, Tiger, Scout, Gold Wing, S 1000 XR, 390 Duke and R 1200 RS. Blood, sweat and tears. No, seriously. There was a lot of that sh*t. Especially sweat. So much sweat.

How do you take a team of media industry professionals and a couple moto-junkies and make them see eye-to-eye on executing a highly scrutinized, choreographed and dangerous production? Show them what’s out there and ask, "Think you can do better?"

We’ve made mistakes. We’ve learned a lot. But most of all, we’ve heard you and seen the response.

It’s not stopping. Consider this the proof of concept. And for every OEM out there. Don’t get mad when we call you out. Don’t turn away when the audience says, “You’re right about that front brake.” Just up your game. We’ll notice when you put effort into a bike. We can tell when you’re trying to deliver a superior product. We want to tell people about the effort you’re putting in.

Advertorials are a conflict of interest. The public is watching. The public is smart. If you want glowing reviews, we can give them to you. Just stock your showrooms with first-rate motorcycles. It’s that easy.

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