The Quant family having lost their controlling interest in MAN Truck & Bus to VW, the dirty deed will have to be done by a gas guzzler tax eligible 7 series V-12, which probably gets worse mileage than a MAN bus.

Now in the sorta good old days the BMW Motor Cycle Owners of America published a nice monthly magazine about all things BMW motorcycle and put on a most excellent annual rally in late July. The local affiliate clubs put on smaller rallies, and MOA and the local clubs scheduled around each other so there’d be few conflicts. Pick up a copy of the “MOA News” or check out today and you’ll be assaulted by bright full color promotions for every overpriced unneeded accessory it’s possible to attach to a BMW motorcycle, and MOA’s own plethora of regional rallies and tours. Yup, MOA is competing with the very local clubs that built and comprise MOA! Now for awhile this was halfway tolerable, just go to the back of the “News” or click on the “calendar” tab and up would come a nice schedule and info on all the local rallies.

Tried that a couple times lately, no joy… The local rally schedule has been buried deep in the website, while MOA’s own rally offerings get front page billing. ‘Tis a shame, because many of the local BMW clubs are quite well run and offer excellent value per dollar in both membership dues and rally fees. Meanwhile, MOA struggles under the self inflicted weight of a staff of ten, most of whom seem to have a travel industry mindset. The membership is fleeing, only a few years back 100,000 members was a serious goal, and now MOA is down to only 30,000 or so left to pay the bills. MOA’s solution: Turn the screws even tighter, hide the local club “competition”, jack up the annual rally fee, and make the online forum a “members only” benefit!

Which says something of just how out of it MOA is… With 30,000 members and a couple thousand hits a day, they’re trying to compete with , a site that gets more daily unique visitors (40,000) than MOA has members, and it’s FREE! In fact, MOA and BMW Motorad would be wise to surf advrider a bit and note the demographics (young and diverse) and preferences (dual sports) and remodel their offerings appropriately. They might also notice where there former members and rally goers have gone too- It’s not unusual for someone to post a ride and get together on advrider, and have it snowball into a rally in all but name with no need whatsoever for MOA’s bloated “travel agency” bureaucracy!

Update: Hmmm… MOA all of a sudden redid the front page with an events ticker and the glossiness is gone! Wonder if the forum is unlocked again and the annual rally fee has been reduced? Maybe even free coffee? Fat chance!