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Old 04-29-2014, 11:29 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by ttpete View Post
Cameron also has "Top Dead Center" in 2 volumes. It's a collection of his Cycle World columns through the years. Great technical subjects by a good tuner and writer. It would be good for traveling because each column reads like a short story and is convenient if you have to put it down occasionally.
I have three of his other books but not the Top Dead Center articles, because I have those in a box cut out from each magazine that they originally appeared in. I need to sit down and reread them all one of these days.
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Old 04-29-2014, 12:30 PM   #17
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I definitely agree the Zen books were written with a combination of 70's acid and a dose of delirium.

Upper Half of the Motorcycle

Total Control

Sport Riding Techniques

Proficient Motorcycling

Twist of the Wrist 2

The above were all enjoyable, coming at the topic from different angles. I try reading two or more books on the same subject so I can see how more than one person "got it." Sometimes they agree, sometimes the techniques are wildly different and I get to see several coins instead of just one or two sides.The only rub? Upper Half is rather dense stuff, so don't expect an easy read.
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:22 PM   #18
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How about Mondo Enduro? 40 countries in 405 days on small dirt bikes ridden by unprepared riders.
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Old 04-29-2014, 07:42 PM   #19
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I'll admit I'm biased, but I think "Race Tech's Suspension Bible" has great pictures.

Full disclosure: I illustrated the book.

All kidding aside, the theory section is very well written and extremely thorough. It manages to cover a technical subject without a lot of technical jargon and math.
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Old 04-29-2014, 08:54 PM   #20
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Former Cycle stalwart Phil Schilling did a book called The Motorcycle World which is chock full of fabulous pictures and is also a great read. Link is to the page on Amazon. Hard to describe the content but I suppose you could say that each chapter offers a selective history of some aspect of motorcycling, from the development of the US big twin through US dirt-track and Euro roadracing to the road-going superbike scene of the 70s.

Schilling IIRC developed the Ducati 750 SS that Cook Neilson famously campaigned. A downside of the book for air travel is its coffee-table format.

On the car front, a 1958 novel by Jobn Cleary titled The Green Helmet is a very entertaining read if you can get hold of a copy. Long out of print but again the Amazon link offers used copies, albeit rather pricey. Racing driver recovering from a big crash at Le Mans is offered a contract from an up-and-coming US tyre mogul to drive only the Mille Miglia and Le Mans - as he puts it, the race that killed his father and the race that nearly killed himself. While making up his mind he finds himself drawn to the tyre man's beautiful estranged daughter.

It is not literature but it does a great job of presenting the passion for going quick in a vehicle, and contrasting those who have it with those who don't. There is also an engaging and satisfyingly lengthy account of the protagonist's drive in the Mille Miglia - the 1000-mile race on closed public roads across Italy that was shut down after a 1957 crash killed five children watching at roadside.

I was also going to recommend the autobiography of former grand prix car driver (for Lotus) Innes Ireland, titled All Arms and Elbows. Again the link is to the Amazon page, where the price of a used copy is somewhat offputting (but not as offputting as the $430 tag on a remaining new copy). Another great read - rare quality in race driver autobiographies in my experience.

My favourite bit is Ireland's description of his big crash at Monaco in 1961. His Lotus had been fitted with a new gearbox that had a revised shift pattern, IIRC placing second gear where top had used to be. Just one of the hazards in those days. Ireland went to slot into top towards the exit of the Monaco tunnel but a bit of brain fade had him select second instead, with imaginably catastrophic results. I seem to recall his writing that he realised he had made the mistake as he was doing it, but too late to prevent himself from completing the change. I also seem to recall his reporting an onlooker's remark on how the car emerged from the tunnel: apparently it looked like a giant shotgun had gone off inside. But not so funny if you were part of the blast and allergic to opiates.
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:03 PM   #21
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"The upper Half of the Motorcycle" brings back memories.
I was on a trip down to the island of sicily with 2 friends. One of them had a copy of the book and on the ferry (about 12hour ferry ride) both of my mates where reading and discussing this book. i really didn´t care about it. two weeks later after the trip, they both where down, no injuries, but the bikes severely damaged.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:38 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Roadracer_Al View Post
I'll admit I'm biased, but I think "Race Tech's Suspension Bible" has great pictures.

Full disclosure: I illustrated the book.

All kidding aside, the theory section is very well written and extremely thorough. It manages to cover a technical subject without a lot of technical jargon and math.

Ha! Nice. I bought this for myself, for Christmas and am enjoying it thoroughly. The EXCELLENT pictures have really helped ;-)


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Old 04-30-2014, 01:20 PM   #23
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"Riding with Rilke" by Ted Bishop has been my favorite motorcycle travel read. Bishop rides a Ducati Monster from Alberta to Austin, Texas. He's a college professor doing research on Virginia Woolf but the book isn't pretentious at all. In fact, it starts out with sort of a flash forward of him crashing his girl friend's bike and nearly killing himself. He can laugh at himself and his descriptions of the landscape and people he meets are very well done.
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Old 04-30-2014, 05:56 PM   #24
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Another really good book if you have an interest in the early days of the sport is the Harley Davidson - Indian Wars by Alan Girdler. A really interesting read about the development of early motorcycles and how racing spurred them to innovate. Dominance traded back and forth very interesting stuff.

It also illustrates how the worst thing to happen to Harley was Indians folding in the mid-50's, at that point development, and innovation stopped for Harley.
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