reading about motorcycles

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by 14fg, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. 14fg

    14fg Been here awhile

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    first off is the right place to put this question? sure seems it to me...

    im taking a plane ride to Europe in a couple weeks, need to burn up 12 hours of travel time each way. anybody have some books recommendations? I love leanings (peter egan) and just picked up leanings 2, problem is i'll probably burn through it fast... also bringing a book about the cannonball run.

    anybody have suggestions on some fun reading concerning fun stuff? bikes, cars, boats whatever... im not too into philosophy and other deep subjects, but open to any suggestions...
    #1
  2. KirkN

    KirkN Been here awhile

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    Neil Peart's Roadshow: Landscape with Drums - A Concert Tour by Motorcycle. Especially if you're a Rush fan (he's the drummer & lyricist, of course), or a fan of a behind-the-scenes look at a major modern rock band tour.
    #2
  3. catweasel67

    catweasel67 Honda XRV 750 RD04

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    There's always the classic Jupiter's Travels (Ted Simon) and I enjoy both the Long Way... books.

    At some point, someone's gonna suggest Zen - ignore them. It's one of the worst books I've ever read - self pretentious crap.

    Here's a list, not put together by me...

    http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/7369.Best_Motorcycle_Books

    Non-bike related, I can recommend both Cry Freedom and Long Walk to Freedom (great when read back to back). 7 Years in Tibet it another good read, as is Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything.
    #3
  4. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

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    If you like technical stuff, get Kevin Cameron's Classic Motorcycle Race Engines: Expert Technical Analysis of the World's Great Power Units
    I really enjoyed that book and learned a lot of useful stuff. He covers quite a bit of racing issues and how they were resolved. And unlike most other books, you can read the chapters in any order you want. I got the Ducati and Yamaha sections out of the way early, then went for Triumph, Norton, and on through to some manufacturers that I didn't know much about.

    It would be a great travel book.
    #4
  5. wyomingriviera

    wyomingriviera Ghostface Killah

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    Stealing Speed, by Mat Oxley
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  6. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    Big Sid's Vincati by Matthew Bieberman. While it is not really about motorcycles, it is about some part of what makes motorcycling an important part of most people's lives.
    If you want more of a technical look at Vincents then pick up a copy of Vincents with Big Sid.
    RIP Sid.
    #6
  7. cybrdyke

    cybrdyke In the Dark

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    The Vincent in the Barn, by Tom Cotter. A reader's digest-ish book of several stories about the discovery of forgotten bikes, some of them quite rare or famous. I think there might be a volume 2 as well.
    CD
    #7
  8. RedShark

    RedShark Long timer

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    One Man Caravan by Robert Edison Fulton - required reading, and clear proof that "adventure riding" isn't some recently-invented fad.
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  9. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale Lonely Rider

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  10. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale Lonely Rider

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    [​IMG]
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  11. vincatimatt

    vincatimatt Adventurer

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    Thanks for recommending my book Big Sid's Vincati. It is satisfying to know that people still keep it alive so to speak. I miss my dad, and am only know really coming to appreciate how special a soul he was.

    My new dream is a side car rig. Come Adventure Rider people. Help me find a rig in Louisville KY!

    Matthew Biberman
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  12. i_isntreal

    i_isntreal Been here awhile

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    I second this recommendation. I wish more books and mags went into that level of detail. It was a fantastic read.
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  13. Dirtbiker

    Dirtbiker Been here awhile

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    A good read for me, is a book called, UNEASY RIDER by Mike Carter. He's an outstanding writer, whose going through a mid life crises. Mike rides through some 16 countries, from his youth. I found his book enjoyable.
    #13
  14. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    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.
    #14
  15. r60man

    r60man Been here awhile

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    The Road Gets Better From Here, by Adrian Scott. A crazy Australian that decided to ride from Kamchatka in Russia, through China and Mongolia, essentially the Silk Road in reverse. Very interesting stuff and perspectives.

    Crazy part: He decides to go with little to no riding experience. Buys his bike ships it and goes from there.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1602641862
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  16. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

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    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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  17. Bogfarth

    Bogfarth Fridge Magnet Safety Tester

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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.
    #17
  18. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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  19. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    I'll admit I'm biased, but I think "Race Tech's Suspension Bible" has great pictures.

    :deal







    Full disclosure: I illustrated the book. :rofl

    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.
    #19
  20. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

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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. :lol3 But not so funny if you were part of the blast and allergic to opiates. :cry
    #20