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BMW Motorcycles: The Evolution of Excellence - wBW Book Review

BMW Motorcycles - The Evolution of Excellence by Kevin Ash

by Kevin Ash
Hardcover: 174 pages 
Dimensions (in inches): 9.13 x 6.8 x 0.75
Publisher: Whitehorse Press; (September 2006)
ISBN: 1884313574
List Price: $29.95

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Here we are in 2006 and I have to wonder: is there still more to tell about the BMW motorcycle story?  Apparently so. This mini-coffee table book includes some high-quality photos of BMW racing motorcycles and early models that I haven't seen before.

The second half of the book covers BMW history right up to the present, including the C1 (did BMW stop making it too soon?  It was apparently just slightly ahead of its time) and the modern BMWs, including the new F800S and the F800ST and the K1200GT.

And don't forget the new R1200ST, whose styling proves to me that BMW -- who invented the sport-touring motorcycle category -- is no longer interested in this market. Yecch!

Anyway, the wide coffee table format provides a decent layout with text on one side and the photos on the other on most pages. There's really not all that much new with regards to BMW history; after all, any secret has long since been discovered, so rather than go into the excruciating detail that the BMW fan probably knows all about anyway, Ash instead kept the story to the basics in hopes of catching the new-to-BMW rider or maybe the owner who doesn't yet have one of the many books covering the marque.

The font is about size 14 with 1.5 line spacing, the favorite trick of the high-school student term paper writer. But on the plus side, the large typeface is so much easier to read for us over-the-hill BMW owners and I'd rather see bigger than smaller type any day.

I personally think that it's amazing that BMW motorcycles have hung on for as long as they have against the onslaught of the Japanese. So there must be something there that is still attractive that the competition can't quite grasp.

BMW's strategy of late is to try and attract new and relatively young riders into the fold with their new F800 and R1200S models. If you've ever been to a BMW club meeting or rally, you know what I mean -- it's surprising that this crowd is still walking without canes, much less riding motorcycles.

No offense folks - I'm one of them and I'm also probably in the top one-percentile of old BMW riders.

By the way, Kevin Ash is a very well known motorcycle journalist in the U.K. He's the motorcycle correspondent for the Daily Telegraph newspaper and writes a column in the weekly Motor Cycle News, which has to be the best selling motorcycle publication in the world.

BMW Motorcycles: The Evolution of Excellence is a pretty nice book and one of the first ones out that captures the entire story in a succinct manner and also brings the history right up to the present day. If you're new to the marque, this is the one to have.

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