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 Maximum Control - wBW Book Review

Maximum Control

Maximum Control: Mastering Your Heavyweight Bike
by Pat Hahn
Soft Cover: 159 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 8.25 x 10.625
Publisher: Motorbooks (Quayside Publishing), U.S.A.
Publication Date: January 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7603-3674-8
List price: $24.99
Available From: Amazon.com ($16.49)

wBW Book Review by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com

Summary
Well written with clear and precise focus; excellent photographs demonstrating the tips; lessons with diagrams and more. One of the best motorcycle riding skills books I've read in a long time.

Pat Hahn is well known to webBikeWorld readers as the author of Ride Hard Ride Smart (review) and How to Ride a Motorcycle (review).

Now he's back with this brand-new 2010 book entitled Maximum Control: Mastering Your Heavyweight Bike.

Pat Hahn has been an MSF riding instructor (or "coach", as they're now called) in the famed Minnesota system and he's also involved with the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center, one of (if not the) best programs of its type in the U.S.

He's also involved in many other aspects of motorcycling sport, as are the co-authors of this book, Steve Guderian (retired motor officer and motorcycle safety researcher) and Mark Brown (retired North Carolina State Highway Patrol and Training Coordinator for their Special Operations Motor Unit).

It seems like forever since a good new motorcycle riding skills book has come along; at least one that isn't a re-hash of the rest, with the stock photos that lazy editors use to save time and money.

But these three authors (and several others who contributed to the book) have combined forces to put together what I think is a tour de force motorcycle riding skills book that I honestly think ranks right up there with the best available.

The layout of the book is excellent, making it very easy to read while perfectly illustrating the story. It has very high quality photos that precisely illustrate the various tips, tricks, and lessons that these highly skilled and experienced motorcycle trainers are describing.

That's right -- on top of everything else, the book has many different "Riding Drills" in each chapter that you can practice (safely, of course) to improve your skills. Some of the drills look like slightly disguised exercises from police motorcycle training schools -- and that's a good thing.

But there's more than just exercises and teaching; the authors bring a little bit of their own personal experiences and tips into every section of the book, with information on motorcycles, clothing and safety equipment, bike setup and more.

It has all been pulled together very nicely and it's apparent to me that someone with a lot of experience at doing this (i.e., Mr. Hahn) has really taken the time to do the precise editing that is necessary to put over this much information and data in a way that is both entertaining and useful.

Having been a professional photographer myself, I know that it must have taken ages to plan, coordinate and execute the many different photos that are used in the book to illustrate the concepts. Quite frankly, I'm amazed they were able to pull this off, knowing what it takes to do it right.

Many of the photos were apparently taken in damp, rainy, fall weather Minnesota conditions, which actually both help smooth the contrast but also add a subtle message to the concept of safe riding. After all, if these riders can pull it off in the wet on big, heavy Gold Wings, then we should be able to do equally well in the dry on our tiny Monsters.

Now don't let the "Mastering Your Heavyweight Bike" part of the title throw you. Every single tip, trick and lesson in this book is just as valid for a Nighthawk as it is for that Gold Wing. I'll guess that the "Heavyweight" part comes from the book's focus on the techniques necessary to build confidence rather than on-road riding strategies.

As such, Maximum Control: Mastering Your Heavyweight Bike is a good supplement to David Hough's classic Proficient Motorcycling (review) and vice-versa.

Conclusion
Highly recommended for every motorcyclist as a new "modern classic" that provides the latest thinking on riding techniques and skills, gleaned from decades of experience in teaching motorcyclists and motorcycle police how to ride and survive with confidence.

This book is available from Amazon.com ($16.49)

Review Date: March 2010

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From "B.L." (7/10):  "I bought "Maximum Control" based on your recommendation. I ride a 1979 Honda CB750K, with a Windjammer, Lowers, Trunk, Saddlebags, and I ride two-up 90%+. My wife and I tour on this bike.

While I recently upgraded the front, and rear, suspension, it still handles like it is much bigger, and heavier than it is (~530 lbs.). I have only applied the most basic techniques from the book, chiefly leading with the rear brake, in all braking situations, and riding the rear brake, while slipping the clutch, to stabilize the bike at slow speeds. I have not yet, practiced any of the drills in a parking lot.

The difference these simple, basic techniques have made, is amazing. I have executed U-turns on the street, riding two-up, at slow speeds, slipping the clutch, and riding the rear brake... I have never been able to do this prior to reading the book!  I used to either duck-walk, back-and-forth, or have my wife get off, while I worked like a dog to maneuver my beastly, but much loved, ride.

The times I have done these types of maneuvers have been surprisingly frequent of late. I have saved so much time, effort, and embarrassment by using these techniques!  My confidence has increased slowly, but my faith in the techniques is quite high.

I have expanded things a bit by leading with my rear brake at all times. By doing this, I avoid the front forks diving and destabilizing the bike. The improvement in my level of control of the bike is considerable.

I would recommend this book to any bike rider, no matter the size of the bike. Even if you only apply the most basic techniques, as I have, it is worth the price of the book. The techniques are solid, the concepts work. It is one of the best investments I have ever made in my riding. Thank you for the review, and your recommendation!"

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