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 Motorcycle Suspension Bible - wBW Book Review

Motorcycle Suspension Bible

Race Tech's Motorcycle Suspension Bible
by Paul Thede and Lee Parks
Soft Cover: 254 pages
Dimensions (inches): 8.0 x 10.0
Publisher: Motorbooks (Quayside Publishing), U.S.A.
Publication Date: June 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7603-3140-8
List price: $34.99
Available From Amazon.com ($23.09)

wBW Book Review by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com

Summary
Highly detailed technical discussion about motorcycle suspension systems, components and operation with superb illustrations and photographs.

Probably way more information than is needed by the average motorcycle owner but would be very useful for a motorcycle mechanic.

This book could easily be used for a Master's degree course on the subject. One thing's for sure: it is absolutely the "Bible" of motorcycle suspension, no doubt about it.

Motorbooks has been developing a series of highly detailed, well researched and superbly illustrated books related to motorcycles and motorcycle technology. The books are being released as part of their Motorbooks Workshop series and also as general motorcycle-related volumes.

Examples of these publishing efforts include Motorbooks Workshop volumes such as Modern Motorcycle Technology (review) by Massimo Clarke which was reviewed recently on webBikeworld.  Other topics in the general motorcycle-related series include books such as Maximum Control (review) by Pat Hahn, also reviewed recently.

Motorbooks is apparently putting a lot of time, effort and money into motorcycle topics, and they're using some of the most well-respected authors and illustrators available. And not to forget -- let's give credit also to the editing and production staff, all of whom make the difference.

So the bar has been raised, as anyone who has been reading motorcycle-related books through the years will tell you. In the past, a publishing firm would have rarely made this kind of effort solely for the motorcycle market.

We have a pretty big collection of motorcycle books in the webBikeWorld library, and many of the older books have obviously been slapped together at minimal cost, simply to exploit a market. No comparison to what we've seen recently, with books like Race Tech's Suspension Bible being the latest example.

There's more than a bit of irony here when you think about it. We're in the year 2010, with the Internet as the dominant and primary source of information for just about everything, and a publishing firm decides to pull out all the stops for their printed editions. Who'd a thunk it possible?

Just about any sportbike, track day and race bike owner knows the Race Tech name. Their motorcycle suspension seminars, workshops, products and services are offered all over the world. If it's about suspensions -- including ATVs, snowmobiles or even cars  -- Race Tech seems to be the go-to place.

Paul Thede, Race Tech's owner, is also the chief engineer, and he's considered to be the "guru" of motorcycle suspension. Thede got together with Lee Parks, a name familiar to webBikeWorlders as the author of the book Total Control (review) and the developer of an offshoot project from the book, the Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic (attended and reviewed on webBikeWorld by the Editor).

Parks also runs Lee Parks Design, which offers motorcycle gloves like the DeerTours (review) and motorcycle apparel.

Sample pages from Race Tech's Motorcycle Suspension Bible.  Part 1 (L) and Part 2 (R).
Sample pages from Race Tech's Motorcycle Suspension Bible. Part 1 (L) and Part 2 (R).
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The Motorcycle Suspension Bible is an extraordinarily detailed and superbly illustrated book that truly is the "Bible" of motorcycle suspension.

I'm sure there is way more technical information in this book than the vast majority of motorcycle owners will need, but it's nice to know it's all there. Anyone with an interesting in improving a motorcycle's suspension or learning more about how this mysterious part of the bike really works will find everything they ever want to know -- and more.

The book is basically divided into two parts; the first part, Chapters 1-5, covers the basics of motorcycle suspension and all its parts. "Basics" is not the proper word for this section at all -- this is a very detailed, sometimes highly technical description of motorcycle suspension components and the forces that act on them.

This section is also positively filled with graphs and illustrations that, while nicely executed, can be somewhat overwhelming and will take some study to understand in depth.

The second half of the book, Chapters 6-8, starts with a suspension troubleshooting guide, followed up by a quick look at the specialized suspension tools that might be needed for a complete overhaul. It then gets into a very detailed photographic essay or guide to disassembling and rebuilding a motorcycle suspension, front and rear. I skimmed through this section, which consists of 3-4 photos per page with limited text in captions only.

The average owner will probably never get as far as breaking down and completely rebuilding a suspension, but again, it's nice to know the information is available and I think this section (and the first) will be very useful for motorcycle shop mechanics.

In fact, I'd say that the book will be much more useful for experienced mechanics and could probably be used as a textbook to train staff on the ins and outs (or should we say "ups and downs") of motorcycle suspension intricacies.

Conclusion
Race Tech's Motorcycle Suspension Bible is a tour de force on this topic. As far as I can tell, it covers everything you'd ever want to know about motorcycle suspension theory, design, parts and rebuilding. It of course focuses on Race Tech products and services, but the information is generic to the subject.

My only hesitancy in fully recommending the book to all motorcycle owners is the amount of detail, which just seems beyond what the average motorcycle owner would need. Perhaps a "Bible Light" version would also be a good idea for the non-technical owner?

But anyone with a curiosity about how a motorcycle suspension works or for serious streetbike tuners, track day participants and, of course, motorcycle racers, there is nothing else like Race Tech's Motorcycle Suspension Bible.

Buy It: From Amazon.com ($23.09)

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