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The Motorcycle Book

The Motorcycle Book: Everything You Need to Know About Owning, Enjoying and Maintaining Your Bike

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by: Alan Seeley
Hardcover: 160 pages, Color.
Dimensions (in inches): 10.6 x 8.4 x 0.6
Publisher: Haynes Publishing; 2nd edition (September 2006)
ISBN: 1844253422
List price: $29.95

Well written with clear and precise focus; excellent photographs demonstrating the tips; lessons with diagrams and more.

It’s early spring here in Northwestern Montana, but it may as well be winter.

Mother Nature teases us with a day or two in the 50s (10 Celsius) then makes it snow the next day.

Temperatures have been hovering in the 40s (4 Celsius) — too cold for me to ride unless I get cold-weather gear or more body fat.

So while I sit in my home office and gaze at the luring blue skies, I continue to look for cold-weather gear. In the meantime, it’ll be at least another month before we hit consistently nice weather.

And if you know me by now, when I can’t be riding my motorcycle, I like to be learning more about the sport and absorbing everything I can.

Still wanting to learn more about motorcycles — and specifically about their engines — I picked up a copy of The Motorcycle Book: Everything You Need to Know About Owning, Enjoying and Maintaining Your Bike. That’s a title that promises a lot — everything you need to know?

Let’s break it down; there are four parts to the book:  “Which Motorcycle?”, “Getting on the Road”, “Know Your Motorcycle”, and “Looking after Your Motorcycle”.

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Somewhat paradoxically, The Motorcycle Book doesn’t cover every single detail about all things related to motorcycles. I think to do that would require a book the size of an unabridged dictionary and it would probably weigh fifteen pounds. For instance, riding techniques are not discussed, but there are plenty of other books on that subject.

However, The Motorcycle Book is fairly comprehensive and I learned a lot of new concepts. Except for riding skills, The Motorcycle Book does a great job of covering everything else. The book is printed and bound in England and therefore some of the material relates to UK requirements.

The first part, “Which Motorcycle?” discusses motorcycle types, from Sportbikes to Retros to Tourers to Supermotos to Mopeds and everything in between. There is even a section on learner bikes; for the UK, these are 125cc.

Part two, “Getting on the Road,” ranges from rider tests (requirements in the UK) and track days to gear, insurance, security, luggage, and gadgets.

Part three, “Know Your Motorcycle,” is the reason I decided to buy the book. This section covers all of the motorcycle’s parts, such as tires, engines types and layouts, transmissions, carburetors, fuel-injection, exhaust systems, frame types and more.

I wanted to know even more about engines, and this book does a great job illustrating engine types and layouts and various parts of the motorcycle. Color photos and diagrams give the reader a good sense of how things operate.

Some of the diagrams could have used more labeling, and I had to guess on some of the parts, while other diagrams labeled more components but didn’t tell what they did. However, these are nitpicks and for the majority of the illustrations, I was able to follow and understand what was being taught.

Part four, “Looking After Your Motorcycle,” discusses tools and maintenance for brakes, cables, chains, bearings, electrical, cooling systems, and oil and filter changes among other things like storage. There is also a handy section on trouble-shooting.

For those new to the sport, the first two sections on different motorcycles and gear will be very helpful. If a motorcycle enthusiast wants more information on the workings of a motorcycle, the second two sections cover more than just the basics.

For example, the chapter on transmissions not only mentions what a clutch does but it also describes how it works and has a cross-section diagram of a clutch housing and components.

After finishing The Motorcycle Book, I have a better comprehension of motorcycle engines and parts, how they work, and how to maintain them. Full color photos on every page make the book even more enjoyable.

The Motorcycle Book: Everything You Need to Know About Owning, Enjoying and Maintaining Your Bike teaches just that. It covers the basics and even goes into lots of detail on important points, such as engines and maintenance.

Note that the book is not meant to be an end-all on maintenance, and suggests referring to a repair manual on your motorcycle for specifics.

Of course, when it comes to motorcycling there is always more to learn, and The Motorcycle Book is a great reference to have for both newbies and seasoned riders alike.

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Review Date: April 2010

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