The Essential Guide To Motorcycle Maintenance

the essential guide to motorcycle maintenance

Sorry to take so long to get around to writng another blog post but I am trying to keep on track with a theme here that follows my winter reading and it took me a while to finish this next book which I just finished last night. Like my previous book review this was again like bad medicine. Not so appetizing but if you want to get better you have to take the medicine. I want to get better at motorcycle maintenance so I read Mark Zimmerman’s book: The Essential Guide To Motorcycle Maintenance – Tips & Techniques To Keep Your Motorcycle In Top Condition. Click here for more info on the book. Mark does a great job of presenting a 250 page book that explains how a motorcycle works in addtion to the DIY sections that explain how to perform the maintenance. I feel like the DIY sections accounted for 1/3rd of the book tops.

There were pages and pages of the science behind the internal combustion engine and the theory of electricity and all kinds of stuff the author thought the newby mechanic should know in order to understand how to maintain and troubleshoot a motorcycle. The author does a great job of explaining all this however I feel mislead. I feel a little cheated! If I buy a book called Motorcycle Maintenance I want a book that is 100% about performing the maintenance, not 1/3rd! Honestly, I’m not even looking for a book on how to troubleshoot or repair a malfunctioning motorcycle. I’ll leave that to the professionals for now. I was just looking for the routine maintenance! I think this book needs a new title like: The Essential Guide To Understanding Motorcycles and Motorcycle Maintenance. Notice the “motorcycle maintenance” gets second billing. It’s a good book and I’m being harsh, but that is the impression left on me after my reading. For my money, I would like 167 more DIY pages please!

Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough

proficient motorcycling the ultimate guide to riding well

I completed reading David Hough’s recently updated and expanded Proficient Motorcycling. This is the 2nd edition of what is considered to be the “#1 book in motorcycle safety!” It’s close to 300 pages so it is not a short read like David Hough’s Street Strategies which I reviewed last April. This book included a free bonus CD with 144 pages from Motorcycle Consumer News which I did not take out of the sleeve… yet. Considering the 300 page text and the 144 bonus pages on CD you get a lot for your money with this purchase and although it took some time to arrive from it was worth the wait.

I’m a sick individual who worries too much and is obsessed. Obsessed with motorcycle books! I have probably read too many of them and I can’t stop myself! When it comes to riding safety books, after a certain amount of books the idea is going to be that either one new idea is worth reading the whole book or that reading similar information over and over will embed the knowledge through repetition. Don’t under estimate any one good idea or the power of repetition, it can mean the difference between a close call and the final call!

It might be because I have read a number of motorcycle safety books that getting through this fairly large book was difficult for me. It reminded me of my childhood. I was born a poor sick child with asthma (sort like Steve Martin in The Jerk who was born a poor black child). And yes quite a few people think I am a jerk too, but I digress. As a child I had to take the most horrible tasting medicine in liquid form called Quibron when I came down with an asthma attack. The stuff was the worst tasting medicine ever! I hated it! But I had to take it in order to live because breathing is paramont to survival. Forcing myself to digest the 276 pages of motorcycle wisdom contained in this text was like bad medicine: neccesary for survival! Get the book, digest the book, survive! Simple formula, just click here for more information on the book at my Amazon store.

Proficient Motorcycling – The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well has all the information you need so if you have to choose one motorcycle safety book of the ones I have read so far, this would be the one I would recommend. However if you are not a big reader the shorter Street Strategies covers most of the hazzards you need to know about in more of a Reader’s Digest style. It is much easier to swallow! I have complained that many books, such as Street Strategies, are too simple. Proficient Motorcycling is not. In this book David Hough goes into very scientific detail about the effects of rake, trail, center of mass, gravity, traction, contact patch and everything that affects motorcycle cornering. In fact he got so far into some of the scientific detail in the chapter on cornering that he lost me… so I applaud him for that! If you want the detailed information about steering a two wheeler, this book has it!

What I came across in this book that I have not found in other books is a twelve page section on group riding. I have been simultaneously reading a crime drama that has me sitting on the edge of my seat and commands my full attention. I’m glued to that book, but this book as I mentioned has been a challenge to complete… except for these twelve pages. This website is geared towards the group riding experience and I have been personally involved with group riding for the past several years. My feelings about safety in group riding is currently in a state of question and these twelve pages were important in validating my feelings about how group riding can be done safely and some of the pitfalls that come with group riding. As David points out in one of many of his colorful imaginary scenerios a bad Road Captain can change a day trip into a chaotic mess. Additionally the group riding experience sometimes attracts an idiot or two that can cause problems for good Road Captains and other riders. There were several issues in this section that I found important and will continue to dwell over during the winter months. I guess that’s a good thing if a book gives you something you can dwell on for awhile after you have reached the final page.

So there you have it! This book has the knowledge you need to survive the mean streets on a motorcycle and you should make yourself read it. It might be next winter but I promise to follow up with a book review on the sequal More Proficient Motorcycling – Mastering the Ride.

Motorcyclist’s Legal Handbook

m legal handbook Click the pic for more info

Most motorcycle books fall into a catagory filled with similar books but this book is in a catagory by itself. The Motorcyclist’s Legal Handbook by Pat Hahn is aimed at keeping your driving record clean. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was expecting something a little more in depth. This is pretty simple, too simple: don’t break the law, keep a low profile and you shouldn’t have a problem with excessive points on your drivers license. If you do get stopped or receive a ticket, fight it. Pat Hahn gives you good advice on how to handle being stopped by the police and what to do about getting a ticket. The chapter where Pat explains how to fight a ticket was the most interesting. I’m the type of person who just pays the fine because I did break the law and I got caught. Pat has a point that traffic police have a pretty easy gig nailing speeders. At any given time a number of drivers all around us are speeding and somehow you get singled out and receive a ticket for going what you may feel was not excessive. There are so many laws you are likely to be breaking some law and the police officer can probably ticket you for something no matter what. Most people like me usually pay the fine without a fight thus making this traffic ticketing business much more profitable for the government than sending police out to track down hard criminals. Like jury duty, Pat feels it is our American duty to exercise our right to argue against the ticket. Pat has good strategies on how to pay the fine but not receive points on your driving record which leads to higher insurance costs. This advice alone is worth more than the cost of the book.

This is a 240 page book and half the book is a state by state referance to the motorcycle related laws. I like the quality of the gloss coated paper and great pictures at the beginning of each chapter. Nice photography! I prefer my books to use a serif faced type for the text to make it more readable where the letters flow from one to another. With the exception of the sub title “How to handle legal situations from the mundane to the insane” the entire book headlines, text and graphs are in a sans serif font. I give the publishers a demerit for that! Yes, I know my blog is guilty also. Sorry!

Pat is good at research and making cool graphs but I wish this book covered more legal situations as the sub title promised. Here is another book review I did on a different Pat Hahn book in 2008, click here.

One Percenter Encyclopedia

The One Percenter Encyclopedia Click the pic for more info

I’m a big fan of Bill Hayes! I really enjoyed reading his second book: The Orignal Wild Ones – Tales of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club.  After I reviewed it in January Bill extended an offer to me to let me help him with his third book, but he never took me up on my acceptance. Maybe I’m too outside the three patch community to be involved. I was actually relieved when I was not enlisted to help. Less than a year later Bill’s new book, The One Percenter Encyclopedia, is now available. Bill, if you are out there reading this and you decide to follow up with a second edition, please give me another chance to help.

It would be great if there were an encyclopedia that told you everything behind the 1% lifestyle. To 99% of us what really happens in club life will remain a mystery. Unfortunately Bill’s new book does not reveal the rituals, traditions or secrets of club life as a one percenter. It doesn’t even attempt to define the term. This new book has nine chapters that list many of the most notable motorcycle clubs from A to Z. Some entries are a one liner and some are more meaty with interviews, pictures and a history. Of course the big 5 make for the most interesting. Other clubs of interest that grab my attention are clubs mentioned in other books and documentaries. For example there are the Aliens from Brooklyn mentioned in John Hall’s Riding on the Edge. The 13 Rebels, Yellow Jackets, Sharks and Galloping Goose mentioned in The Original Wild Ones also by Bill Hayes. The Hessians, Ghost Mountain Riders, Top Hatters, Devil Dolls and POBOB’s seen in the very informative three hour DVD documentary version of American Biker which preceded Bill’s first book of the same name. The Vagos covered in Terry The Tramp. I was surprised to find out the Pistoleros exist in the real world and not just in the movie Hell Ride. I was also surprised at some of the club names such as the Peckerwoods, Finks,  No Name and The End. The Delaware based Thunderguards are mentioned along with a quote from our local newspaper: The News Journal. The newspaper quote mentions Wilmington city officials shut down the Thunderguards social hall after a triple shooting took place nearby. It does not say if the motorcycle club members were involved. Like most of what happens behind the club life curtain this and many more mysteries will remain a mystery even after you read this book. At least to 99% of us!

Additionally this books includes an interesting Forward by Dr Stephen “Skinz” Kinzey, an Afterward by Gypsy Raoul and a Conclusion. I think the best part is a bonus in the form of a Bibliography and Book Review by Gypsy Raoul and Bill Hayes. Bill breaks motorcycle books down into catagories… which I have always wanted to do myself. Furthermore his reading collection is much wider than mine and he recommends some books that I am going to have to get. You’ll have to get this book for yourself or wait for my reviews on these books to find out more about them. For now, my lips are sealed!

Visit, my Amazon store or for great books and DVD’s about the sport and culture of motorcycling.

1%er Biographys Kick Ass

I enjoyed Hell’s Angel about Sonny Barger. I’m not sure if this was the first ever biography of a 1%er but I think it is the best. This kind of book in my oppinion is it’s own catagory: The 1%er Biography.

hell’s Angel by Sonny barger Click the pic for more info

Most of the books in this catagory are written by a coauthor because most biker’s don’t have the professional writing skills to create a best seller, but they sure do have a hell of a story to tell! In my humble oppinion the coauthor/biker team usually does not make for high quality reading. The chapters are made up of unrelated life memories and experiences organized into chronological order creating a compilation of that person’s most exciting parties, battles and run ins with the law. That said I can not strongly reccomend any other specific book like this except the one mentioned above… but I still enjoy reading them! It’s like a train wreck or bad accident, I can’t stop looking or reading!

You can’t blame me! Why wouldn’t you be able to put such a book down? Because: no one else knows what really happens behind the Motorcycle Club curtain except true patch holders and they aren’t going to tell you! It’s against club policy. There are a few bad ass shitkickers out there who lived the life and dared to put it down on paper and have it published for the rest of us to read. These lives are filled with bar room brawls, shootings, drugs and of course wild women. 99% of us live normal lives according to our civilization but 1% dare live outside the confines of accepted rules and practices. They are the Outlaws! We think we are free, but these cowboys on their two wheel steeds push freedom to the limit and sometimes have to forfeit their freedom as a result of the Outlaw lifestyle. These warriors lived their lives by their own rules outside the law and their stories are fascinating!

Terry The Tramp Click the pic for more info

Most recently I read Terry The Tramp – The Life and Dangerous Times of a One Percenter in hardcover published by Motorbooks. A long time ago I read Outlaw Biker – My Life at Full Throttle in paperback. Another not so well written but fascinating story full of tales from the other side of the MC curtain.

Outlaw Biker Click the pic for more info

The above books takes the author’s life experiences and strings them together into a disjointed collection of chaotic events that can blow the normal squares mind! There is another book from Motorbooks that comes to mind worth mentioning but it doesn’t exactly fit this catagory. The author, John Hall, evolved from outlaw to college professor after being educated by Penn State while serving time. He has the writing skills! He wrote his own story and it kicks ass! It reads like an excellent tale about the coming of age of a young biker. It’s a great story and each chapter leads naturally to the next creating a fantastic novel. Click here for my review of Riding on the Edge – A Motorcycle Outlaw’s Tale.

2012 Custom Motorcycle Calendars

2012 choppers and bobbers calendar 

Order your custom motorcycle calendar for 2012 by clicking on the pictures shown here. Perfect for home, office, shop or even your man cave.

custom motorcycle calendar