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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2012
An excellent book well researched over many years. Written from the white collar angle and is to me, the best you're going to get from this perspective of how it all went wrong. Steve Koerner pretty much covers all the bases and does allude to some of the production models as you go so bikers will know what the relationship is between the factories, the management and the bikes they were producing at what time.

The book has a couple of faults and that is that the designers and engineers (and education) get off virtually scot free bar a paragraph in the epilogue and we lack any anecdotes from people who were there.

It covers the political and boardroom side superbly. Koerner blames the lack of a lightweight/small bike and segment retreat, inept management etc but he fails to get into any technical detail and therefore we still await a book that will tell us that the only successful post war British design was a German reparation fed BSA Bantam. What with Bert Hopwoods 'nothing to do with me':Designers and Engineers are coming out of the debacle crystal clean.

We must await the book that tells of this, the real fiasco of the industry.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 January 2013
No doubt this book will be of particular interest to existing motorcycle enthusiasts and coming from that group, it is interesting to read such a well researched and referenced work. As an academic historian Koerner goes well beyond the normal bar stool experts who trot-out one-dimensional explanations such as 'it was the unions' or 'it was bad management' to weigh in the balance a whole range of social, industrial, financial, political, international and cultural factors. Even if you know a great deal about the subject, this book presents the information in a useful chronological order and goes back to primary information sources to separate fact from fiction and demonstrate how problems rooted before WWII combined to hobble the whole industry in later years. All the better because Koerner is himself an enthusiast. I never thought I would be reading a history book with quite such enthusiasm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2013
I've just heard that this book won the 2013 Wadsworth Prize for Business History. The citation lists the author's great scholarship, and the fact that the book is extremely well written and authoritative. Well done to the author!
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on 28 February 2014
This looked like a interesting book and when it arrived I discovered that I had already bought and read it.It was interesting to discover that many problems of the British Motor Cycle were probably caused as much by its success as its failures .The answer seems much more complicated than the fairly transparent troubles in the British Motor Industry in the 1960s and 70s
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on 21 May 2014
This is no coffee table book, but I found it irresistible as the author, who is an academic, backs up his opinions with evidence, a lot of it new to me.
As a fellow motorcycling author, I applaud this title , recommended for the inquisitive enthusiast.
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on 29 June 2013
The book is absolutely excellent. It has exceeded my expectations. I liked the professional approach to a subject which has been
dealt with emotionally many times. I shall tell all my motoring friends about it.
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on 6 March 2013
Enjoyed the History & analysis on what happened. A few lessons should be taken from this especially for todays producers, 'no one is invincible today'.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2012
Nothing strange about it, the same problems in the car. aero, printing, and most of the rest of the union controlled UK manufacturing that I had experience of at that time.

A remote document based book that seemed to be compiled from masses of mainly BSA/Triumph,trade, and government documents and cuttings that misses the point in the final analysis, a shame because if the author had spoken to some of the people actually involved this work could have been a usefull historical document, as it is it isn't.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2013
The only really scholarly history of the Britiah Motorcycle industry that exists, to my knowledge. Complements the experiential accounts which are around very well.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was my third perspective on the demise of the UK bike industry, preceded by "Whatever happened to the British Bike Industry?" by Bert Hopwood, and then "Save the Triumph Bonneville" by John Rosamond.
Steve Koerner tells us a plausible story. It certainly fits well with my own knowledge of British bikes in the early 1970s.
The UK makers simply wouldn't make what buyers wanted and the book explains why.
The bikes themselves were ancient relics. The 1980 Bonneville is hardly different from the 1930 Speed Twin.
Once the Japanese came on the scene, it was too late. Edward Turner went to Japan to see the competition and must have soiled himself.
The CB750 was the killer blow but the main onslaught was enacted by the Honda Supercub. 50 million sold so far and still counting.
Compare that with the Ariel 3. The BSA Beagle showed just how inept we Brits had become.
I discovered that AMC had taken over sales and marketing of Suzuki motorcycles in the UK. This was astounding. On the one hand there was the UK industry clamouring for import quotas and on the other was AMC selling the imports.
It just shows the shambolic situation in the UK. Retail price maintenance was another totally unreasonable tool. Tesco had to retail at the same price as a tiny grocer in the village. Exactly the same practice occurred with motorcycles. People couldn't negotiate a fair price. We were more like Russia than a democracy. We probably still are.
A really good book. I'm pleased with it.
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