Hugo Wilson is one of the most respected motor cycle journalists in the world and undeniably really does know his stuff! I've followed his words in many motor-cycle magazines over the last few decades, and he generally makes excellent sense. However, this book, while containing a host of truly beautiful pictures as only Dorling Kindersley could assemble, is not the Ultimate.
In trying to cover all motorcycles from around the world, and explain all the details of how they work, what has really been achieved is an excellent and in-depth introduction to the beauty and magic of motorcycles. For real detail, to be truly 'Ultimate' it would need to be ten times the size, at least. But then it would be too big, too heavy, and too expensive.
I think it qualifies as perhaps one of the best presented books, one of the widest ranging books, one of the most generally informative books of the several motorcycle books I own and the many I've read. Certainly it is the prettiest and easiest to read. But each of the six bikes I owned or rode is omitted: Triumph's Tiger Cub and Thunderbird - my favourite; BSA's Bantam and A10 Gold Flash; BMW R80; Honda CB500; and there were a lot of each of them sold! This is because he has concentrated on the flagship bikes from each manufacturer, and tends to gloss over the more common, ordinary machines, the ones we are more likely to come across, or actually own.
But the big format and stunning photographs are mouth watering, and what text there is, is spot-on accurate. Even my wife likes reading it, and wonder of wonders actually said 'It would be nice to have a bike again.' Shame about the title, but still, Thank You Hugo! A definite five Gold Stars.