Top critical review
One person found this helpful
I don't like it
on 14 June 2013
First, the positive things. This is a relatively new book, and as such it's informative about certain important things that keep being improved by technological advances, such as for example the range of safety gear available on the market, and the pros and cons of various consumer choices. In addition, the book contains some exceptionally good photographs of bikes. The photography is very good.
Now, the negative things. Unfortunately this book is very much a modern offering for Generation Y and Generation Z. Furthermore, the readers of this book are presumed to be drooling in the marketplace for the latest GX12R or CBR1000. Nothing wrong with that, but the ideology of the book goes with a different mentality. It's all heart and no brain, unfortunately. I am old-school and I want lots of useful practical gems about how to set valve clearances, replace a gasket, clean and/or re-jet a carb (yes, an old-fashioned carb), ways to remove and replace a tyre, etc. Unfortunately such matters appear to have become the sole remit of internet fora where people can share their experience (and Haynes manuals), and won't be found in this book. The thinking behind this book wasn't really about information but really about having a nice-looking colorful thing in your hands. Most of its content covers a strangely broad range of things superficially. These range from very briefly setting out the stages to obtaining a full licence, then the major differences between bike types and what bikes are for (cruisers and for cruising, and sports bikes can be used for track days too, we are helpfully told), to different engine types (unfortunately not very technical, i.e. what the difference is between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke, and a single cylinder is less powerful than a twin cylinder). Meanwhile whatever looks cool, modern and new according to the author is supposed to be better, and this rule extends from recommended choices for touring panniers and storage to absolutely everything.
It is also worthwhile to note that the book appears to have been written with online previewing firmly in mind. As a result, when you have the book, the glossary of terms at the end seems very bizarre. This is because it's all just superfluous tech jargon designed to sell the book! None of the things mentioned in the glossary are dealt with in the substantive content between its covers. Amazing but true...
When you have this book in your possession you have something in your possession. 'The book as a luxury product in the age of the internet'. It's almost as if this book is sold as a novelty product. It certainly isn't necessary or indispensable, no matter what your requirements. Although I would make an exception for a hypothetical 17 year old, who doesn't have a full licence yet and isn't sure how to get one or what a CBT is, yet is thinking seriously about buying a superbike in the near future, doesn't want to make any mistakes about aftermarket modifications (colorful bolts are recommended) and, above all else, never ever wants to touch an engine, replace a tyre, fix an indicator relay, recharge a battery, etc. A really strange customer. To me, anyway.