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3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 3 April 2010
This is a straight forward book, well illustrated & good value. I had the opportunity to flick through it before deciding I wanted it & it surprised me. I thought I understood (after 30+ years riding) how ALL the parts of our bikes work - well I didn't! So for less than the cost of 3 magazines, this is a handy book for reference & showing to bike club members who THINK they have all the answers :o)
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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.
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on 20 November 2009
Not too bad, but I found myself put off by a few key points.

I'm new to biking and this has given me a 'from basics' introduction to how a bike works that I hadn't found elsewhere - most biking sources seem to assume a basic level of mechanical knowledge and I bought this to take me from pretty much nil.

It's done a good job of that - I know much more than I did about the way the bike works (not difficult), and my riding has improved immediately as a result, which is A Good Thing.


Although this is a fairly good-looking book, it isn't well-written - or at least not as well as I expected. It launches in with a lot of jargon and chattiness (expensive things added to bikes look 'really trick', loose ball bearings are a 'laugh a minute', etc.), which belong more in a monthly biker lads mag than a mid-price hardback from a respected technical publisher like Haynes.

On the other hand, you have to be fairly quick and/or prepared to read it three times to grasp most of what you're being told. It's all a bit too hit-and-miss (and glib) - want to know what radial brakes are? They're only mentioned in a label on a little photo to the side of the brakes page and perhaps the glossary, which incidentally barely seems to relate to the text in the book. Want to know what DOHC means? Check the glossary, coz the engines page won't tell you.

And note: 'section' and 'page'. With a very few exceptions, rather than tell you everything you need to know as a beginner and think about presentation later, this feels like it's been written to fill out a given (small) space per topic and leave lots of room for big glossy photos (themselves rather poorly executed vs the competition, but that's barely a problem).

But you get a good run down of the two key types of carburettor, interesting sections on tuning a bike up to perform better (but is this really something a beginner needs), a run-down of the major engine types (although not much about their different characteristics), and so on.

The 'technical' illustrations (if you can call them that) are also fairly random and not very explanatory - half of them look like they've been scanned (no, really) straight from an old technical manual and just thrown in with an occassional label, rather than designed and produced to explain to the beginnner what's going on mechanically. I'm still not quite sure which bit of a a curburettor is the venturi, but I do at least understand how important it is.

It's not a bad book exactly, and I'm glad I've read it. But it felt like learning the ropes from a very well-informed, flippant teenager keen to dazzle you with how much more than you he knows and look-at-how-nice-my-bike-is-it-goes-really-fast-phwoar, rather than the thorough, authoritative, well-illustrated (rather than just glossy) introduction I hoped for from a Haynes book... and its not all that cheap, so not much room to argue it was produced to cost.

Incidentally, if you want a really good basics intro to vehicle mechanics, check out Car Bibles online - compiled by an enthusiast, FREE (I like free), well-written, well-informed and (very) well-illustrated, and much less smug. And it covers bikes too. Its not quite as effective as this book for considering a bike part-by-part AND as a whole, but its more professional - and much less irritating - than the Haynes effort. I even wish I'd given him my money instead.
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on 30 April 2009
It's an attractive book, aimed at someone new to motorcycling, with some useful advice on introductory biking matters...But I teach Motorcycle technology and it didn't meet my needs.
If you are new to biking or getting back into it after 20yrs, maybe it's for you.
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on 18 November 2013
The ones who love motorcycle should know the history of the different kind of motorbikes.
And should know every componnentes that a motorcycle is made of.
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on 25 March 2014
Bought it as a gift for my husband he enjoyed reading it quite varied but could do with being a bit thicker to last longer
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