This is the one book every prospective British bike buyer should read before he/she buys! It's extremely practical and honest about these wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) machines, and written with immense knowledge, wisdom and humour, by a man who is immense - er, immensely experienced in riding (and sometimes pushing) the machines of our dreams (and nightmares). Pity it doesn't have any colour pics, except on the cover, but buy Classic Bike Guide every month for them - and no, I'm not his son/father/accountant/publisher, just yer average British bike nut who recognises a quality publication when he sees it. I suppose I ought to read it one day... Only kidding, Frank! It really is a brilliant book, and I thoroughly and unreservedly recommend it!
This has been in print for over a decade now but the advice it contains is still relevant and useful for anyone thinking of buying an old British bike. I write about classic motorcycles for a living and this is the first book I turn to when I want to get a feel for a certain model, and when I want to know how it will perform on the road today. It's unusual for 'special interest' books like this to stay in print for so long, but The British Classic Bike Guide is a steady seller because the advice and over-view it provides of the classic bike market are still spot-on, and come from one of the most experienced and authoritative writers on the scene.
Frank Westworth has been involved with classic bike magazines for over two decades (he currently edits RealClassic magazine) and he has been riding British bikes for twice that time. In this book he gives a heap of very useful general advice -- what to check when buying (split into chassis and engine) -- plus several detailed sections about popular classic marques. Each of the big names (BSA, Triumph, Norton, Ariel, AJS and Matchless) gets an historical overview, with plenty of extra info about the most practical models from each manufacturers to own and ride today. There's also details about some of the less well-known marques (Royal Enfield, Sunbeam, Panther, Velocette and Vincent) with the author's recommendations for purchase and maintenance.
Inevitably, some of the info has dated -- prices have gone up, the nature of Indian-built Royal Enfields has changed completely, club details are different -- and the publisher should really ask Frank to update his manuscript for the next edition. This book should also have been published in colour; there are plenty of mono images but they would be much more helpful in colour. But the core information is extremely useful. If you are thinking of buying an old bike then this really is the place to start! 8/10
(And I also wrote a much earlier review of this book, which somehow got separated from my byline. Interesting to see that I still pretty much agree with what a wrote a very long time ago!)
An excellent book. I bought it to dip into but read it from cover to cover. Worth the money just for the chapters on what to check when buying a bike. Everything else is a bonus. Brilliantly written, informative and entertaining. No rose tints; just an honest appraisal of classic British bikes from someone who knows them.
This is the most entertaining book I read about classic motorcycles for years. Frank Westworth not only knows the odds and ends -and the idiosyncracies!- of british motorcycles from the inside out, he is also capable of wrapping it into a well informing, never boring package of one read. The book does NOT discuss every detail of every model in endless scientific in-depth (there are enough marque books on the market alredy doing this), but covers the main points to know about a selection of the most aknowledged classics in an ever readable, humorous way. The main aim is always aparent: which bike is most suitable for whom to own and- RIDE! Full marks.
Frank Westworth has a quite unique writing style that is both entertaining and humorous. This book typifies Franks work at its best. It is informative and well researched, illustrates Franks vast knowledge of the subject and yet never gets bogged down with boring stuff. A must for any new classic bike fan, yet a great read for the experienced one too. Highly recommended.
This is the best book of it's type - no bull no crap just honest opinions of bikes from the British bike scene and just a relevant today as when it was written . if you ain't got it go and get for your bookshelf.