The Library of Two
The Library of Two
Because what you don’t know can kill ya…
I’m just curious what everybody else is reading to hone their mad roadcraft skills. Here’s what I have on my shelf so far (in order of purchase). If you have any recommendations for me, please add them to the comments section, so I can get my hands on a copy and see for myself. Any books you’ve read that are a complete waste of time and money? Let me know, too, so I can save myself the aggrevation.
1. Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough
Read it! It teaches valuable street smarts that’ll keep you rubber-side down. Especially useful for the beginning rider, but not too basic that the more experienced can’t learn a thing or two.
2. More Proficient Motorcycling by David L. Hough
Builds upon and elaborates on the first book, but can be read on its own, too. I would recommend getting them both and reading them in order. It cements the knowledge gleaned from the first volume and builds upon it. If you only have the money for one these, buy ‘More Proficient Motorcycling’.
3. Ride Like A Pro V (DVD) by Jerry ‘Motorman’ Palladino
Buy it, watch it, and most importantly: practice it! It’ll make you a better rider overall (this stuff is harder than trying to drag a knee around a hairpin… scarier, too… no, really, it is!) Do not buy the preceding volumes, unless you want to support the ‘Motorman’ in his efforts. These are more akin to version numbers than volumes. It’s all the same info and practices, but updated and tweaked. Just buy the latest, which currently is V. I would have to give this a definite MUST-HAVE! Just watch the peeps pull in the parking lot at the next bike night; you can tell a lot about a rider by their slow speed skills.
4. Total Control – High Performance Street Riding Techniques by Lee Parks
I HIGHLY recommend this book! If you have the cash and the opportunity, do yourself a favor and book a spot in his Total Control workshop, too, while you’re at it. He holds them all over the country. I had the chance to go to the one in Valdosta, GA last year, which was actually going to be taught by Lee Parks himself, and I ended up having to work that damn weekend. >:( It’s still on my list, though. One of these days I’ll make it to the class.
5. A Twist Of The Wrist by Keith Code
The definite book on road racing techniques. Read this before you’re going to your first track day; then re-read it after your first experience. Heck, read it if you’ve been doing track days and aren’t happy with your lap times. This book will put you to sleep, even though Mr. Code is not being overly technical at all in his approach. This is real-world application stuff, not some theoretical textbook write-up, however it will induce narcolepsy just the same. I had to read it in small doses, but the info presented should be digested in smallish doses anyway, because Keith is going to make you THINK! first. Do it. Then go to the track and start working on a thing or two. I’m definitely going to re-read it before heading to Barber.
6. A Twist Of The Wrist II by Keith Code
This book is a definite MUST-READ. It teaches you how to overcome your instincts and survival reactions. This book, same as the first, is geared towards track riding; however the vast majority of techniques presented in this volume is definitely applicable to street riding, too. This is the book I refer to when I say “Keith Code has saved my bacon (yet again)” and this is also the book that got me started on saying “what you fear can kill you, what you don’t know can kill you”. Knowledge is power, avail yourself of it.
7. Sportbike Suspension Tuning – How To Improve Your Motorcycle’s Handling And Performance by Andrew Trevitt
A recommended read if you’re going to take your riding to the next level. Got to dial in your suspension to fit you and your riding style to make progress beyond a certain point. This is the book that helped me sort through all of this suspension mystery and, surprisingly, isn’t too nap-inducing. Has a load of pretty, full-color images, too. Read it all the way through, then reread it as you work up your suspension setup plan. Get it straight in your head and understand it before you start messing with stuff, you’ll be glad you did later. Trust him on that.
8. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Guide To Motorcycling Excellence by MSF
A good read if you’re new to riding or something to pass the time while you are waiting for your MSF class to start. I’ve bought this book too late. I read it anyway, because even though too basic for my skill level at the time, it never hurts to revisit the basics. Like the adage goes: “It hasn’t been heard, unless it has been said thrice…” or words to that affect. This should be the first book anybody considering getting into the sport, or just starting out in biking should read. Also, take the damn course, you cheap bastards! $275 (the cost of the BRC (Basic Rider Course) in GA) doesn’t buy a lot of action in the medical field and doesn’t even pay for a replacement for that damn side cowling piece that you wrecked when you dropped your bike while trying to make a tight-ass right turn from a stop. Just sayin’! Besides, you can get an insurance premium reduction and your permanent ‘M’ by taking it.
9. Ride Hard Ride Smart – Ultimate Street Strategies for Advanced Motorcyclists by Pat Hahn
[currently reading] First Impression (after skimming through it): It’s a style of riding that probably will work for some not for others, but I don’t think Pat Hahn and I see eye-to-eye… I will know more when I’ve read the whole thing cover to cover.
10. Motorcycle Touring by Dr. Gregory W. Frazier
[currently reading] First Impression (after reading the first few chapters): Lots of full-color photos and entertaining side notes, some useful LD touring tips…
11. Sportbike Performance Handbook 2nd Edition by Kevin Cameron
[currently reading] Fist Impression (after skimming through some chapers and fully reading others): This book will give you ideas, expensive ideas; it’s a good primer for better understanding your motorcycle and its inner workings; helps you become more focused about your planned performance upgrades and may dissuade you from some mods that are useless; decent basic information and reference book.
12. Maximum Control: Mastering Your Heavyweight Bike by Pat Hahn
13. The Essential Guide To Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark Zimmerman
14. Race Tech’s Motorcycle Suspension Bible by Paul Thede and Lee Parks