For many of our followers in the northern hemisphere, the nights are drawing in. It might mean less time for riding, but it leaves more time for building and fettling—and reading. So we’ve picked out five motorcycle books that have impressed us recently. Is there room for one of these on your shelf?
Alpinestars: One Goal. One Vision. 50 Years Alpinestars is celebrating a milestone this year—its 50th anniversary. It’s always been one of the most stylish moto apparel brands, but did you know that it started out as a boot manufacturer in Northern Italy? Alpinestars’ rich and visual heritage is now chronicled in a hardcover, full color book, a journey through five decades of octane-fuelled motorsport.
Between the covers you’ll find 256 pages of contributions from legends like Roger DeCoster, Kenny Roberts Sr., Randy Mamola, Mick Doohan and Jeremy McGrath, as well as veteran motorcycle journalist Chris Jonnum. And as you’d expect, the design is impeccable. $45. [Buy]
The Total Motorcycling Manual This new release from Cycle World magazine is one of those books that will keep on selling forever. It’s a horribly clichéd phrase, but the words ‘instant classic’ spring to mind. The Manual fits into that small category of essential motorcycling non-fiction, alongside David Hough’s Proficient Motorcycling series and Keith Code’s A Twist of The Wrist.
But it’s just as much about looking after your bike as riding it: it’s packed with 291 detailed tips on gear, riding techniques, and maintenance. The design is easy on the eye, allowing you to dip in and out at random. And although editor Mark Lindemann blots his copybook with a heretical criticism of Moto Guzzi’s iconic Le Mans, I have to give this one a very firm recommendation. [Buy]
Motorcycle Graphics: Outsider Art, Graphics and Illustration England’s hardest-working motorcycle journalist has delivered an absolute peach of a book, cataloguing the murkier recesses of moto-related art. Gary Inman is best known as the co-founder of the edgy magazine Sideburn, so you won’t find cheesy watercolors of wartime Harleys or advertising pin-up girls. Instead, we’re introduced to 30 top artists including Conrad Leach, Takumi Iwase (aka Tokyoguns), Raulowsky and Deus’ Carby Tuckwell.
The imagery is punchy, and so is Inman’s acerbic writing style. Choice quote: “Deus has helped introduce motorcycling to the world’s urban creatives, who would otherwise be nipple-deep researching the latest moustache wax and fixed gear bicycles.” [Buy]
The Art of BMW: 90 Years of Motorcycle Excellence Motorbooks has reissued this lavish volume to coincide with BMW’s anniversary celebrations. Peter Gantriis’ 208-page photo essay covers all the classics, from the seminal R32 to the latest S1000RR superbike. The machines are from the collection of BMW enthusiast Peter Nettesheim, and the images are absolutely top-notch. If you’re a hardcore Motorradfahrer, you probably already have this book. If you have even a passing interest in motorcycle design, it’s worth adding to your bookshelf. [Buy]
The Ride: New Custom Motorcycles And Their Builders Of course, we can’t talk about motorcycling books without mentioning our own production. The Ride has 320 luxurious pages containing nothing but the world’s finest custom motorcycles, with detailed full-color photography and unique profiles and interviews with the builders. Order from here for Europe, here for the USA, via Revzilla for Canada, and Amazon for the Rest of the World.