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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles (2nd Edition) Paperback – December 1, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0028642581 ISBN-10: 0028642589 Edition: 2nd
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Motorcyclist magazine, the "World's Largest Streetbike Publication," recently celebrated its 85th year of publication. In a concise and amusing style, it focuses on the motorcycles, products, events, and people that fire the passions of streetbike enthusiasts. Motorcyclist has an audited monthly readership of 2.1 million motorcycle enthusiasts. Darwin Holmstrom has been riding motorcycles for 23 of his 34 years. He bought his first dirtbike when he was 11 years old and has owned at least one functioning motorcycle ever since. He has ridden nearly 300,000 miles. The only thing that has remained constant in his life is his passion for motorcycling, and he rides every chance he gets. He now supports his motorcycling habit by working as the Midwest editor for Motorcyclist magazine and by working as a freelance writer. Darwin has worked as a reporter and photographer for a daily newspaper. He won the Associated Press Photographer of the Month award in March 1997. He has also worked as an editor and graphics designer for a variety of publishing houses and periodicals, covering topics as diverse as engineering, liturgical studies, and Western mysticism. In 1997, he won a National Small Press design award for self-help books. Darwin has a Master's degree in creative writing and a Bachelor's degree in photography and graphic design. He currently lives in western North Dakota with his wife and four dogs.
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Product Details

  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide to
  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; 2 edition (November 27, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028642589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028642581
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,242,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Rich K. on March 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've been riding for about 6 years and bought this book to loan out to prospective riders. Overall, it's not a terrible introduction to the subject matter and fun to read, but light on meaningful content -- representative of this series, IOW. After reading what is not a thin volume, you will be hard pressed to think of anything in this book that you wouldn't have picked up by reading the MSF literature (free!) and the buyer's guide issue of Motorcyclist magazine ($3!). The writer also shows little interest in bike trends and popular sentiment. He extolls the virtues of centerstands, hydraulically actuated valves, and shaft drive and suggests all beginners should buy bikes with these features -- ignoring that only a small fraction of the bikes produced in the past 15 years even have these features. He also suggests that a Katana 600 would be too much bike for almost any beginner, which is complete nonsense. I sympathize with his concern that people looking for thrills get in way over their heads by making their first bikes R1's, but exaggerating the power and dangerousness of sportbikes vs. other bikes is not responsible or honest writing. Also, his love for obscure Japanese standards is something I share, but I do not think it should color the entire book, which is ostensibly targeted at lay persons who probably want to get their hands on a Road King or CBR929. To that end, I do not believe the book at all does a good job explaining why people should not start off on such bikes, other than general and vague statements about difficulty of control. In my opinion, it won't hurt a beginner to read this book, but for what it is it's not particularly good value nor especially insightful.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By MCG on July 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
What a disappointment! I read the second edition of this book as someone who wanted to find out about motorcycling and to get recommendations on bikes for beginning riders and was impressed on how the book did just that. I recommended this book to a friend and he told me the third edition's Buyer's Guide section was nothing like what I had read and boy was he right. Gone where the frank opinions on what were the pluses and minuses of each bike for beginners. They were replaced by the editorial capsules found in Motorcyclist Magazine. I subscribe to Motorcyclist Magazine and it's a great publication but their motorcycle opinions are geared toward experienced riders. The difference in the editions for the Buyer's Guide section was striking and makes it almost useless for beginning riders seeking information on bike's that are in the market. The third edition is also sloppy in it's editing as bike's mentioned as "a good first bike" elsewhere in the book don't get a "Good First Bike" designation in the Buyer's Guide section. If your an experienced rider, read Motorcyclist Magazine. If your a beginning rider, get a hold of the second edition of this book.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was interested in getting a motorcycle when I bought this book. By the third chapter my interest had turned to real enthusiasm and I couldn't wait to get out and ride. The author not only explains the nuts and bolts of riding, but shows you why people are so devoted to motorcycling. This book beats the heck out of a lot of motorycling guides that drone on and on about safety and procedures -- this guide never forgets that motorycling is fun, and it places important safety info in that context.
This book also has lots about motorycling history and culture. When you read this book, you'll not only learn a lot about how to chose, ride and take care of your bike, you'll learn why motorcyling is a passion for so many people and what it means to be a competent and happy rider.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Robert Gonzalez on January 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you've never ridden a motorcycle in your life, this is a great book to pick up. Experienced bike riders will find the book uninformative and will criticize the authors opinions about certain aspects such as sportbikes. The author, although he does an outstanding job laying out the basics such as types of bikes, motorcycle safety, and actual riding of the bike, he is very critical of sportbikes for beginners, and rightfully so. But a novice, properly trained, can handle these bikes provided he knows his personal limits and has respect for the machine.
Although I would recommend this book to a beginner, there is no substitute for a training course such as the MSF Ridercourse, offered at most community colleges.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anthony O'Krongly on September 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you don't know anything about motorcycles - except that they have TWO wheels, go vroom-vroom, and maybe you rode your friends once, then this is the book for you to start with. It ISN'T COMPLETE instruction on riding, or maintaining, or fixing, or buying, etc. It covers all that and more. But it does it for the beginner. If you are looking to buy your first motorcycle then this book is great - because it shows pretty much all the bikes available in the US in a great picture index in the back. That part helped me alot. I wanted to buy a used bike, knew what I wanted for looks/size and it showed me what models to track down.
If you know motorcycles, have owned them and ridden them, etc. then don't buy this. If you're a complete novice, then start here.
NOTE: If you're buying this book to learn how to ride a motorcycle safely in traffic and on highways, then don't get it. Take the ($), put it with about ($) more and take the Motorcycle Safety Foundations (MSF) basic rider training course. You can't learn how to ride by reading a book. Take the course, you don't need a motorcycle or helmet to take it. They provide all that and give you 2 days of on-motorcycle training.
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