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33 Reviews
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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough overview
This book is not and does not try to be a shop manual. What it is, is a well-done primer on the theory behind the various systems in a motorcycle. The chapter on engines was fascinating to me. It explains, in rough historical/chronological order, the development of various engine designs, and how each was a reponse to weaknesses in previous designs and how each one...
Published on April 11, 2001

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good basic general information
Published 3 months ago by Robert W. Brown


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52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough overview, April 11, 2001
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is not and does not try to be a shop manual. What it is, is a well-done primer on the theory behind the various systems in a motorcycle. The chapter on engines was fascinating to me. It explains, in rough historical/chronological order, the development of various engine designs, and how each was a reponse to weaknesses in previous designs and how each one introduced it own problems (while at the same time older designs were tweaked in various ways to minimize problems). The design variations include number of cyllinders, number of crankshafts, orientation of cyllinders with respect to each other, orientation of the crankshaft with respect to the motorcycle, ratio of bore diameter to stroke length, various arrangements of valve trains, etc. Two stroke engines are also covered. Illustrations are extensive, but tend to be pulled from other books or from manufacturers manuals, so sometimes include unnecessary detail, especially in the carburation chapter (which was very complex and a little over my head). Some chapters (e.g., exhaust systems) were not as detailed as the engine chapter and were slightly disappointing.
I followed this book up with Keith Cameron's Sportbike Performance Hankbook, which explains some systems in more detail. Cameron's book is ostensibly a book for souping up your motorcycle, but in the end managed to convince me that I want to keep my bike stock unless I don't plan to use it on the street: the manufacturers generally know what they are doing.
One caveat about Motorcycle Basics Manual: the book was authored in England and uses U.K. terminology. A glossary at the end gives U.S. equivalents, but a few things are left out.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Reference, September 6, 2000
By A Customer
I was delighted with this book for two reasons: one, it answered all the random questions I had from talking to bike owners or mechanics (What IS a desmodromic valve? How does a clutch work, exactly? Why is the exhaust pipe length critical to tuning a 2-stroke?). Two, I love illustrations, and these technical illustrations are top-notch. There are beautiful section and cutaway views of engines and subsystems, all properly detailled and labeled.
Don't expect this book to allow you to fix your bike. But expect to gain a better understanding of how things work, motorcycle design trends and influences (often from a historical perspective), and why things break and wear out. And that will pay off the next time you're talking to your mechanic, or the guy at the auto parts store.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great intermediate-level book on motorcycle mechanics, August 27, 1999
This is a good buy. Plenty of technical detail on all aspects of a motorcycle. No padding (just information). The book also discusses variations on the models described. The only complaint I can think of (and its minor) is that it would have been nice to see some troubleshooting information on the topics discussed.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and fairly comprehensive explanation of motorcy, October 26, 1998
By A Customer
Motorcycle Basics Manual is an excellent and fairly comprehensive explanation of how the major systems comprising a motorcycle work. It is clearly written and well illustrated with detailed line drawings. The general organization of the material is sensible, and each chapter leads off with an outline of what will be covered. Basic theory is followed by a brief engneering history, then design variations and their purposes are covered. This book does not take the place of a shop manual, but will certainly be a pleasant and informative addition to any weekend mechanic's libarary. It is much more ambitions than Motorcycle Owner's Manual by Hugo Wilson, for example, and for real enthusiasts,well worth the effort.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An easy to understand yet in depth theory manual., June 28, 1999
This is an excellent introduction to the theory of motorcycle mechanics. It explains in great detail with clear and precise line drawings how the various parts of a motorcycle work, their function, and design evolution. If you want to learn to understand motorcycles in detail, start with this book!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Books for the Basics, January 17, 2004
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This review is from: Motorcycle Basics Techbook (Haynes Manuals) (Hardcover)
This serves as a good introduction to the inner workings of your bike. It's not too complicated, nor does it treat its readers as idiots; rather it's a great blend of information and photos that allow you to learn the core ideas behind the metal and plastic. What I really liked was the build up of old to new styles of all the various systems it covers. As the title plainly states this is a basics book, and it won't get you to the point of being a mechanic, but after reading this you should be able to begin a study of motorcycle repair without a problem. This is money worth spending if you aren't already educated about engine systems.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C'mon girls, it's time to get down and dirty!, November 19, 2001
By 
Samantha Madell (Dundas, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
I'm a young(ish) woman who is absolutely new to the world of motorcycles. I bought this book from Amazon after reading through the posted reviews, and am pleased to say that it was an excellent purchase.

I really don't have anything to compare this book to, but I can say that it has been a wonderful introduction to the nuts and bolts of motorcycles. I never really understood what constituted an engine before picking up this book, but now I can talk intelligently on many mechanical matters with my grease-monkey mates. It's also a great reference when you're struck by a killer question about the intricacies of gear shifting, or whatever.

The book's only drawback, from my point of view, is that the text is rather dense, which makes it slightly daunting to sit down with. All in all though, my thanks and congratulations go out to the author.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book..., August 27, 1999
By A Customer
Few books ever go into details like this one. Let alone so clearly. This book explains how engines/carbs/exhaust/tires/suspension work, some of the history behind the developments...
Sportbike Performance Handbook is similar but more geared towards performance/racing.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do read the reviews before buying, March 17, 2001
By 
"dodja" (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) - See all my reviews
In the first review of this book are the words: "Don't expect this book to allow you to fix your bike."
This is absolutely true: this book is for people with little or no mechanic knowledge -- it's a great primer, but is NOT any use as a workshop reference.
If you already know something about bikes, this book will teach you little new (although it was nice to finally learn what a desmodromic valve was :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Theory Book, February 15, 2009
Although written in 1986, this book remains an excellent primer on the theory behind motorcycle systems. I attended Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in 1997 and had studied this book very carefully before I entered the school. The first six weeks of training were entirely on theory, and this book put me WAY ahead of the curve in the class. The book is absolutely brilliant and still timely. The theoretical basics of motorcycling have not changed all that much since the book was published. The book is so good that if you love motorcycles, then you MUST have this book--end of story!
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Motorcycle Basics Techbook (Haynes Manuals)
Motorcycle Basics Techbook (Haynes Manuals) by Matthew Coombs (Hardcover - July 5, 2002)
$45.45 $34.39
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