Self learning – motorcycling books
April 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm #3848Gary856Participant
The following are 3 (actually 4, see below) great books for self learning as a motorcyclist. I recommend reading them in sequence.
1. Proficient Motorcycling (David Hough) –
There are two volumes in this series: a) Mastering the ride; b) The ultimate guide to riding well. I started reading them as soon as I decided that I wanted to learn to ride motorcycles. They are great introductions to the world of motorcycling. These books are less about techniques, per se, and more about the fundamentals of how to deal with traffic and the environments, on situational awareness, from the point of view of a rider, which is entirely foreign to car drivers.
2. Total Control – High Performance Street Riding Techniques (Lee Parks) –
This book gives a “high level” review on the mental and physical aspects of performance riding. It introduces a number of important break through concepts (the cornering techniques are amazing) to newer riders, without bogging down on too much details. Easy to digest, and offers immediate and big improvements.
3. Sport Riding Techniques: How to develop real world skills for speed, safety, and confidence on the street and track (Nick Ienatsch) –
This book is awesome in breaking down the riding techniques in great details. It’s a great follow up after reading Total Control, after you’ve learned and practiced doing the fundamentals right, and when you’re ready to fine hone your individual skills. This is where you begin to learn and appreciate the subtileties of the techniques.April 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm #25585IBA270Participant
Great books, and great recommendations. I agree with all, and these are books that are my bookshelf.
I would add a word of caution; Self teaching is only relavant after some sound, basic fundamentals are in place. These books are great for “advancing skills” after a rider is a quasi-competent motorcyclist. I feel strongly that one cannot “self teach” themselves to ride. The statistics support it, and I spend an inordinate amount of time every weekend “un-teaching” the self taught. They generally revert back to their usually “unsound/self taught” skills in during the testing phase because that is what has been locked into their memory banks. New riders generally do better than the old salty self taughts because of this.
But again, excellent must read list!April 10, 2010 at 3:30 pm #25611
Just curious, what is your opinion on reading books like this and watching instructional videos before taking the class? Not actually riding, just gathering information and ideas?
Do you find that it makes things like countersteering easier to teach on the range?
Do you have people arguing with you about correct techniques because they read it somewhere?
For myself, I read alot and watched the Ride Like a Pro video before I took the course. Honestly, the book that helped most with the course was the MSF book on Motorcycling Excellence. It filled in the holes in the little workbook that we went through in the classroom portion. Having watched the video, I had the narrator’s voice going through my head the whole time with “head and eyes up”, “friction zone” and “rear brake” even when I wasn’t close enough to an instructor for pointers.April 18, 2010 at 6:13 pm #25820RabParticipant
The Complete Idiots Guide to Motorcycling is motorcycling 101 as far as I’m concerned.
It gives a good overview of all things motorcycle and should be every potential motorcyclists first book on the topic IMO.
A reasonably good video to watch prior to taking the MSF course is “Learn to Ride The Easy Way”, available from http://www.ridelikeapro.com
“Proficient Motorcycling” is a great book for the improving rider who has completed an MSF course.April 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm #25823IBA270Participant
I just saw this quesiton posted (I’m assuming) to me! Sorry about that…
What do I think about reading these books before taking the class? I don’t have an opinion either way. I could argue both for against, and here is the reasoning;
Pro: The beginner can pick up some of the language and understand the dynamics of motorcycles. Also, understanding the controls better is also useful. Most of the basics (if not all) are universal. As you mentioned, “head and eyes up”, etc.
Con: Depending on the book, some of the concepts may run counter to what we teach in a beginners class. There are practices that advanced riders MAY employ, or riders on a track that we DO NOT teach in the MSF. Every now and again, I’ll get a good question from a student about an exercise where clearly they have heard or read something that is otherwise correct, but not what we are teaching.
At the end of the day, the MORE we know as riders, the better off we are. I say understand all you can from solid, reputable sources.April 20, 2010 at 12:00 am #25861
No worries, and thanks for your thoughts.
I can definitely see the cons, especially after some of the discussions that we have had here on the board.April 20, 2010 at 12:03 am #25862
I didn’t read the Complete Idiot’s guide, but I imagine that it is very similar to the MSF book- ie covers the basics in a very accessible manner- from controls to safety gear to basic riding strategy.
I tend to agree with what you say regarding “Proficient Motorcycling”, though I don’t think that it is bad to read it before the MSF course. Just that you will probably get more out of it after the class.April 21, 2010 at 4:41 am #25884RabParticipant
The Idiot’s guide is not really an instructional book, although there is some riding instruction in it. It covers a wide range of motorcycle topics (street riding, dirt riding, protective gear, history, maintenance, touring, racing, clubs, etc.); none of them in great detail, but a really good overview of everything motorcycle.
That’s why I would strongly recommend it for someone who’s just getting interested in motorcycles.
If I’d read “Proficient Motorcycling” from cover to cover before I’d gotten on a motorcycle for the first time, I may never have gotten on a motorcycle. I found some of what’s in it quite disturbing when I realized just how many things *can* go wrong on a motorcycle. I was riding very gingerly and with trepidation for a week or two after reading it. An essential read though IMO.April 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm #25886eonParticipant
I read PM before I took my BRC. It is a scary book but I took it to be forewarned is forearmed and I’m sure I was safer because of it. I certainly had no illusions I was embarking upon a safe venture but that there were ways and means to make it safer. The first few weeks I think I was trying to do too much though. I remember thinking I was looking everywhere but not seeing much of anything. After a while I started to focus on one technique and keep practicing that till it became 2nd nature.
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