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Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle Hardcover – 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: DK ADULT (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789401509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789401502
  • Product Dimensions: 30 x 25.5 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #250,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 21 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is an unbeatable resource for tracing the history of motorcycle and scooter brands and models. Over 1000 are photographically illustrated with notes, and a directory covers every known motorcycle brand and model, listed alphabetically under country of origin. Whether your interest is in classic models, racing motorcycles, or stylish new machines, you will find them all here.
"Before the automobile there was the motorcycle. And even after . . . the motorcycle put the world on wheels." Automobiles were made for the rich until Henry Ford came along. For everyone else, the motorcycle was the thing.
The first part of the book features wonderful photographs (always a side view, and sometimes front and back as well; for racing machines there are usually racing views; and mechanical views where innovations occur) along with brief descriptions of the manufacturer and model. Here are some of the motorcycles featured: Adler MB200; AJS Model D; Aprilia RSV 250; Ardie TM500; Ariel Square-Four; Armstrong MT 500; Ascott-Pullin 500cc; and Autoped (a motorized child's scooter) -- and those are just in the A's.
Motorcycles with two pages of coverage include the Bimota TESI 1D; BMW R32; Harley-Davidson JD28; Henderson; Hilderbrand & Wolfmuller; Honda CB750; Indian Scout; Kawasaki ZZ-R 1100; Norton Manx; and Triumph Speed Twin.
My favorite profile was of a reconstruction of the original Daimer Einspur, the first motorcycle.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent reference for someone who wants to know about any brand of motorcycle. There's something in there on all of them!
I like everything about the book. The photography is great and there's some really good background information, too. My criticism of the book lies in the selection of the particular bikes that have any meaningful coverage devoted to them. Certain marques are overly represented where others are ignored or get very light coverage. Too many Ducatis, for example, and not enough early Kawasakis. Too many Ariels and not enough bikes from companies like Benelli, a company that sold zillions of lightweights. The other thing is the specific bikes chosen to represent certain companies. I would like to have seen a little more thought given to those that were the most significant models.
That's my only real criticism. The authors' interests were reflected in this book.
But again, in summary, it's the most complete work of its type I have ever seen, and I have spent many hours enjoying it. It's also nice to have whenever anyone talks about a particular bike-- you can look it up in the book and in many cases, find a picture.
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Format: Hardcover
The photos and content is very good but in several instances the most relevant models are not mentioned or illustrated. i.e. Matchless G50,M.V. Agusta 750s. Ducati 750SS roundcase. It seems that the authors preferences, easy of access to a machine (for photos) or conveniences are sometimes sacrificed for the important item. In general it is a very good general info book. Shows some really strange machines.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Best book of its type Sept. 28 1998
By Mark C. Zweig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent reference for someone who wants to know about any brand of motorcycle. There's something in there on all of them!
I like everything about the book. The photography is great and there's some really good background information, too. My criticism of the book lies in the selection of the particular bikes that have any meaningful coverage devoted to them. Certain marques are overly represented where others are ignored or get very light coverage. Too many Ducatis, for example, and not enough early Kawasakis. Too many Ariels and not enough bikes from companies like Benelli, a company that sold zillions of lightweights. The other thing is the specific bikes chosen to represent certain companies. I would like to have seen a little more thought given to those that were the most significant models.
That's my only real criticism. The authors' interests were reflected in this book.
But again, in summary, it's the most complete work of its type I have ever seen, and I have spent many hours enjoying it. It's also nice to have whenever anyone talks about a particular bike-- you can look it up in the book and in many cases, find a picture.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Tremendous Standard Reference for Motorcycles and Scooters Jan. 21 2001
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is an unbeatable resource for tracing the history of motorcycle and scooter brands and models. Over 1000 are photographically illustrated with notes, and a directory covers every known motorcycle brand and model, listed alphabetically under country of origin. Whether your interest is in classic models, racing motorcycles, or stylish new machines, you will find them all here.
"Before the automobile there was the motorcycle. And even after . . . the motorcycle put the world on wheels." Automobiles were made for the rich until Henry Ford came along. For everyone else, the motorcycle was the thing.
The first part of the book features wonderful photographs (always a side view, and sometimes front and back as well; for racing machines there are usually racing views; and mechanical views where innovations occur) along with brief descriptions of the manufacturer and model. Here are some of the motorcycles featured: Adler MB200; AJS Model D; Aprilia RSV 250; Ardie TM500; Ariel Square-Four; Armstrong MT 500; Ascott-Pullin 500cc; and Autoped (a motorized child's scooter) -- and those are just in the A's.
Motorcycles with two pages of coverage include the Bimota TESI 1D; BMW R32; Harley-Davidson JD28; Henderson; Hilderbrand & Wolfmuller; Honda CB750; Indian Scout; Kawasaki ZZ-R 1100; Norton Manx; and Triumph Speed Twin.
My favorite profile was of a reconstruction of the original Daimer Einspur, the first motorcycle.
Other motorcycles that received one page of coverage included: ABC, Ace, Adler MB200, Ariel Square-Four, BMW Rennsport, BMW R1100GS, Brough Superior Dream, BSA Bantam, BSA Gold Star DBD34, Buell S2-Thunderbolt, DKW SS250, Excelsior Auto-Cycle Model K, Honda 50 Super Cub, Indian Single, Kawasaki Z1, Laverda Jota, Megola Racing Model, MV Agusta 350 GP, MZ RE125, Ner-a-Car Model C, NSU Kompressor, Pope, Rokon Trail-Breaker, Scott 3 3/4, Sunbeam Model 90, Suzuki GT 750, Triumph 3TA, Vespa 150, Vincent-HRD Series C Black Shadow, and Werner.
Just to show you the kind of detail available to you, let me share the one-quarter page listing for the Zundapp GS125. This machine had a capacity of 124cc, and power output of 18bhp@7,900 rpm. It weighed 100 kg, and the estimated top speed was 65 mph. "The letters GS stand for Gelande Sport -- Gelande meaning 'terrains.'" This bike was a favorite in Enduro-type events in the U.S. in the 1970s. This machine had good off-road capabilities with fair speed when necessary, in a form that was legal for on the road as well. Enhanced versions of the 1972 bike photographed "won the world 125cc Motocross Championship in 1973 and 1974." The photograph notes that the Zundapp engine was also sold to other manufacturers, and points out the high-level exhaust system and the head lights.
The directory is a real treasure trove of information. Did you know that Bulgaria, Ireland, Israel, Romania, South Africa, and South Korea have each had one motorcycle brand?
Here is a listing for an early U.K. bike: "Silva 1919-20 Early scooter with front-wheel drive provided by a 118 cc atmospheric-inlet-valve Wall Auto Wheel." Also, if a designer left one manufacturer for another, that is noted. So you can see the development of one person's work, as well as that of a firm.
Clearly, a limitation of any work like this one is the availability of models to photograph. Mr. Wilson was fortunate to have the assistance of The Motorcycle Heritage Museum in Westerville, Ohio for this purpose. But you may be disappointed because your favorite model is not here. That is an unavoidable weakness. You don't see all the old automobile models when you visit the Henry Ford Museum in Greenfield Village either.
I am very impressed with what has been accomplished in this book. It is hard to imagine doing more in a volume of this size, and at this price level. I encourage you to give the book to your friends who love motorcycles.
After you have finished enjoying the book for the first of many times, I suggest that you review the development of motorcycles. Has your own riding taken advantage of all of those advances? Perhaps you need more than one motorcycle so you can engage in a fuller range of activities. Here's a good place to start thinking about what your next motorcycle will be.
If you love Harley-Davidsons, I also recommend Mr. Wilson's outstanding book, The Ultimate Harley-Davidson.
Enjoy the freedom of the open road!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Reference for Motorcycle Fans New and Old May 1 2010
By G. Beresford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've owned this book for probably 15 years, having bought it when it first came out. I was a teenager at the time, and there was no way my mum would have ever let me own a motorcycle. This book was, for the most part, the only way I could live out my fantasy of owning or riding one. A couple of years later, I'd grown out of my interest in bikes, and the book ended up in a box for a few years.

In the last couple of years my interest has been rekindled, partially out of the potential need for a bike and its awesome gas mileage (I drive 80 miles every day between work and various errands), partially out of the romanticism that comes with motorcycle territory. So this book found its way back to my bookshelf, and it gets read several times a week. I don't yet own a bike or a license (coming up with the cash for a decent working bike is a bit of a problem these days), but I'm once again living out my fantasy as best I can thanks to this book (and the Long Way Round/Long Way Down series and a couple of great biker vlogs I've been following).

As for the book itself, it's a lovely hardcover affair, packed to the gills with high-quality photos, descriptions of engine parts and sometimes a history of notable modifications made in production. They obviously couldn't cover all of the bikes made in the last 100 years, or the book would have been at least three volumes, but I think the writer did a good job of including most of the big "make the industry sit up and take notice" bikes, like the Honda CB750 and Kawasaki Z1, the Triumph Speed Twin, Indian Scout, etc. There are also plenty of interesting (sometimes comically so) bikes from smaller manufacturers that fall into the "also ran" category. The book also includes a glossary of motorcycle terms and a huge list of marquees, both well-known and not so much.

This book is recommended to anyone who has even a passing interest in motorcycles. If you don't know much about bikes, this book will help you understand some of the mystique and history behind motorcycles. If you're a seasoned rider, you'll still find yourself flipping through the pages and probably smiling as you remember your own personal encounters with some of the bikes you'll see here.

Hopefully you can find a copy, because I'm never getting rid of mine!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Very good but biased Feb. 8 2001
By Gerald Romer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The photos and content is very good but in several instances the most relevant models are not mentioned or illustrated. i.e. Matchless G50,M.V. Agusta 750s. Ducati 750SS roundcase. It seems that the authors preferences, easy of access to a machine (for photos) or conveniences are sometimes sacrificed for the important item. In general it is a very good general info book. Shows some really strange machines.
Five Stars July 15 2014
By Wendall J. Alexander - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
really nice


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