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Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well Paperback – May 1 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: i5 Press (May 1 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889540536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889540535
  • Product Dimensions: 28.3 x 21.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #306,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Until recently, I've never had the desire to ride a motorcycle, mainly because I was afraid of becoming an organ donor. However, that suddenly changed a couple of months back, probably due to turning 37 and sitting through a marathon viewing session of "American Chopper" episodes. So, I began to shop around for a bike that would fit me, and at the same time I tapped into all the informational sources I could find about motorcycling (friends, the Web, etc.). "Proficient Motorcycling" was one of the first books I read, and I bought it based on the good reviews I saw on
It was my desire to arm myself with as much knowledge and hands-on riding skills as possible before swinging a leg over the motorcycle I finally settled upon (a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy). I signed up at a local Harley-Davidson dealer for a "Rider's Edge" class, and "Proficient Motorcycling" was an excellent supplement to the MSF course materials. Indeed, Mr. Hough recommends taking an MSF course, and frankly I can't imagine a novice trying to ride without formal instruction.
The techniques that Mr. Hough advocates in "Proficient Motorcycling" have made me a better AND safer rider. I feel more confident riding my new H-D, and therefore I'm able to enjoy my road-time that much more. I've already started reading the book's sequel "More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride" to build upon what I've learned so far. If you want to be a good motorcyclist (and not a "donor-cyclist"), then by all means dive into "Proficient Motorcycling."
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Format: Paperback
With his down-to-earth writing style, Mr. Hough (rhymes with rough) covers a wide range of driving conditions the motorcyclist may encounter and the practical steps to take to survive them. Topics include everything from lane splitting to driving on ice to the seldom thought of high wind gust.
The graphic story at the beginning (a sort of wake up call) reminds the rider that he is very vulnerable when participating in this "sport." The scenarios, with accompanying photos and drawings alert the novice to the dangers of cycling.
For those who have been riding for years, the book serves as a reminder of dangers long forgotten. After reading this book, the long-time rider will look at his or her next ride through different eyes. There will be a sense of empowerment to tackle whatever is encountered.
David discusses bike and rider center of gravity, and how these two are interrelated and change with varying bike loads, turns, and rider positions.
The section on proper braking (always use both brakes) conveys information on the amount of traction available at the wheels under varying conditions.
Traction? Learn about the "contact patch" and how it changes with lean and braking.
Learn how to gain maximum forward visibility maneuvering inside and outside turns by using David's windowing technique.
Mr. Hough's final word of advice? Practice. Practice. Practice what is in the book.
I would have given the book a five star rating, but I found some of the material in this collection of articles redundant. This may be a good thing for the novice, but I was distracted by it. I suggest the publisher eliminate this redundancy in future editions.
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Format: Paperback
If you are looking here, you want to prolong your riding days as much as possible. After all, the sights, sounds, smells and feeling of riding on a motorcycle are like no other transportation or recreation on Earth. Whether you are a newbie or grizzled cross-country traveler, read this book! You will discover David Hough, a well-seasoned rider and writer, wants nothing more than for your days to be long so you can enjoy the ride to the max.
This book was a cover-to-cover continuous read for me, and very few books have been that for me except good fiction. The subject matter is of utmost importance and not fiction at all. David writes in an entertaining manner that does not talk down to the rider. Cyclists of all ages and persuasions will gain something from this's that good. Paradoxically, you will discover that you will be much freer to ride your own ride after reading it. And very likely, you'll want to periodically pick it back up and do a little re-reading, too.
The cost of the book is inexpensive when you consider the potential for picking up some truly priceless wisdom. The saying "Learn from the mistakes of can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself" is no truer than in motorcycling. All the best to you.
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Format: Paperback
David Hough has, he says, 750,000 miles under his saddle as of ten years ago. That's a lot of miles. I'm 73, and have driven trucks professionally. I figure that between trucks, cars, and motorcycles I've driven something over a million miles. At 20,000 miles a year average, which is about what I put on the odometer these days, that's 50 years of driving. In my case, I have about 60 years of driving experience. I'm older than David Hough.

That's a lot of motorcycling, and in his case, judging by the two books of his that I've read, I believe him. He is obviously a very experienced rider, and his advice is very good. He is passing along his experience and wisdom on avoiding road rash, and it would be well to heed it.

His other book which I have read and recommend, is Street Strategies. It is sort of a condensed version of Proficient Motorcycling. There will be another one out shortly, they say, which will be titled More Proficient Motorcycling. I will buy that one, as well.

To learn from others is wiser than to have to learn everything yourself from your own experience, especially when the most important lessons are usually the result of bruises, or worse. When I bought my first motorcycle--a Honda CB250 "Hawk" back in the mid-'sixties, I had a totally inexperienced instructor--me. My next was a (very) used 1946 74 Harley-Davidson knucklehead, with a suicide clutch and a tank shift. I have also owned a little trail 55cc Honda. Today, I ride a 2000 90 Kawasaki Vulcan Nomad. How times have changed! I'm signed up for a motorcycle riding class, because I figure there are still a lot of things to learn.
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