on February 3, 2010
I should have guessed from the title of the book and the images on the cover, but this book was a little more biased 'race bike' technique and bike setup for the track rather than techniques that are useful to riders who never venture to the track. From the books summary and other reader reviews I thought that the techniques shown would be equally applicable to the street and and would assist rider safety for day to day riding.... but on reading it I was wrong.
There are sections of the book that cover street riding but for me at least the bias toward 'racing techniques' is not what I was really looking for. A book teaching advanced riding techniques it is not but if your a racer who wants to try out racing techniques on the track and also apply these to the street then this maybe the book for you. For me alas it is not what I was expecting.
This is certainly a book that does what it's says on the cover... racing street riding techniques, but is certainly not a source for advanced safety riding techniques for the street.
on November 26, 2003
I've been riding motorcycle since 1975 and am a licensed road racer, so I knew a couple of things about riding when I bought this book. I expected to learn something, but no more than I learned from other riding technique books. My expectations were way too low. Simply put, this book changed my riding life. No other book contains practical exercises like the ones in "Total Control." Practicing these safe and simple exercises took my riding to a new level. No longer am I fighting my bike in the tight, technical stuff. Now it just does what I want it to. Forget spending $1000s on your suspension and engine--if you want to perform better, buy this book instead.
on April 6, 2004
This book has been a real treat to read. Similar to fellow Motorcycle Consumer News writer David Hough, Lee Parks uses a lighthearted writing style coupled with clear diagrams and pictures to get his points across. The result is an instructional book that's so fun to read that you barely notice that you're learning things.
Learn, however, you will. Parks covers motorcycling from every angle: chassis dynamics, mental dynamics, body dynamics, machine setup, rider setup. Even though the book is ostensibly for "high performance street riders", the illustrations use all sorts of motorcycles, from a Hayabusa to a GoldWing to a fully dressed Harley -- emphasizing that the skills learned in this book can be applied to any street rider, anywhere, on any bike. A lot of points that I learned originally from David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling are repeated in Total Control, which I think is wonderful. Hough, and now Parks, make superb -- and very accessible -- suggestions.
It's really the book's well-rounded attitude that puts it towards the top of my list. While I'm always on the lookout for more ways to improve my lines and quicken my turns, I really appreciate a book which tells me flat out that attitude is just as important as lap times. Even my personal favorite non-motorcycling motorcycle topics, fitness and ergonomics, are covered in Total Control. Though now I have even fewer excuses for procrastinating those sit-ups...
on December 14, 2003
From the view point of a returning motorcyclist (35-year break), "Total Control" has been an excellent book for my needs. In the 1960s, neither riding schools nor technique books existed. The salesperson showed you which control did what and you learned the hard way on the street. The result was that I never really developed a true riding expertise and was blessed to have survived the experience - being young helped. Thus, Lee Parks' book has been an excellent resource for explaining and justifying each riding skill or equipment requirement. The book is clear, practical, and straight to the point. Riding methods, right and wrong, are clearly illustrated and each attribute is well annotated making the skill requirement clear. Loved the insights about how each skill set have been applied by racing greats as this made them even more understandable. Many neat tricks are included, for example, steering with the inside arm to avoid conflicting control inputs - works beautifully. The author even includes sets of slow speed, parking lot drills to develop the skills being advocated. My confidence in my ability to control the motorcycle has greatly improved! Recommend this book highly.
on November 12, 2003
From my website ([...])
I did manage to buy a book, "Total Control" by Lee Parks. This book, is (in my humble opinon), the greatest motorcycle instruction book since the start of motorcycle instruction books. Very clear, very precise anaologies to things that everyone deals with in real life, to help one better understand the art that is, motorcycling. One line that I read in the book struck me as something that I needed to do. "If you have not practiced riding with a bit of fear, you will panic when presented with the unexpected." For awhile, I was riding fast, but I wasnt really afraid of riding. I wasnt afraid of sharp corners or this and that, because I usually took them at speeds only slightly above average. I didnt have any fear. I need to work on riding with a bit of fear, so instead of letting the fear CONTROL me in a situation where I need my wits, not my reactions, I can let the fear flow through me, and use the wits.
I also learned about steering my motorcycle more efficently. The author talked about how most people try to steer with both hands around corners, and while they believe that their helping the motorcycle, in reality, their hands are actually fighting eachother sub-conciously. I know, I didnt believe it either. What Lee Parks suggested doing, was relaxing the outside hand in a corner, so its barely gripping the handlebar, and to push with the inside hand ONLY to steer/lean the bike over.
HOLY CRAP! He was completely right. I'm not talking just a little bit, makes a 1/10th of a difference. I mean he was COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY on the money. I came into a 25mph turn on a road I like to test/learn my skills on, and I did as he said. I relaxed my outside hand, and at the latest point in the turn, I pushed with ONLY the inside hand, and started to turn. Only problem is, that my turning was so much more efficent, that I actually turned too much, and almost ended up as a pretty ornament on the inside guard-rail. Insane! I came up to the next tight left turn, and went a quicker than I normally would have (fear + testing out this new found turning ability), and I ZOOMED through it, without a problem. A 25mph rated turn that I normally took at 50mph, I was able to take at 65-70mph, just based on a new turning technique. This sh*t works people. These guys know what their talking about. And while you need to practice, I can completely see how some of these books are manuals on how to get into the racing world.
on June 14, 2004
If you do well by reading and learning, This is a must read!!!
If you are considering a sports bike, buy this before you spend the thousands of dollars. I have read Park's, Total Control and Hough's More proficient motorcycle riding. Park's book is more geared to the proper mechanics of riding. Hough's book addresses the crap to look out for on the road.
The BIG difference is the examples he uses to further explain the process. They are with out a doubt some of the best examples I have seen for teaching a sports related process.
He goes into proper bike set up. He adresses saftey gear, Suspension set up, traction,steering, and probably the biggest gorilla Fear. Let's face it Motorcycling is about the thrill of carving a turn. Managing that so it remains a thrill and not down right scary is the goal for me. Mr Park's really hit a homerun with his Mental Dynamics section.
Enjoy your copy cause I'm not loaning mine out!
on May 11, 2004
To be frank when I saw the title "Total Control" my first thought was "what an ego this guy has." But as an avid reader of Motorcycle Consumer News and skills books in general I decided to taken the plunge.
Am I glad I did. The book is a very entertaining read filled with clear descriptions and advice on how to improve one's riding skills. "Total Control" covers all the aspects of machine and rider dynamics in a clear, concise style. Unique to this book are its drills the reader can try in an appropriate location.
For reference, I have read everything Code, Hough, Ienatsch and Roberts have published. All are very good texts with their own point of view. In my view "Total Control" is one of the better values for street riders.
If you are serious about your riding I would highly recommend adding this book to your library.
on March 3, 2004
Got a Ducati for Christmas. It's just the 620, but still a world away from the crappy little 175 I owned for a couple of months, seven years ago. I hadn't ridden since then, so I figured a little prep might be in order. I snagged this book to read while I waited for riding season to arrive.
Took the bike out to the parking lot on Saturday, and after I got over the initial awkwardness, I was able to apply techniques from the book with GREAT success.
"Relax the outside hand" is incredibly effective. So simple, I couldn't believe what a difference it made.
My husband's a serious sport rider, and I aim to be able to hang with him in the twisties eventually. The lessons in this book are getting me off to a good start. I'm still a long way from getting my tires all the way over--but I'll get there.
on August 26, 2003
This book is among the best.
As background, I've been riding street/sport bikes for 18 years now, and have read nearly everything out there on the subject. Mr Park's book goes beyond Keith Code's (excellent) techniques list, exploring more diverse and usable territory like basic suspension tuning, body positioning, basic mental and physical conditioning, riding gear selection, and why racers do "X" as opposed to a street rider who should perhaps approach the same issue in a modified manner. He also does an excellent job covering more advanced matter, such as how to prep your bike for, and what to expect when you head for a day at a racetrack.
I got a lot out of this book. It's one of a select few I'll read again to brush up on my riding skills.
on March 13, 2004
Well explained topics, full of graphics and photographs, this book is a perfect aid for those riders wanting to get the most of their bikes. It deals with technical subjects like suspension set-up and aerodynamics, as well as human topics like attitude, fear and fitness. Don't get misled by the title, since the techniques taught there apply to every bike type, not only to hi-performance superbikes. Written in a plain understandable language and including just the right and needed math formulae, Mr. Parks leads the reader through the entire book without much pain even for the complete novice rider. He even adds the right amount of subtle humour also.
Great book, highly recommendable.