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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful for a newbie rider like me.
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...
Published on Nov. 8 2003 by Erik Olson

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly concise enough
The topics covered are important, but the author's explanations are needlessly long-winded. He also repeats himself frequently. The essential information could be explained in about 1/5 of the author's ramblings. I had trouble staying awake long enough to get through a chapter. I frankly don't understand why so many people rave about this book.
Published on Oct. 21 2002 by Ronald S. Litz


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful for a newbie rider like me., Nov. 8 2003
By 
Erik Olson "Seeker Reviews" (Ridgefield, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (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 Amazon.com.
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ride A Motorcycle? You need this book., Jan. 2 2003
By 
Frederick C young Jr (Manassas, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Long Live the Ride, May 13 2003
By 
Daniel Rutkowski (Wernersville, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (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 book...it'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 others...you 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent advise by a streetwise biker, Jan. 29 2003
By 
Joseph H Pierre "Joe Pierre" (Salem, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (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 cu.in. 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 cu.in. 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.

Motorcycling is not the safest mode of transportation, but it is fun, and if you stay on top, it's a good way to stay young and vital.

So, buy this book and learn about how to avoid the pitfalls and keep on enjoying the freedom of motorcycling. Proficient Motorcycling is full of photos, drawings, facts and figures and safety tips, entertainingly written and illustrated. You won't regret buying it.

Joe Pierre

author of Handguns and Freedom ..their care and maintenance
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5.0 out of 5 stars If only I'd read this before!, Oct. 26 2002
By 
Tim Bowler (Cambiac France) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (Paperback)
If I'd read this book in 1970, I might still have my first bike today. That Suzuki 250 only lasted a week. I dumped it on a steep, rutted dirt road, kinked the accelerator cable, and left the battered beast for repairs in a garage which burnt to the ground during the catastrophic San Diego County fires of that year.
The 'Running Out of Pavement' section in "Proficient Motorcycling" enlightened me as to what I did wrong thirty years ago. If only I'd had access to the info on how to ride off-pavement with street tires then!
That first doomed bike weighed a third as much as my current two wheeler, which I take up and down a rough gravelly patch of road nearly everyday, and successfully, thanks in part to applying the techniques Hough describes. Becoming a better rider involves constant growth. Hough's book gives plenty of opportunity for that, even for those of us who've been rolling around for years.
His easy, conversational style let me breeze through the whole book for a quick overview, and now I go back to it as a reference to refresh practical knowledge on specific situations.
This book provides tons of wisdom for beginners, or if you've learned mostly by trial and error, it brings everything together in a systematic way, providing strategies and techniques that simply increase biking pleasure. Using Hough's lore on dynamics and cornering, for example, especially 'Delayed Apexing,' makes the road seem wider. In fact, I would say that seeking the delayed apex opens a new dimension for old bikers, in much the same way that seeking the G-spot does for old lovers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING!!!, Aug. 3 2002
By 
vtel57 (Tampa, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (Paperback)
I'm sitting here recovering from two busted ribs, a groin pull, a foot sprain, and miscellaneous scratches and abrasions that are the result of a tumble I took on a bike just last week. It was a stupid thing, really. The [back] end of my H-D Heritage slid out from under me on a wet road while attempting to stop at a red light. I caught the slide in one direction, but over-compensated and went into a "high side" slide. That was all she wrote...
I've been riding off and on for over 27 years and ironically I had ordered this book a few days before the tumble. I wished I had read it sooner... years sooner! I've read many motorcycling periodicals and books, but Mr. Hough's no non-sense approach and his wry sense of humor taught me more in one sitting with this book than I had learned anywhere else in all these years.
I cannot recommend this book more. Not only is the content of optimal value to ALL riders... be they newbies, novices, or grizzled ole' road dogs like me, but the publication itself of fantastic quality for a paper bound edition... thick covers, glossy heavy bond paper... it's a class book!
Motorcycle riding has its inherent dangers and risks. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and buy this book. I guarantee you that it's worth waaaaaaaaay more than the few bucks you're gonna' spend on it.
Ride SAFE!
~Eric
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5.0 out of 5 stars Experienced riders will have their eyes opened..., Sept. 12 2001
By 
Amazon Customer (Shelbyville, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (Paperback)
...by the insight of a rider who's put more seat-time on various bikes in the last 30 years than most 5 people do in a lifetime of riding!
I've ridden for 40 years and found content in the book that made me understand what I (fortunately) had been doing right for many years - but didn't know why.
If you are a newer rider, this book will help you learn to gain in proficiency. If you are an experienced rider, IT MAY HELP SAVE YOUR LIFE!
Simple as that: There are techniques that you've used and habits you've picked up that will DO YOU IN! Mr. Hough helps you understand some of the impact of your habits (that you probably don't realize are dangerous) and motivates you to work at being a safer rider.
His writing style makes what is essentially a textbook seem like a series of short articles that guide the reader through the complicated process (Yes, not everyone has the mental skills to do it well) of safely operating a motorcycle on the streets and highways.
The source for most of this information is a series of articles he wrote for Motorcycle Consumer News over the years and addresses most of the important (and misunderstood) dynamics of turns and braking - along with thorough discussions of various types of road hazards and dangerous traffic situations.
In a friendly and often blunt style, he will help you realize that you are the captain of your two (or three)-wheeled ship and need to take responsibility for compentent operation - thinking well ahead of your speed and sight picture.
You will not regret buying this book and will likely be delighted with feeling that you are making a conscious effort to give yourself (and your passenger) a safely edge.
Buy it!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Survival Manual for Beginner or Expert, May 31 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (Paperback)
For a moment let's assume you've been told tomorrow you'll have to jump out of an airplane. Would you be interested in a book on skydiving?
I'm not a skydiver, but I am a motorcyclist. I'm willing to bet that staying alive on a motorcycle is considerably more challenging than surviving a parachute jump. Yet for some reason many people think of skydiving as serious, dangerous stuff but motorcycling as bicycling without having to peddle.
Funny thing, you can die just as dead from a misadventure motorcycling as one skydiving.
So here is your survival manual. Want to read it?
"Proficient Motorcycling" is written from the viewpoint of a veteran motorcyclist who has seen most of it, and heard about the rest from fellow survivors. It is a thoughtful treatise on how you can get off your motorcycle with the same number of arms and legs as when you got on it.
It isn't just "do this -- don't do that". The book gets into the meat of what makes a motorcycle work, and how you can make it do what you want - and need - to do. The advice is clearly stated, but also explained.
Simply understanding how a motorcycle steers and goes around a corner is vitally important. It is not at all a simple subject, but the key points are explored here, and that knowledge is tied back to the practicalities of keeping the rubber side down.
Brakes - what's to understand about brakes? You put on the brakes - you stop!
Nope, not that easy. If a half-second is the difference between living and dying, you need to know a LOT more about brakes.
Maneuvering in traffic, highway strategies, riding in the rain, traveling in groups, contending with kamikaze dogs - there is a lot of ground to cover, and "Proficient Motorcycling" manages to do it and do it well.
This is more than a beginners' book. Understand, it is a GREAT beginners' book. It should come with every new motorcycle sold. But the veteran rider will find it even more fascinating than the beginner. Having been in the war zone, the experienced rider will relate to the story being told here. Few riders will come away without new insight.
As with any complex topic, there are areas where experts disagree. The author points out where there are disagreements, and why, and then gives his take on the issue. You may or may not agree with his reasoning, but you will definitely think about it, and come away better informed.
Good book. Could save your life. Buy it.
Ed Bianchi
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and practical, March 13 2001
By 
This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (Paperback)
I have been riding off and on for about 19 years. Decided to to get a new Superbike soon and felt a little reading before taking another MSF course could be a real bonus. This book is filled with practical advice that can really help on the road. The writing is much better than Keith Code's TWOT II and it does not continually insult the readers intelligence with definitions to common words*. (Not saying Keith Code wrote a bad book, Not at all.) Just that alot of the information in this book was easier to understand and the author has given the reader a little vocabulary credit. Codes' books do provide tons of information, it's just that this book was written much better. It is more street oriented than Codes' book as well. Much of the book was basic review but even in review there were some tips and ideas that should prove handy. Well written and recommended, I would especially recommend this book and an MSF class to a novice rider. To top it all off the binding has a quality feel to it as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a keeper.., June 18 2000
By 
Ross Flaven (Boulder, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well (Paperback)
As a born-again motorcyclist (22 years ago I gave up the saddle when my daughter was born, after 8 years of self-taught riding), I read everything I could find about riding technique, style, and strategy. Including the Dummy books, superbike/ego books, brandname books, and a host of others. I re-discovered some old friends from Road Rider magazine, which had morphed into the consumer-oriented Motorcycle Consumer News. There I also discovered David Hough's "Proficient Motorcycling" column, which immediately appealed to me on several levels: he's an unassuming writer with understated yet direct style; his topics were relevant to all skill levels; and, he discussed the minutiae of riding with clarity, consistency, and conciseness. Everything I'd been looking for to re-educate myself on the now unfamiliar world of motorcycling. When I learned this book--a compilation of years of articles and updates--was pending, I immediately pre-ordered it. Yes, this time around I've signed up for the MSF course--but this is the book I'll keep for reference and review.
If you are a born-again, or just starting out on a motorcycle, this book will go far toward putting everything into a natural perspective. For the cost of about four issues of Motorcycle Consumer News, I have decade's worth of words that help me intimately understand exactly what I'm doing on two wheels.
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Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well by David L. Hough (Paperback - May 1 2000)
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