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Our Favorite Motorcycle Books

Motorcycle booksAs much as you'd like to, you can't ride your motorcycle all the time.

But that doesn't mean you have to leave your enthusiasm for two wheels behind when you're forced to do other things. There are plenty of motorcycling books out there that can stoke your passion for riding even when you can't.

The trick, as always, is finding the good stuff. And that's where we come in. We asked around the AMA offices to see what staffers recommend, and we've come up with a list that includes everything from beginner books to novels that are sure to keep your mind where it belongs when you're not riding.

You can order these at your local bookstore or get them online at, an astonishingly comprehensive motorcycle-specific mail-order bookstore.

 Motorcycling For Dummies book cover

Motorcycling For Dummies

by Bill Kresnak
After you read this book, you won't be.

 Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road

by Neil Peart (The drummer for Rush).
In a 10-month period, Peart's daughter and wife died. In an attempt to sort out the tragedy, he sets out on his bike from Eastern Canada, rides to Alaska, down the western half of the U.S., Mexico and finally. Along the way, he describes some of the routes and sites.

 Hear Me Roar

Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road

by Ann Ferrar
One of the first books written for motorcycle enthusiasts comes with lots of essays, a resource directory of websites, periodicals, aftermarket suppliers and club contacts. In addition, there's an illustrated history of pioneering women in motorcycling—from turn-of-the-century adventures to the drag racers, stuntwomen and motocrossers of today—a reference section with safety information, and advice on choosing a motorcycle and gear. In compiling the book, the author rode more than 30,000 solo miles to interview hundreds of women.

 Hell's Angels

Hell's Angels

by Hunter S. Thompson
OK, it's about biker culture, and it's written by a guy who's famous for being more than a little whacked. But it's a great read.


Jupiter's Travels

by Ted Simon
There's a lot of "I rode my bike around the world" books out there, and the best of them aspire to be as good as Jupiter's Travels. Very few succeed.

 Owner Manual

Motorcycle Owner's Manual, a Practical Guide to Keeping your Motorcycle in Top Condition

by Hugo Wilson
A great primer on simple motorcycle maintenance, with tons of well-lit photos that will make you familiar with how a motorcycle works.

 MSF book

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Guide to Motorcycling Excellence: Skills, Knowledge, and Strategies for Riding Right

by Nate Rauba
Compiled by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), this book is an excellent resource on motorcycling safety. Increase your confidence level while riding with the knowledge gleaned after 21 years of research. The book covers everything from a beginner's frame of mind, to advanced theory for experienced riders.

 The Perfect Vehicle

The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles

by Melissa Holbrook Pierson
This is a book about the love of motorcycling, written for those not yet converted as well as for those who are.

 Proficient Motorcycling

Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well

by David L. Hough
Reading "Proficient Motorcycling" can significantly reduce risks by teaching people how to ride safer and smarter.

 Running with the Moon

Running with the Moon

by Jonny Bealby
When Jonny Bealby's fiancée tragically died of a mystery virus while the couple was traveling in Kahmir, he decided that the only way to overcome his grief was to go on a huge adventure- traveling alone from the top of Africa to the bottom, and back again, on a motorbike. On his journey he had to contend with wild animals, tribal chieftains, civil wars, sandstorms, wipeouts and other hazards; but the biggest challenge of all was facing up to his own grief, and finding the heart to fall in love again, this time with an Algerian woman he met on his travels. This book is both an adventure story and the story of Bealby's inner journey towards new hope and new love.

 Street Strategies

Street Strategies: A Survival Guide for Motorcyclists

by David L. Hough
"'Street Strategies' could save your life," says David Searle, editor of Motorcycle Consumer News. "Read these stories and commit their lessons to memory."
The perfect companion to "Proficient Motorcycling", Street Strategies is a unique collection of street riding savvy gleaned from years of real-life motorcycling. Each page serves as a reminder of a specific hazard and offers a short lesson designed to help readers avoid an accident. Perfect for the novice and expert alike.



Twist of the Wrist, Twist of the Wrist II

by Keith Code
Both are good, analytical approaches to the machines and mindset of riding a motorcycle well. They're not just for racers, especially "II". These books will make you think differently about things you thought you already understood, like corners.

 Two Wheels on Two Reels

Two Wheels on Two Reels

by Mike Seate
If there's a movie with a motorcyle in it, Mike Seate writes about it in this fun retrospective of motorcycle and motorcycle-related movies. You'll become a regular at the video rental store.

 The ultimate Motorcycle Book

The Ultimate Motorcycle Book

by Hugo Wilson
This coffee table book with Hugo's usual rich photos will bring you up to speed on the significant motorcycles of the last century.

 Well Made in America

Well Made in America: Lessons from Harley-Davidson on Being the Best

by Peter C. Reid
In 1981, 13 Harley-Davidson managers purchased the ailing motorcycle company from its parent conglomerate, AMF. Saddled with $83 million in debt, they had to avoid bankruptcy, restore employee commitment, revolutionize manufacturing processes and dramatically increase sales-immediately. Today, business professors throughout the world cite the Harley-Davidson "miracle" in their classrooms. What really happened? Here's an in-depth look at how this pioneering group of owner-managers combined Japanese work methods with American know-how, triumphed over financial instability and foreign competition, and ultimately breathed new life into the company to become a big time success.

 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

by Robert M. Pirsig
Not much Zen, and not a whole lot of motorcycle maintenance, either. But this touchstone work is good for making you care about what you are doing in a philosophical way. Pirsig uses a cross-country motorcycle trip with his son, who abandons him when he goes nuts, to bring the point home.