Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to motorcycles
The complete idiot's guide to motorcycles
Holmstrom, Darwin.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, Ind. : Alpha, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 424 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Previous ed.: 1998.

Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TL440 .H655 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
TL440 .H655 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Covers everything from how to choose and maintain a motorcycle and how to buy appropriate gear to how to ride safely, and how to make the most out of trips on the open road. It also discusses motorcycle history and the timeless motorcycle mystique.

Author Notes

Motorcyclist magazine, the "World's Largest Streetbike Publication," recently celebrated its 85th year of publication. In a concise and amusing style, it focuses on the motorcycles, products, events, and people that fire the passions of streetbike enthusiasts. Motorcyclist has an audited monthly readership of 2.1 million motorcycle enthusiasts.

Darwin Holmstrom has been riding motorcycles for 23 of his 34 years. He bought his first dirtbike when he was 11 years old and has owned at least one functioning motorcycle ever since. He has ridden nearly 300,000 miles. The only thing that has remained constant in his life is his passion for motorcycling, and he rides every chance he gets. He now supports his motorcycling habit by working as the Midwest editor for Motorcyclist magazine and by working as a freelance writer.

Darwin has worked as a reporter and photographer for a daily newspaper. He won the Associated Press Photographer of the Month award in March 1997. He has also worked as an editor and graphics designer for a variety of publishing houses and periodicals, covering topics as diverse as engineering, liturgical studies, and Western mysticism. In 1997, he won a National Small Press design award for self-help books.

Darwin has a Master's degree in creative writing and a Bachelor's degree in photography and graphic design. He currently lives in western North Dakota with his wife and four dogs.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Biker Basicsp. 1
1 The Motorcycle Mystiquep. 3
The Thrill of the Open Roadp. 4
Bikes Are Beautifulp. 4
The Tao of Two Wheelsp. 6
Biker Chicp. 7
The Art of Motorcyclesp. 8
Easy Rider: The Convenience of Bikesp. 11
2 A Brief History of Bikesp. 13
Humble Beginningsp. 13
The Wild Ones: The Outlaws' Conveyancep. 15
The Japanese Invasionp. 16
The Risen Hog: The Resurrected Motorcycle Marketp. 23
3 Street Squid or Dirt Donk? Types of Motorcyclesp. 27
Split Personalities: Dual Sportsp. 28
Cruisers: The American Bikesp. 30
Sportbikesp. 33
Pure-Dirtp. 35
Street Standards: A Renaissancep. 36
The Ultimate Behemoths: Touring Bikesp. 38
Part 2 So You Want to Buy a Bike?p. 43
4 Choosing the Right Bikep. 45
What Do You Want to Do?p. 46
Starting Out Smallp. 48
Starting Out Slowp. 50
Best Bets for New Bikersp. 50
New or Used?p. 51
The Costs of Cyclingp. 53
5 Anatomy of a Motorcyclep. 57
The Nature of the Beastp. 58
Meeting the Motorp. 58
The Clutchp. 64
Rotating the Rubber: Drive Systemsp. 65
Putting It All Together: Frame, Suspension, Wheels, and Tiresp. 68
It's Electricp. 69
Bodyworkp. 70
6 Start Your Enginesp. 73
Engineeringp. 74
The Four Strokep. 74
The Two Strokep. 82
7 Buying Your First Bikep. 85
Where to Buy Your Bikep. 85
What to Look Forp. 92
What's It Worth?p. 95
Making the Dealp. 96
8 Insider Tips on Buying a Bikep. 99
Minimizing Maintenance Costsp. 100
Getting the Best Dealp. 102
To Your Credit: Financingp. 102
Getting Insuredp. 103
Trading Bikesp. 104
9 Getting the Gearp. 107
Helmets: Home Is Where Your Head Isp. 107
In Style: What to Wearp. 111
Extreme Riding Gearp. 116
Accessories: All the Extrasp. 121
Part 3 On the Roadp. 127
10 Preparing to Hit the Roadp. 129
Getting in Your Right Mind: Mental Motorcyclingp. 130
Getting Licensedp. 130
The Motorcycle Safety Foundationp. 132
Control Freaks: How to Ride a Motorcyclep. 132
The Pre-Ride Inspectionp. 136
11 Learning to Ridep. 141
Steering Clearp. 142
Stopping What You've Startedp. 146
Shifting Gearsp. 149
Throttle Controlp. 151
Taking Turnsp. 151
Taking the Testp. 152
12 Rules of the Roadp. 155
Driving in the USAp. 156
Jockeying for Position: Lane Positioningp. 160
The Three Rs: Riding, Reading, and Reactingp. 164
The Safety Zonep. 165
13 Street Survivors: Steering Through Sticky Situationsp. 169
Intersection Encountersp. 170
Freeway Ridingp. 175
Splitting Lanesp. 179
Riding in the Twistiesp. 180
14 Staying Alive: Special Situations and Emergenciesp. 185
Riders on the Stormp. 186
Night Riderp. 187
Two for the Roadp. 188
Oddball Cornersp. 189
Crowned Roadsp. 191
Group Ridingp. 192
SOS: Emergency Situationsp. 194
How to Raise a Fallen Bikep. 196
15 Doing It in the Dirt: Riding Off-Roadp. 199
Form Is Function: Posturep. 200
Things That Go Bump in the Roadp. 203
Surface Conditionsp. 205
Part 4 Living with a Motorcyclep. 211
16 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenancep. 213
Tools of the Tradep. 214
Keeping the Shiny Side Up: Supporting the Bikep. 217
Oil: Your Bike's Bloodp. 217
Air Filters: Clearing the Sinusesp. 221
Batteries: An Electrifying Experiencep. 222
Keeping Coolp. 222
Chain Maintenancep. 223
Shaft Maintenancep. 225
Cleaning Upp. 226
On Ice: Storing Your Bikep. 227
17 Rx: Repairp. 229
Take It In or Do It Yourself?p. 230
Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Tiresp. 230
A Screeching Halt: Brakesp. 233
Chain and Sprocket Replacementp. 240
18 Creative Customizing and Collectingp. 243
Why Customize?p. 244
Comparing Customsp. 245
So You Want to Customize Your Bike ...p. 249
Classic, Collectible, or Just Old? Collecting Motorcyclesp. 250
Collector's Choicep. 250
What Constitutes a Classic?p. 252
Future Classics?p. 253
Part 5 The Motorcycling Communityp. 257
19 Join the Club: Motorcycle Clubsp. 259
How Motorcycle Clubs Were Bornp. 260
Types of Clubsp. 261
The American Motorcyclist Associationp. 268
Finding a Clubp. 269
20 The Open Road: Touring and Ralliesp. 271
Any Bike Is a Touring Bikep. 272
Planning a Tripp. 273
Touring Range and Fuel Stopsp. 273
Preparing Your Bikep. 274
What to Bring?p. 275
You Can Take It with You: Packing Your Bikep. 278
Loading Upp. 280
Pacing Yourselfp. 282
Motorcycle Madness: Ralliesp. 282
Major Ralliesp. 283
Other Ralliesp. 285
21 Speed Racer: Motorcycle Road Racingp. 287
A Brief History of Motorcycle Road Racingp. 288
Types of Racingp. 289
Grand Prix Racingp. 289
Grand National Dirt Track: American Racingp. 291
Production-Based Motorcycle Racingp. 292
Other Racing Seriesp. 296
Drag Racingp. 298
22 How to Become a Motorcycle Road Racerp. 301
How to Become a Racerp. 302
Club Racingp. 303
Racing Schoolsp. 305
Preparing a Race Bikep. 309
Buying Your First Racing Bikep. 310
A Biker's Buying Guide to New Bikesp. 311
B Biker's Buying Guide to Used Bikesp. 375
C Resourcesp. 383
D Cycle Babble Glossaryp. 403
Indexp. 411