Best motorcycle books

If for some reason you can’t ride, then get inspiration with a good read

Motorbike rider reading a book under a tree

by Jim Blackstock |

There was a time when the choice of motorcycling books was limited to Haynes repair manuals or a round-up of the grand prix racing year – not anymore though.

And rumours of the demise of printed publishing in favour of Kindle devices and podcasts has been greatly exaggerated, it would appear.

Instead, today there are dozens of quality biking books ranging from acclaimed autobiographies, detailed travel guides, technical maintenance manuals, fabulous photo-heavy histories and even vital guides to getting onto two wheels in the first place.

Related: Best motorbike trackday essentials

But what’s currently available? How much do they cost? And what do you get for your money? Here’s our current pick of some of the best.

Read by Simon Weir Quality 5/5 Value 5/5

If the original godfather of overland travel

the moment collectors sam manicom

This recently-published 'autobiography' (it was actually ghost written by bikesport journalist

Leathered: A life taken to extremes by John Hopkins

Raised by English parents in California, Hopper became the youngest professional rider on the MotoGP circuit and was labelled in 2007 by Valentino Rossi as his most-feared rival until a series of horrific crashes, debt and addiction took their toll. Known to MotoGP fans as one of the most fearless and charismatic riders of his generation, this story pulls no punches.

Pros:

Compelling story

A peek behind the curtain of GP racing

One of the best of its type

Con:

Not known to everyone

OK, it's hardly a riveting read and theory-test guides are available also digitally online but

The Official DVSA Theory Test for Motorcyclists

Packed full of practice questions, it’s a great way to prepare to pass the multiple-choice part of your motorcycle theory test first time and is the ONLY official expert revision guide. This new edition has been updated with the latest changes to the motorcycle theory test revision questions.

Pros:

Great revision aid

Newly updated

Decent value

Con:

Not exactly ‘fun’

This recently updated edition is the acclaimed definitive guide to the best biking roads in

Bikersu2019 Britain: 2nd edition by Simon Weir

Each route has been ridden and reviewed by expert bikers and includes an easy-read large-scale AA route map while it’s also in a durable and practical spiral-bound format.

Pros:

Incomparably useful and inspirational

Credible experts

Great format

Con:

Only for ‘travellers’

Haynes incomparable home service and repair manuals should need no introduction and this is a just

Haynes BMW R1200GS (2013-16) Service and Repair Manual

There’s also a troubleshooting section to help identify specific problems; tips that give valuable short cuts to make the job easier and eliminate the need for special tools; notes, cautions and warnings for the home mechanic; colour spark plug diagnosis and an easy-to-use index.

Pros:

Definitive DIY home service manuals

Easy to use

A must for any motorcycle owner

Con:

Only most popular bikes covered

Glorious, officially sanctioned (by the Sheene family) photographic story of arguably the greatest

Barry Sheene: The Official Photographic Celebration of a Legendary Motorcycle Champion, by Rick Broadbent

Through more than 120 previously unpublished personal photographs from the Sheene family archive, Times journalist and award-winning author Rick Broadbent tells the story of a remarkable sports star.

Pros:

Fabulous, unseen photography

Warm, celebratory insight

Credible, quality author

Con:

More pictures than words

Suspension is probably the most misunderstood aspect of motorcycle performance. This book, by

Race Techu2019s Motorcycle Suspension Bible, by Paul Thede

Based on Thede's popular Race Tech Suspension Seminars, this step-by-step guide shows anyone how to make their bike handle like a pro's.

Thede gives a clear account of the three forces of suspension that you must understand to make accurate assessments of your suspension's condition, outlines testing procedures that will help you gauge how well you're improving your suspension, and step-by-step photos of suspension disassembly and assembly help you rebuild your forks and shocks for optimum performance.

Pros:

Definitive guide to misunderstood subject

Utterly comprehensive

Well organised

Con:

Only for devotees

Acclaimed autobiography (albeit ghost-written by Gary Inman) of the UK's most popular and maverick

Guy Martin: My Autobiography

From the boy who learned to prep bikes with his dad, to the spirited team mechanic, paying his way by collecting beer glasses in pubs, to the young racer at the start of his first race and the buzz he’s been chasing ever since. This thrilling autobiography is an intense and dramatic ride.

Pros:

Incomparable character

Riveting read

Bizarre tales

Con:

Not everybody loves him

This premium edition of the autobiography (this time ghost written by motorcycle journalist John

Michael Rutter: The Life of a Racer, Premium Edition

Pros:

Unique insight

Premium features

Engaging tale

Con:

Not as famous/celebrated as some.

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