My Motorcycle Bookshelf
What books and magazines do you recommend for the
aspiring BMW motorcyclist?
Over the years I've collected a whole shelf of motorcycle
books and periodicals. The following are a few of my favorites.
First are the reference books, about BMW motorcycles and
little else. Usually splashed with lots of photos, they make a fair reference and an
excellent rainy-day read.
BMW Motorcycles, The Complete Story, by Bruce
Crowood Press LTD. - 1996, ISBN 1-86126-005-9
This book is the best history of BMW Motorcycles I have found. It is well written with
great pictures and cut-aways and goes into detail on the evolution of both the motorcycle
and the company.
The Illustrated BMW Motorcycle Buyer's Guide, by
Knittel & Slabon
Motorbooks Intl. - 1996, ISBN 0-7603-0082-8
More technical than Preston's book, it is a must read for the new (or experienced) BMW
enthusiast. In addition to model and VIN lists the book rates the bikes throughout the
years on a scale of one to five stars.
The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle, by Hugo Wilson
Dorling Kindersly - 1995, ISBN 0-7894-0150-9
While not BMW-specific, this is the best of the big motorcycle books. It is packed with
great pictures and a great deal of historic commentary.
Classic Motorcycles - BMW, by Hugo Wilson
Dorling Kindersly - 1998, ISBN 0-7894-3508-X
This book could best be described as a pocket book, yet at only 45 or so pages it covers
all of the major evolutions in BMW's motorcycle line-up. It is a bit sparse, but an
interesting read nonetheless.
Second are books where motorcycles play a significant role.
While many books fit this bill, the following are ones I've read and enjoyed.
Investment Biker, by Jim Rogers
Random House - 1994, ISBN 0-679-42255-2
If you enjoy finance and motorcycles get this book. It is a wonderful tale of a trip
around the world through a Capitalist's eyes. The author, George Soros' former right-hand
man, signed my copy "Life is short, Ride far." Excellent advice :)
The Motorcycle Diaries, by Che Guevara
Verso - 1995, ISBN 1-85984-066-3
View South America in the 1950's through the eyes of a young (pre-Castro ;) Che. This book
is a great narrative mixing detailed travel notes with social and economic commentary.
The Long Journey Home, by Robert, Jr. Fulton
August Pr - 2000, ISBN 0-96724-841-8
Another "must have" motorcycle travel tale, the book chronicles Fulton's 1932
trip around the world.
Tom Swift and His Motorcycle, by Victor Appleton
Grosset & Dunlap - 1910, Antique
Written back when "motor-cycle" was hyphenated and more of an adventure than
a mode of transportation, it is a great rainy day read. Look in used bookstores or on eBay
for the original or Whitehorse
Press for a reprint..
Lastly are the technical & Resource books no owner
should be without.
Clymer Service Manuals
Try searching on Amazon.com for "Clymer BMW"
In my opinion Clymer makes the top service and repair books (others are the BMW Service
Manual and the Haynes Manuals.) They are available for K Bikes, Oilheads and Airheads.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Guide to Motorcycling,
by Nate Rauba
Whitehorse Press - 1995, ISBN 1-88431-301-9
Don't leave home without having carefully read this book at least once.
BMW MOA Anonymous Book, by the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America
Self Publish, Yearly Publication
You can only get this book by joining the BMW MOA. It is a listing of members who have
offered to provide fellow members help and assistance, everything from advice to access to
tools and a garage. This is a must-have for the traveling BMW rider.
Motorcycle Consumer News
This monthly periodical, while very expensive, is the ultimate motorcycle magazine. Each
month it is filled with unbiased articles and product comparisons. The cost is high
because they do not accept advertising, which means of course that the reviews and
articles are honest and hard-hitting. Look for half-off offers at major motorcycle events.
As they say, "Just the facts. No Advertising, No hype, No BS."
BMW Owners News, BMW MOA
Monthly Club Periodical
A must have for the BMW Owner, it is filled with travel tales, product reviews and news of
BMW Clubs and local events.
On The Level (the
"OTL"), BMW RA Monthly Club Periodical
Another must have, the RA describes the OTL as, "highly opinionated, and
oft-quoted, even in the commercial press. OTL also pays close attention to the
European bike press and intrigue within BMW AG around the world. Close attention is paid
to new model R&D, as well as to nuggets of past model history."
On Any Sunday (Original
and Sequel), by
The end all be all of Motorcycle videos, this one is a must have.
The classic 60's biker movie.
That is it - If I've missed something good, please let me know!
(Thanks to Jim F. for this one :))