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June 17, 2000
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 Preston
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 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 Bruce Brown
The end all be all of Motorcycle videos, this one is a must have.

Easy Rider
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 :))

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