14 Best Books About Motorcycles From All Genres

Are you a motorcycle enthusiast looking to expand your knowledge? Whether you’re interested in the history of motorcycles, maintenance and repair tips, or travels and adventures on two wheels, there are plenty of books out there for you. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best books about motorcycles in different categories, so you can pick the ones that suit your interests and needs.

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14 Best Books About Motorcycles From All Genres

The History of Motorcycles

Motorcycles have been a popular mode of transportation for over a century. They have a rich history that is filled with innovation, design, and speed. In this article, we will explore the early beginnings of motorcycles, the golden age of motorcycles, and modern motorcycle developments.

Early Beginnings and Innovations

The history of motorcycles can be traced back to the 19th century when bicycles with pedals were first invented. In the late 1800s, inventors began experimenting with adding engines to bicycles to create motorized vehicles. The first motorcycle was created in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, who added a gasoline engine to a wooden bicycle frame.

As the popularity of motorcycles grew, so did the innovations. In 1901, the first motorcycle with a clutch was invented, allowing riders to shift gears more easily. In 1914, the first electric starter was introduced, making it easier for riders to start their motorcycles. These early innovations paved the way for the motorcycles we know and love today.

The Golden Age of Motorcycles

The golden age of motorcycles spanned from the 1920s to the 1960s, and it was a time of great innovation and design. Iconic brands like Harley-Davidson, Triumph, and India dominated the market with their powerful engines and sleek designs. During this era, motorcycles became a symbol of freedom and rebellion, and they were often associated with the counterculture movement.

The golden age of motorcycles was also a time of great racing. Motorcycle racing became a popular sport, and riders competed in events like the Isle of Man TT and the Daytona 200. These races pushed the limits of speed and performance, and they helped to shape the future of motorcycle design.

Modern Motorcycle Developments

Today, motorcycles continue to evolve with new technology and innovations. One of the most significant developments in recent years has been the rise of electric motorcycles. These motorcycles are powered by batteries instead of gasoline engines, making them more environmentally friendly and efficient.

Another modern development in motorcycle design is the use of lightweight materials like carbon fiber and aluminum. These materials make motorcycles lighter and more agile, allowing riders to maneuver through tight spaces and corners with ease.

The future of motorcycles is exciting, with new designs and technologies being introduced all the time. Whether you are a fan of classic motorcycles or you prefer the latest models, there is something for everyone in the world of motorcycles.

Motorcycle Maintenance and Repair Books

Essential Guides for Beginners

“The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance”

The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance

Whether you’re a new rider or simply looking to brush up on your motorcycle maintenance skills, there are plenty of guides out there to help you. An excellent place to start is “The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance” by Mark Zimmerman, which covers everything from basic maintenance tasks to more complex repairs.

It’s important to understand the basics of motorcycle maintenance, such as changing the oil and checking the tire pressure, before attempting any more advanced repairs. This book is perfect for beginners who want to learn these essential skills.

In addition to “The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance,” there are other great resources for beginners, such as “Motorcycle Repair for Dummies” by Chris Maida and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles” by Darwin Holmstrom. These books provide step-by-step instructions and helpful tips for maintaining and repairing your motorcycle.

Advanced Techniques for Experienced Riders

“Advanced Custom Motorcycle Wiring”

Advanced Custom Motorcycle Wiring- Revised Edition

If you’re looking to take your maintenance skills to the next level, books like “Advanced Custom Motorcycle Wiring” by Jeff Zielinski and “The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program” by the Motorcycle Training Institute can help. These books cover topics such as custom wiring, engine rebuilding, and advanced tuning techniques.

Custom wiring can be a difficult and time-consuming task, but with the help of “Advanced Custom Motorcycle Wiring,” you can learn how to create a unique and personalized electrical system for your motorcycle. “The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program” offers a comprehensive look at all aspects of motorcycle repair, from diagnosing problems to rebuilding engines.

“Performance Tuning in Theory and Practice”

Two-Stroke Performance Tuning in Theory and Practice

Other great resources for experienced riders include “Performance Tuning in Theory and Practice” by A. Graham Bell and “Motorcycle Electrical Systems: Troubleshooting and Repair” by Tracy Martin. These books provide in-depth information on tuning your motorcycle for optimal performance and troubleshooting common electrical problems.

Specialized Manuals for Specific Models

If you own a specific type of motorcycle, you may want to look for specialized manuals that cover the ins and outs of that particular model. For example, “Haynes Manuals Harley-Davidson” and “Suzuki GSX-R1000 2005-2006” are both excellent resources for owners of those respective models.

Specialized manuals provide detailed information on specific parts and systems of your motorcycle, making it easier to diagnose and repair problems. In addition to the Haynes and Suzuki manuals, there are many other specialized manuals available for a wide variety of motorcycle makes and models.

It’s important to note that while specialized manuals can be incredibly helpful, they should not be used as a substitute for basic maintenance knowledge. It’s still important to understand the basics of motorcycle maintenance and repair before attempting any specialized repairs.

Motorcycle Travel and Adventure Books

If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, you know the thrill of hitting the open road and embarking on a motorcycle adventure. Whether you’re planning a long-distance ride or dreaming of exploring the world on two wheels, there are plenty of books that can inspire and guide you along the way.

Inspiring Motorcycle Journeys

“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

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

One of the most inspiring books for any motorcycle enthusiast is “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig. This classic book takes readers on a philosophical journey across the United States, exploring the relationship between man, machine, and the open road.

“Jupiter’s Travels”

Jupiters Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph

Another great book for those seeking inspiration is “Jupiter’s Travels” by Ted Simon. This book chronicles Simon’s four-year journey around the world on a 500cc Triumph Tiger. It’s a captivating tale of adventure, discovery, and the resilience of the human spirit.

“Long Way Round”

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World

If you’re looking for a more modern take on motorcycle travel, check out “Long Way Round” by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. This book chronicles the duo’s 20,000-mile journey around the world on BMW motorcycles. It’s a thrilling and entertaining read that will leave you itching to hit the road.

Tips and Tricks for Long-Distance Rides

“Adventure Motorcycling Handbook”

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Guide to Asia, Africa & Latin America

Preparing for a long motorcycle trip requires more than just inspiration. You’ll need to know how to pack efficiently, stay safe on the road, and deal with any unexpected challenges that come your way. Luckily, there are plenty of books that can help.

Adventure Motorcycling Handbook” by Chris Scott is a comprehensive guide to long-distance motorcycle travel. It covers everything from bike selection and maintenance to border crossings and first aid. It’s a must-read for anyone planning an extended motorcycle trip.

“The Motorcycle Diaries”

The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey (The Che Guevara Library)

If you’re looking for a more personal account of long-distance motorcycle travel, “The Motorcycle Diaries” by Ernesto “Che” Guevara is a great choice. This book chronicles Guevara’s journey across South America on a 1939 Norton 500cc motorcycle. It’s a fascinating look at the early life of a revolutionary icon.

Exploring the World on Two Wheels

If you’re interested in motorcycle travel beyond your own backyard, there are plenty of books that can help you plan your next international adventure.

“Adventure Motorcycling: Everything You Need to Plan and Complete the Journey of a Lifetime”

Adventure Motorcycling: Everything You Need to Plan and Complete the Journey of a Lifetime

Adventure Motorcycling: Everything You Need to Plan and Complete the Journey of a Lifetime” by Robert Wicks is a comprehensive guide to international motorcycle travel. It covers everything from planning your route and packing your bags to dealing with border crossings and navigating unfamiliar roads.

“Into Africa”

Into Africa: Africa by Motorcycle 'Every day an Adventure'

If you’re looking for a more personal account of international motorcycle travel, check out “Into Africa” by Sam Manicom. This book chronicles Manicom’s journey across Africa on a BMW R80GS motorcycle. It’s a thrilling and inspiring tale of adventure, friendship, and the beauty of the African continent.

No matter what kind of motorcycle adventure you’re planning, there’s a book out there that can help you make it a reality. So grab a book, hit the road, and experience the thrill of motorcycle travel and adventure for yourself!

Motorcycle Racing and Performance Books

Motorcycle racing is an exciting sport that has captivated audiences for decades. The adrenaline rush of watching racers speed around the track is hard to resist, and for those who are passionate about the sport, there are plenty of books available that can provide even more insight into this thrilling world.

The Thrill of Motorcycle Racing

“Mick Doohan: Thunder from Down Under”

Mick Doohan: Thunder from Down Under

If you’re a fan of motorcycle racing, there are plenty of books that can help you get your fix. “The Racing Motorcycle: A Technical Guide for Constructors” by John Bradshaw and “Mick Doohan: Thunder from Down Under” by Mat Oxley are both excellent resources for learning about the technical aspects of motorcycle racing and the careers of famous riders.

“The Grand Prix Motorcycle: The Official Technical History”

The Grand Prix Motorcycle: The Official Technical History

But motorcycle racing is not just about the technical details. It’s also about the thrill of the race, the sound of the engines, and the excitement of the crowd. If you want to get a sense of what it’s like to be a part of this world, books like “The Art of MotoGP” by Michael Scott and “The Grand Prix Motorcycle: The Official Technical History” by Kevin Cameron are great choices.

Biographies of Legendary Racers

“Valentino Rossi: Life of a Legend”

Valentino Rossi: Life of a Legend

For those more interested in the human side of motorcycle racing, biographies of legendary racers like Valentino Rossi and Barry Sheene can provide insight into the lives and careers of some of the sport’s most beloved icons. Books like “Valentino Rossi: Life of a Legend” by Michael Scott and “Barry: The Story of Motorcycling Legend Barry Sheene” by Steve Parrish are both great options.

Reading about the struggles and triumphs of these riders can be inspiring and motivating, whether you’re a fan or a racer yourself. It can also give you a deeper appreciation for the sport and the people who make it so exciting.

Improving Your Riding Skills and Techniques

“Total Control: High-Performance Street Riding Techniques”

Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques, 2nd Edition

Finally, if you’re looking to improve your own riding skills, books like “Total Control: High-Performance Street Riding Techniques” by Lee Parks and “A Twist of the Wrist” by Keith Code can provide valuable insights into the mechanics of motorcycle riding and how to become a more skilled and confident rider.

Learning from the experts can help you take your riding to the next level, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider. These books can teach you everything from basic riding techniques to advanced racing strategies, so you can become a safer, more skilled, and more confident rider.


With so many great books out there about motorcycles, there’s no excuse not to expand your knowledge and take your passion to the next level. Whether you’re interested in the history, maintenance, travel, or racing side of motorcycles (or a little bit of everything), there’s a book out there for you.


Why are motorcycles so popular?

Motorcycles have long been associated with danger and recklessness, enhancing their appeal for many adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. They are also cheaper than cars and easier to maintain.

What are the disadvantages to riding a motorcycle?

Motorcycles do not shelter you from harsh weather as cars do. Additionally, with speed, they can be more dangerous to drive because of the lack of protection. As a result, some motorcycle accidents often end in severe injury or even death.

What are the best books about motorcycles?

Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon and McQueen’s Motorcycles by Matt Stone are both good options.

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