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Recommended Motorcycle Books and Motorcycle Book Reviews

By Walter F. Kern

Motorcycle books that every motorcycle rider should own

The following motorcycle books are personally owned by me and recommended to any motorcycle rider who wants to know more about motorcycles.

Some motorcycle books have also been personally reviewed. Most motorcycle books are available for sale on this site through by clicking the title of the book.

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A - H: (Adventures => Honda)

I - R: (Illustrated Antique => Rigby's Roads)

S - Z: (Savvy Guide => Zen & the Art)

50 Wild Motorcycle Tales: An Anthology of Motorcycle Stories by Walter F. Kern
This book is an anthology of motorcycle stories. These 50 tales were submitted to the Motorcycle Views Website over a 13-year period. The individual authors tell their own personal stories of what happened to them as they rode their motorcycles. You'll find humor, risk-taking, adventures, 2-up excursions, stupid tricks on bikes, lessons learned, hazards while riding, and stories told by returning riders. This book is available in a paperback edition, a Kindle edition, and an audiobook (Audible) edition from The audiobook is also available for download from Audible or iTunes. You can also listen to a 5-minute sample of the audiobook by clicking the book cover, below.
Read a Page from the Book

The Adventures of Olive Pearl and Hammy Davidson by Michael DeRosa
This book, aimed at the 9-12 age group of young readers, follows the exploits of two people, two motorcycles, and a stuffed animal, a pig, as they seek to learn more about each other, the world around them, the people they encounter, and most especially, how their choice of travel -- motorcycles -- makes them thankful that they have freedom and live in a free country. Paperback
Walter's Review

The Art of the Motorcycle by Thomas Krens and the Guggenheim Museum Staff
This book has over 400 pages of color pictures, essays, and descriptions about motorcycling over its first 100 years. The book was published in conjunction with the 1998 exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum where over 100 motorcycles were displayed. Hardcover
Walter's Review

Biker Billy Cooks with Fire: Robust Recipes from America's Most Outrageous Television Chef by Bill Hufnagle
Biker Billy mixes motorcycles and cooking. He puts hot peppers in recipes like "Drop-Dead Cornbread" and "Yellow Bowl of Fire." He lives his motto: Eat Hot, Ride Safe, and Cook with Fire. You'll enjoy Billy's stories. Paperback
Walter's Review

The Biker Code: Wisdom for the Ride by Stuart Miller and Geoffrey Moss
Bikers are interviewed for their thoughts about biking that they express in short verse. Photos of the riders are shown next to their compositions. Some bikers you may have heard of. Others will be unknown. Regardless, you'll gain much from the wisdom imparted. Paperback

Biker Billy's Freeway-A-Fire Cookbook: Life's Too Short to Eat Dull Food by Bill Hufnagle
Biker Billy continues with his recipes that are guaranteed not to be dull. Hardcover

Bikerlady: Living and Riding Free!: Living & Riding Free! by Sasha Mullins
This is an important book following in the tradition of Pierson's, "The Perfect Vehicle" and Ferrar's, "Hear Me Roar." Over 160 personal stories of women riders are given showing how the motorcycle changed their lives. Paperback
Walter's Review

Coming and Going on Bikes: Essaying the Motorcycle by Jack Lewis
This series of motorcycle essays, presented in Kindle format, showcases the literary talents of Jack Lewis as he relates his previously published essays in their original length. Jack talks of his experiences riding home from the war, gives a review of a Ural sidecar rig, discusses sidecar/trike training methods, provides an insight into a typical BMW moto-journalist junket to test an enduro model, and gets serious with the dangers inherent in riding super-powered bikes by returning soldiers. Kindle Edition
Walter's Review

Complete Harley Davidson: A Model-by-Model History of the American Motorcycle by Tod Rafferty
This is a large book, 11X17 inches, containing 160 pages. It gives a chronological listing of the major H-D models from 1903 to 1996. Large pictures of each model are shown along with the associated description. Company history is sprinkled in as well as the evolution of the H-D marque is described. Hardcopy

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles, Third Edition by Editors of Motorcyclist Magazine
This is a book that should be required reading by all motorcyclists, especially new people to the passion. It covers every aspect of motorcycling including history, training, buying, street survival, maintenance, and the various aspects of the motorcycling community. It includes many tips, resources, and cycle terms in its 395 pages. Has an intro by motorcyclist Jay Leno. Paperback

Cowboys with Chrome Horses: A Historical Explanation of America's Most Popular and Unique Phenomenons by William G. (Lad) Carrington
This book presents the historian's approach to motorcycling. The author is an historian as well as a seasoned rider himself having put over 115,000 miles on his 1988 H-D FXR. He gives the reader a good, well referenced, history lesson of the building of America using excerpts from 49 reference books. He then intertwines the development of motorcycling into this narrative. The result makes for interesting reading. Paperback
Walter's Review

Dream Rider: Roadmap to an Adventurous Life by Rosemary Carstens
Ms. Carsten was determined to learn to ride a motorcycle even though she was already in her fifty-sixth year. This book traces her life as she gets the motorcycle bug, learns how to ride, gets her first bike, and sets out -- sometimes with friends and eventually alone -- to match wits with the elements on various roadtrips through the western states. Paperback
Walter's Review

See more books after the ads.

Click cover to listen to my audiobook.
Click Picture for Walter F. Kern's
Kindle, Paperback, and Audible Books

Ducati by Tod Rafferty
Traces the history of the Ducati motorcycle. Gives beautiful full-color illustrations of various models and discusses how racing made Ducati. Hardcover
Walter's Review

Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Hugo Wilson
This is a large book of 320 pages of history about the world's motorcycles. All countries are included and almost every brand and model is listed. This book was developed in association with the AMAs Motorcycle Heritage Museum. There are many color pictures and descriptions of major bike models. This is a great book to use to settle a motorcycle argument. Hardcover

Getting Started Riding a Motorcycle by Walter F. Kern
This book provides introductory motorcycling information for new riders to help push them into being safer riders. It's also intended for returning riders who have been away from motorcycling for many years. Paperback and Kindle Edition
Read a Page from the Book

Growing Up Harley-Davidson: Memoirs of a Motorcycle Dynasty by Jean Davidson
Jean Davidson is the granddaughter of one of the founders of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. She has written a book filled with over a hundred family pictures and accompanying descriptions of what it was like to be a Davidson as the Harley-Davidson motorcycle became an American icon. Hardcover
Walter's Review

The Harley-Davidson by Alan Girdler and Jeff Hackett
This book gives you a look back over nearly 100 years of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. With outstanding detailed pictures of Harley models through the years coupled with expert commentary about how Harley did it, this book will provide you a quick and enjoyable read. This book may be out of print. The reference link is to a 2004 edition of a similar book. Paperback
Walter's Review

Harley-Davidson and Indian Wars (Motorbooks Classics) by Alan Girdler
Two great motorcycle companies slugged it out on the race tracks and in the showrooms from the beginning of their existence until one of them went out of business. Harley-Davidson and Indian were these two powerful marques that outlasted all the other brands. This book describes their struggles in beautiful color and black-and-white photos and descriptive text. Hardcover
Walter's Review

Harley-Davidson Data Book by Rick Conner
Gives a fact sheet for each year of production from 1903 to 1996. Includes models, prices, production totals, racing notes and Motor Company minutes. These minutes give hard-to-find internal company information. Paperback

Harley-Davidson Flathead (Motorcycle Color History Series) by Jerry Hatfield
Covers the Harley-Davidson Flatheads built from 1918 to 1956. Describes the various models and gives Motor Company history. Paperback

Harley-Davidson Knuckleheads (Motorbooks International Motorcycle Color History.) by Greg Field
Covers the Harley-Davidson Knuckleheads built from 1936 to 1947. Lots of closeup pictures and descriptions of the various models. Paperback

Harley-Davidson Panheads by Greg Field
Covers the Harley-Davidson Panhead built from 1948 to 1965. Peter Fonda's Captain America motorcycle in the movie Easy Rider was a Panhead. Contains interesting comparisons of the H-D FL Panhead with the Vincent-HRD Black Shadow. Paperback

Harley-Davidson Shovelhead (Motorcycle Color History) by Tom Murphy
Covers the Harley-Davidson Shovelhead built from 1966 to 1984. Lots of pictures and descriptions of the FL and FX Series of Shovelheads. Paperback

Harley Davidson Sportster by Allan Girdler and Ron Hussey

Harley-Davidson Sportster (Motorbooks International Motorcycle Color History) by Allan Girdler and Ron Hussey
One of the longest running Harley-Davidson models, the Sportster first appeared in 1957 and is still being built. This book describes the evolution of the Sporty in pictures and words. Paperback

Hear Me Roar: Women, Motorcycles and the Rapture of the Road, New Ed. by Ann Ferrar
Ann Ferrar traveled 30,000 miles on her Hawk GT 650 to interview hundreds of women riders. She once interviewed my wife. She tells stories about the women she met and those women who became well known in motorcycling. She also has a great resource section about clubs, safety, gear, parts, manufacturers, etc.

Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club by Ralph "Sonny" Barger
There have been many books and movies about the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) but no inside definitive source of information about this well known but mysterious club has surfaced until now with the release of Sonny Barger's book. Hardcover
Walter's Review

Hog Fever by Richard La Plante
La Plante was obsessed with Harleys at age 38. He started with a Sportster and ended up with a custom Springer Softail. The book is his story as a biker in England and his American ride with a band of wealthy bikers. Hardcover

1959-2000 Honda Motorcycle Identification Guide by American Honda Motor Company
This large book of over 500 pages contains identification information on every Honda motorcycle sold in the USA market between 1959-2000. It includes pictures, starting V.I.N. numbers, colors, starting engine numbers, product codes, and starting frame numbers.

A - H: (Adventures => Honda)

I - R: (Illustrated Antique => Rigby's Roads)

S - Z: (Savvy Guide => Zen & the Art)

=> Page 2: I - R: (Illustrated Antique => Rigby's Roads)

More about motorcycle books


© 2015 Walter F. Kern. All rights reserved.