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General motorcycle history books are often disappointing, self-inflicted victims of trying to cover overly broad subjects in too short a space. Happily, Classic British Motorcycles, which covers the very broad subject of the history of the British motorcycle industry in a relatively short book — only 192 pages — delivers an enjoyable and informative examination of the topic.
Beginning with early developments that helped establish the British industry’s foundation, author Colin Jackson then moves on to discuss some of England’s most memorable manufacturers, tracing the fortunes of Ariel, BSA, Triumph, Norton, Brough Superior, Vincent, and others, but also including short histories and insights on smaller and less famous builders including Cotton, Douglas, Rex-Acme, New Imperial and more. Additionally, important independent builders like Colin Seeley, Paul Dunstall, the Rickman brothers, Alf Hagon and more are also examined. Supported by 150 photographs, Classic British Motorcycles provides a short but well-rounded history of the British motorcycle industry. Fonthill Media: 192 pages, $32. To order a copy, visit our store. MC