Motorcycles have come a long way since Gottleib Daimler bolted an internal engine to a wooden-wheeled velocipede. Among the thousands of great, near-great and downright awful motorcycles built since then, many stand out as icons, or as engineering or cultural landmarks. Your opinions might differ, but you wouldn’t want to miss out on the bikes identified by authors Dain Gingerelli, James Manning Michels and Charles Everitt as rides-of-a-lifetime. These 365 must-ride motorcycles range from classic gaslight-era bikes, racers, and modern sportbikes to oddities that have to be ridden to be understood (or believed). From the 2007 Ducati 999R to the 1909 Harley-Davidson Silent Grey Fellow, 365 Motorcycles You Must Ride promises hours of entertainment (and a thrilling to-do list) to any motorcycle enthusiast.
About the authors
Dain Gingerelli has been a motorcycle enthusiast since 1965, and he began writing for motorcycle and automotive magazines in 1970. He’s been an editor for six motorcycle titles, and he’s authored numerous hot rod books. Prior to 365 Motorcycles You Must Ride, he completed his first motorcycle book, Harley-Davidson Museum Masterpieces, with photographer Randy Leffingwell. Dain lives in Mission Viejo, Calif., with his wife and two sons.
James Manning Michels is a lifelong motorcyclist and accomplished road racer. He lives in Minneapolis, Minn.
Charles Everitt is a former editor for just about every motorcycle magazine ever published. He wrote How to Repair Your Motorcycle. He lives in Hollywood, Calif.
Author: Dain Gingerelli
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Get the straight facts about riding! A Twist of the Wrist, the acknowledged No. 1 book on rider improvement for 10 years straight, brought riders worldwide to a new understanding of vital riding skills. Now, A Twist of the Wrist II uncovers and traces, action by action, the direct links between man and machine.
Author: Keith Code
Just before midnight on May 14, 1914, a ferryboat departed from Weehawken, New Jersey, and chugged along in the darkness across the Hudson River to Manhattan. On board was a tired-looking rider with an equally tired-looking motorcycle. The boat landed at 10 minutes past midnight, and there to greet him were representatives from the Federation of American Motorcyclists, the nation’s major motorcycle sanctioning organization. What they knew was that this rider, Erwin G. Baker, had just completed the fastest transcontinental trip in American history. Baker’s journey of 3,497 miles had taken him 11 and a half days. And, oh, what an incredible 11 and a half days it was! After leaving San Diego on May 3 he rode coast to coast, averaging only four hours sleep each night. Danger seemed to await him at every turn. In the Arizona desert, he ran out of gas and had to push his motorcycle 5 miles in the sand in 119-degree heat. When he got to New Mexico he hit some rainy weather, which turned the historic Santa Fe Trail into a deep mud bog. He suffered six flat tires once on the same day, which he had to repair with the tools he carried with him, and in Pennsylvania he rode 232 miles of mud in a steady downpour. Despite all this, Baker continued east as fast as he could legally go. When he landed on Manhattan, he had smashed the current record holder’s long-standing record by more than nine days. His amazing journey concluded at the Hotel Astor in New York City, where he was met by journalists wanting to get the story. One shouted out that he had “shot across the country like a cannon ball.” He was forevermore Cannon Ball Baker! In 2011, Don Emde, a former winner of the prestigious Daytona 200 motorcycle race and 1999 Inductee to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, embarked on a multiyear project to understand the riding conditions and retrace the route that Cannon Ball Baker had taken in 1914. Using modern day computer search tools, GPS, and current adventure-style motorcycles, he and an assistant, Joe Colombero, logged numerous miles in the California and Arizona desert to work out what remains of the dirt roads that Baker had ridden. Their research ultimately took them on a ride all the way to New York City on the same route that Baker had taken. Their discoveries and difficulties is a great story in itself. Finally, in 2014, Emde led a group of 30 motorcyclists on a celebration ride from San Diego to New York City, just as Baker had done a century before. The group departed on May 3—100 years to the minute from when Cannon Ball had left San Diego—and arrived in New York just as he had on May 14. This is the story of three epic motorcycle rides across America.
Author: Don Emde
There is a line in a Lovin’ Spoonful song that says, “It’s like trying to tell a stranger about rock ‘n roll.” Motorcycle drag racing is a bit like that. To those who follow it, the sport makes perfect sense. To those who don’t, it makes none at all. This book is for both.
At 244 pages and nearly 3 pounds, this book is quite large. With so much to explore, it had to be. Organized motorcycle drag racing began nearly 60 years ago, and an incredible amount has happened since then.
While much of the change has involved the machinery—and the book discusses it in great detail – it is the people that make the sport so fascinating. And in the book, more than 500 of them are discussed.
In the words of former Cycle editor, Cook Neilson, “Stein gives dimension and warmth to the people who built and rode these bikes, some of whom are still banging their heads against the quarter-mile reality. Clem Johnson. Sonny Routt. Boris Murray. John Gregory. Leo Payne. Byron Hines. Joe Smith. Dozens more. Geniuses all, innovators all. John Stein has done them – bikes and men – proud.”
Author: John History
Paul Ritter's autobiography tells the story of the early days of Superbike racing. Ritter raced a Ducati 750SS and 900SS during the formative days of American Superbike racing. He shocked the racing community by winning the first AMA pro Superbike race he entered. His quick success, good nature and competitive spirit made him one of racing's beloved characters.
His account of those days gives readers an up close and personal look into the days when professional racers in the sport were weekend warriors who traveled on shoestring budgets and fueled their bikes with passion and (if they were good) a few dollars of winnings. Ritter tells of racing with legends like Reg Pridmore, Wes Cooley, Mike Baldwin and Keith Code.
Nearly 20 years after retiring from top-level racing, Ritter was hurt in tragic accident at a vintage race that left him without the use of his legs. His story of dealing with a tragic loss is as powerful and inspiring as his remarkable success on the race track.
Ritter's passion for riding, racing and life carries through his book. For anyone who loves motorcycles or appreciates a great story, Racing the Gods is an engrossing, inspirational tale.
Author: Paul Ritter
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Whether you've never ridden before or are getting back into it after some time off, a little knowledge can make motorcycling on public roads a lot more enjoyable. This 153-page book tells you everything from the kind of bike to buy, the kind of helmet to wear, the type of motor oil to use, to what you'll need to pack for a 1,000-mile ride.
Author: Bill Stermer
Filled with practical tips that any adult bike owner can use instantly, this resource includes advice on everything from how to ease a sore butt and avoid helmet hair to choosing accessories and mounting a bike while wearing a miniskirt. This updated edition contains new and revised information about bike types, the best locks, bicycle lubricants, and new-fangled bags and carriers. An updated supplier directory and list of bicycling resources, such as websites and advocacy groups, are also included. Illustrated with step-by-step instructions on every page, this reference is an ideal companion for casual and urban riders.
Author: Mr. Bike Dave Glowacz
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