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Q1 2010 Book Reviews

Maximum Control by Pat Hahn (Motorbooks Int)

Looking at the cover of this new book, I have to admit I had rather low expectations for its application for experienced riders. With a title reminiscent of another popular book, a picture of a rider on a large touring cruiser in jeans and a half helmet, I was expecting this to be mediocre at best. But what the heck, I was getting a free book so I had nothing to lose.

The intent of this book is to target riders of big bikes like Harley Davidsons, touring bikes and cruisers which handle different than smaller lighter bikes. These heavyweights carry substantially more weight; they steer more slowly, taking longer to stop; and require a different level of skill to ride well. This book is aimed at helping owners of these large motorcycles packed with pounds and long wheelbases. Maximum Control spans a full spectrum of information for riding large motorcycles--steering, body positioning, braking and carrying a passenger or heavy loads. Hahn even covers many differences in equipment--brakes, engine, drive system, even tires.

If you ride a big bike - get it.

Bret Tkacs

Available through PugetSoundSafety.com


Riding America's Backroads by various authors (Fox Chapel)

I was excited when the review copy of this book arrived, as I always am when we get new touring books in. As a resident of the Northwest, I was hoping for some new riding ideas. Unfortunately the book fell short by providing only two rides in the region.

Those two rides, however, were authored up by one of my favorite writers and photographers, Robert Smith (who lives in B.C.). and indeed Smith showed me a few new ways to get around Eastern Oregon and Kalispell, Montana.

But if you're looking to travel far and wide across the US, the book is worthy of owning. The ride descriptions are done well, maps are easily read and the photography is great.

Patrick Thomas

Available through Amazon.com and BarnesandNobel.com


Motorcycle Camping Made Easy by Bob Woofter (Whitehorse Press)

When the original version of this book came out in 2002, I must admit, I wasn't too impressed. Much of the content labored over old school car camping concepts and did little to note the advancements of gear and modern day possibilities. With the new edition I'd hoped for more - but...

Mama always says 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all', but I can't hold back. With the exception of a few gear innovations featured sporadically throughout, Woofter tromps through the dark ages again covering less than likely skills needed on the road such as knot tying, knife sharpening and utilizing a loaded camp rifle in the event of a predator showing up.

Nine pages of the book are dedicated to trailer usage, while only one deals with GPS usage. And don't look for many space savings tips here, as Woofter recommends carrying 6 changes of underwear, socks and shirts (is washing clothes every other day a bad idea or something?) and one pair each of sneakers and hiking boots. There's plenty more that's laughable to a pragmatic seasoned touring rider from hat recommendations to axemanship.

Save your money and spend it on something more worthwhile - like some compact shower sandals.

Ted Knecht

Available though Amazon.com and BarnesandNobel.com


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