Sunday, December 25, 2011

Building the Ultimate Adventure Motorcycle: The Essential Guide to Preparing a Bike for the Journey of a Lifetime Book Review by H.B.C.

Building the Ultimate Adventure Motorcycle The Essential Guide to Preparing a Bike for the Journey of a Lifetime

Author: Robert Wicks
Format: Hardcover, 176 Pages
ISBN: 9781844258369
Publisher: Haynes Publishing
Illustrations: 300 color
Size: 8.25 x 10.5 x .4
First Published: July 2010 (UK)
List Price: $34.95

This is the third book in a Haynes adventure motorcycling series, written or co-authored by Robert Wicks. The first was "Adventure Motorcycling" (April 2008) and the second, co-authored with Greg Baker was "Adventure Riding Techniques" (November 2009). Greg Baker also served as the Technical Editor for this third book.

For avid motorcyclists, particularly the long distance travellers with a bent for adventure touring, this book will immediately feel familiar in regards to the content and terminology used.

For those who are just starting to investigate the ins and outs of adventure touring, this book is a great introduction and resource guide.

Regardless of where or how you classify yourself within the motorcycling community in general and the adventure touring discipline specifically, there is likely to be something of value to be found in this publication, be it motorcycle, equipment, logistics or experience related.

The book is laid out in a simple and logical manner.

The Foreword by Grant Johnson, founder of Horizons Unlimited, defines the adventure touring environment from a global perspective and emphasizes the need to be well prepared before leaving home-base, nicely setting the tone for the rest of the book.

While major sections of the book might seem to be clever advertising for major industry players and adventure touring entities, it all actually comes off as an effective and efficient way to present the needed information textually, visually and credibly.

The credentials of the companies and their products, along with the many professional and personal testimonials and stories from individuals who live for adventure touring do a superb job in validating motorcycle, equipment, accessories and personal equipment requirements identified in the book.

Chapters 1 through 5 cover the modern adventure motorcycle, how to choose a motorcycle, selecting and fitting up equipment and accessories, including luggage systems and, selecting personal equipment. There is a lot of information presented in these chapters, some of it historical, but all in all very topical and relevant to identifying and getting your machine ready.

I did note a few exclusions, notably regarding newer technologies, particularly for lighting. Many lightweight and smaller displacement motorcycles that make outstanding adventure touring platforms have modest abilities for accessories; newer technologies like high-output, low-draw LED units are perfect for these platforms and are very cost effective.

Two Case Studies, presented as Chapters 6 and 7, look at the use of the BMW G 650 X-Challenge and the BMW F 650 GS motorcycles for adventure touring. They both provide a clear, realistic and component by component view of what is required to (literally) build and maintain these motorcycles for continued use over significant periods of time.

Chapter 8 is a short but detailed and hard look at competition rally raid motorcycles; those typically used for long-distance, long-duration events, like the Dakar Rally.

Although left to the end of the chapter, this section provides some valuable insight into equipment and technologies being widely adopted for adventure motorcycles. As with any good reference work, the Appendix is long, detailed and broken into sections to help track down book, multi-media or web-based sources and resources. Finally, the Index provides an alphabetical listing of the primary topic material.

Although I classify myself as a somewhat grizzled owner of adventure touring motorcycles and somewhat familiar with the adventure touring realm the book was an interesting read.
Simply put, it is an honest, factual and straight-forward reference publication. The text, narratives and testimonials are easy to read and with 300 colour pictures everything is captured and presented clearly.

Although I have not (yet) read the two earlier books in this series, there is obviously a common thread that binds them all together, that being "adventure touring does not need to remain a dream".
This publication will serve as a great source of information and reference to motorcyclists and not just those who are dreaming of or preparing their own adventure touring machines.

Review Date: January 2011

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