Saturday, February 28, 2009, 04:09 AM ( 4664 views ) - Reviews - Posted by Administrator

This excellent reference provides invaluable information for the vintage racer or cafe builder. It is not a shop manual, nor a maintainance guide, nor a model reference. It does not teach you how to adjust your valves, or set luggage for touring.

What is does provide is detailed discussion of each component system- brakes, clutch, forks, etc. and show how each was improved and modified over the years. This is very important if you are building a bike from pieces, or building a custom, because although there is great interchangeability over the years 1970-1989, the differences that do show up are not always along model lines.

Do you know how to tell what flywheel will mate with what crankshaft? How to determine if a cylinder will fit a particular engine block?

For the racer this is vital because not all parts are available in early and late variations, so if you must go with a later part, such as a cam with a later style seal, what other parts will have to change to fit?

This is not a book for most BMW owners, because most are starting with a relatively complete bike, and if anything they're likely to return it to original stock condition. There are some negative reviews of this book on Amazon, but it's easy to tell the reviewers were confused about what it is about. To the layman restoration might be polishing a jewel that is 99% there already, and this book is useless for that.

That's probably the only negative about the book- I'm not sure it's exactly a restoration guide, as it isn't quite a reference to exactly how each model came from the factory. Maybe it's a customizers' guide, or a racers' guide, I'm not sure. One thing for sure, anyone contemplating putting a BMW airhead together out of a basket of ebay parts needs this book to determine what will fit.

You can easily see who the intended audience is- the motorcycle restorer who works in many different brands, and wants a reference to tell him how things are in this one, just as he would with a BSA or Zundapp. Yes, it's a book that assumes your expertise is enough to know what to do with the information. Like most references like this with older stuff, there's no hand holding. But it's fortunate that we do have this information- those of us who have worked on more obscure things like a Garelli would dream of such a book as this.

Highly recommended. Sorry to be reviewing a book that's not quite easily available, but try the used sellers, it's worth it. If you're building bikes, you need this one.

Saturday, February 28, 2009, 06:24 AM ( 10012 views ) - Reviews - Posted by Administrator

Not perfect, but most of us have one, the CLymer manual provides general information and maintainance procedures for BMW airheads.

What's not perfect? A number of typos have been noted, so check online at Snowbum's site to double check things like torque setting numbers. Also, the Clymer manuals are written by mechanics who tear apart actual bikes in order to write their reference material. However, they're not BMW mechanics, and they may not know the best or easiest way to do something. For instance, they suggest that in order to replace the clutch on an airhead, you should remove the rear end and driveshaft, bun in reality all it takes is to disconnect the swingarm pivotsand leave the whole thing hanging from the subframe.

That said, we all have one in the shop somewhere- why? Because it's a useful reference. It helps to look at pictures of things to remind yourself of, say, where all those wires connected to the alternator go. The wiring diagrams are useful and there really is quite a bit of useful info here.

Bottom line: a useful refernce if you take it with a grain of salt.

Saturday, February 28, 2009, 05:15 AM ( 6522 views ) - Reviews - Posted by Administrator

The bible of safe riding- this book could save your life, or your buddy's life.

For years Seattle rider David Hough has been writing columns in Motorcycle Consumer News about riding safety. In each one he describes a risky riding situation and challenges you to think about how you would handle it. Then he goes into analysis of what can go wrong and how to avoid it.

This book contains a large number of these chapters, each one studded with diagrams and photographs of actual examples (many of them familiar to Seattle riders).

Also included is a lengthy analysis of the Hurt Report, which famously analysed injury statistics and determined the three things riders can do to best increase their changes:

1. Use the front brake. Riders who fail to do this- or who fail to cover the brake and have to hunt for it- crash.

2. Wear a helmet with a chin bar. Rider who crash without one get broken jaws.

3. Get in the habit of dropping 5mph at the first sign of danger or risk. This equals six feet less distance every second- and in most cases if you had six more feet of room you would be able to avoid a collision.

Finally, Hough speaks out against the biggest contributor to motorcycle accidents: drinking. While many riders wisely would never touch their bike when they're impaired, for many driking and riding is a lifestyle. Ironically, no injury or safety statistics about motorcycles take this factor into account, suggesting that if you ride safely, sober, your safety on two wheels will in fact be considerably higher than the stastics claim. Friends who work in ER tell me the same thing.

This is one book EVERY rider needs to have on their bookshelves- if you're a veteran rider it's fun to challenge yourself to see if you have room for improvement. And once you've read it you'll wind up lending it out numerous times, because, well, you can't bear the thought of a buddy riding and NOT knowing this stuff.

It could be the perfect gift- good entertainment that could save your life.

And now there's a second volume! Don't pass up the chance to learn something new that increases your safety!

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