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Classic bike books covering a range of classic and vintage motorcycling makes.

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    Franklin's Indians


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    Franklin's Indians
    By Harry V Sucher, Tim Pickering, Liam Diamond, Harry Havelin

    A much needed book for all Indian fans and all who love the history of the classic American V-Twins. An enthusiast's dream of a book!

    The Indian Scout and Chief are two of the best known and best loved of all classic American motorcycles. The man who designed them, Charles Franklin, was responsible for many advanced design concepts including remarkable improvements in side-valve combustion chamber design that pre-dated the work of Ricardo. He championed an holistic approach to design that popularised new features such as the semi unit-construction "powerplant", helical-gear primary drive, double-loop full-cradle frames and a host of other improvements to the early motorcycles. This book not only chronicles his life but also sheds much new light on the often turbulent history of the Indian Motorcycle Company itself.

    Charles Franklin, the first Irish motorcycle racing superstar, was born and raised in Ireland where he quickly became involved in motorcycle racing during the pioneer years. He rapidly established himself as Ireland's first big star of racing and was the first to represent Ireland in international motorcycle competition. In the Isle of Man TT he consistently finished in the top eight, and in 1911 claimed second place, a remarkable achievement in itself. But it was when he moved to Indian in the USA, where he became the Chief Design Engineer, that his genius really flowed. His designs catapulted Indian back into the forefront of motorcycle design in the 1920s and '30s and his racing engines and motorcycles won much glory for Indian against stiff opposition. The Indian has been the iconic image for American big V-Twins down the years, due in no small measure to the motorcycles designed by Charles B Franklin.

    337 pages, 246x1190mm, Hardback, ISBN 978-0-9564975-5-0 illustrated Learn More
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    Motorcycle Apprentice


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    Motorcycle Apprentice
    Matchless - In Name and Reputation
    by Bill Cakebread

    • A unique record of an apprenticeship and working life in the British motorcycle industry
    • Fascinating insight to the working practices of the motorcycle industry in the 1950s and 1960s
    • Includes period photographs and rare documents relating to the Associated Motor Cycles Ltd factory at Plumstead
    • Bill worked at the AMC factory from 1958 until 1966
    • AMC manufactured Matchless and A.J.S. motorcycles
      • Description
        A young Londoner had only one ambition in life - to work with motorcycles. That simple wish led to an apprenticeship that was to change Bill Cakebread's life forever as the training that Associated Motorcycles Limited provided enabled achievements that he never dreamed possible. This book gives a unique insight to the atmosphere and excitement of working in a motorcycle factory. It is an inspiring story, supported by a host of period photographs and rare documents, which provides a fascinating record of work within the British motorcycle industry in the final years of its decline into oblivion.

        This is the inspiring story of how a young school-leaver with no academic qualifications and low expectations built a successful career based on an apprenticeship with Associated Motor Cycles Ltd, and eventually became Managing Director of his company.

        It describes the very personal story of the ups and downs of factory life in the 1950s and 1960s. In particular, it conveys the unique atmosphere and excitement that surrounds the manufacture of motorcycles, an atmosphere that for those who have experienced it is like no other. The excellence of the training that was provided by the company enabled the writer to achieve far more than he ever anticipated.

        The journey through the factory, starting with the lowliest of duties in the machine shops and ending as personal assistant to the top motorcycle designers of their time, is described in detail. It gives a rare insight into working practices within the different departments and the characters that were employed.

        Supported by a host of period photographs and rare documents, it provides a unique record of work within the British motorcycle industry in the final years of its decline into oblivion.

        Independent Reviews
        Review by Chris Read for Jampot magazine, November 2008 AJS & Matchless Owners Club
        For anyone who has a fascination with the marques of AJS and Matchless, those fabled yarns from the days when the factory was in full swing serve to remind us of how our present day pride and joy was once created. Bill Cakebread served an engineering apprenticeship after coming out of a grammar school education. It was often hard work in grubby surroundings, but he loved it, and it led him to far greater things in later life. Bill's account of his apprenticeship is a wonderful story of a man who lived his dream. The illustrations (many that I've never seen before) are a priceless record of the day, right up to the 2007 AMC revisited event at the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich. Recommended.


        Being a bit of a youngster, I always enjoy books that tell me what life was about in the olden days.... OK, so I'm not that young, but I am certainly too young to have worked in the industry in its heyday. So books like this one, capably written by Bill Cakebread, are always of great interest to me. There are many, many books written about motorcycles, but remarkably few about peoples memories of the people and places that they are associated with. And afterall, many of us enjoy our bikes, not only for the wonderful pieces of machinery that they may (or may not..) be, but also for the piece of history that they evoke. And this book certainly brings a period of quite recent history to life.

        Bill spent his apprenticehip and most of his working life at the AMC factory in Plumstead, London. and has an obvious passion for recording the way of life and his recollections of a time that has long gone. And he does so in a lively and entertaining way. The book is filled with many fascinating photos (what would I give for one of those G50's waiting for their road test..) that really bring it all to life. It is a very honest portrayal - I loved his confession that he has never really liked his former employer's bread and butter products and rode BSA's himself!

        There is a nice section on the history of Matchless from the formation of the company by the Collier brothers in 1878 including the winning of the first TT 1907. And there are also interesting sections on some of the more recent AMC activities ending with "just another plaque on the wall" where the great factory used to stand.

        A very interesting and easy read that I recommend to anyone with a sense of history and a passion for the British Motorcycle Industry.

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    Panther Since 1950


    Out of stock

    Panther Since 1950
    by Steve Wilson

    Panther were one of those legendary British makes of motorcycle who produced limited numbers of surprisingly good machines. They outlasted many of the better known bikes of their day, finally ceasing to trade in 1966. Their history is perhaps surprisingly little known to some, as it is replete with innovation and a strong reputation for reliability, durability and comfort. Few bikes are as untroubled by a long day on the road as a big Panther; and even fewer are as economical as the Panther lightweights.

    he book starts with a short but comprehensive history of the company from its inception in the early 1900s, describing the business challenges and successes experienced by P&M. This small Yorkshire company grew to being a well known manufacturer of high speed touring machines and small commuter bikes in the pre-war years, to a company that perhaps has now become best known for its sidecar machines, although post-war Panthers also make excellent solo machines. The book describes in detail all the post-1950 models from the less well known and increasingly sought after lightweights, to the more familiar single cylinder heavyweights. Full information is given on specifications through the years, engine and frame numbers, and colour schemes. (Panther since 1950 is reprinted, with permission, from an earlier work by Steve Wilson, British Motorcycles since 1950 first published in 1992 by Patrick Stephens Ltd an imprint of Haynes Publishing Company, and now out of print.)

    Steve Wilson is the author of British Motor Cycles since 1950, a six volume survey of British Motorcycles and also many other titles about classic bikes and the pleasure to be had from riding them. Steve is a full time journalist writing about classic bikes and cars and has a regular column in Real Classics. When he is not writing about classic bikes he is most likely to be found riding one of his BSAs.

    Phelon and Moore Ltd
    Panther Model 65 and Model 75 including dates and specifications
    Panther models 35, 35 sports, 45, 45 Sports, 50 Grand Sports, Model 35 Sports and ES Sports including dates and specifications
    Panther Model 100R, 100S, Model 100S De Luxe and Model 120S including dates and specifications

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    The AJS 7R By Mick Walker


    Out of stock

    The AJS 7R
    By Mick Walker

    The AJS 7R is the companion book to The Manx Norton and The BSA Gold Star. This book covers every aspect of one of the best loved classic racing machines, from its beginnings back in Wolverhampton to the classic racing scene of today.

    • Wolverhampton Wonders
    • Plumstead
    • The Boys' Racer Arrives
    • Porcupine
    • 3-Valve
    • Record Breaking
    • Moto Cross
    • 7R Development
    • The Engineers
    • Specials
    • Seeley
    • Starmaker
    • Stormer
    • The Classic Scene


    Designed and published in 2003 by Redline Books.

    This is another fascinating book by Mick Walker. It traces the history of the AJS 7R, also known as the "Boy Racer" from its birth in the late 1940's through to its continued use in the modern classic racing scene. I know it is a matter of opinion, but the 7R must be one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made. It is certainly one of the most successful in its field.

    The book covers all aspects of the bike's development, its racing heritage and many of the personalities who were involved with this wonderful machine. There's also a chapter on the motocross history of the 7R - an area that I was not aware of. I had always seen the 7R as a road racer, and yet it was equally successful in motocross and grass track events.

    Profiles of the characters involved with the AJS are scattered throughout the book. These include articles on Dennis Poore, Mike Hailwood, Bob McIntyre, Les Graham, Alan Shepherd and many more.

    The book is a mine of information and yet still an entertaining read.

    The book is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of black and white pictures throughout. My favourite has to be the picture of Mike Hailwood taken in April 1960 with his 7R engined Manx Norton Special. Asked how light the machine was he replied "This light" and there is a superb shot of Mike smiling and holding the bike off the ground in front of him! Fantastic!

    The book also covers some of the derivatives of the AJS 7R including the "Porcupine" and the 3-Valve 7R3. The most recent incarnation of AJS, the AJS Stormer, a tremendous motocross machine is also detailed. It always bring a smile to me when I see the look of amazement on their faces when they realise that AJS are still a going concern!

    In summary, this is a highly informative and entertaining book and I thoroughly recommend it to you.

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    The BMW Boxer Twins


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    The BMW Boxer Twins
    by Ian Falloon

    • Full description of the model's development
    • Analysis of the boxer twin engine
    • Detailed look at the R90S and R100RS
    • Racing history
    • Year-by-year revisions to each model during the whole production run
    • All engine and frame numbers by year
    • Technical appraisal
    • Complete appendices of technical specifications
    • The essential book for owners and would-be owners of the BMW's classic boxer
      • Description
        The air-cooled boxer BMW twins were among the most significant motorcycles of the 1970s through the 1980s, providing an unparalleled combination of comfort, reliability, and performance. From the /5 series, a complete series of sport and touring motorcycles evolved that earned a huge following and which was never emulated by other manufacturers.

        Additional Information
        Models covered: All air-cooled models 1970-1996, except R45, R65, G/S & GS.

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    The Ducati 750 Bible


    Out of stock

    The Ducati 750 Bible
    By Ian Falloon

    The incredible rags to riches story of one of the world's greatest motorcycle racers.

    Independent Reviews
    The extraordinary life story of the penniless orphan and colonial adventurer who, aboard the most glamorous racing motorcycles, roared to six hard-fought World Championships and won for himself the reputation of hard man of the race track and shrewd, steely professional of the paddock.

    Compared to Redman, modern G.P. riders are a bunch of adolescent softies." - Andy Kershaw

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    The Essential Buyers Guide - Honda SOHC Fours


    Out of stock

    The Essential Buyers Guide
    Honda SOHC Fours
    1969 - 1984
    By Peter Henshaw

    • No-nonsense, straightforward guide to buying a Honda SOHC four
    • The reality of living with a Honda
    • Relative value of each model
    • Detailed, step-by-step guide - points to look for
    • Spares prices
    • Auction guide
    • Facts & figures
    • Restore, or pay more to start with?
    • Problems that arise from lack of use
    • Useful contacts - clubs, parts suppliers, restorers


    Stop! Don't buy a Honda SOHC four without buying this book first! Having this book in your pocket is just like having a real marque expert by your side. Benefit from Peter Henshaw's years of experience; learn how to spot a bad Honda quickly and how to assess a promising one like a professional. Get the right bike at the right price!

    Packed with good advice from running costs, paperwork, vital statistics, valuation and the 'Honda' community, right through to whether your Honda will fit in your garage and, indeed, with your lifestyle? This is the complete guide to choosing, assessing and buying the bike of your dreams.

    Two bikes represent Honda's most important contribution to road motorcycle development - the CB400F and CB750. The latter was the first affordable four-cylinder bike, setting new standards of performance, reliability and comfort. The former became a classic in its own right, a small lightweight four that was many riders' first bike.

    The 400 and 750 were part of an entire range of Honda SOHC fours, including the 350, 500, 550 and 650. From the 500,000 or more that were built, many of these bikes have survived, and they have an enthusiastic following in both the USA and Europe. In the UK, the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, for example, was formed over 25 years ago, underlining the enduring interest in these older Japanese machines.

    There are several books that detail the history of the Honda fours, their technical specification and background, but none that look at how to buy one secondhand. This book delves into what these bikes are like to live with, the values and advantages/disadvantages of different models, plus, of course, what to look for when buying one - engine, transmission, frame, brakes, suspension, paint, chrome and so on.

    Additional Information
    Models covered: Honda CB750, CB750K, CB500, CB350, CB400F, CB550, CB550F, CB550K, CB750F, CB750A, CB650

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    The Last Hurrah!


    Out of stock

    The Last Hurrah! - From Beijing to Arnhem 2005
    By Des Molloy

    Des Molloy and Dick Huurdeman look like the sort of guys who should be sedately steering a sleigh in a Santa parade, not riding old single-banger British bikes half way across the world through some of the most difficult and remote terrain imaginable. Des's son Steve joined this intrepid pair as cameraman and general factotum for the highs and lows of an incident-packed three-month trek from Beijing to Arnhem on 'Penelope', a 1965 Yorkshire-made 650cc Panther, and 'Dutch Courage', a 1954 Norton 600. The route took them across the Northern-most of the Old Silk Roads over the roof of the world through China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, the burning deserts in Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Germany and finally to Arnhem in Holland - over 10,000 miles. They did the last 3000 miles in about a week riding up to 12 hours a day! The journey was as traumatic as it was inspiring! Was this idiocy or odyssey? Decide for yourself as you read Des Molloy's account of their adventures and misadventures. Or meet him in person as he tours the USA in the footsteps of Persig.

    Des Molloy lives large in the annals of Panther heroes having taken the same bike the length of South and Central America in the 1970s. A career, wife, several children and numerous bikes later the plan was hatched for one last tilt at the world before it all becomes too accessible.

    • 1. Gestation
    • 2. Beijing and beyond
    • 3. Across the Gobi
    • 4. Stars in Mother Russia
    • 5. The 'stans'
    • 6. Bummed out in Bishkek, cruelly cured in Kashgar
    • 7. KKH triumph
    • 8. Pakistan and Persian disappointments
    • 9. Racing for home
    • 10. Aftermath
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    The Panther Story: The Story Of Phelon & Moore Ltd


    Out of stock

    The Panther Story: the Story of Phelon & Moore Ltd
    By Barry M Jones

    New revised paperback edition

    "If you buy only one motorcycling book this year then buy this one. You will not regret it." Classic Bike Guide

    "This is one of the best histories I've ever seen." Old Bike Mart

    "...the most comprehensive record yet compiled on this famous marque. Reading it brought back many happy memories to me, travelling as a child in a sidecar pulled by my father's big black Panther." Norma: Friends of the National Motor Museum Trust Newsletter

    The complete history of Panther motorcycles, their manufacture, exploits, and achievements.

    Written by Barry Jones, the authority on the history of Panther motorcycles, this book is full of new information, photos and illustrations.

    The authoritative history of the marque.

    • Introduction to the Revised Edition
    • Introduction to the First Edition
    • The dawn of motorcycling
    • Phelon & Rayner - the early years
    • The Humber 1901-1907
    • The Phelon and Moore partnership
    • Under new management - Phelon & Moore Ltd
    • The 'Perfected Motorcycle' P&M 1908-1914
    • The V-twin
    • On Her Majesty's Service
    • Peace - and the four-speed P&Ms
    • A Panther is born
    • OHV Panthers 1924-1928
    • Redwing Panthers 1929-1932
    • Racing Panthers
    • Panther heavyweights 1933-1937
    • The Venture
    • The Guymar
    • Heavyweight developments 1938-1940
    • The Panthette V-twin and the Panther-Villiers
    • Red Panthers and Strouds 1932-1940
    • Sidecars and caravans
    • War and Peace
    • Post-war proposals
    • Post-war Middleweights
    • Swedish mysteries, films and exports
    • Return of the Panther-Villiers
    • Cleckheaton's Princess
    • The biggest aspidistra in the world
    • The flight of the Phoenix
    • A tour of the works
    • Administration
    • Biographies
    • Patents
    • Specifications
    • Index

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    Velocette Motorcycles MSS To Thruxton


    Out of stock

    Velocette Motorcycles - MSS to Thruxton
    By Rod Burris

    THE standard and definitive work on Velocette, now as a third edition
    Redesigned, updated and now in large format
    A comprehensive record & technical analysis of Velocette motorcycle development from MSS tourer to Thruxton racer between 1954 & 1970
    The only detailed history of the M series Velocettes
    Contains practical hints on keeping your Velo going, and is a wonderful reference for the restorer, owner and would be owner
    Heavily illustrated, including much colour

    THE definitive development history of the most famous Velocette motorcycles. Includes the most comprehensive appendices ever published on this historic marque.

    Independent Reviews
    "The book is very comprehensive, and a good addition to the other quality Velocette books on your bookshelves." - Fishtail Downunder

    "This very handsome hardback book has excellent quality paper, print and photographs of machines, sales brochures, promotional material ... It's almost worth buying this book solely for the history portrayed through all the sales material. This is a definitive development history of the Velocette motorcycles based on the author's earlier work ... an absolute must for Velocette enthusiasts and restorers." - LE Velo Club

    "The extra info included in the new edition is very valuable and interesting. The illustrations are all very well captioned, and the author's attention to detail is to be applauded. Rod Burris has been gathering the material which has gone into this book for something like four decade - and it shows." - Real Classic

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