I bought Total Control by Lee Parks which is pretty thorough off-track (for the most part) riding. It is mid-level imo, has a wide level of skills for most riders to get something from. The thing I learned the most from it was looking through turns. That has increased my cornering speed by ~25% in most situations and has pretty much eliminated braking before turns while riding on the street.
"Sportbike Performance Handbook" is the best m/c book I have come across to date, though it is not about riding, just mechanics, mods mostly. Worth the money very much so IMO.
For a beginning rider, the top of the list has to be MSF's Motorcycling Excellence. The philosophy and approach are similar to their course curriculum, but there's a lot more detail. A new edition is due in a couple of months, so wait if you can.
Hough's Street Strategies is a must too. The book is compiled from his Motorcycle Consumer News column of the same title. Each of the 50 or so entries, 200–300 words with an illustration, describes a traffic situation and how to handle it. They stand alone, so you open the book to any random page and read. After spending a half-hour reading through a few scenarios a new rider will get the idea that riding isn't as easy as it looks.
For sport riding technique, I recommend either Lee Parks' Total Control and Nick Ienatsch's Sport Riding Technique. Parks is better for less experienced riders because of the way it bridges the gap between riding and sport riding. I think Ienatsch is better for a more advanced sport rider.
Hugo Wilson's Motorcycle Owner's Manual is a good overview of the nuts and bolts. He explains both basic theory of operation and maintenance procedures. Even a rider who doesn't plan to work on his own bike should know how to remove wheels, lube the chain, and adjust the controls.
This has been mentioned on another forum, but hasnt taken off yet.
What if we started a book club? For the price of shipping and some minor fees you get to check out a book to read it, then send it back later.
I'll donate a copy of sport riding techniques to the club if anyone feels like keeping up with it.
Or perhaps, do a you can get a book from the club in exchange for a book you send in.
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