Christmas Biker Gifts: Books

Ten of the best recent books on bikes for your Christmas shopping list

Hoping to inspire you to switch off the telly this Christmas and get your biker's brain cells firing, we undertook an intense search through the hallowed, creaking corridors of the Visordown library for the ten best books about bikes from the past year. Hopefully, we might inspire you to give the gift of learning this Christmas to the motorcyclist in your family...

Sons Of Thunder

This is one for bikers everywhere - a collection of writings on motorcycling from famous writers who ride, including Hunter S. Thompson, Robert Hughes, T.E. Lawrence, Roald Dahl and Ted Simon. This wide-ranging and thoughtfully selected collection of essays reveals the transcendent appeal of these great machines, and neatly illustrates the passion and emotional investment they can engender. A great gift for all bike-lovers.

Motorcycle Dream Garages

Does your motorcyclist friend or loved one spend the entire weekend tinkering inscrutably in a draughty garage or shed? If so, this fine coffee table book is for them. A collection of enthusiasts' garages from across North America, revealing lives and homes given over to the passion for bikes, 'Motorcycle Dream Garages' stands as a testament to two-wheeler love. Customs shops, large private collections and oily bolt-holes are all beautifully captured and presented in this highly professional package. 

The Fast Stuff

Does your friend/partner love motorcycle racing? Then 'The Fast Stuff' is for him/her. Mat Oxley, former Isle of Man TT winner, has been writing about bike racing for over 20 years and brings together the best of that experience in this collection of variously hilarious, insightful and poignant tales from the world of bike racing. Featuring the words of Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan and Casey Stoner among others, this is sure to please the racing fan.

The World's Great Adventure Motorcycle Routes

'The World's Great Adventure Motorcycle Routes' is a must have for all budding adventurers. A comprehensive guide to all the great outward bound motorcycle routes on every continent, which boasts a wide array of contributors and experts all chipping in some serious, practical advice. This, in our view, is the definitive practical guide to adventure motorcycling and a must have for those interested in any kind of long distance motorcycle trip - you've read other people's books, now do it yourself!  

MotoGP Yesterday & Today

This smart coffee table book, with foreword by Valentino Rossi, is a great gift for those interested in MotoGP or motorcycle history in general. Each double page spread features a juxtaposition of old and new, exploring every aspect of MotoGP culture. Beautiful and historic photography is reproduced immaculately alongside pictures from the modern day, emphasizing simultaneously how much this great sport has changed, and how much it really has stayed the same. A great addition to the bookshelf of any motorcycling enthusiast.

365 Motorcycles You Must Ride

This one should generate a bit of discussion around the dinner table (of a family of bikers, that is). The authors have compiled a list of motorcycles from down the years that they deem worthy of experiencing before you die. Included are the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of the worst bikes ever manufactured make the list - for the very good reason that they enhance your understanding of just how wrong manufacturers can get it. On the other hand, there are the sublime. The beautiful bikes you've always coveted are here, all well presented in this fun, discussion-provoking little book. 

Seeing Red 2012

This year's edition of the yearly BSB annual looks to be as sumptuous and well-produced as ever, covering everything you could possibly need to know about the teams, tracks, riders and racers that make up a thrilling season of British Superbikes. Presented immaculately, and full to bursting with incredible photography, this is a real treat for the racing fan, and a no-brainer for inclusion in our Christmas books list. 

Bonjour! This Is Italy

This neat little book looks to be a great companion to any biker interested in a continental trip. Kevin Turner is a concise and eloquent writer, and 'Bonjour! Is this Italy?' is packed with amusing and curiosity-piquing anecdotes. Kevin's trials and tribulations make an excellent light read, and the book also proves to be extremely informative for those actually looking to embark on a European tour of their own. 

Black Stars of Ghana

Motorcycle travel books are ten a penny - they are, for want of a better phrase, 'en vogue' thanks to a certain actor who's two-wheeled star continues to burn brightly. 'The Black Stars of Ghana' is a bit different however - undertaken during the heady summer of 2010, when Ghana's 'Black stars' were riding high in the South African World Cup, Alan Whelan's journey to the far reaches of this extraordinary country is documented with startling clarity. At it's heart, 'The Black Stars of Ghana' is an insightful, well-written memoir which positively sparkles with energy and colour - a snapshot of a defining moment in the recent history of a nation. This is an important read for any biker with a sense of adventure. 

MotoGP: The Illustrated History

Despite being the second book on our list on the history of MotoGP, 'MotoGP: The Illustrated History' merits inclusion as a particularly good example of the genre. This chronological history of MotoGP provides an in depth and rich study of motorcycle racing's Premier League. It is bursting with great photography, interviews with legends from all periods of the sport and top journalism from author Michael Scott. 'Moto GP: The Illustrated History' should have a place on the bookcase of any serious racing fan. A genuine fascination and nostalgia for the bygone eras is brought to life through Michael's meiticulous research. The result is a fantastically comprehensive guide.