Despite the best efforts of your mom, you’ve fallen in love with motorcycles. And you’re certainly not alone: there are over 8.4 million motorcycles registered in America alone.
It’s not just the riding that draws people in. It’s the entire culture. From the history to restoring classic bikes to old-school biker gangs to the leather jackets and more.
Becoming a biker is truly entering a special community bonded over a mutual love. If you just can’t get enough of biking, then you’re probably already browsing biking blogs, catching up on the latest bike news, and scouting around for your next sweet ride.
But are you reading motorcycle books? Diving into some of the best motorcycle books will help you stay connected to the community you love even after you have to put your bike away for the cold upcoming winter.
We’ve compiled this list of the 10 best motorcycle books. From manuals to epic journeys to motorcycle romance books, you’re bound to find something you love.
1. Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well by David L. Hough is widely recognized as one of the best general motorcycle guides available. While the only way to truly learn how to ride is to go out on your bike and ride, reading this can’t hurt.
And it isn’t just for beginners who have never gotten on a bike before, either. David Hough is one of the most famous motorcycle journalists in the game. He uses both his writing skills and his photography skills to craft this guide that is educational and informative.
The best part about this is it isn’t dry as 100-year-old wood like many other motorcycle manuals out there. The images and descriptions make it dynamic and easy to follow.
Even if you think you know everything there is to know, give this a read. It teaches you how to stay safe on the road, how to deal with other drivers and more. This is important: over 5000 people died from crashes in 2016. Read this book to give yourself the best safety precaution against a horrible crash.
2. Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
Even non-bikers have heard of the legendary Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang. In this nonfiction book, the author Hunter S. Thompson traveled and rode with this gang for over two years.
He then created this book documenting his time with the Hell’s Angels. He details the absolutely brutal and horrific violence, organized crime, sex crimes, drug dealing, doing drugs, and extortion.
If you’re interested in learning a first-hand account of one of the biggest and most dangerous motorcycle gangs to ever exist, then this book is for you.
3. Jupiter’s Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph
Hunter Thompson’s time with the Hell’s Angels can be seen as a motorcycle journey, but it isn’t as heartwarming or formative as Ted Simon’s many adventures on his beloved bike.
Simon got on his Triumph to go for a ride, and he didn’t stop until he had ridden 78,000 miles around the world. This trip took him four years; he traveled to over 40 countries alone on his bike.
This is a dream that almost all bikers have. To hop on your bike and ride with the wind in your hair, no true destination in mind. Simon says that even though this book is technically a retelling of his own adventures, it’s also designed to inspire your own dream adventure.
If you’ve been craving an escape from your everyday life and have dreamed of life on the open road, Jupiter’s Travels will satisfy your need to roam (at least until you plan your own motorcycle adventure).
4. Running with the Moon: A Boy’s Own Adventure: Riding a Motorbike through Africa
We’ve come upon a classic theme for motorcycle books: adventures on the open road. Similar to Jupiter’s Travels, Running with the Moon follows Jonny Bealby’s solo motorcycle adventure throughout Africa.
However, as with most travel literature and odyssey-like tales, there’s more to the story than just traveling on a motorcycle. A sudden loss of his fiance triggered Bealby’s need to leave the life he knew behind for a solo adventure on the road.
The solitude, travel, and adventure helped him through some of the toughest grief he would ever experience. The result? A poignant and touching tale that shows you that moving past grief is possible even though it might be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done.
5. Ride Free Forever: The Legend of Harley-Davidson
Motorcyclists and “regular people” alike have heard of the famous Harley-Davidson brand. In fact, it’s easy to say it’s the most well-known and beloved name in motorcycles.
But how much do you actually know about this iconic brand? Ride Free Forever: The Legend of Harley-Davidson is basically an official Harley-Davidson bible. It’s huge: gorgeous pictures and smart commentary fill the pages.
This not only will teach you a lot about the brand, but it also makes for great decor, especially if motorcycles are your passion. Use it as a display on your bookshelf or as a “coffee table book” to prominently display what you’re passionate about without having to wheel your bike into your living room.
6. Rebuilding the Indian
If rebuilding or building custom bikes is one of your favorite biking hobbies, then Rebuilding the Indian is an awesome read for you. And even if you’ve never tackled a biking project like that before, this book by Fred Haefele is more than just a “how to” manual on rebuilding a classic Indian motorcycle.
Similar to Running with the Moon, this book follows a man on a personal journey. While Running with the Moon followed a man on a travel adventure dealing with loss and change, Rebuilding the Indian follows a man pouring his heart and soul into a bike rebuild as he rebuilds his life.
Haefele had his novel rejected for publication, a baby on the way and had his marriage fall apart all within a very short timespan. The book itself is written with a series of diary entries that show his struggle rebuilding the 1941 Indian motorcycle along with the struggles in his personal life.
7. Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
The travel motorcycle books we’ve mentioned so far have been solo adventures. But there’s something special about a buddy trip, and that special quality is perfectly captured in this book.
Actor Ewan McGregor and his friend Charley Boorman decided to pack up their motorcycles and have an almost 20,000 mile trip from London to New York traveling through Western Europe, Russia, Canada, and the United States.
One part emotional, one part funny, and one part exciting, this book will keep you flipping the page to see their next obstacle or adventure. From dangerous off-roading, intense injuries (think gas spraying in your eyes), and traveling through weird and interesting parts of the world, this book is a must-read.
8. One Man Caravan
We’re clearly on a travel lit train, so why not throw in one more option? Robert Edison Fulton Jr. was an inventor, journalist, and adventurer who wanted to take a motorcycle trip around Europe after he graduated college, which was right after the end of World War II.
He got a customized bike and took off without looking back. His adventures were as wild as they could get: getting shot at, nights in jail, chased by bandits, and more.
The book is a great travel adventure that also sees the history of a post-WWII European landscape from a personal and intimate perspective. And if you ever wanted to learn more about one of the most interesting men in the world (a.k.a Robert Edison Fulton Jr.), this is a great way to do so.
9. Reaper’s Property
This book option won’t be a crowd pleaser like most of the books on this list, but the fact is that motorcycle romance books are an entire genre within themselves. And of all of the hundreds of options out there, Reaper’s property is the number one motorcycle romance book on Goodreads.com, so it made our list.
This fiction book follows the main character, Marie. She just went through a nasty divorce from an abusive husband when a bad boy motorcyclist from the “Reapers” gang named “the Horse” shows up where she’s staying and demands she come with him on the back of his bike.
This is a sexy, exciting romance that takes the “motorcycle bad boy” stereotype for all it’s worth. While it isn’t for everyone, this juicy and steamy story will certainly be a fun read, even if you’re just reading to make fun of it.
10. The Total Motorcycling Manual
Let’s end with a practical book. This manual is truly the total package. Author Mark Lindemann goes over everything from maintenance to safety tips to buying advice to what accessories you need and more.
This is great for beginners and vets alike, especially if you live and breathe motorcycle info.
10 Motorcycle Books to Keep You Riding When You’re Not Really Riding
Any one of these 10 motorcycle books will immerse you into bike culture. This is especially great as we approach a time of the year that’s the bane of many bikers’ existences: the winter.
Read these books and start planning your summer bike trips. As you plan, check out our tips on the best rides and routes you can find around the world.