It may not surprise you to hear that this book (does what it says on the tin) is about unusual motorcycles! We are all familiar with the modern motorcycle in all its many and various forms, but what we don't necessarily realise is that there were many prototypes and ideas during the evolution of the motorcycle which were very different. In this book the French author Francois-Marie Dumas has researched and dug up some of the most weird and wonderful experiments and prototypes from the early days of the motorcycle when the design was still fluid and anything was possible.
If you are keen on motorcycles but bored with reading about the same machines over and over again then this book is for you. It is advertised as containing information on a "collection of curious concepts, prototypes and race bikes" and is full of pictures of the most eccentric early motorcycle experiments that we just might have been riding now if the butterfly had flapped it's wings a little differently!
It is a totally un-put-downable read, full of fascinating, crazy and sublime ideas which are a credit to the minds of past human engineers. It illustrates nicely that the 'revolutionary' new machines of today had mostly been thought of and experimented with before.
About the Author
Dumas, the author, spent 25 years working for Yamaha Motor Europe where he acquired expert inside knowledge of prototypes and a great insight into the minds of motorcycle manufacturers. He has also written for classic motorcycle publications and while doing this has clocked some of the most interesting machines out there and spotted some of those which didn't make it into production, storing all those insights up to later put in his book.
Although the author is French, the book is in English and is crammed full of over 500 original images, many which have never been published before in the UK.
As well as many foreign built machines, there are British brainwaves there too like the four - cylinder Wooler and the Norton Kneeler - advanced engineering concepts which were ahead of their time.
Obviously no book of this nature can be fully comprehensive but not many bikes have been missed out and there is certainly enough there to hold the interest of any motorcycle enthusiast.
Because it contains so much information and so many great pictures the book is easy to dip into but once you have started reading it it is hard to stop as the next page will always hold some other bizarre machine!
Unusual Motorcycles is a hardback book from Haynes publishing:
ISBN 978 0 857336 1 5
It is available directly from Haynes online or from all good bookshops and there's still time to get Father Christmas to get it for you!