Streetbikes Everything You Need to Know

Bart Madson | March 16, 2007
For potential riders looking to get into motorcycles Bill Stermer s Streetbikes: Everything You Need to Know from Motorbooks would make an informative read.
For potential riders looking to get into motorcycles Bill Stermer’s Streetbikes: Everything You Need to Know from Motorbooks would make an informative read.

Thinking about getting a motorcycle? There are many things to consider when it comes to swapping four wheels for two, but potential riders are fortunate to have a new book title to help them on their way in Streetbikes: Everything You Need to Know.

As an entry-level book SEYNTK (there’s a lengthy acronym for you) is very easy to understand for beginners, and even those who think they know everything already might find themselves enlightened. For those new to motorized two-wheeled travel, getting a grip on the basics can be overwhelming. To that end SEYNTK holds your hand through, well, “everything you need to know” about getting started out on a streetbike.

Astute readers will notice the book isn’t titled Streetbikes: Everything There Possibly is to Know About Them in the Whole Wide World, and the author, motorcycle journalist Bill Stermer, makes that distinction in the opening pages. If you want to make the vault up into know-it-all status, there are other books better suited to the task. But, until then, you can get started with this simple, yet comprehensive title. (Besides, do we really need any more know-it-alls out there in the world?)

The first third of the 159-page book is devoted to helping a potential rider chose the right motorcycle for their needs. For those who might be intimidated by walking into a dealership and going blank when the salesmen asks if you’re looking for a V-Twin cruiser or an Inline-Four supersport, this is the book for you. Stermer explains the different types of motorcycles: cruiser, sportbike, dual-sport, touring, etc. He also gives a brief but informative paragraph intro to all of the current main manufacturers.

In between his explanation of what kinds of motorcycles are out there and who makes them, Stermer gives riders a brief course in motorcycle engineering 101. The most useful section of this tutorial being the chapter on engines, with the reader introduced to the various configurations and personalities of powerplants propelling the two-wheeled set.

The middle of the book discusses the multitude of accessories now available on a motorcycle. Stermer also delves into motorcycle oddities like trikes and trailers, as well as a chapter on basic bike maintenance, which is coupled with common performance upgrades. Stermer takes care not to neglect one of the most crucial aspects a new rider has to address before heading out onto the road – riding gear.

Going over the same material we outlined in the third installment of our Ongoing Adventures of a Newbie series, Stermer goes over what you need to keep your limbs and majority of skin attached in the event of a crash. From helmet to boot, he covers all the options available and proffers advice on what works best.

The final section on the book deals with street riding. It is a very brief section, with perhaps the best advice being that every new rider should enroll in a basic riding course from the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation). Explaining all the fun you’ll have and the various activities you can pursue – like rallies, passenger rides, and even trackdays – Stermer gets his readers excited about making the motorcycle plunge.

Stermer himself has been riding motorcycles for 40 years and writing about them for 30 years. He is the author of six motorcycle-related books and countless articles, so he knows what he’s talking about and the knowledge filters out to his readers. While it imparts a great deal of information, SEYNTK doesn’t read like a textbook, a credit to Stermer’s writing credentials. There’s lots of color photography with captions, and the book reads and feels kind of like a series of unified magazine articles. As a visual learner myself, the many pics, captions and sidebars were appreciated and kept my attention while turning the pages.

We give Streetbikes: Everything You Need to Know our sprocketed MCUSA stamp of approval. It delivers everything its declarative title promises, and does so in an engaging and informative manner. Retailing at $24.95, the pricetag is a little steep but not outrageous. Also if readers enjoyed their Everything-You-Need-to-Know taste, they will be happy to know that Motorbooks also has EYNTK titles for Touring motorcycles and Scooters as well.

Product: Streetbikes: Everything You Need to Know
MSRP: $24.95 Trade Paperback
Buy It Now: Streetbikes: Everything You Need to Know


Bart Madson

MotoUSA Editor | Articles | Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for 10 years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to motorcycle racing reports and industry news features.

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