Motorcycle Repair Manual | Retro Review

Motorcycle Repair Manual | Retro Review

Motorcycle Repair Manual | Retro ReviewIf the cover of the Motorcycle Repair Manual that is the subject of this Rider’s Library Retro Review looks a little faded and beat, there are good reasons.

First, it was published 42 years ago. Second, it has not led a sheltered life on my bookshelf, but rather, has on many occasions been opened on my workbench, my garage floor and in the days when I had no garage, on the gravel of the yard.

To the credit of its publishers, the binding has not failed, the pages have not fallen out and the cover has remained basically intact despite its age, though the paper of the pages is beginning to yellow.

In its 288 pages, there is golden information for the DIY backyard mechanic, tuner and fabricator whose heart still beats a little harder for bikes from the sixties and seventies.

There are the usual chapters on troubleshooting, minor and major tune-ups for on-going maintenance, but this book includes some of the procedures and in-depth technical information not seen in every manual.

For example, there is a section on pressure testing two-strokes, on welding, brazing, soldering and riveting, lubrication systems, metal treating, chassis design and building, an excellent section on traditional roller chain (see our resource on modern chains here), how to use a degree wheel, two-stroke and four-stroke performance improvement modifications and so on. Carburetors and electrical systems including contact breaker points and early CDI systems are covered, as well.

There are several hundred charts, illustrations, tables and images (all B/W), that in most cases do a better job showing tune up and routine service procedures better than original owner’s manuals—if they included them at all.

Since the basic design of four-stroke engines hasn’t changed all that much since this book was published, the exploded diagrams of engine assemblies still can be useful with some more modern engines. But for owners of the kinds of bikes the book is devoted to or has specific sections on, such as the Yamaha Mini-enduro, AT-1 or DT-1, the Honda 90,100, 160 or 750, BSA 500 and 650 twins, Kawasaki 350, 500 and 750 triples and several others, the book is a very handy tune-up resource.

Think of it today as the Vintage Motorcycle Repair Manual and a great companion resource to the Motorcycle Repair Encyclopedia we told you about here.

Book Data:

  • Title: Motorcycle Repair Manual
  • Author: Bob Greene and the editors of Motorcyclist magazine. Edited by Dave Holeman
  • Published: 1973.
  • Publisher: Petersen Publishing Co., 8490 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069
  • Library of Congress Card No.: 72-85366


Note to readers: many of the books that we’ll feature in Rider’s Library may be out of print and some may be difficult to find. That could be half the fun. The Internet should make the search relatively easy but ironically, none of the books currently scheduled for eventual retro-review for the Rider’s Library section were found with the help of the Internet. They all were found at book stores, used book stores, antique shops, motorcycle shops, yard sales and so on.


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