Discovering the Motorcycle by Armand Ensanian
If Bruce Brown’s classic motorcycle film “On any Sunday” were done in book form, it might come out something like Armand Ensanian’s new book, “Discovering the Motorcycle.”
That is not to suggest the book is a derivative of the film; rather it is to say that just as Brown’s movie brings you into the range of motorcycling’s many nuances, so does “Discovering the Motorcycle.”
Indeed, the book may take you further into the sport than the movie did, particularly since the it takes you from its earliest days to the cutting edge of the sport today.
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Whether you’re relatively new to the world of motorcycling or you’re an old hand, Discovering the Motorcycle will show you some things you probably haven’t seen before. The quality of the book’s content is further enhanced by an insightful foreword by Richard Backus, Editor-in-Chief of Motorcycle Classics magazine.
When you consider the breadth of the subject, and depth of its history, Ensanian deserves a lot of credit for even making the attempt to cover it at all, but given the excellent job he did, he deserves a standing O.
To pull it off, Ensanian draws on his forty-nine years of motorcycling experience, his qualifications as a genuine mechanic (he was a certified Kawasaki service technician in the H2, Z-1 heyday) and restorer and his extensive credentials as a journalist that include being a columnist for Popular Mechanics as well as widely traveled photojournalist.
The book’s twelve chapters tell most of the story, but there is also a special “Anatomy of the Motorcycle” that newcomers to the sport will find particularly useful. There is an Appendix that includes some fascinating specialty machines, a tech feature on horsepower and a short course on fuel and fuel systems.
After tracing history and development of the motorcycle as everything from a crude mechanical curiosity to cultural icon in chapters one and two, Ensanian offers a great section on the physics and mechanics of the internal combustion engine in chapter three. For those of us with a somewhat superficial understanding of four-stroke, two-stroke, Wankel and other engine types and configurations, the chapter provides a technical tutorial with an array of photos, diagrams and clear narrative.
Succeeding chapters cover motorcycle configurations, tips on buying a used bike, customs, off-road, adventure & dirt riding, touring, racing, e-bikes and the best venues to see motorcycles on display and in print.
In his conclusion to this sweeping book, Ensanian sums it all up: “The motorcycle adds great value toward our quest for individual experience. It offers a means of recreation and self-expression that is unlike any other. The motorcyclist can experience travel without the confinement of an automobile, being able to smell the fragrances nature surrounds us with, and feel the subtle temperature changes we never noticed before when cocooned in a car. Whether its evolution, innovation or destiny, this marriage between the wheel and the motor provides us with a remarkable vehicle for discovery that goes far beyond the roads traveled—it goes deep within us.”
Well said, Mr. Ensanian, well said.
- Title: Discovering the Motorcycle
- Author: Armand Ensanian
- Published: 2016 softcover, 510 8” x 10” pages, 1,000+ color and black & white images.
- Publisher: Equus Potentia Publishing
- ISBN: 978-0-9963919-0-0
- MSRP: U.S. $44.99