Frank Melling is an old-school moto journalist and former factory racer. He lives with his wife Carol on a beautiful farm in northwest England. There, he raises Manx Loaghtan sheep, among other things, runs the Thunderfest two-day motorcycling event (previously known as Thundersprint), campaigns a Seeley Suzuki, and still can get around a circuit in a respectable time.
I met Frank in Spain during a Triumph new-model launch years ago, and we have kept in touch. My respect for him grew after reading his A Penguin in a Sparrow’s Nest. I thoroughly enjoyed it—especially the part where he tells the story of his BSA factory ride and of “liberating” his B50 from the factory as the gates were closing the final time after bankruptcy.
Frank has participated in and seen many of the happenings woven into the history of late 20th-century motorcycling, so his moto-cred is firmly established. His newly printed Classic Superbikes, in soft-cover magazine format, is about 130 pages of what motorcycle magazine readers used to lust over before said magazines showed more advertising than content. Classic Superbikes has adverts on just a handful of pages; the rest is pure moto-reading bliss.
Classic Superbikes is well-printed on quality paper stock, and is chock full of Frank’s stories and fabulous high-resolution photos. Each chapter tells of a different, legendary machine. Chapter titles include Gilera Four—The Best of the Best of the Best; 1938 Triumph Speed Twin—The machine that killed the British bike industry; Egli Fritz—Rarer than a smiling parking warden with a forgiving nature; The Last Works BSA—A fairy tale for grown-ups; Hesketh Venom—The gentleman’s motorcycling carriage); Norton Commando 750—Mk1: The best of all Commandos, and many more stories and photos that will surely make you smile and reminisce.
I highly recommend Classic Superbikes, as well as all of Frank’s moto-related books, and they can be purchased directly on the Frank Melling website.