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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
You need not love Harleys to love this book. David Blattel has assembled many of H-D's greatest machines in a visual poem or photo-history for the manufacturer, shot brilliantly in settings that fit the historical nature of the machines, assisted by the text of H-D aficionado Dain Gingerelli that captures the historical aspects of every machine photographed.
Handsomely produced in `horizontal' format as befits a book featuring motorcycle photographs, it goes back to Harleys from 1911 (the company was founded in 1903). It divides the subject into rational categories, from `Finding Form: the Early Bikes,' `Setting the World Standard: the Knuckleheads,' `Big Twins: thePanheads,' `Minimum Hog: the Small Harleys,' `Competition Hot: the Sportster Models,' `Kings of the Highway: the Touring Bikes,' `Factory Customs: Low Rider and Wide Glide Models,' `Civilized Choppers: the Softail Models,' `Setting the Records: the Race Bikes,' `Modern Muscle: the V-Rods,' to `Bespoke Bikes: Custom Vehicle Operations.'
Blattel's photos are wonderfully realized, with exquisite color reproduction, including environments and associated artifacts--charming old buildings, airplanes such as the Stearman--that complement the subject matter. He is a craftsman with his cameras and lenses, and devotes two pages to describing his equipment and methods. All the bikes he shot seem to be fully restored machines that glisten with the allure and polish of a supermodel, and their ownership is credited.
Blattel and Gingerelli have included some unusual machines, many unremembered in the motorcycle world. They include the 1955 Model ST (1948-1966), based on DKW's RT125 (built in the UK as BSA's Bantam, and by the Russians). Manufactured in the millions, it may represent among the world's highest-volume production runs in the industry's history. The 1963 BTH Scat is shown, and the 1995 MT500 military machine powered by an engine designed in Italy by SWM Motor Works, used by Harley's successful short-track AMA race team.
There are, disappointingly, curious omissions. A reviewer interested in telling the truth to readers must note them and mourn their absence.
There are no photos of one of the winningest race motorcycles of all time, Harley's XR750 dirt-track machine that has accumulated one of the most amazing records in the sport. The Aermacchi-acquired/H-D-branded bikes get short shrift. No `Sturgis.' No `Topper' scooter. No Buells.
No photos and only a one-line mention of the epochal VR1000, produced (50) in road trim for race homologation, a valiant but flawed attempt to attack AMA Superbike racing that involved such great riders as Miguel DuHamel and Chris Carr. In mentioning the V-Rod series, Gingerelli omits the fact that the twin-cam, four-valve, water-cooled 60-degree, vee-twin motor (vs. the marque's traditional 45 degrees), which shattered Harley's mold of air cooling and the use of either side or pushrod-operated overhead valves, was designed by Porsche in Germany. There are no mentions or photos of Harley's drag-racing machines that use the V-Rod engine--sensational winners today.
But nothing can take away the elegance and excellent publishing values that will make this a `keeper' for historians and anyone who cherishes a great American motorcycle. Discrepancies aside--the authors may have had their reasons--this book belongs on the coffee tables of every Harley enthusiast.