This book by Carl Adams is a book whose publication I've been looking forward to for months and have to confess some worry that it wouldn't be very good or would be dry and too technical in nature. But this book was worth the wait and it's already given this dual-sport novice a lot of food for thought.
When you take the book into your hand and it falls open, the first hints that you've got your hands on a valuable resource come to you. To start, its introduction was written by motorcycling legend Malcolm Smith, the jovial and amazingly talented focus of many parts of "On Any Sunday"...a renowned international motorcycling hero for several decades. Across from this introduction, the Mr. Adams' acknowledgement indicates that his royalties have been assigned to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, a generous act and also one that automatically makes any reader a charitable contributor. It was a deft touch and one which virtually makes the reader a part of this book's success. The tone of his remarks about choosing a dual-sport (a choice I am in the process of making for the first time) also conveys well the romantic nature of motorcycling.
Motorcycles are about dreams, dreams of freedom and dreams of adventure. That is obviously something that this author understands well because he frames what could be a dry technical treatise about bike and part selection criteria into a search for which motorcycle will best suit your individual motorcycling dream. Do you want to rack up a lot of miles on tarmac, ride until the road ends and then continue on trails or focus on riding on trails all the way? Yet, while appreciating the individual choice that a dual-sport represents, the author also clearly and concisely presents the criteria to be considered while making that choice. It was very nicely done.
From the choice of motorcycle type, the author then proceeds logically to looking at gear selection, a matter made more complicated than selecting street gear by the more diverse climactic conditions in which trail riders can find themselves. Many street riders ride only during good weather but a minority ride year round and dual-sport and other off-road riders seem to have a lot in common with those riders. A look at how street and off-road riders' needs differ is presented, followed by technical details about motorcycle setup for on and off-road use. Tires and suspension setup in particular are looked at in detail.
From equipment selection, the author switches over to a look at how riders need to rework their "mental software" to handle situations different from the street riding they may already be used to. Two chapters go on to discuss specific basic and more advanced off-road riding skill, skills different from the ones street riders use. These chapters are followed closely by one whose topic is trailside repairs, a vital skill to cultivate for those who may be riding where no one else will pass for weeks.
Finally, having engaged the reader at the start and then progressed to a very thorough review of technical information, the author returns to looking at the fun aspects of dual-sport riding: organized clubs and events (riding is a solitary activity which is often enriched when shared with other people), how to ensure that trails remain open for off-road riding by working with others, essential navigational skills and information about some of the ins and outs of trips and distance touring.
This book is a very valuable technical look at an aspect of motorcycling with which I am just starting to become familiar. But even more than that, it is now a new favorite book and one which I anticipate using as a reference for a long time to come. Well done!