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Book Review - Legendary Motorcycles

Legendary Motorcycles by Basem Wasef

by Basem Wasef

Jay Leno’s introduction to Legendary Motorcycles describes the bike’s power to represent people, eras and ideas. Each chapter pays tribute to a specific bike, recounting its creation, accomplishments and occasional demise. By describing these histories, the book’s author, Basem Wasef, suggests that the American attraction to motorcycles is really a fascination with the sense of freedom and danger invoked by the people who ride them.

One of the first photos in the book shows Rollie Free on the Bathing Suite Bike, a name that refers to the outfit Free wore when breaking speed records on Utah’s Salt Flats in 1948. Other honored bikes were owned by T.E. Lawrence, James Dean, and Peter Fonda’s Captain America from Easy Rider. The chapter honoring The King explains that with his Harley, Elvis created an “accessible rebelliousness” that people of that generation defined as American. With this, Legendary Motorcycles asserts that Americans love motorcycles because the people who ride them represent the bold, untamed spirit that we believe defines us.

Read our Legendary Race Cars book review

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(Updated: 03/10/10 NW)

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