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Reviews

Just as the title says, this is simply a place for members to submit their own reviews, or anyone interested to read them.

 

Picture: Dennis Appleby at Snetterton earlier this year on the TZ125G that he considers one of the family, it's been around for so long! Dennis has recently been kind enough to provide some brilliant information on what it's like to own and ride a TZ125G, information which will be made available to everyone in the not too distant future. Thanks Dennis !

 

Reviews are encouraged and most welcome from all parties, please  Email the Webmaster with any submissions. Also, replies to reviews are most welcome and provided they are not derogatory toward the review writers or product suppliers on a personal level, they will be included here.


Authors and product distributors...  do you have a book or product you would like reviewed here?    Email the Webmaster with details  !!


Click on a link below to view reviews:

    Books:

        Yamaha's Glorious GP History .... by Roger Gowenlock  ** NEW **

        Mick Walker's Japanese Production Racing Motorcycles    

      Barry Sheene 1950 to 2003 .. by Stuart Barker  

       Foggy on Bikes .. by Carl Fogarty 

      Jarno Saarinen, the Flying Finn .. by Klaas Tjassens 

      MOTORCYCLE HANDLING AND CHASSIS DESIGN  by Tony Foale  

      The Privateer  by Jon Ekerold  

      Two Stroke Performance Tuning by A.Graham Bell

 bulletYAMAHA All Factory and Prod...  by Colin MacKellar

 bulletYAMAHA by Ted Macauley

 bulletTechniques of Motorcycle Roadracing by Kenny Roberts

 bulletMotorcycle Tuning - Two Stroke .. by John Robinson

 bulletThe Yamaha Legend .. by Ted Macauley

 bulletRacing the Yamaha KT100s...  by Jean Louis Genibrel.

 bulletThe Art and Science of Motorcycle Roadracing .. Peter Clifford with Kenny Roberts

 bulletA Twist of the Wrist ... Keith Code

 bulletThe Racing Motorcycle, a Technical Guide for Constructors .. John Bradley

 bulletSportbike Performance Handbook .. Kevin Cameron


   Videos/DVDs:

bulletAssen Centennial Box Set

bulletOn Any Sunday 1 and 2

bulletRiding On The Edge Vol. 1

bulletKenny Roberts.. World Champ

bulletKing Kenny

bulletBikers' Classic Spa 2005


    2 Stroke Tuning Software:

bulletClick on this link:  MOTA 2 Stroke software Version 5.0 and 6.0 to read the review.


    Racing Accessories:

bulletClick on this link : "Accu-Mix" fuel mixing system. to read the review.

bulletThe Accu-Flo precision oil pouring spout. 

bulletMeadSpeed's clutch covers.

bulletRex's Speed Shop CDI units and other electronics services ***NEW***


Books:

Mick Walker's Japanese Production Racing Motorcycles.

This 336 page paperback publication isn't  specifically a Yamaha focused book but an extensive overview of the six main Japanese manufacturers to build production roadracers; Bridgestone, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Tohatsu and Yamaha.

( This review covers only the Yamaha section because to be honest that's the only section to interest me and I haven't gotten around to finding the time to read the rest of the book! )

Mr. Walker's been around for ever it seems and he delves into his extensive photo archive to show us some of the best and relevant shots of these old bikes we are all into seen so far in print. This aspect of the book is simply brilliant!

One gets the feeling the highly respected author either chose not to go into minute detail on the various Yamaha racers for some reason or that the book was a bit "rushed". This is not to take anything away from "Mick Walker's Japanese Production Racing Motorcycles", it is arguably the best look at our bikes to date, it just seems to not quite deliver the level of information I for one was hoping for when a British mate told me of it's imminent release. But I guess when you are covering so many different brands and models of bike it is hard and impracticle to look at the finest detail for every one.

The layout of the book is in the currently favoured "contained text" style with vertical margins limiting the amount of information that can fit on each page, along with images seemingly randomly placed over it all. It is definitely a modern looking arrangement but seems to jump around all over the place ( the Yamaha section at least ) rather than following a year by year, model by model order, but this will be seen by some no doubt as part of the appeal of the book, setting it apart from other historical publications. It's still an undeniably great, (though a tad expensive for a paperback) book.

The only truly extensive study of Yamahas is that written by British TD1 guru Richard Tracey as he pours virtually everything he knows (he told me this in an email a while back) into the 14 pages dedicated to the 1959 YDS1-R to 1968 TD1-C in Mr. Walker's book. A remarkable study, well researched and written, top marks to Richard for his efforts!

In summary, if you are into the TD1 range buy it, you will definately not be disappointed, if you are into later model bikes maybe have a look through a copy if possible before outlaying the cash, especially if you already own a copy of Colin MacKellar's book/s.

 

A very special thank you goes out to Mr. Roger Gowenlock for donating a copy of this book to the website, allowing us to both review it and use it for research material which is to everyone's benefit in the long run.


        Two Stroke Performance Tuning - Second Edition

By A. Graham Bell.

What two-stroke tuner has not heard of or does not own this gem of a technical information book. What Mr. Bell doesn't know about two stroke engines isn't worth knowing!

 It's been in print since 1983 ( First Edition ) and is a very comprehensive guide to getting the most from your two stroke racer, be it roadracer, motocrosser, go-kart, whatever. The book goes right into detail on each aspect of the motors such as head, porting, chamber design and construction, cranks, etc.  The first edition even has a section on recommended modifications to specific machines, which is excellent reading.

    My only criticism of the first edition is the binding. The book is a hard cover item, but a few of the pages in my copy have dislodged themselves from the spine with age, which is a little annoying.

    The second edition is bound differently and does not have this problem.

     It is published by Haynes and should be easily obtainable. I have seen it often in various places.

Highly recommended.                 

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    YAMAHA All Factory and Production Road-Racing Two Strokes From 1955 to 1993

By Colin MacKellar.

The TZ owner's bible. I have just about read the print off the pages of the chapters on the production TZ 250 / 350's  and the TZ 750 !!!

 This book is a wealth of information for the TZ obsessed with excellent photos, and a truly brilliant text filled with just about every detail of the bikes concerned you could ask for. At the back there is a technical specifications list second to none.

I have learnt a hell of a lot from this offering and although it has a number of "holes" obvious to a die-hard enthusiast it is still a remarkably good starting point for someone becoming interested in old Yamaha 2 stroke production roadracers.

 It was published by The Crowood Press and is now out of print after initial runs totaling around 3,000 copies though it is often advertised by various establishments so it shouldn't be too hard to track down a copy.   Expensive, but well worth the money.

Colin McKellar's 'Yamaha...' is really good, though there are some production number anomalies in the 750 side (Alistair's bike (Kerry's brother, who has a 750C... Webmaster) - known to be genuine- shouldn't exist), and there is nothing at all on the TZ125 single.  There is also little on the OW15 125 twin Kent Andersson used to win 2 championships - it's not at all like a TZ.  There is an article on it in the latest Classic Racer. (Kerry Wilton)

Crowood have decided (as of February 2008) to do a limited re-print of this book. Check with your local bookstore!!

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 Techniques of Motor Cycle Road Racing

By Kenny Roberts.

This book was written by Kenny with the assistance of Peter Clifford and offers a truly brilliant insight into all aspects of road racing from practice, to racecraft, to machine preparation, the list goes on. The book is filled with clearly understandable illustrations and some absolute gems of photos of Kenny and other racers from the 70's and 80's in action.

 It is / was published by Ospray Publishing Ltd. and may be out of print, I'm not sure. I stumbled across a copy at a swap meet last year.

 Highly recommended if you can get hold of a copy.

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   YAMAHA

by Ted Macauley

A highly informative account of Yamaha's racing history.

Ted Macauley has been involved with the Grand Prix scene for almost 25 years and was Mike Hailwood's manager for 10 of those. The book is full of stories and behind the scenes information that makes it almost impossible to put down once you've started reading. There's enough here to keep any 2 stroke racing enthusiast enthralled for hours.

Once again, highly recommended, if you can track down a copy. My copy was published by Haynes in 1983. Whether or not it is still in print I'm not sure.

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Motorcycle Tuning  - Two Stroke.

by John Robinson.   ISBN 0-408-00830-X. Published by Newnes Technical Books1986.
 
Widely respected tuner an writer who died recently.  Excellent book, and a good comparison to Bell's book.  Where Bell concentrates purely on port timings, Robinson examines the 'time-area' principle (As did Dr Gordon Jennings in the USA years ago - also recently deceased).  Lots of photos as examples of the areas discussed.  Some basic computer programs for various calculations.  Lots of general principles in simple terms, and particular application to LC for what was F3 in UK. (Kerry Wilton)

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The Yamaha Legend

- by Ted Macauley

Possibly an early version of the one reviewed above (Yamaha).  Printed in 1979.  Bit lightweight in parts (looks like it was rushed, and not overly researched). Some interesting period photos, etc. (Kerry Wilton)
 

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Racing the Yamaha KT100S Building, Blueprinting, Tuning and Maintenance. 

by Jean Louis Genibrel.        Steve Smith Autosports Publications 1986/1995.  ISBN 0-936834-51-X.
 
Just recently picked this up, though I have no interest in karts.  Lots of good general tips, especially as Yamaha tends to stick to a proven formula, and much stuff cross-credits to the bikes.  Emphasis on how to get power from the Komet 100 engine and stay within class rules for karting, though good other information.  Well worth a read, if a copy is available. (Kerry Wilton)
 

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The Art and Science of Motor Cycle Road Racing. 

 by Peter Clifford with Kenny Roberts.  Hazeleton Publishing 1982 ISBN 0-905138-24-4
 
Probably a forerunner to the one reviewed above (Techniques of Motor Cycle Road Racing).  Lots of period photos.  Discussion on everything from why bikes work to who's who in GP's at the time, with diagrams and discussion on various GP circuits at the time.  Lots for the beginning racer, with notes on preparation, etc.  Worth a read. (Kerry Wilton)
 

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A Twist of the Wrist -the motorcycle racers handbook.  (Notes and comments by Eddie Lawson)

  by Keith Code.       ISBN-9650450-1-3 Fifteenth Publishing 1997.
 
Well known first in the series of books and videos on how to ride faster.  Well worth a read, even for experienced racers - explains how to go fast, or you can relate to it and see why.  Worth a read.  Haven't seen the videos, though they may be easier to follow.  This is not hard to read. (Kerry Wilton)

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THE RACING MOTORCYCLE  a Technical Guide for Constructors. 

 by John Bradley.     ISBN 0-9512929-2-Broadland Leisure Publications 1996.
 
First volume in what Bradley sees as a set.  (Second volume apparently being written - focusing on how to construct, not what to build). 

Can see it for sale in Classic Racer, etc.  Bid format, lots of diagrams, about 2.5 cm thick.  Lots of formulas and some photos as illustrations of examples. Some people are put off by formulas, but they are actually quite simple when you have a look, and can easily be done with a pencil and piece of paper and a tiny calculator. Lots of good stuff on how to get the most from what you have - everything from setting up suspension to improving the design of your fairing, using dyno printout to get better performance by calculating gearchange points based on overall gear ratio, rather than by just revving it to the red-line, etc.     All sorts of stuff that you'd never otherwise think of. (Kerry Wilton)
 

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Sportbike Performance Handbook

by Kevin Cameron.               MBI Publishing Company 1997.  ISBN 0-7603-0229-4
 
Excellent read by legendary writer and tuner.  Usual Cameron dry sense of humour,  Lots of photos to illustrate examples.  Relates especially to modern sports bikes, though 90% also directly applies to all bikes.  Lots of practical info on all manner of things - oils, suspension, clutches, ignition, carbs, brakes etc, etc.  Lots of info on why some things work better, not just that they do.  Allows lots of understanding by simple riders!  Easy reading.  Informative.  Excellent. (Kerry Wilton)

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Videos:

   Assen Centennial Classic Box Set              

by Duke Video

In 1998 Ferry Brouwer, Derk Evers and Jan Martens conducted what has been called " The Event of the Century" as far as motorcycle roadracing goes.

More than 40 ex-World Champions gathered at Assen in May 1998 to reminisce, discuss the good old days, and above all, parade some of the world's rarest motorcycle racing heritage over this special weekend.

"The Riders" video:  Truly unique interviews with ex-champions, all wanting to tell the stories of their greatest rides while trying hard not to sound too egotistical! Some of these interviews have quite funny moments and keep you glued to your TV screen.  Riders such as Ago, Barry Sheene, Geoff Duke, Randy Mamola, Jim Redman, Tommy Robb, John Surtees and a host of others give an insight into their racing careers that no magazine article I've read has managed to do.

 

"The Highlights" video:   This tape highlights the sights and sounds of the event including the glorious music produced by the multi cylinder four strokes, the big singles, and the screaming 2 strokes.

 

 

 

"The Machines" video:   An excellent expose' of the exotic grand prix bikes from the 50's to the 70's. Each bike is placed on a revolving carousel inside a studio so you get a really good look at the ones chosen for analysis.

Fairly interesting for the Yamaha 2 stroke fan with the RD56 250cc twin of 1965, RD05A 250cc four of 1968, RA31A 125cc four of 1968, a 250cc "Phil Read Special" from 1971, OW48R 500cc four of 1980, as well as a few other reasonably stock and unusual variations worth checking out. Quite a brilliant, enthralling account well worth watching.

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     Riding on the Edge Volume 1.        by Castrol Australia.

    I picked this up, ex-hire, for $10Aus ( say $5 US) at a video store clearance sale. What a bargain !

The tape is made up of three parts:

  1. Focus 500 -1976:     Follows the ups and downs of Ago, Barry Sheene, and Phil Read over three rounds of that year's World Championship.

  2. Spa - 1982:          Features the Belgian Grand Prix including interviews with Kenny Roberts, Graeme Crosby, and Barry Sheene.

  3. Assen - 1977:         The 500c, 350cc and 250cc races are covered here, with a bit of a look behind the scenes as an added bonus.

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    On Any Sunday 1 and 2   by Bruce Brown

    Volume One is the  all time classic motorcycle lifestyle film. It follows the fortunes of Dirt track master Mert Lawwill, all round master Malcolm Smith, and film legend Steve McQueen amongst others. It is a highly entertaining movie made in the real early seventies laid-back style, with quite a groovy soundtrack included. I have watched this dozens of times and will probably watch it dozens more. A classic, a real classic.

   

Volume 2 is a little more well made, obviously with a slightly bigger budget. In this video Bruce Brown features Kenny Roberts, Bruce Penhall, and Bob Hanna to name just a few. The scene where the guy accidentally blows his YZ465 up in the desert is enough to bring a tear to the eye of any old motocross rider !

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    Kenny Roberts: World Champion

    While it is certainly no feature film quality production, it is, none-the-less, a fascinating  documentary-like account which delves briefly into the King's racing history and gives a more thorough overview of  his campaign to win the 1978 and 1979  500cc World Championships. Like the "King Kenny" video reviewed below, it features some classic footage and interviews which keep any TZ fan's eyes glued to their TV screen.

    Viewing this video for the first time some years ago, I remember it giving me, personally, a clearer idea of Kenny's true personality. While it certainly doesn't seek to hide or mask his endless confidence and I must say, arrogance, it does give a brief ( refreshing ) insight into his sense of humour, which, to be honest, prior to this I had doubted even existed !! Kenny comes across as quite a likeable sort of bloke away from the track, yet incredibly focused when getting down to business.

    My one criticism of this story is that it's too short !!

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"King Kenny"

Filmed in the late seventies/ early eighties, this historic gem of a British made video offers a real in-depth look into the world and mind of the man they still call "King" Kenny Roberts. It was made in his heyday and despite the attrocious soundtrack and lifeless narration is still an excellent source of "behind the scenes" information about life in the Grand Prix "circus" of the period.

It includes a brief look into Kenny's domestic dirt-track career including a little footage of the same, as well as an overview of each of his 500cc World Championship winning years, 1978, 1979 and 1980.

We get quite a unique look at Mr. Roberts' attitude and way of thinking about all aspects of his work including his bikes, his rivals and his fans with some interesting, yet refreshing comments about the man from such people as team manager Kel Carruthers and rivals Barry Sheene, Virginio Ferrari and others about both working with and competing against the 3 time World Champ. The classic footage of races, tracks and starting grids are worth their weight in gold.

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      02/08/10 04:43 AM +1000 

   This web-page Greg Bennett 2002 apart from images of covers which are each relevant  author or publisher.