Streetbike Extremebook76
by Mike Seate
126 pages, $19.95
Motorbooks Int’l, copyright 2002

by Sev Pearman

Motorcycling has always been controversial in this country. The late ’50s saw the spread of the “Bad Boy” image. The ’70s saw the explosion of the “anti-social” Chopper. Today, the spotlight on motorcycling focuses on so-called Extreme Stunt riding. In Streetbike Extreme, author Mike Seate paints an enthusiastic and balanced portrait of this controversial facet of motorcycling.

The author reminds us that stunt riders have been part of our sport since the beginning. Evel Knievel, Doug Domokos and Gary Rothwell paved the way for the current fuzzy bike riders. Mr. Seate reminds us that extreme riding is a product of our time. These riders were raised on MTV; they are visually literate and are intuitive showmen. When you make machines with unbelievable power-to-weight ratios and disposable video cameras available to them, the results are inevitable.

The enthusiasm of the author is thankfully balanced by the inclusion of the real and painful risks of road rash, broken bones and pulled licenses. Rider interviews reveal the admitted rush and thrill when they are able to evade Law Enforcement. Long-term (MMM is reluctant to call them “pro”) riders reluctantly admit that they are eager to take their moves off of the streets and into motorcycle events.

Whatever your feelings about extreme street riding, the photography in Streetbike Extreme rocks. There are large four color action photos of trick riding on almost every page. We are convinced that in the future, our riding grandkids will look back on these images like we admire post-war photos of guys standing on the seats of their Harleys and Indians.

Streetbike Extreme is a fresh, fair look at a new phenomenon in our two-wheeled world. Like it or not, extreme stunt riding isn’t going away. If you are a fan, you will enjoy Mr. Seate’s enthusiastic text paired with the high-action photos. We recommend this balanced book even if you (like this reviewer) think that displays of such antics have no place on the street. Streetbike Extreme rides out on one wheel firing three-out-of-four cylinders.

Verdict:

10 year old–“Dad, can I glue carpet on my XR-50?

Mistah Krome Helmutt–Broken bones heal; bad PR lingers.

Joe Anti–Adding younger riders to our sport is good.

 

MMM welcomes your comments and book recommendations. Send e-mail to mnmc@comcast.net Please put “Book Review” in the subject line.

M.M.M.

 

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