The Ultimate Guide to Motorcycle Design, History & Culture

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The "exciting evolution of an automotive icon and the culture of desire, freedom, and rebellion that surrounds it" is the subject of the season's coolest new coffee table book—The Motorcycle: Desire, Art, Design. Newly released from Phaidon, it is now available for purchase on Amazon.

The 320-page beauty by Charles M. Falco and Ultan Guilfoyle is designed to accompany a world-exclusive exhibition of the same name at GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) in Brisbane, Australia. Specially-commissioned photography really sets the book apart.

The book, like the exhibition, showcases 100 "superb examples of motorcycle design from the late 19th century to the present day and beyond to the technological innovations of the future"—from radical concepts to record breakers and road icons.

Alongside well-known Triumphs and Ducatis are lesser-publicized but no less influential machines from the past 150 years—the earliest example is from 1860—that helped shape the motorcycle as we now know it. 

"With the coming demise of the internal combustion engine and the rise of electric-powered vehicles, motorcycle design is being revolutionized by new technologies, the demands of climate change, and global social transformation," as the authors note. 

However, the visceral appeal of the two-wheeled conveyances, with little separating man and machine, will last well into the coming centuries no matter how outlandish motorcycle designs and engineering become.