Book Review


Series: Drive. Ride. Fly.
By: Mike Seate with Linda Black McKay
Publisher: Motorbooks

Whether the subject is cars, motorcycles, racing - you name it - Motorbooks is a leader in publishing for the enthusiast. Now for the first time, the company is reaching out to young, up-and-coming enthusiasts with Drive. Ride. Fly., including two new motorcycle books. This dynamic, colorful and informative series is written and designed for kids age 10 and up, dishing all the details on the hottest, coolest vehicles on the planet. Each book includes an introductory glossary, index, timeline information and other exciting details.

A thrilling ride for young readers, Choppers features the best in custom motorcycles. Builder and author Mike Seate tells the story of choppers, bobbers and more, from the early days of building to today’s hottest trends. It’s filled with fun facts and fabulous color photography, as well as introduces famous builders like Chica, Jesse James and the late Indian Larry.

In addition, Drive. Ride. Fly. debuts with two other titles - Corvette, by Mike Mueller with Bob Woods; and John Deere, by Rod Beemer with Tracy Nelson. Each book is written by an expert author, in tandem with an experienced children’s writer, and designed with kids in mind.

“A chopper is a motorcycle that has been customized to fit what the owner wants. There are many kinds of choppers - from retro choppers, which are usually built from used parts and handmade components, to choppers built with more standard methods and prefabricated parts.”

 “Chopper Fact”
A bike is considered street legal when all of its components comply with the particular state laws in which it is driven. Some examples are the length of the fork, the height of handlebars, and the noise level of the exhaust


“G.J. Dammer, a Belgian builder was interested in creating a bike that nobody else ccould dream of. His ragged, rusty, beaten, and splintered steel chopper looks like something that Fred Flintstone would ride. Dammer, a metal sculptor and artist, took waht was basically a stock Harley-Davidson FLH Shovelhead and started banging on the Harley’s gas tank and fenders. One thing led to another and, seemingly hypnotized by the sound, Dammer ended up spending hundreds of hours battering away at each part of the bike’s surface.

“It had the weird, organic surfaces I was looking to create,” said Dammer after the banging process, “but a bike with thousands of little dents needed a finish that would really complement the way it looked.”

Instead of a traditional finish, Dammer simply allowed the motorcycle to rust naturally during several rainstorms. Needless to say, the rusty machine attracts plenty of stares on both sides of the Atlantic.”

“The art of building a bobber, or bob job custom bike, is maybe the most outlaw statement of all. The building process doesn’t include many high-priced custom parts like are found in after market catalogs and custom motorcycle shops. Most of the parts that go into a 1940s-era custom bike aren’t easily available. Instead, bobber builders search out what they need and convince reluctant owners to sell, or spend hours sweating over a welding torch, fabricating their own parts from scratch..”


“Chopper Fact”
Early bobber builders learned how to forge their own pistons, shave their own flywheels to make the bikes rev faster, and manufacture lumpy profile cams.”


“Brent Mayfield spent three years and thousands of hours building an authentic-looking 1948 Harley-Davidson Panhead bobber.

Mayfield’s bike has won first prize trophies from some of the most well respected custom bike shows in the country. Mayfield and other dedicated bobbers believe that behind the ornamental paint jobs and endless chrome is the most difficult style of chopper to build and maintain. And that’s exactly why it’s the most satisfying.

Although it is possible to purchase replicas of cool accessories like stock-length wide Springer forks, single sided drum brakes, and leather solo saddles, many builders prefer to find original parts and rebuild them to be authentic.”

Drive. Ride. Fly., Choppers, by Mike Seate with Linda Black McKay
Hardcover, 8 1/4 x 9, 80 pages
Photos: 75-plus color,
ISBN 13:978-0-7603-2332-8
ISBN 10:0-7603-2332-1
$9.95 (U.S.), $13.95 (CAN), 7.99 UK
Available in bookstores everywhere or through
For trade inquiries, contact us at or (800) 458-0454.

[Home] [Classfieds] [News] [Builders Profiles] [Product Showcase] [Guest Columnist] [Buyers Guide] [Upcoming Events] [Readers Rides] [Shop Tours] [Tech] [Event Coverage] [Book Reviews] [Catalogs] [About Us]