Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

This is a discussion on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance within the General forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Have any of you read it? What did you think? A couple of months ago I watched a video on Ben Spies' website and saw ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Midwest FZ Rider's Avatar
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    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    Have any of you read it? What did you think?

    A couple of months ago I watched a video on Ben Spies' website



    and saw the book on his coffee table. It sparked my interest, thinking it would be cool to read something the Spies was reading to so knowing nothing about the book I found a used paperback copy at the Half Price Books by my place and read it.

    Suffice it to say it wasn't as I suspected it to be and kind of wonder if Spies was really reading it or if someone had just put it there becuase they thought it would look cool for the video. (Maybe I'll try and ask him if I see him at Indy next year!) That being said I like what it had to say and have since read the followup book. Lila: An Inquiry into Morals and have moved onto Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

    Just curious to see if anyone else has read it or the others.
    “I love all kind of motorcycle. But especially I love cafe. Hmm, not cafe, just racer.”
    ~Shinya Kimura

  2. #2
    Official Site Vendor ukTony's Avatar
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    man that guys got a 'drony' voice.
    'old hooligan...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Midwest FZ Rider's Avatar
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    He really does! Definitely no Rossi or Edwards, Nicky when he's not being interviewed seems to have a normal way about him too.
    “I love all kind of motorcycle. But especially I love cafe. Hmm, not cafe, just racer.”
    ~Shinya Kimura

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Zen is one of those gateway books almost everyone reads when they want to get into bikes. At least they used to before the Internet. It was good at putting people into the right frame of mind for tackling jobs that would otherwise seem daunting. What is funny is that the book isnt really about motorcycles or maintenance, it is about living with the after effects of electroshock therapy in the middle of the last century, but somehow the message always comes clear: there is pride in ownership of the work you do, small tasks lead to confidence which leads to bigger tasks, and there is no need to be overly ambitious - just tend to what needs tending to at the time it needs it or slightly before.

    Post Internet a lot of motorcycle newbies it's figure the Internet will help you fake it till you make it and ambition wins you fame and a TV show. I think it is one of the bigger sticking points here with the the old guard and the know nothing noobs - they just aren't in the right frame of mind.

    By the way, in case you haven't looked it up yet, the bike persing rides is a CB77 superhawk.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  6. #5
    Senior Member Midwest FZ Rider's Avatar
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    The book really did make it useful like you said to get in the right mindset for working on a bike but I really dug the whole philosophy (metaphysics of quality) side of it too there is a lot of things that clicked for me reading the books.
    “I love all kind of motorcycle. But especially I love cafe. Hmm, not cafe, just racer.”
    ~Shinya Kimura

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    Senior Member JackC's Avatar
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    I read it 30 years ago and tried again recently. Have to admit it wasn't my cup of tea.
    But, I think I learned what caused my superhawk to
    Seize up in 1972.

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    Administrator texmawby's Avatar
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    i think Pirsig is a hack.

    i also think Kerouac is a hack too.

    to give a little scale....i like Vonnegut, Faulkner, Salinger, Fitzgerald, Ginsberg, and Bukowski (among others).
    advocate for the injured, disabled, and urinated upon.

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    Senior Member trepanned23's Avatar
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    Too metaphorical for my taste. I got about 6/10 of the way thru, put it down for Graham Hancock's "Supernatural" - a study of paleolithic peoples encounters with mind altering drugs (among other things)- and never looked back.

  10. #9
    Senior Member TSwami's Avatar
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    I love motorcycles and Philosophy and if you read it just as a motorcycle book you're missing it. It does speak to some of the things we experience in owning motorcycles and working on them but it wasn't written as a motorcycle feel good book. It is really a study of rationality and a work towards a "right" attitude and improvement of self. If you aren't used to reading philosophy you'll miss some of the finer points but that shouldn't stop you. Its a good book.
    Faster, faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death. ~Hunter Thompson

  11. #10
    Senior Member Midwest FZ Rider's Avatar
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    quote:Originally posted by texmawby

    i think Pirsig is a hack.

    i also think Kerouac is a hack too.

    to give a little scale....i like Vonnegut, Faulkner, Salinger, Fitzgerald, Ginsberg, and Bukowski (among others).
    I'll have to do a little looking into those you mentioned Tex. I never thought I would find philosophy/metaphysics interesting (flunked out of Philosophy 101 at UW Madison) but for some reason 10+ years later that book seems to have sparked something.
    “I love all kind of motorcycle. But especially I love cafe. Hmm, not cafe, just racer.”
    ~Shinya Kimura

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