Biker's Handbook by Jay Barbieri

Jay Barbieri is the producer of "American Thunder," a telelvision motorcycle show. He recently authored a new book, "Biker&#...

Jay Barbieri is the producer of "American Thunder," a telelvision motorcycle show. He recently authored a new book, "Biker's Handbook: Becoming Part of the Motorcycle Culture" that teaches new motorcycle owners how to fit into the lifestyle without looking like they're trying.

Susan Carpenter, who covers most of the motorcycle news for the Los Angeles Times, interviewed Barbieri. When asked about who is this book targeted for, he responds...
The guy who buys the leather jacket with a huge logo on the back. The guy who buys the pseudo-Nazi helmet with a big spike. The guy who rides up next to the minivan that says "Baby on Board" and revs his bike looking all bad trying to scare everyone inside.
He goes on to say that his book is really about fitting into the American motorcycle culture...
The original title was "Becoming Part of the American Motorcycle Culture." My publisher didn't want the word "American" in there because the books they put out with "American" in the title didn't do well, but this book is about becoming part of the American motorcycle culture. My point is simply this: In the '70s, there was a very clear line drawn in the sand. The Japanese said, "We do not want the negative stigma of being outlaw bikes." The American motorcycle never changed its philosophy.

About 10 to 15 years ago, Harleys got really popular again, and metric motorcycles came up with a V 45 motor and started styling themselves after Harley-Davidson with a lower price point. A lot of guys went out and said, "It looks like a Harley, sounds like a Harley, so I'm going to buy it." You don't have to buy a Harley to be part of the motorcycle culture, but this is where I get in all kinds of trouble. You're buying a motorcycle that wants to be like something else.
If you're interested in reading this book, here's the link to it on

Thanks Thumper for the tip.


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  1. I would like to take a moment and let people know that Jay Barbieri is a really horrible author. He is also just as good at TV production in that anyone with a mind can tell that His show is just a 1/2 hour commercial for J&P Cycles and Kuryakyn parts. 1st off a Handbook on being a Biker is as useful as the "How To Be Cool" Handbook. He is looking to Cash In on the latest fade of Dressing up as a Hard guy on a bike. I have a Bike, I am not a Biker nor do I pretend to be (Biker to me means a 1%er Jay, Not just you and your friends drenched in Chinese made HD Clothing) but not unlike many of His Harley Brothers he openly dismisses the Motorcycle I chose to buy ( a 2002 Harley VRSCA aka Vrod) as "Not a Real Harley, more a Jap bike". Good going Jay, show your true Colors and to Stand Behind the 1 Company that provides 99% of the bikes on your show as Harley tries to Lure some of the Buyer of other brands to the Harley name by making a bike that is Modern Tec and Not just a Vibrating Potato Potato machine with 80HP and 800lb's+, can you possibly write a Handbook for every faction of my life so i know how to do things right? This man is an Idiot. If He wrote The Idiot Guide" than I would, oh wait He did its called The Bikers Handbook, come on you rebels go Read It, I imagine Sonny Barger would have found it useful.

  2. Jay has the writing style of a below average high school student, to begin with. He also seems to have no real grasp of the history of motorcycling in the US.

    You put a pretty fine point on his "How To Be Cool" approach, too.

  3. Thanks for your kind words. If either of you took a few more minutes to read the book and get the gist that it's more about the adventures of being on the road maybe I would take your critiques to heart. 1st my opinion of the V-Rod is my opinion, you don't have to share it and just because it's made by my favorite motorcycle company doesn't mean I have to agree with their styling points. It’s called free thinking. The term "Biker" means 1%er? Did you just make that up? Oh I see it's your opinion, ahh I guess having an "opinion" is only valid when it’s yours. Secondly I don't need to "cash in" this is my business and it's how I make a living not some new trend, again maybe you should have read a little more carefully. Calling me an idiot is also very mature. Lighten up a little the book is intended to be fun not a doctrine on how to live your life, I'm sure you can figure that out all by your self. As for the show sorry you don't find it interesting that's why there are several hundred others to CHOOSE from.

    As for fiddle Mike it must be tough being a Pulitzer Prize winning writer, please let me know where I can get a copy of your latest book and sign up for your writing and motorcycle history class.

  4. Well if the Book is suppose to be "About The Adventure of Bike Riding" than why are spouting out opinions about My bike and what I can Assume your disdain for foreign bikes as well? You one of these Guys who wears the "Live Free Ride Free" vests but only believe that applies only to people who ride similar bikes as them? I imagine many of the people who watch your show will be happy to know that you see Their choice in bikes as stupid and inferior to yours. I guess I will not be seeing any New Water Cooled Harley's on your show in the coming years, Good to know I dont have to waste my time watching it anymore (its really exciting watching people bolt on store bought items onto already 1100lb bikes though, I will miss it) I will never buy Kuryakyn parts or shop at JP Cycles either and will now tell my 18,0000 Vrod friends to do the same as well as all those I know who Dont ride Baggers.

  5. Hey guys, criticism is one thing, but flame posts are another. I've deleted some comments cause they're nothing but flames. If you can't comment like a man, then don't.

  6. I like Michele Smith :D

  7. I agree with Steve. My post was simply to defend my opinions not to throw stones. Hope we can move on.

  8. ROFLMMFAO~ sorry Steve,,,didn't mean ta open a can of worms...RESPECTS to you (as always)and also to Jay Barbieri for writing his book and voicing HIS OPINION...(this is AMERICA isn't it?)would love to read more of your book but I am just a poor broke tramp,,,and reading material comes after bike parts (priorities an all) ~THUMPER~(news) ~

  9. Ouch - This is ridiculous. I actually liked the book quite a bit. One thing that was never really said (or I don't remember it) was that is is all about the ride. That came through with the road stories. That more than the first couple chapters really says what it means to be a biker. You just have to ride.

  10. Hey Jay,

    What kind of open faced helmet are you wearin? I want to get an open faced helmet, but I don't want it to look like I just threw a fat melon on my already fat head.



  11. I read this book I liked it alot..
    Sure its from a Harley rider's view point, if thats your
    preference then thats fine..Most riders are just as loyal to their brand of bikes, different strokes for different people... Jay will get some of his readers mad at him for calling them wannabes,If thats the case wouldnt everybody that didnt ride an Indian a wannabe? After all they made the first American motorcycle? Does this matter?? It all depends on your riding pleasure..

    This book is more about the stories on the road wich is why I bought the book (the Holly Hill cops are not what you want to tangle with!)..

    As far as chinese made Harley clothes..Yes this is troubling to me..I bet Harley makes just as much money with their clothes then their motorcycles..
    They should spend their time making EVERY product that has the Harley Davidson label AMERICAN MADE..So we have a leg to stand on when people throw this in our face...I never took the time to check the labels..and yea my jacket, and boots are Made in China. This makes harley look foolish, and its an embarassment to the company..
    COME ON HARLEY! Spend the extra money and get american clothing factories the business of making your merchandise!! THATS ALL..

  12. I have just finished reading the Biker’s Handbook by Jay Barbieri and I can say I really enjoyed it. I don’t necessarily agree with everything however, I have been riding for over 25 years and I can definitely relate too many of the things talked about in his book. From my first bike a 1970 65cc AMF Leggero through several Metric Bikes to my current 2007 HD Softail Fatboy. Some of the “Dos and Don’ts” I have done myself. I think this book has received some unnecessarily harsh criticism. For those individuals that are so critical with Jay’s preference in American Bikes maybe those folks need not live here in America. Give the guy a break. His book is really a one mans view, experience and advice that he offers up to folks, for those who are interested. Like he said it’s not a doctrine. I think Jay's book offers some good viewpoints and advice with some interesting experiences and stories. I enjoyed the Ralphie and Kid Rock stories myself. Oh, and by the way “Michele” you and the twins are looking quite ravishing if I do say so myself. Again, two thumbs up on the book and I look forward for the next edition of American Thunder. Thanks!
    by Riverview, Florida

  13. So If we prefer function over fashion we should live elsewhere? Buyers remorse and a yuppie attitude, I'd say.


  15. I gotta' take a dump. I like Michele's boobs. That's about it.


  16. I am curious to know what comments were removed? What? Is this Communist China? Screw censorship. I see no flaming just brutal, unrestrained, honest opinions. Makes this a more interesting discussion, no? I mean if ya just want a buncha pats on the back for the author than this is nothing more than a sugery ad. Let it all out and all show.

    ~Honda Gurl

  17. I agree, I love my v-rod. The seat's pretty uncomfortable, it makes my butt go numb after about 20 miles. Which coincidentally is just about how far my boyfriend's house is from here, so it works out perfectly. I love RODS!!!!


  18. Gay Barbieri, is it true you only wear a half helmet so your boyfriend can pile you in the face with it on? You book is crap, Michelle is hot and she is the only thing that keeps me tuned in for 30 sec. to that stupid show you produce.

  19. how are v-rods not harleys i think it is just jelousy due to the fact that they only wieght 700 pounds and the have 100 hp and 80 ft pounds stock is that it?


  20. Why in the world would anyone need a book on how to "fit in" with airheads? I just don't get it.

    Bottom line, if I throw my leg over what is essentially an engine with 2 wheels and risk getting splatted at 80mph then I AM A BIKER. Regardless of what bike I ride, what I wear, what my occupation is, etc etc.

    Isn't there enough prejudice in the world? Do we really have to add more prejudices; ie: jap bikes, Vrod, hell you guys even eat your own young and ostracize the sportster riders!! Can you remember a time when YOU were ostracized for having an EVO engine?

    Try this: wake up in the morning and wear what you want, ride what you want, ride with who you want to ride with, and ride where you want. Let me tell you from experience, it's MUCH more enjoyable.

    Peace out, SpineDoc

  21. david... you came to a battle of wits armed with an Atom bomb.

    not a "Biker" Bill

  22. The only thing that I have a problem with is being called a wannabe rider because I ride a metric crusier. I rode 11,000 miles last year alone, and I was working on my bike for two months! I refuse to be called a wannabe because I bought a metric bike when half the harley riders I know only takes their bikes out on days that are 70 degrees and above. But they get to call themselves true bikers cause they spent $19,000 on a heritage that sits in the garage half the year. Doesn't make sense to me. I wish people would realize that its not what you ride, but the fact that you ride at all.

    A message to the "harley only" guys. Its too bad you get so stuck on what bike someone rides, you miss out on meeting some really cool people.

  23. Oh and I would like to point out that having choices is the most american thing of all. To say "here is THE motorcycle you are going to ride to be part of the AMERICAN motorcycle culture seems kind of communist. I'm an american born and bred. so I can't afford a harley, does that mean I'm not part of the AMERICAN motorcycle culture. seems funny since harleys are so expensive the only ones who can affords them are R.U.Bs. (rich urban bikers)

  24. Hi Jay. We used to work together with Alan, Dean and John Bolowsky at PGD. So, you finally went and did it. You dropped the label and bikes have become your life. Good for you, bro! Go for it. I just bought a cool Whizzer Ambassador myself. Gotta put it together. Woohoo.

  25. I met Jay tonight at a random hotel in DC - he was finishing up shooting some footage of a cross-country ride with some new 2009 Harleys ad a couple of hardcore riders. I recognized him from TV so I started chatting with him, and he is a really cool guy! He didn't even mind that I ride a Honda. And to boot, he signed and gave me a free copy of his book!! Can't beat that for friendly - Thanks Jay and see you on the road!

  26. This must surely be the end of this RUB trend, with the last of the vultures picking the bloated carcass. Especially the chapter on how to drive drunk and ask a cop for directions. Pull over so the motorhomes can pass next time.

    Once the oil runs out, such douche-baggery will hopefully be over. Bring on the $300.00 barrel!

  27. Dear ms barbiari,
    I lost my HD when I went to the pen. Now I ride a Roadstar. You think I'm a wannabe? I think I'd like to meet you in person and talk to you about this biker thing.
    p.s. you would have been popular in prison.

  28. I recently talked by email with Jay. He is a great supporter, and agrees that the HA are part of the motorcycle  culture regardless of what a court or law may decide. I find it encouraging that a few court judges do speak out.

    Hell Angels have rights... Just my opinion or is it?

    The Hell Angels Motorcycle Club is not a criminal organization and deserve the same rights as any other person

    On March 17, 2008 a landmark ruling by a B.C. judge has ruled that 'a full-patch Hells Angels member and two of his associates are not members of a criminal organization'.

    The trial was a key test of new 'federal anti-gang legislation', and if the Hells Angels were deemed a criminal organization, police would have been able to seize their assets.

    There are so many false urban legends around the Hells Angels, all perpetrated by law enforcement and eaten up by the public. The HAs are an easy target. It is not fair that a 'select few' have rights violated, including those prohibiting "arbitrary detention" and guaranteeing "security of the person."

    A recent decision in Alberta (only Alberta for now), has some legal experts saying publicly that it could eventually place limits on the way police try to control the movement of 'biker gangs'.

    The fact that the Hells Angels and other 'clubs' are prepared to spend so much time fighting the police in court indicates that they do have rights.
    I maintain that these cases revolve around fundamental rights that all citizens are entitled to, whether they drive motorcycles or not, or whether they are North or South of the 49th Parallel.

    William Perry
    Victoria, BC

    ** William Perry i is a Catholic Priest who rides a Harley taking his message of compassion and acceptance on the road.

  29. Jay, I just read your book and must say that it is the funniest motorcycle related stuff I've read in a long time. Really liked the bullet reviews after each chapter.

    I would recommend this book to all new riders and add that they keep in mind that you are not the spokesperson for veteran motorcycle riders. There are many opinions on how to be an authentic biker, and its best to absorb and comprehend those that make the most sense.

    I’d also recommend your book to all long-time veteran riders that have nothing else to do on a cold gray winter day and need a good laugh.

    In closing, I’m kind of glad you didn’t mention Panama City’s Thunder on the Beach or the Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap in your book. Those places are getting over crowded as it is and don’t need any more sightseers.

    By the way, the last sentence of your book contradicted everything you wrote prior to it, in my opinion. Repeating biker cliches that you heard at a rally doesn’t make you a biker. I’m still LMFAO and WTF is a Rube? LOL That is some funny sh!t my friend! Keep up the good work with the new American Thunder. What happened to Michelle?

    Jim - Huntsville, Alabama

  30. Jay, I just finished your book yesterday. Grabbed it off the shelf at the bookstore while waiting on the woman and couldn't put it down. I enjoyed reading about your life, opinions, and your 2cents on what I, as a new rider, can expect to run into. Thanks.....oh and go easy on the sportster crowd, I just bought one :)

  31. After reading these comments, I have to say that Jay loves motorcycles, and that includes all bikes. What he rides is his choice. As for the book take it for what it is. An accolade to riding, some good ideas, some fun and anybody who rides a bike should be happy for people like Jay who continue to bring this sport to the public. Great support for anybody on two wheels.

    Top side up.
    Jew Boy

  32. hey jay wassup love the book lots of usefulll shit un like hillbilly"s useless shit book lol keep it real heavy on da throttle....

    all the best SHUGG niagara falls ont.. ps....fu?k 98 wharf rat rally

  33. I don't own a bike. Never have. But this quote from his interview in the LA Times is rich: "It's not about your image."

    I'm sure everyone here has seen that pic from his book.

    Jay B. is the epitome of a poser douchebag. In every aspect of his life. I know.

  34. As a rider for the better part of a couple decades I find few things more pathetic (and laughable) than Harley snobs. And this is for sure: if you pay attention to what kind of bike a person rides and make judgments based on that, you are by definition the poser.

  35. This book is pretty bad. I saw it a few times at the bookstore and picked it up. I got home and started to read and about 25 pages in I wanted to throw this book across the room. Pick it up and burn it. Hey Bro. I've been a rider for years. Before you were born boy. You know nothing about nothing. I thought if anyone you would at least write something good. But. I was wrong. I was dead wrong. Don't waste your money on this thing.

  36. I was given this book as a Christmas present and I enjoyed it a lot.

    Jay obviously loves HD and that's good, he supports his country and that's also good.

    I don't agree with his views on metric bikes but I can understand why he has them. If I lived in the USA and not Australia then I would buy made in USA for sure. Down under the Jap bikes are better supported and seem to work well on our roads in our climate. For the record I have a Honda Fury, have been riding for 31 years and I don't consider myself to be a "wannabe".

    That said I loved the book and got lots of laughs from Jay's exploits. Buy the book it's a good read.

  37. What a bunch of whiners.
    I've driven everthing from mini bikes to full dressed bikes riding on the road since 83".
    I've driven Harleys and BMW, Honda, Yamaha, Jawa,And I choose to ride a Vespa scooter it has 35,000 km on it and has not been rebuilt yet.
    I can do the speed limit and even get a speeding ticket if I want.
    With only 200cc's and 10" wheels I've done more miles than alot of people ever put on a bike, on any type of bike.
    V-rods the v-rod has it's place just like any bike but I can't stand the lack of fuel capacity on it why such a small tank great if you like gas stations it's marvolus.
    It's a great looking great running smooth running bike shifts like we wish most things would , but that lack of range sucks!
    I ride sport bikes too what's more fun than going form 0 to 140 mph in seconds.
    but try to cruise any distance and your going to need a massage for your aching back.
    I have many friends who ride Harleys and I can trust them to help anytime same with the sport riders I know.
    And I ride with tools so I've lent them and cable ties to lots of riders.
    face it we live in a time of marketing and if you bought your bike because you saw it in a show or in a movie you were sold , welcome to free market economy.
    I'm not an easy sell or buy kinda person.
    It better work that's what I want.
    Just do some research and buy what is going to work for you.
    And get out ride meet people, go to rallies, bike shows take a drive for the hell of it.
    I would rather die having driven lots of bikes instead of getting put in the ground and people say he only drove one bike in his lifetime.
    lighten up life is short in case you have not woken up to that reality.
    have any of you watched" The Fastest Indian "
    how can that not effect you no matter what you ride. people get too hung up on having closed minds Just be glad you can ride tommorow you may be dead or struck with a dibilitating illness.
    Why would you waste your time writting what a crapy book this guy wrote (no offence intended steve)
    do you have any idea how many people it took to put it togather? he did not just test drive a bike cut down a tree and make paper print distribute and sell it to you there must have been hundreds of people employed in getting it to the book stores , some of these people just might be related to you guys in one way or another maybe a friend relative I know from your writing that you think your the center of the universe.
    If no-one has tv shows and no-one has books or magazines then bikes don't sell and I can't imagine that ,look again all the people who make their money working to make it happen.
    I know I can't afford to design and build a bike and expect to sell it without all that support.
    can you imagine the cost of your bike without all of the marketing that goes on all that back scratching.
    Your Harley would not be so affordable, if just a hundred people take up the hobbie of riding because of a book or tv show that means that Harley , Honda or yamaha stay in bussinees another year things are tuff and all I see is your whining your book sucks steve ride something other than a Harley steve get your heads out of your asses get on with supporting anything that supports riding and the industry or it won't be there.
    And yes there is way too much STUFF coming from china It's affecting more than just Harley jackets or boots where are your brake pads rotors and car parts coming from you think mexico was a bad thing you have no idea how far things have gone.
    After writing this I plan to attend a bike show very soon and I look forward to seeing all the different makes and yes there is going to be alot of chinese jackets sunglasses and what ever, but there will be alot of old friends and hopefully some new ones and I'll get to ride there and I'll hope that people will be buying lots of new bikes for summer and we won't be alone on the road !!!!!!!!

  38. Jay's book stinks to High Heaven. The guy's a poser of the highest order of magnitude.

    He gives advice on fashion and then has the stones to put that pic of himself on the back cover with his Lover Boy cover band outfit.

    I can sum the gist of his book up in one sentence: "I love to get drunk and party and act like a biker."

    Only soccer moms who wouldn't know a softtail from a cottontail would actually think this guy has any street cred.

    Hey Jay, there's one thing thing you left out of your book - the "do's and don'ts" of getting a tatoo. Yeah folks, hard to believe but it's just that cheesy.

  39. Jay,

    I trailered from NY to Daytona this year....the intention was to ride it straight, but with snow/rain from Maine to South Carolina....I opted for the trailer. Just got the bike from the shop to fix the trailer "bruises", and I learned something else....I am shipping my street glide next big rally I well as renting a house with a garage....pool too if it ever warms up in Daytona again! What a hassle....spent 4 days driving in a SUV to and from Daytona....rather have been on the bike instead! Your book is not and doesnt pretend to be a step by step guide for people getting out of their minivan and on to a bike for the first time ( I didnt take it that way, and do not, nor will I have have a minivan ). I took it as a funny book of your mistakes and just a chance to throw out some advice so others wouldnt make the same mistake. I needed to make the same mistake myself to fully understand....but I understand!
    As for the rest of the cry baby shit in this website carefully written by the people above....they bought your book, they read your book, and if they didnt like it or agree with it...who cares? Either way, you have their money!! As for a guy commenting about another guy's tattoo......this is not a "Queer Eye for a Biker" site is it? Did he like your curtains too? Unbefuckinglievable! If these people are that unhappy.....they should just kill themselves and end the pain! Get over it already!! Its just a fucking book.....



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