Friday, 16 January 2009

Dave Nichols' One Percenter - a contrary view

Having read nothing but positive reviews in various biker blogs about this book, I decided to pick it up over the holidays and give it a go.

Big mistake.

First let me say that Nichols obviously has a pretty good understanding of outlaw bikers and the one percenters among them. He also has a pretty good understanding of (or at least an opinion about) pirates, Harley-Davidsons, berserkers, the US motorcycle industry, biker movies, biker books, Easyrider magazine, the wild west, motorcycle clubs (“not gangs”), the RICO Act, environmental responsibility, reality TV shows, and just about anything else you can imagine that might be even vaguely related to motorcycling. The problem is he tries to tie all those together in what becomes, as a result, just a jumble of words in need of some good editing.

There is the potential of a good book in there, but not without some focus and much better writing (“... the muddy trenches of World War II”???). As it is, Nichols throws so much ‘stuff’ at the reader that nothing sticks. Everything is very superficial and, as a consequence, very unsatisfying.

It seems, according to various bookseller reviews, that readers either love or hate One Percenter – there’s no in between; it’s either 1 star or 5 stars. Count me in the 1-star category. There are far too many good motorcycling and motorcycle-related books out there to waste time on this one. But, if you are one of those people who must read every motorcycle book ever written, then save some money and wait a while; One Percenter is on the fast track to the bargain bins and should be available for a buck or two long before the summer riding season begins.


  1. I have to agree with you. Dave Nichols is knowledgeable when it comes to the M/C and it's history...but he should have hired a ghost writer. Lots of information...with lots of avenues to lose it somewhere in the gaggle of bad metaphors....and even worse ideas of how to dispence the information.

  2. I've not read this, and was planning to do so. I'll think it over twice now. Thanks for the candid review!


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