Wouldn't it be nice if you could sit down to a repair and rebuild session and have an experienced pro right next to you? Even if you know your way around an engine, and especially if you don't, a little bit of guidance here and there or maybe a "before you do that" caution, could really increase your chances for success, and that's just what this book can do, The Four Stroke Dirt Bike Engine Building Handbook by Paul Olesen, but why should you listen to him? Well, he has a Bachelor of Engineering degree in motorcycle engineering from the University of Wales in the UK (which is a pretty impressive program and deserves an article all on its own), he worked at S&S Cycle and he was a powertrain engineer for Erik Buell Racing and he currently runs a company of his own, DIY Moto Fix. He has a strong urge to share the knowledge and experience he's gained thus far in his career and he did his best to put it together in this book. I have to say, his efforts are first rate, this handbook is impressive.
The book is a hefty 300 pages and it's filled with diagrams and color photos to complement the explanations. Unlike a shop manual, the book takes you through the rebuild process in the order you actually do the work, from initial inspection to disassembly, measurements, part replacement, reassembly, break in and maintenance, it fills in all of the how and why questions you would have, those simple, but crucial bits of information shop manuals assume or gloss over.
A great example of the thorough nature of the book is the section about piston inspection and replacement and installing circlips and piston rings, it's 15 pages of diagrams, photos, how-to instructions for measuring, clearance checks, positioning, deburring and inspection. Once you go through it, you'll know exactly what to do and how, you get the feeling you're assembling precision machinery, which you are, of course, and you're getting a step by step primer on how to do it right. If you like working on engines, this sort of instruction will make you smile, it's that cool!
If you're new to this level of engine work, don't hesitate to get this book, it's advanced training you won't get watching your friend tear apart his bike or trying to work on your own. This is written by someone who seems to really want you to get it right the first time. If you work in a service department and you do this already, you'll pick up tips that will help you do better repairs. If you rebuild engines for professional racing teams, you've probably got this covered, for the rest of us, you'll find useful knowledge all the way through.
Paul Olesen is still a young guy and he's picked up a huge amount of knowledge and know how due to working with some of the best. I think he has a very bright future ahead of him and his desire to share the knowledge he's learned so far, working hands on is a plus for the rest of us. Head on over to DIY Moto Fix and check out his book. He also has a number of other guides and videos available, and if they're written as well as this one, probably well worth considering. I like what he's done here.