Synopses & Reviews
A father and son build a legendary motorcycle and, along the way, reconstruct their relationship in this moving memoir
When his father had a near-fatal heart attack and gave up the will to live, Matthew Biberman panicked. Impulsively, Matthew promised his father, an expert motorcycle mechanic, that they would build a Vincati motorcycle together. The Loch Ness monster of motorcycles, a Vincati-half Vincent, half Ducati- had never been completed in North America. Building a Vincati was considered, at best, a fool's errand; at worst, an expensive waste of motorcycle parts.
But for nearly sixty years, Big Sid Biberman was the mechanic to see to refurbish and repair motorcycles, especially British-made Vincents. If anyone could build a Vincati, it was Big Sid. Despite sharing his father's passion for motorcycles, his son Matthew lacked Big Sid's mechanical gift, gave up on tools, and became a Shakespearean scholar. As adults, father and son barely spoke. But after his father's brush with death, Matthew vowed to learn the techniques that had made Big Sid a legend among bikers. Reminiscent of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Big Sid's Vincati is an irresistible combination of step-by-step motorcycle construction mixed with a powerful story of fathers and sons, and shows not only how the Bibermans built their Vincati (which was featured in Cycle World and Classic Bike) but also how the two men reconstructed their relationship, one motorcycle part at a time.
Read Matthew Biberman's posts on the Penguin Blog.
"If you believe it is possible to fall in love with a motorcycle, you will love this book." -Jay Leno
When Big Sid had a heart attack and gave up the will to live, his son Matthew Biberman panicked. Impulsively, Matthew promised his father that they would build a Vincati together. This fusion of two legendary motorcycles, the Vincent Black Shadow and the Ducati GT, a Vincati was considered near-impossible to build.
But if anyone could do it, Matthew knew his father could. Big Sid was the mechanic to see about repairing Vincents for nearly sixty years. But now, Sid was old, busted up and broke. Matthew, despite sharing his dad's passion, had become a Shakespearean scholar. The two men hadn't spoken in years-but called a truce to attempt a shared dream.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance meets Shop Class as Soulcraft, in this heartfelt memoir that shows how two very different men built a legendary motorcycle, and along the way, discovered what it means to be father and son.
About the Author
MATTHEW BIBERMAN teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Louisville. He also works on Vincent motorcycles in his garage with his father, “Big Sid” Biberman.