Review—Two Bicycle Repair Books

The Blue Book (Park Manual) on bicycle repair is considered the standard for bicycle repair. Yet, there are other books out there, since the Park Manual seems to be fairly short, and sometimes confusing or incomplete. The two books reviewed below are alternatives. They offer different styles in their approach to bicycle repair.

Bicycle Repair, by Rob Van Der Plas ★★★★★
This book, written by a bicycle aficionado in San Francisco, is in a very easy-to-read, casual style, with multiple illustrations. It is the best book in terms of illustrations of any of the cycle repair books I’ve laid my hands on. In some areas, it is slightly deficit, such as in not encouraging the use of torque wrenches whenever possible or when advised by manufacturers. It also is not as comprehensive on the different brands of cycle components out there. There are chapters on items such as the repair of internal gear systems and coaster brakes. The clarity and methodical nature of the repair instructions earn it a 5-star rating. This is a worthwhile book to have in one’s cycle repair shop.

Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, by Lennard Zinn ★★★★★
This book earns 5 stars but for a different reason than van der Plas’s book. The illustrations are hand-drawn rather than photographed, yet very well drawn. The book is much thicker and more comprehensive. Zinn is a bicycle builder in Colorado, as well as an editor for VeloNews. Using those skills, he holds a repair style more of what you would expect the best bicycle repair shop to have, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. There are large charts in the back of the book for reference on torque wrench settings and other things. Zinn writes very well and offers prolific sound advice for the care of the bicycle both in the shop and on the road. This book is also quite worth having in a cycle shop library.