Book review: Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance

This article was published in 2010, in Newsletter 90.

Lennard Zinn (2005)

For a while now I’ve been looking for a bike book that would guide me through how to repair my bike. Many of the books I came across were mostly focussed on the types of bike you could buy, what sort of cycling people do and less on maintenance, which I found frustrating. However, I recently found Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance at the library and feel moved to rave about it here as I have subsequently bought a copy.

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The first thing you notice is how chunky the book is. It’s not a volume to read cover to cover but to refer to as problems arise. When they do (it’s always when) Lennard Zinn carefully explains the whole process in detail, not simply with a step-by-step set of instructions. I usually find that faced with those, something will go wrong and I’ll get stuck. Zinn anticipates these problems and suggests ways of tackling the issue before continuing with his explanation. Symbols are given next to most types of repair to indicate how hard these might be. I doubt I’ll tackle any of those labelled with three spanners (the hardest!) but it will certainly give me more confidence the next time I go into a bike shop. If you did want to tackle these then he explains what tools you need in the opening few pages, though it would be best to be sure what you’re doing beforehand.

Dotted among the pages are black and white line drawings rather than photos. As Zinn wanted readers to understand how various parts fitted together, many of the drawings are ‘exploded diagrams’ showing different types of brakes, bottom brackets or suspension forks. He has sage advice on saddles too.

Whatever your ambitions with bike repair, I’d recommend this book as a helpful and witty guide to doing it properly.

His book is available at Amazon for £12.89 with free p+p and there are other titles in the same series if you don’t have a mountain bike.

Bev Nicolson