Road Bikes: A Review of Zinn & Kringle's Road Bicycling Guide -

Road Bikes: A Review of Zinn & Kringle’s Road Bicycling Guide

zinn & the art of road bike maintenance

In Zinn & Co’s first book, Zinn’s Workshop, the Zinns themselves made all of their garage equipment. The Zinns later went on to found the very first shop in their new home in San Francisco, called “The bicycle workshop.” This book is still widely popular twenty-five years after its original publication. Now Zinn & Co. have put out a second book, This Is Road, written by Leo Grossman.

Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance provides information for anyone who wants to know more about the maintenance of bikes. From shifters to pedals, derailleurs to handlebars, the book covers everything about a road bike. It explains bike parts, explains how different parts work together, and gives step-by-step instructions on how to repair a bike. In addition, it describes the best way to ride a bike and the proper safety precautions to take.

Zinn & The Art Of Road Bike Maintenance

A stone castle with a clock tower in front of a brick building

“This Is Road” takes a different approach to the maintenance of bikes than Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance. The first half of the book is devoted to basic road bike maintenance. The second half describes specialized road bikes, like mountain bikes, for example. The third section explains what you need to do to ride safe. This section includes suggestions on where to get safety tips, a list of recommended safety gear, and a few rules that everyone (including parents) should follow while riding on roadways.

The first half of this book is an easy read. There are clear instructions and explanations. The photographs illustrate the different parts of a bike and explain what they do. The text is short and to the point, and most importantly, the tone of this book is very encouraging and helpful.

Technical Maintenance

An old barn in a field

The second half of this text is where the real technical and maintenance information is found. The text describes the parts and components of a typical road bike and the reasons why they keep breaking down. For example, the chainstays are designed to withstand strong winds, it doesn’t rust, and it doesn’t slip. Other examples include shock-absorbing systems, seat belts, and the way that the chains are laced.

The third section of the book covers some advanced topics. First, Zinn discusses how & why the front wheel is supported by the frame, then moves onto explaining how handlebars and front derailleurs work. This is a great introduction to the important points regarding these important elements. If you have questions about how to fix your bike, this is the perfect place to go.

The last two sections of the book cover common problems and the solution measures that Zinn & Co recommend. For example, fix your front wheel if it isn’t levelling properly or replace the derailleur as needed. However, the first half is really nothing more than a basic outline for maintaining a bike. After all, everyone breaks a chain or a bolt at one point or another. The book is also short on any explanations about proper care and maintenance. Other than the section on avoiding flat tires, this book does not go into detail as to how you should maintain your bike.

Overall, this is a good test for any cyclist who is just getting started. The practicality of the text is offset by the whimsical presentation and the occasional off-color joke. For anyone who already knows a lot about road bikes, this text may make learning about road bikes a little easier. For someone who is new to road bicycles, the text may add a little something to your road bike maintenance routine.

Zinn & Kringle’s For Cyclists

Zinn & Kringle’s book is only accessible to cyclists who live in or near the Pacific Northwest. The authors are from the Seattle area and have been riding for about fifteen years. It is not available in paperback form anywhere else, unfortunately. The editors are, however, working on a reprint. For those readers who would like to own a hardy little book of this magnitude, however, the book is out in paperback and will be coming out soon.

As with most of Zinn’s biking materials, this book provides great photos and diagrams. You will quickly become familiar with most of the features Zinn & Kringle discuss because they’re so commonly used. You will, for example, understand why it’s important to change the front wheel bearings as the bike heats up in the morning and why it’s dangerous to ride on wet roads. These are simple concepts that you probably wouldn’t think about unless you’ve read a book about them.

Bottom Line

The authors provide a lot of good information about how to keep your bicycle in good condition and why. Most road bikes get worn out over time and need a little TLC. By reading this book, you’ll gain access to top tips for restoring your old bike. You might even be tempted to just toss it in the garage, but this isn’t a smart idea if you want to continue using it. Zinn & Kringle’s road bike maintenance guide is a terrific little read.

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