Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance – Review

We admit that even at AeroGeeks HQ we rarely grab the maintenance manuals off the shelf anymore. When we need to find a quick how-to on bike maintenance our first stop is Google and our second is YouTube. But there is something to be said for having a proper maintenance guide at hand when you need it (or even some light reading when you don’t), so when we heard that there was a fifth edition of Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance hitting store shelves, we decided to check it out.


What really caught our eye were the updates to this edition – specifically the new chapter on electronic shifting covering maintenance, service, repair, and troubleshooting of all Shimano, SRAM (yes, eTap is covered), and Campagnolo electronic shifting groups.

As with previous Zinn guides, the 5th edition covers the following: All derailleur shifting systems (5-speed through 11-speed); all bottom bracket systems (cone-and-cup through press-fit); all brake systems (including caliper, V-brake, cantilever, and disc); all headset, stem, handlebar and fork systems; wheel building for all bikes including cyclocross and disc-brake wheels; special sections on cyclocross throughout including troubleshooting, maintenance, service, repair, and equipment selection; updated and expanded torque tables; complete illustration index and complete subject index.


Images are present throughout the book, and the instructions are easy to follow and understand. And this isn’t just for the master mechanic either. Zinn starts with the basics. Chapter 2 is titled “Basic Stuff” and dives into all the topics a first-time rider will want to know – how to remove the wheels, bike cleaning, and a general guide to performing mechanical work. The next chapter, “Emergency Repairs,” walks you through dropped chains and flat tires, and the fixes go from using the standard repair kits to tying knots in tubes and bypassing a damaged rear derailleur.

Deeper into the book there are complete chapters devoted to both mechanical and electronic shifting, tires, rim and disc brakes, and pedals. The chapter on stems, handlebars, and headsets is a must-read for those who travel often with their bikes and are constantly building them and breaking them down.

Zinn retails for $26.95 and is 465 pages cover to cover. The final 60 pages or so are additional appendixes for troubleshooting, a gear chart, road bike fitting, glossary, and a torque table.

We often hear that triathletes don’t do their own bike maintenance – that we don’t know (and don’t care) how to wrench our bikes. But as athletes who make a sport of flying our bikes all over the world only to build them back up with just a pair of Allen wrenches, we know all too well how important it is to know the ins and outs of bike care. Your copy of Zinn probably won’t be your every day go-to guide for bike care. But on those days when your race steed needs some serious maintenance, or even just when you’re proactively researching for a little more knowledge if the worst should strike you on the road far from home – you will be glad you have Zinn in your library.

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