Best books.

The 5 Best Ever Bicycle Repair Books

February 19, 2008

When it comes to bike repair books, there are a few that rise above the rest. The five best books are listed below.

You can’t go wrong with any of these books. (Unless you are solely a mountain biker and you buy a “for road bikes” repair book, but that’s your own fault!)

bicycling magazine guide to repair and maintenance

Bicycling Magazine’s Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair

This book from Bicycling Magazine is the best all-around bike repair manual you can find. It covers road and mountain bike repairs, including recent updates for high-tech parts, plus all the basics that any bike mechanic should know.

Still, it costs just $25.

zinn art of mountain bike maintenance

Zinn & The Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance

Lennard Zin is a well-regarded bicycle mechanic, and if you are a mountain biker, this book has everything you need to know about keeping your steed in top condition.

zinn art of road bike maintenance

Zinn & The Art of Road Bike Maintenance

Lennard Zin is a well-regarded bicycle mechanic, and if you are a roadie, this book has everything you need to know about keeping your steed in top condition.

bicycle wheel building book

The Bicycle Wheel

The Bicycle Wheel is the industry standard when it comes to wheel building books. This book will teach you the basics of wheel building with clear instructions and diagrams.

(It won’t teach you about the newer, lightweight wheels or bladed spokes, but once you learn how to build standard 3x wheels, you have a solid foundation to pick up anything new.)

barnett's bike repair manual

Barnett’s Manual

Barnett’s Manual is the premier bike repair book. It’s big, comes with grease-resistant pages, and covers everything you need to know about repair.

However, it can be hard to find and expensive.

Now just pick the one that’s right for you and be on your way to bike repair bliss!

4 star rating

Barnett’s Manual Review

barnetts manual book cover

Barnett’s Manual takes the mystery out of every procedure. The illustrations, measurements, and descriptions are simply the best available.

The pages are even grease-resistant!

Pros: Comprehensive – it covers everything. (Well, it used to.)

Cons: Expensive and hard to find.

I believe the latest version is from 2003, so you can imagine that it will be hard to find. (Some used copies are listed on for $600.)

The Final Word

It has been available for download online in PDF format, although I think they put an end to that because they were illegal copies. But it is an amazing book that’s great to have on your work bench, so you may want to invest in it, if only for the grease resistant pages!

Just don’t go out of your way to find it or spend too much – it’s old, after all.


3.5 star rating

Bicycling Magazine’s Complete Guide To Bicycle Maintenance and Repair for Road and Mountain Bikes 4th Edition

bicycling guide to maintenance cover

This is a good book that covers most basic and intermediate repairs. As the title states, you will find information for both road and mountain bikes. You can look forward to black & white photos, diagrams, general information, tool lists, home bike shop procedures, and a maintenance calendar.

Pros: This is great for beginners who want a little bit of everything. It covers almost everything you need to know about basic maintenance and repair. Older parts such as cottered cranks and rollercam brakes are also covered.

There is even some general information and other things to take into consideration when purchasing a bike.

The photographs and diagrams are clear and can be very helpful. Another plus is that there is a troubleshooting section for each category that covers common problems that you may encounter.

The introductory section contains valuable information that every mechanic needs to know. There is a maintenance schedule so you know when to do what, tool lists for the home mechanic, a glossary of common terms, and a whole section on gearing that includes charts.

Cons: For the book’s intended audience, there are very few cons. The book is not detailed enough for extensive repairs, but that should not stop you from buying it.

The photographs are usually helpful, but sometimes there are too few of them. This is usually the case when the book covers multiple items in one step or when different types of parts are crammed into one section.

Due to the 1999 publication date, the hot new parts aren’t covered. The company should provide product specific information, though.

This last complaint doesn’t really matter, but I thought I would point it out anyway. The resources section is almost useless; you can find much better ones on this website.

The Final Word

If you are new to bike repair, this is a great start. It should keep you busy for a while. What’s nice is that it gives you the background information before the repair information, and the troubleshooting section is great for when you have problems.

This book should definitely be in your collection. With only four pages on wheel building, you will need to add some more books to your collection, but this one is a great start.

*Note* A new 5th edition was released in 2005.