Most helpful critical review
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Sketchy, not enough detail
on 8 April 2013
I have to agree with the other reviewer stating this is a pretty superficial book.
I'm a fairly experienced - but 100% amateur - bike mechanic and bought this in the hope that I could fill in some gaps in my knowledge, especially for comparatively recent developments such as hydraulic brake systems.
The procedures are fairly well illustrated, but there are too many where they just dive in, talking about assemblies without actually describing or naming their component parts in any detail, or pointing them out in any illustration. There is a heavy reliance on photos with very little labelling/callouts and only the occasional exploded diagram. Simple procedures are sometimes given pages of detail whereas the quite advanced stuff later on is not really given an adequate amount of attention for a book which calls itself "complete".
For the most part the techniques described are fine. A few are not the way I learned to do things (they recommend the use of hammers far too often for my liking!) but you can see the logic in their thinking and there is nothing intrinsically bad about them. There is however scant attention paid to many of the common problems one may encounter along the way, meaning the book is actually less use for beginners than it is for those with any experience. Some of the job time estimates are way off, e.g. they reckon just one hour for your first attempt at servicing a pair of suspension forks. Likewise some of the difficulty ratings are a bit arbitrary, e.g. they seem to think that adjusting cantilever brakes is easier than dual pivots. Perhaps on a good day, or with a dream pair of cantis and a shoddy set of dual pivots, it is (then again it might just be me) but this is something I have never found to be true in twenty years of looking after bikes.
I had high hopes for this book and, having been disappointed with other bike maintenance books in the past, bought it on the strength of the Haynes name. I've never owned a "real" Haynes manual before, but I get the strong impression that this is a pale imitation of the books that went to building the brand's reputation.
EDIT: Two weeks later I got myself a copy of "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance" - the difference compared to this nonsense is like night and day. (Zinn has also written MTB books AFAIK.)