Top critical review
on 26 December 2015
Beautiful photos of a fairly broad range of mostly European bikes, but too many notable omissions and frequent technical irregularities to warrant the subtitle 'iconic' - it's more a tour of some quirky designs rather than iconic ones.
The frequent irritations perhaps arise from the translated text - a proof read by someone with a decent historical & technical knowledge of bikes would have been good, as the strength of this book should lie in the discussion of the technical details shown; some gripes:
Limited range of bikes - why nothing pre 1920?? - there's plenty of iconic designs missed as a result. A lot of 'grey porridge' bikes and not enough truly iconic ones.
Limited spec lists for each bike (e.g. no info on chain sets, sketchy descriptions of brakes, useless info on wheels & sizes......)
Frequently imprecise descriptions of frame parts, build processes and regular reference to steel 'varnish' - surely paint?
From a UK perspective, there are disappointingly few British bikes, the handful include one example (a 1970 roadster) from Raleigh, which mysteriously has some distinctly non standard mid-late 1980s pedals and clips; it's not the 'iconic' British example I'd choose from Raleigh - eg Chopper? , one of their GOD race bikes?, early cross-frame? All-Steel?
Some of the other race bikes are not at full standard race spec - it seems odd to have beautiful photos of obviously non-standard setups.
Disappointingly, the example from Mercian - builder of iconic & traditional British touring bikes - has a fairly awful 'urban fixie' as their representative - I'm sure a design they'd like to forget.
Its a shame that the Lotus race bike illustrated is the later road going derivative, rather than the earlier, iconic!, track bike, or Burrows original version; also on Mike Burrows designs - how about the iconic HPV Windcheetah?
There are no BMX bikes, 'standard' mountain bikes, speedway bikes, no Ordinaries, early sociables, no Boneshakers, early safety bikes, triplets/quads/quints, sidecars or cyclo cross bikes, to name a few - surely some iconic designs from more diverse sources should be included, at the expense of the near repetition elsewhere.
There are limited/no representatives from some of the large/influential manufacturers either - eg Peugeot, Klein, Vitus, trek, giant & probably many more.
It's not all doom & gloom though - there's some nice photos of some weird, mostly European designs; just don't expect the text to be much use, or the ground breaking examples to be plentiful.