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The Complete Do-It-Yourself Bike Book: Everything You Need to Know to Fix, Maintain and Get the Most Our of Your Bike Paperback – April 25, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mel Allwood is a director of Brixton Bicycles in London and mechanic for their mountain bike race team. She is a writer for London Cyclist and the author of Mountain Bike Maintenance. As well as running a successful bicycle maintenance course for women from 1995 to 1998, she has been technical editor for Mountain Bike Maintenance magazine and a contributor to Cycling Today and On Your Bike. She has worked in bike shops since she was 15 and has been a cyclist for nearly 20 years. Allwood lives in London.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (April 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600940242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600940248
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,108,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By D. Hallgren on November 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the only bicycle repair book I have ever found that has step-by-step instructions and color photos for the removal of a wheel with a Nexus 8 internal hub gear, as well as how to put it back on the bike. Not only that, but she's really good at explaining the whole process. As much as I admire and respect the work of the late Sheldon Brown, I found Mel's directions to be much easier to understand and follow.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joanie Mac on June 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
For the first time, do it yourself bike mechanic, this very basic and concise read is a great start for anyone regardless if they have a $25 thrift shop special or the high end Cervelo in their garage. Granted some of the sections may look daunting (V-brakes, cartridges, derailers) but really it is your best opportunity to get familiar with the bicycle you own. Ms. Atwood does a remarkable job of making a bicycle as beautifully detailed as it is a simple machine with no bounds.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Constance, loves books & dogs in no particular order on July 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased several books about bike mechanics to learn about how to care for my new recumbent trike. They are all very good, but Mel has wonderful step-by-step instructions along with hundreds of excellent photos that really assisted my understanding of how a bike really works and how to care for it. In addition, she is an excellent entertaining writer so the book is a "good read" too. The book is well laid out with clearly marked sections.
I highly recommend this book to you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By FirstTimeFixer on June 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I couldn't put this book down! I bike everyday and I thought I was taking "alright" care of my bike until the shifting started getting worse and the disc brakes started rubbing. I did my best to try and fix these things on my own. I picked up 4 books from the library. This book was one of them (So glad!) I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM THIS BOOK. The author is concise and funny which makes it very easy to read and entertaining! It seems to be a great novice biker repair manual.

It's great that it has all these extra sections about what to wear on bike rides and many small and simple tips.

Overall, I think after borrowing this book from the library I want to go and buy it so I can take my own notes inside of it
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By NME on September 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a long-time cyclist and ordered this book because I wanted to do more repairs and upgrades at home, without having to pay the bike shop. I had previously changed flats, oiled the chain, and switched out handlebars, but that's it. When it comes to adjustments and more substantial repairs, I'm a complete novice. But ultimately I found this book to be too simplistic for my needs and returned it.

Half of the book is aimed toward people who haven't ridden a bike in a long time and explains very basic information about how to lock a bike, why not to store a bike outside, and what clothing someone should buy in order to ride a bicycle (the author suggests clipless pedals, special cycling shoes, and fingerless gloves, all of which I find unnecessary for everyday riding). Basic information can sometimes offer new insights, but I found nothing that wasn't complete common sense, and some of the information I even disagreed with (for example, the insistence that women need wider saddles (only sometimes true) and the idea that gel=comfort).

- the repairs section is oriented toward newer hybrid and mountain bikes, although there is also info for road bikes. If you are looking for detailed info about repairing pre-1990s bicycles, however, this manual isn't your best bet. For example, I was looking for some info about fender installation, and instead there was a section that recognized that mudguards are ugly and advised buying clip-on mudguards.

Also, the kindle version has several scanning problems and sections with garbled text. I'm not usually bothered by a little bit of that, but there were a few paragraphs rendered unreadable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Gwinn on October 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best "Do-It-Yourself" bike repair book on the market. The pictures provide that extra detail you need to do the job right. I have saved hundreds of dollars by making my own bike repairs, adjustments and repairs. I highly recommend this book to other bikers who want to do some of their own bike maintenance and repairs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blejowski on September 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The core content of the book is very good, but the crude way the kindle version has been slapped together makes the high asking price unreasonable.

Firstly, the proofreading was non-existent. It seems like almost every second page has typos, missing punctuation or garbled/missing sentences that don't make any sense. While reading, you're frequently interrupted by the need to stop and decipher some error or other. It gets annoying fast.

Many images are displayed much smaller than they need to be, and the book frequently refers you to page numbers that don't exist in the kindle version instead of providing hyperlinks to the appropriate sections (See "Get Fast" by Selene Yeager for an example of how to do a kindle book right)

For example, I wanted to learn how to adjust my shifter cable, so I found my way to the "Adjust cable tension" section....which merely tells me "[if you] have an adjustment problem - see cable tension, page 138". And of course, there's no such thing as page 138 on my kindle version, so I have no idea where I'm meant to go. Er, thanks for nothing, "adjust cable tension" section.

Finally, it would have been nice to have a chapter (or at least some sort of index) that addresses various ways to fine tune and improve your ride. As it is now, each main bike part has its own chapter (transmission, wheels, etc.), with most of the content dealing with how to fix something that's broken. That's fine, but what if my bike is working, and I simply want to give it a tune up? Where do I start? What are some common tweaks? What issues should I routinely check for, and how often? The book doesn't tell me. It seems to just want me to wait till stuff breaks.

2 stars is maybe a bit severe, but $15 is a lot for a kindle book, and for that price, a book had better be professional and polished. This is far from that. It's a lazy, cheap-and-nasty adaptation that disrespects both the customer and the source material.
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