As great as the internet is, and while it may look like I'm committing career suicide here, sometimes it's just nice to hold something in print, the weight, the smell of a proper book. The Bicycle Book from DK takes you through the history of the bicycle from start to – well, almost the finish.
At 256 pages The Bicycle Book shows a broad picture of where the humble bicycle began and its evolution through the years. There is also a structured look at the various genres of bikes there are on the market from time trial rigs to tourers and everything in between, yeah even mountain bikes – sacrilege!
It's an interesting read looking at bikes used in war, tricycles and the lowdown on classic components from the likes of Campagnolo.
Throughout the book there are many sections on famous brands and bikes, the likes of Moulton and Raleigh for instance which make for interesting reading. It's not massively detailed but provides a good overall insight into the various companies with double page spreads detailing components and the story behind their design.
The past is covered then but it's the up to date stuff that is lacking. The final section of the book is 'After 2000' and for a book published in 2016 that should be a fairly expansive chapter. But there is no mention of electronic gears, or the advancement of materials whether that be aluminium alloy, steel or carbon fibre.
Things like the Bicycle Components section looks very dated. Shimano SPD-R pedals are featured. Beautiful as they were (I had a pair of Dura Ace), they stopped being available the best part of a decade ago.
I have no issue with the use of previous generation components for the demonstrations and pictures but it gives the book an overall feel of reprinting stuff that's already been done without really focussing on anything specific.
The book is a space filler, a glance at the whole bicycle industry without really concentrating on any specific part of it. It's okay for a flick through but really lacks any depth for the true bike fanatic.
It's a large hardback which with the amount of pages and small scale target audience kind of justifies its price although I reckon it'll be a book bought for you rather than one you'd buy yourself.
Great if you want to know what happened thirty years ago but the last ten seem to have been ignored
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Dorling Kindersley The Bicycle Book
Size tested: Hardback ,Size: 261 x 309mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Bicycle showcases classic and cutting-edge bicycles and traces the evolution of cycling from the nineteenth century to today.
From BMX and mountain biking to track and road racing, this comprehensive full-color guide features the latest high-performance bikes and cycling technology, as well as key models from eras gone by. Virtual tours showcase important bike designs, like the Bianchi Paris Roubaix, and close-up photographs focus on design elements, components, and construction.
To tell the complete story of cycling, Bicycle profiles famous cyclists, manufacturers, and brands, and includes detailed images, maps, and histories of key races and competitions - from the first recorded race in 1868 to the Cyclo-cross World Championships to the Tour de France, triathlons, Olympic racing, and more.
Bicycle is a complete celebration of cycling. Includes two prints suitable for framing."
The Bicycle Book focuses a lot on the past in a very descriptive way but lacks the same sort of passion for the modern day stuff.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Publication Date: 24 May 2016
Size: 250.825 x 301.625mm
At £20 it just isn't what I'd leave lying around as a coffee table book.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lacks depth in the modern day stuff, there is no mention of electronic gears for example.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
If you are into your retro racers there are some stunning bikes to look at.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Just feels like regurgitated pictures and descriptions without really looking at what technical advances we've seen in the last few years.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
The Bicycle Book lacks any real subsistence for the established cyclist. I appreciate the internet and sites like ours travel at such a speed that things in print can soon feel outdated but this book feels at least a decade out of date, the type of book that'll be bought at Christmas by families who know someone that rides a bike.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.