I’ve been using this book for over a year and so far haven’t found anything it doesn’t cover when it comes to maintaining my bike. Zinn includes lots of step-by-step instructions with clear illustrations. I was a complete novice prior to reading this, and now it’s nice not having to run to the bike shop for every little thing I need fixed. It gives me confidence to tackle things I normally wouldn’t attempt.
[Note: Velopress has put together a sample PDF including a few chapters from the book.--OH]
A bike chain is a simple series of links connected by rivets. Rollers surround each rivet between the link plates and engage the teeth of the cogs and chainrings. It is an extremely efficient method of transmitting mechanical energy from the pedals to the rear wheel. In terms of weight, cost, and efficiency, the bicycle chain has no equal, and— believe me—people have tried without success to improve on it for years.
To keep your bike running smoothly, you have to take care of the chain. It needs to be kept clean and well lubricated in order to transmit your energy efficiently and shift smoothly. Chains need to be replaced frequently to prolong the working life of other, more expensive, drivetrain components because a chain gets longer as its internal parts wear, thus contacting the gear teeth differently than intended. (p 51)