RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip


Mountain Bike Maintenance and Repair: Your Complete Guide to Keeping Your Mountain Bike Going Strongly, by Thomas Roegner

It was my intention to have an accomplished cyclist read and review Thomas Roegener's Mountain Bike Maintenance and Repair, paperback but somehow I could never quite give the book up. The illustrations and commentary in this beautiful manual are very compelling, and I found myself inventing excuses why I should keep it close by. This is surprising on two counts—first, I don't own a mountain bike, and second, it would be fair to say that I am, on the whole, mechanically challenged when it comes to making repairs on anything approaching the complexity of a modern bike. The most surprising result of reading Roegner's book is an awakened yen to buy a new bike for the express purpose of taking it apart and trying some of the repair techniques detailed in the book.

Before I read Mountain Bike Maintenance and Repair, I had a vague awareness that most mountain bikes had suspension and disc-brake systems, but now I find myself stopping "bikies" on the street and asking about their preferences for damping spring tension on Psylo suspensions or techniques for increasing the amount of travel on some of the more specialized fork structures. I must admit that these impromptu queries are sometimes greeted by blank stares, but more often then not, I am treated to a technical discussion about the inner workings of their bikes that sound more sophisticated than your average garden variety space shuttle.

The photography in Mountain Bike Maintenance and Repair is incredibly detailedthe illustrations and the clear-cut instructions make even the most harrowing-sounding repair task look doableeven to a repair duffer like me. The author provides an excellent over-view of the different mountain bike styles and provides tips for selecting a model that matches a rider's riding preferences. He also provides information about how frames are constructed and the science behind various suspension setups. Some of the most gorgeous art-like photographs are in the chapter on gearing systems. Roegner also provides some concrete ideas for dispelling "saddle fear"the belief that uncomfortable bike seats could lead to impotence and other discomforts.

Even if you are, like me, unlikely to acquire either a high-end, full-suspension, or "soft-tail" mountain bike in the near future, Roegner's book will provide ample "walking around knowledge" should you wish to accost bike riders you meet on a day-to-day basis. And if you do have a mountain bike, this book will deliver on its promise of enabling you to discover the joy of maintaining and repairing it yourself.

Related article: Wisconsin's fall classic—the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival.

Mark Sedenquist
02/29/04

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