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Verdict: 
A really interesting, beautifully laid out and thoroughly researched book
Weight: 
1,226g
The Biography of the Modern Bike by Chris Boardman
9 10

The Biography of the Modern Bike investigates and documents the important developments in cycling and bike technology, from the safety bike to what we might see from cycling in the future. It brings together Chris Boardman's encyclopedic knowledge of cycling technology with some great imagery, all in a beautifully laid out book.

There are few people as qualified as Boardman to discuss such development. He is known as the godfather of modern cycling, given the impact he has had on new cycling technology, and with his Boardman Bikes brand has stayed up to date with all the latest technologies.

> Buy this online here

It's a beautifully laid out book, featuring some great shots of modern and historical bikes, and images to demonstrate why certain concepts work and why others don't. The heavy use of pictures gives it the impression of a coffee-table book, but it goes much further than simply gawping at nice looking bikes.

Throughout, the writing is concise and understandable, meaning that those who do not have intimate knowledge of the difference between an Italian and British thread or the different grades of carbon fibre can still easily understand the concepts. But it doesn't gloss over the more complex subjects, instead it makes them accessible to almost anybody.

The Biography of the Modern Bike by Chris Boardman - pages

The Biography of the Modern Bike by Chris Boardman - pages

Having gone cover-to-cover through the book, as far as I can tell there are no obvious elements of the modern bike missing. Everything from the different types of early drivetrains used through to the benefits of specific body positions while time trialling are discussed.

The Biography of the Modern Bike by Chris Boardman - pages 3

The Biography of the Modern Bike by Chris Boardman - pages 3

The only downside is that with innovations within the cycling industry moving so quickly, a book like this is likely to miss some kind of major development within the next three years. Its historical story and research are timeless, though, concisely documenting technological development.

> Find more cycling books reviewed on road.cc here

Despite his career being spent mainly on road racing or track bikes, Boardman's book doesn't just concentrate on these. He looks at a wide variety of bikes, from BMXs and mountain bikes through to electric and cargo bikes. It is tilted slightly towards the evolution of the road bike, which is only to be expected given Boardman's history, but it certainly can't be accused of ignoring any kind of bike – even recumbents have a place.

Overall, as something to flick through to learn about the history of bike technology, I reckon this book is an ideal partner.

Verdict

A really interesting, beautifully laid out and thoroughly researched book

road.cc test report

Make and model: The Biography of the Modern Bike by Chris Boardman

Size tested: Hardback

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?

Aimed at those looking to learn more about the development of modern bikes, those with an interest in the development of technology or even just those who like having a good looking book on their coffee table.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Format: Hardback

Pages: 288 pages

Publisher: Octopus Publishing Group

Publication Date: 02/07/2015

Category: Cycling

ISBN: 9781844037834

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

£25 is about the going rate for books like this, and it can also be found cheaper online.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Really interesting and well written, not overly technical in language and describing even complex concepts in an accessible way.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The thorough detail that has gone into the research.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's a book, so predictions may be out of date eventually.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

Very well written, illustrated and researched book from the godfather of British cycling.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 27  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.  

6 comments

Avatar
mike the bike [888 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Well, if anybody would know it will be Mr Boardman.  But I won't be buying it, I've fallen into that trap before.  My 'History of the British Motorcar' looked lovely when I got it but within a couple of years it was so dated I couldn't believe I'd bought the thing.  Now my grandchildren flick through the pages, giggling at the pictures and the dress sense of the people in them.

Avatar
fenix [596 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes

Quite right. Knowledge is over rated. I'll wait until bicycles are finished and then buy a book on them.

Avatar
flathunt [232 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

1,226 grams! Insane, I'll buy it when it's got a carbon fibre cover and printed on rice paper, if he can get it under 500g it's a deal. Also, needs more aero.

Avatar
bdsl [201 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
flathunt wrote:

1,226 grams! Insane, I'll buy it when it's got a carbon fibre cover and printed on rice paper, if he can get it under 500g it's a deal. Also, needs more aero.

 

I don't know about a carbon fibre cover, but maybe they'll bring it out with a paper cover. It'd be cheaper that way too.

Avatar
Chris Sidwells [1 post] 1 year ago
3 likes

It would have been nice if Chris's co-author could have been credited on this review. 

 

Avatar
kamoshika [214 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Chris Sidwells wrote:

It would have been nice if Chris's co-author could have been credited on this review.

I noticed that's your first post, and was going to ask if it was you! Then I looked at the cover image.  1