The Haynes Road Cycling Manual brings together a huge amount of information into a digestible and easy-to-follow format. It covers practically everything you could need in a step-by-step way, although tubeless and tubular tyres don't get a mention, and it misses some little tips within one or two of the instructions.
When I was younger I remember the first thing my dad would buy with a new car was the accompanying Haynes manual. It's not something you need to get with every new bike – one book covers most – and as a practical resource for accomplishing various tasks without having to resort to your local bike shop, it's very useful (and doesn't rely on your internet connection for YouTube videos out in the shed...).
The book has eight main sections that broadly revolve around buying a bike, clothes, bike repair and training/events. Sections are different lengths depending on their complexity, but they fill 203 pages. Everything is in colour and the font size is big enough to make it relatively easy to read even if you don't have 20/20 vision. The pictures are really varied too, not just showing base level stuff or high level kit but a variety of levels, which means it's approachable whether you are a veteran who's spent thousands or a newbie just getting their first bike.
Each section details important elements for riding. For instance, the 'buying a new bike' section discusses the different types you can get, bike fit, and the reasons why you may choose one particular type over another. There are also useful hints and tips such as some brief training programmes, guides to sportives, and even optimum pedalling technique.
However, the most important aspect of any Haynes guide is the repairs/maintenance section. This book covers almost everything you can think of that you wouldn't bother going to your local bike shop about. Replacing brake pads, for example. It starts with removal of the wheel, before discussing unscrewing the grub screw, sliding out the old pad, sliding in the new one (making reference to L and R markings on the pads) then tightening the grub screw again. It's all well illustrated, too, making the instructions easy to follow.
My only real criticism is that there are some little elements newbies will miss out on. Simple things that make the job easier are sometimes glossed over – for instance, when splitting a chain, don't let the pin run all the way through, or putting it back in becomes a cuss-laden nightmare. And while there is mention of tubeless and tubular tyres, the maintenance section only discusses replacement of inner tubes.
As a general guide, though, it is really useful and does include relatively modern elements such as hydraulic disc brakes, which you're likely to find on many bikes.
You could also argue that the more complex the issue, the less likely you are to turn to the book for help. There are very few people in 2017 who would buy their first bike with tubular tyres, for example. However, I can't help but think that Haynes might have missed a trick by not including them in the maintenance section and making the book more useful for a wider variety of riders.
Overall, I was impressed by the manual. It includes a number of useful elements, not only in terms of repairs but also just looking at training, buying a bike, and even their history to some extent. It could be argued that a little more 'expert' advice would be nice, but to be honest it's a useful thing to have on your shelf whether you've been riding for a week or a decade.
A relatively thorough, easy-to-use and informative guide to everything road cycling
road.cc test report
Make and model: Haynes Road Cycling Manual
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?
It is a do-all book for road cyclists that incorporates almost everything you could could want to know about road cycling.
Haynes says: 'We believe there is a gap in the market for an all-encompassing manual which gives a comprehensive introduction in to all areas, from choosing the right bike and maintaining it through to training for specific events.'
It is broadly accurate, although to try to incorporate everything to do with road cycling in 203 pages is impossible, even if this does give it a good shot.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Author Luke Edwardes-Evans
Publishing Group J H Haynes & Co Ltd
Publication date12 Jan 2017
Product dimensions 212 x 278 x 17mm
Categories Sport Cycling
Reads well, although lacks aero qualities...
Hardcover, not likely to dog-ear.
About what I would expect to pay for a hardback guide.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Works well, provides relatively detailed descriptions of almost everything you need to know about road cycling.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Well laid out and easy to navigate thanks to sensible sectioning.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Some extra tips and tricks in places would be nice.
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
It's a good manual for 99% of riders, but loses a couple of marks purely because it lacks those little tips and tricks and misses a couple of elements for the higher performance riders.
About the tester
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: Expert
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.