Zoomable pics, 360-degree views, videos and more in app that has Stephen Fry raving

If you've read our recent Christmas Gifts for Cyclists feature on cycling books, you may already have mentioned Cyclepedia by Michael Embacher in your letter to Santa; now, however, you can also purchase it as an app for the iPad, should you happen to own one, at a cost of just £6.99.

Don’t just take our word for it. Stephen Fry, a self-confessed fanboy of all things Apple, has raved about the app which has features including being able to view pictures at up to 20 times magnification and spinning bikes 360 degrees to get an all-round view. Moreover, folding bikes have a neat animation that shows exactly how they fold up.

“As mesmerisingly beautiful an iPad app as you could ever hope to see,” enthuses Fry. “Full of innovative but intuitive ways to navigate, this is like the most beautiful, informative and deliciously lovely guide to bicycle design as you can imagine. And if you think that bicycles are a rather humble, banal and uninteresting field of industrial design this will make you think again. Stunning.”

As with the book, photography is museum quality, which is entirely appropriate given that the bikes belong to a private collection lovingly curated by Embacher, who owns a design studio in Austria. The app, like the book, contains a foreword by fashion designer and cycling fan, Sir Paul Smith.

Each bike is accompanied by a text description plus gallery of pictures, while the app is also full of videos and in many cases original brochures, engineering drawings, advertisements and links to the website of the manufacturer.

We covered the book when it was launched, but the app takes it to a whole new level. Be warned though,at 792MB, it takes a long time to download – a shade over half an hour on our broadband connection although, as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

The app is produced by Heuristic Media in association with Thames & Hudson, publishers of the book.

If an app is done badly, browsing through a book or magazine on the iPad can be a frustrating experience that has you scurrying down to the shops for the hard copy; done well, however, and the results can be breathtaking, as they are here.

For iPad owners who love bikes, it could well be the best £6.99 you’ve ever spent on an app. For everyone else, well, sorry – you’re missing out on something very special indeed, as the video below shows.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.