- Well organized
- Good balance of pictures and text
- Covers the bases
I found The Bike Deconstructed to be a well-rounded overview of the modern bicycle which includes a healthy dose of pictures along with ample description and history thrown in as well. Author Richard Hallett breaks things down into 7 chapters: Materials, Framesets, Wheels, Drivetrain, Brakes, Contact Points, and Accessories; each with multiple sub-chapters. Perhaps most appealing is how solid a job Hallett does of narrowing down the details in each chapter. For instance, in Chapter 2: Frameset, he digs as far down as to discuss the safety-tabs on the fork! Sure, we don't all exactly find those features to be all that exciting, but they are there for a very valid reason and after reading this book, you'll have a much clearer understanding of what that reason is. He also explains the fork offset as well as the steering geometry; this is perfect for the engineer in me, and just may inspire the one in you too.
I think one of my favorite chapters would have to be Chapter 7: Accessories. This chapter covers everything from bike computers/power meters to pumps/CO2 canisters, and a few other items. As you can probably gather, Hallett is very thorough by covering everything from front wheel to rear wheel; spokes included.
With all of that of that said, I've built a quite a few bikes in my day, so I feel quite comfortable with the smaller, more detailed portions of the modern bicycle. I mention that because of the way this book is written; it feels as though the target audience would be those who fall into the category of "I know enough to be dangerous" genre. There are definitely other books that go into even greater detail but "Deconstructed" does a good job of covering a fair amount of information on all aspects of the bike. One thing to keep in mind though is that this book is very road-bike centric (it primarily covers road bike components/design, etc. ) This doesn't mean that, as a mountain biker, you wouldn't enjoy it, I sure did. In fact most component designs are fairly similar to the road bike's dirty sibling; it's because of this that mountain bikers can still find a lot to discover/ enjoy about the book. Obviously braking systems, frame design, and suspension would be areas of differing evolution, and would be beyond cool to see laid out in similar fashion. Perhaps someday Hallett will visit such concepts in a future book.
If you're looking to learn more about the various components of bikes, or you know someone who would be, I highly recommend this book. For the cyclist in your life, it's hard to imagine a more exciting gift. I would almost call this a "gateway book" because of the interest it piques in all things bike related. It is not so detailed that you get lost in the explanation, but it does give you a synopsis and background on all components as well as the frame.
Ultimately, I feel this is a great all-around read for the bike lover in your world. Read it cover to cover, or pick and choose your chapters; either way works well. Happy reading and happy riding!