New Book: The All-Road Bike Revolution

Bicycles – and how we ride them – have changed tremendously over the last decade. Many accepted facts have been turned on their heads. We’ve learned that narrow tires aren’t faster. Higher pressures don’t reduce resistance. More trail doesn’t always make a bike more stable. Stiffer frames don’t always perform better. The list is long, but until now, all this information has not been available in a single place, in an easy-to-digest format.

You could read through thousands of pages of Bicycle Quarterly past editions and get lost in ride stories before you’d find the information you were looking for. Or your could search the net, only to find conflicting information without much data to back it up. Clearly, there’s a need for a book that summarizes the current state of knowledge about how bikes work.

Our new book, The All-Road Bike Revolution, has been years in the making, because new research kept changing our understanding of how bikes work. Now we feel that things have settled down enough that this book won’t be outdated soon. Rather than trying to compile of all of BQ’s research in one place, we’ve started with a clean sheet of paper to make the new book more approachable. All the information is there, but you won’t get bogged down trying to understand testing methodologies and statistical analyses. If you’re looking for those, the relevant articles are in the references at the back of the book…

To illustrate the new book, we’ve worked with Miyoshi, whom many readers recall from his iconic Bicycle Quarterly covers. His drawings are not just whimsical and fun, they also focus the reader’s eye on what is essential in a way that no technical drawing can. It’s a welcome departure from the usual technical cycling books. BQ editor Natsuko Hirose wanted to make sure that reading about bikes will be as much fun as riding them. (It helps that she edited more than 160 books before joining our team.) Rather than tell you more about the book, here’s the feedback from a few people whom we showed the book.

Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of OPEN and Cervélo wrote: “Our first all-road bike that combined road-bike speed and go-anywhere capabilities was a selfish project — it enabled us to ride how we wanted. We quickly learned many others want the same. Jan Heine’s book tells you how to get the most fun out of your bike.”

Gravel racer Ted King said: “The proven science of cycling, backed by fascinating, anecdotal applicability, will be appreciated by everyone. From first-time bicycle owner to life-long cyclist looking to purchase their 20th bike, this book covers it all.”

And Lael Wilcox: “It’s hard to describe the joy of riding in words and maybe even harder to give advice on gear selection when riders have such different goals. This book does both in simple terms. It’s easy to understand and answers so many questions. The main idea is to have a comfortable, fast machine that takes you everywhere you want to go. The more fun you have on a bike, the more you’ll want to ride it.”

The All-Road Bike Revolution, $ 28, 256 pages; 148 mm x 210 mm (5.8″ x 8.3″); Printed in USA. ISBN 978-0-9765460-5-4.

The All-Road Bike Revolution will be available in mid-November. 

We’re offering a 10% pre-order discount until October 31. Be among the first to get your copy! (The pre-order price of $ 29.80 U.S./$ 38 International includes shipping.)

For international readers, we’ll send one bulk shipment in November. The shipping rate ($12.80) is less than half of what it will be for later individual shipments. Please order now to get this rate.

More information is here.

21 Responses to New Book: The All-Road Bike Revolution

  1. David Irvine October 11, 2020 at 6:13 am #

    Price of new book?

    • Jan Heine October 11, 2020 at 8:16 am #

      $ 28. I’ll add it to the story.

      • Andy Stow October 11, 2020 at 8:42 am #

        Jan,

        It’s showing $29.80 for me in the store. Did the discount somehow get messed up? Or is it because shipping is included?

        • Jan Heine October 11, 2020 at 8:52 am #

          Shipping is included. This allows us to make the book ‘free shipping’ and split orders if you add something else to the order. Otherwise, you’d have to wait until November to get your tires/handlebars/jersey/etc. together with the book.

  2. Gabe October 11, 2020 at 7:28 am #

    Thank you putting all this groundbreaking info in a book! The knowledge imparted here has certainly changed my perspective on cycling.
    One possibility that has occurred to me is the use of lightweight wheels and tires in mixed-road applications. The use of tubular tires can provide exceptional performance while shedding weight off of a randonee build. The problem I’ve come across is the lack of of tubular tires for the road in sizes 32mm and up.
    In the future, might tubular road tires in these widths become available? I understand custom is an option, but the only other tubulars seems to be for cyclocross, which may not be durable enough for road applications.
    Thanks again!

    • Jan Heine October 11, 2020 at 8:22 am #

      That’s also covered in the book…😉 Tubulars aren’t lighter than clinchers. In the past, tubular rims were lighter, but with high-dish rear wheels for 10-, 11- or 12-speed cassettes, the rims have to be stiffer, so the weight difference disappears.

      The main advantage of tubulars is their better shock absorption because the tire isn’t constrained by a U-shaped rim, so it can deform over its entire circumference. On a wide clincher tire, the rim also makes up less of the circumference, so the advantage of tubulars disappears. I’d say it makes little sense for tubulars to go beyond 30 mm. Plus, a wide tubular is very bulky, so if you want to carry two spares, they’ll take up a lot of room.

  3. Michael October 11, 2020 at 8:22 am #

    Excellent idea and a much needed resource. However I now mainly read on Kindle. Will this be available as an ebook? Thanks

    • Jan Heine October 11, 2020 at 10:27 am #

      We have chosen paper because we treasure the experience of holding a beautiful book and immersing ourselves into the experience, away from our screens – especially for a book that you’ll come back to time and again. With a paper book, there’s more to the experience than just the contents – the paper is chosen for its feel and how it reproduces the images, the cover gets embossed to add depth to the images and text…

      There’s also the aspect of durability: One reason to write this book has been to make sure this information isn’t lost once fashions change and the industry pushes different bikes. We’re lucky that Vélocio’s writings were on paper and not in some long-obsolete electronic format. And I really wish René Herse had written down all he know about bikes!

      Ebooks are great for books you read once and then no longer need. There’s no need to use resources, shipping, and for publishers, there’s less up-front cost. Both formats have their place…

  4. jon h October 11, 2020 at 11:58 am #

    ordered 🙂

  5. Brendan October 11, 2020 at 2:18 pm #

    Does the free shipping still apply if we order one of the other book titles?

    • Jan Heine October 11, 2020 at 2:32 pm #

      Shipping is included in the price of the new book, but not the others. If you also order other book titles, we’ll ship the other books now, but the new book will only become available in mid-November.

      If you are in the U.S., Media Mail shipping only costs a few dollars, so it’s not worth waiting until November to ship both books together. Just place your order, and we’ll split it into two parts. We’ll put the new book ‘on hold’ and ship the other items now. That way, you’ll have a book to enjoy while you wait for the new one.

  6. Craig Dempsey October 11, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

    Could you perhaps include a photo of the table of contents on the book order page?

    • Jan Heine October 12, 2020 at 11:07 am #

      That’s a good idea. We added the TOC to the product page of the book.

  7. Roland October 12, 2020 at 2:02 am #

    Looking forward to the book, just one question on the shipping: I’d like to add the recent edition of Bicycle Quarterly to the order, but than shipping costs go up by 39 USD. Any chance to add a copy of BQ to the book order? I can wait till November!

    • Jan Heine October 12, 2020 at 7:58 am #

      That’s difficult, since the bulk shipping requires all shipments to weigh the same. So we can’t add a BQ to the book, even if you wait until November. Sorry that international shipping is so expensive these days – it’s not something we can control.

      • Roland Schneider October 12, 2020 at 10:21 am #

        Thanks for the quick reply, then I’ll stick with the book.

        And I agree – global shipping is weird, stuff from China is ridiculously cheap to ship while from the US it’s 40 bucks for a magazine.

        [Could you perhaps delete that profile pic of mine if possible? I don’t know if how that keeps popping up on the interwebs, I don’t even use that on any social media site.]

        • Jan Heine October 12, 2020 at 11:11 am #

          Some countries that export a lot subsidize their postal service, so international shipping is very inexpensive. The U.S. Postal Service isn’t one of those.

          I think that image is on your Google profile – I’m sorry that we can’t change it…

  8. Pablo Lainez October 12, 2020 at 4:05 am #

    Instant classic, as they say. Pre-ordered mine already and look forward to the winter reading.

    Jan, any chance of getting the pre-orders another perk in the form of an autographed version?.

    • Jan Heine October 12, 2020 at 7:58 am #

      We thought about this… But the books are shrinkwrapped for protection during shipping. Unwrapping them means we need to use extra packaging… so for now, no autographed copies. Sorry!

  9. Gert October 13, 2020 at 1:09 am #

    I thought I knew almost everything after reading “Das kleingedruckte beim Radfahren”
    But as you promise “an easy-to-digest format” I must admit that I would like something a little easier to return to.
    So I have just ordered it

    P.S. I think it is an international agreement (Universal postal Union) that dictates the shippingcosts from different countries

    • Jan Heine October 13, 2020 at 8:54 am #

      Our approach is different from most other technical books about cycling: We don’t look at theory – ‘how bikes should work’ – but at how they actually ride on the road. Then we use carefully controlled tests to confirm or reject the hypotheses that we’ve formed by comparing and riding dozens of bikes, hundreds of tires, etc.

      So where other books may try to explain how bikes stay upright, we focus on how to make a bike handle better with a variety of tire sizes, loads, riding styles, etc. Ted King called it the “applicability to the real world,” and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll enjoy the new book.

      Regarding postage, the international agreements only handle the transfer payments, so that the receiving country gets reimbursed for delivering international mail. (You buy the stamp in the origin country, and not every letter/parcel in one direction is balanced by one in the other direction.) Each country (or their postal service) are still free to set their postage rates as they see fit.