I own the Zinn book but rarely use it. Seems like most issues I run into are for getting specific components dialed and aren't necessarily covered well in general books. +1 on advice from a good local mechanic - a tasty 6 pack now and then can help facillitate the flow of knowledge.
There's also a lot of good technical manuals, board posts, and You Tube videos with good info on the web. If you're wondering how to do something, 20 people have probably already asked how to do it on some board.
I use both
- Zinn and the Art of Moutain Bike Maintenance
- Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair by Park Tools
And like them both for somewhat different reasons. None are perfect but being able to read different perspectives on maintenance issues is IMO good.
In my experience most books are pretty comprehensive as far as different types of brakes and other components. I have Zinn's Roadbike book, so I use that a lot (even for the mountain bike). I supliment that with internet sites, talking to knowledgable people, and bike books from the library.
I wouldn't bother buying a book at all if you have easy access to the internet.
parktool.com has super clear instructions for just about anything you would ever want to do, including lots of instructions for particular brands or weird components.
Anything that's not on the park site is on the internet somewhere, usually to be easily found through google. Plus, the internet is constantly updating with every trick, tip and DIY mod you can imagine.
I have the Zinn MTB book (or did I give it away? hmm...) somewhere, and have worked at two stores that sell pretty well every repair book you can imagine, including all the above mentioned, and I always recommend the park tool site instead of any of the books to customers. Spend your $20 on parts or beer.
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