"The Dancing Chain": hugely expanded 3rd ed.
[$60 direct from the publisher, VDP. I've sold the 2nd ed and will likely stock this new 3rd ed.]
The subtitle of this big hardcover book is "History and Development of the Derailleur Bicycle." Offhand, this would seem like a total bike geek's book. And it is. But it's much more than that. I think it does a great job of pulling in the human interest side of this ongoing story. One gets a great sense of the riders, the markets, the inventions and the businesses -- in short, the culture -- behind the flow of what might seem to be a strictly technological tale. There's actually a lot of drama behind the schematics.
This new 3rd edition particularly expands on recent history and the functioning of the various STI-type systems, where the shifting is done on the handlebars in with or near the brake levers. These new systems, including the new internal hub gears, can be mysterious and intimidating. After reading the info here you'll finally understand what's happening. There's also a new chapter near the end called "How Derailleurs Work" giving the run-through on the big picture of what's happening down there and why.
One reviewer wished for more interpretation from this encyclopedia, as to the why-for's behind the various starts, stops and retracings in this scene -- because, truly, nothing's new under the sun -- and why various traits would be desired and why the ones which have prevailed have done so, and that would be neat to see, but we'd then see the fur fly. Actually, I think the book give a good feel for the cultural subtext. I found it to be highly readable as well as referenceable.
Most bike histories focus on the 1800's. This is the only book all about the history of the bikes we use today.
LISTING INFO FROM PUBLISHER'S SITE
The Dancing Chain: History and Development of the Derailleur Bicycle. NEW: 3rd Edition, expanded and updated with hundreds of new illustrations by Daniel Rebour and others. By Frank Berto with contributions by Jan Heine, Raymond Henry, Walter Ulreich, Tony Hadland, Gordon Selby, and Ron Shepherd
Format: 8½ x 11 inch jacketed hardcover
Description: 400 pages with 1,500 black & white illustrations
A fascinating account of the birth and development of the modern bicycle--and the mechanism that makes it tick: the derailleur gearing system.
This third edition includes many corrections and additions, more and better images, and it covers significantly more material. This is one BIG book.
Completely rewritten, updated, and expanded third edition of the "instant classic" that took everybody by surprise. Now with additional product test information, and many additional illustrations of items ranging from "prehistoric" gearing mechanisms to the very latest components, including the most innovative 2009 product introductions.
How could such a specialized subject find so much interest? Whereas all other cycle history books cover the early development in great detail but have nothing more to say once the modern safety bicycle is introduced at the end of the 19th century, this book picks up where the others leave off. It is the history of the modern bicycle during the last century—or, put another way, the first century of the derailleur bicycle.
The book is packed with fascinating illustrations, including hundreds of Daniel Rebour's wonderfully detailed renderings—many of them never seen in print before.
Table of Contents
1. The First Bicycles: 1817–1860
2. The Search for Speed: 1861–1890
3. The Bicycle Boom: 1891–1899
4. Pre-Derailleurs, Epicyclics, and Exotics 1900–1907
5. The First Derailleurs: 1908–1919
6. Practical Derailleurs: 1920–1929
7. The Golden Age: 1930–1939
8. The Postwar Years: 1945–1954
9. Slow Growth: 1955–1964
10. The “Great American Bike Boom”: 1965–1974
11. The Dawn of Mountain Biking: 1975–1984
12. The Rise of Shimano: 1985–1994
13. Into the 21st Century: 1995 to the Present, Part I. Shimano
14. Recent Developments: 1995 to the Present, Part II SRAM, Campagnolo, and the Rest
15. How Derailleurs Work
16. Nothing New Under the Sun?