All about bicycles, pedelecs, technology and safety in the press

In our daily work as we deal with bicycle safety, technology and user manuals we come across lots of safety risks. The most frequent ones are published in articles of the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR – Europas Rennrad-Magazin Nr. 1, BIKE – Das Mountainbike Magazin Europas Nr. 1 and E-Bike – Das Pedelec-Magazin to make this information important for the sector accessible to a wider public.

In addition, we are regularly cited by further special-interest magazines or trade journals as well as more and more by radio and television and in their media reports, which shows us that we are completely right with our information.

The section NEWS informs you about the latest news from our specialist fields. The reports and publications of this section are listed chronologically or according to topics of interest.

Tour 06/2017

The situation regarding spare parts is dramatic

Interview with graduate engineer Dirk Zedler, publicly appointed and sworn in expert for bicycles and electric bicycles

TOUR Mr Zedler, do you have an overview of how often major spare parts of road bikes, wheels or components are no longer available a few years after the purchase only?

ZEDLER When preparing expert reports we calculate the repair costs or we try at least. Very often repairs cannot be carried out, because the parts are no longer available after one, two years already. It even happens that you no longer find a replacement fork during the still running season. In such a case, the bicycle is oft beyond economical repair and thus a total loss. With the exception of a few rays of hope I would describe the situation in the bicycle sector as actually dramatic.

Are there any components concerned particularly often?

Number one are individual rims, individual cranks, a single brake lever, particularly frame-specific seat posts or forks matching in colour. Due to the integrated components trend which has been prevailing for years, finding compatible spare parts becomes more and more difficult. The big number of different dimensions for front and rear hubs, inner and headset bearings also affects the availability. Often you cannot even help yourself with another manufacturer.

Are bicycle manufacturers obliged to keep major spare parts, such as specific seat posts or forks on stock for a certain period of time?

Looking around on the market, there is apparently no time-limit observed. I’m not aware of any court decision, at least as the cycle industry is concerned. For other industries there are court decisions as to an adequate period of time which depends on the value and the service life of an object. Personally, I would like to see at least compatible spare parts in a matching basic colour or at least raw without painting in the stocks, as long as the manufacturer grants warranty.

Has a customer the right to claim a replacement fork in a specific colour? Or are manufacturers relieved from their obligation already when they provide the fork in neutral black?

As I already said, there are no decisions. It is rather a situation where you must actually be glad. This entirely difficult situation will not change until a cyclist decides to take legal action and to enforce a court decision. This requires money, perseverance and a good lawyer. This may be exhausting, but only such a pressure will make things change.

How can people buying a road bike estimate before purchase whether they have to fear problems concerning spare parts supply?

The more complex the bicycle is and the more integrated parts it has, the more reduced is their chance to find spare parts. They should also prefer manufacturers which do not renew their frame platforms every year. As regards the components, our experience has shown that bigger brands are more likely to provide spare parts. Although the spare parts are relatively expensive due to the stockkeeping, they are available and the bikes keep rolling.