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Cyclinfo, 1-2/2014

"Only professionals call back their products"

There was hardly any dealer who was not affected by a product recall of his supplier during the past season. But for technology expert Dirk Zedler this increased number does not indicate a lack of care of the manufacturers, but is a sign of professionalization.

An actual wave of recalls spilled over the sector only shortly before the end of the year. After important product recalls of many companies including Magura, Fox and Shimano 2013 since the beginning of 2013, the last season will stick in mind to many insiders of the sector as a year of mishaps. The impression deceives, however, says Dirk Zedler. For many years the graduate engineer and his institute for bicycle technology and security have been recording the recalls of the manufacturers. "In 2013 we counted 19 recalls within the industry. This number lies only insignificantly over the average of the previous years." The fact that you remember the recalls more clearly has in Zedler’s opinion to do with today’s broader distribution by means of the most various communication channels. "In addition, many components which are built in by numerous brands had to be replaced or reworked during the past years. For this reason an important number of specialist shops were also affected directly."

Zedler concedes that the pressure on the developers increases due to the quick model changes in the bicycle industry and that this has as consequence that some products are supplied defective. But the test expert is neither concerned by the number or recalls nor by the fact that they happen at all. On the contrary: "A company that calls back defective bicycles or parts behaves professional. They prove that customer safety is a matter of concern and that they are strong enough to wind up such a process." Significantly, it’s major and well-known companies that call back products from the market. From the experiences Zedler has gained as technical expert in disputes he knows that it is not like in the automotive industry where recalls have long since been standard. "Much more manufacturers would have to call back products, but they don’t. They try to cover it up and vaguely hope that nothing bad will happen." Therefore, from the technical point of view there is no reason for Zedler to blame the manufacturers for the recalls. "Whoever blames them, hasn’t understood that it’s all about customer safety and in the end about credibility of the industry."

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