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.

For many years now the Eurobike Show Daily accompanying the annual international Eurobike Show has given us the opportunity to publish our perspective on major developments in the cycle industry in full-page articles.

We also speak regularly in independent lectures about all topics relating to bicycle technology and bicycle market. 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.

SAZbike 24-25/2013

Brackemann in discussion with the "victims who have no say"

The German service and bicycle association (VSF) invited their members to attend the members’ general meeting in Bad Boll in Baden-Wuerttemberg. One of the highlights was a panel discussion about the pedelec test conducted by the German foundation for comparative product testing (Stiftung Warentest) this year. The panel discussion also included Dr. Holger Brackemann (divisional director of the product testers).  For the first time, there was not only a talking about, but also a public exchange of views about the disastrous test that had been conducted in summer. At the beginning of the discussion moderator Reiner Kollberg called for a constructive dialogue which actually happened to take place. 

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During the discussion the fronts became quickly clear: On the one side Kurt Schaer (managing director of Biketec AG), Dirk Zedler (managing director of Zedler Institut für Fahrradtechnik und -Sicherheit) and Dietrich Sudikatis (owner of the bike shop Radgeber Linden/Hanover). The three were supported by a plenum consisting of partly enraged VSF dealers. On the other side was Dr. Holger Brackemann, Divisional Director Testing of Stiftung Warentest. (…) 

The test setup of the German product testers

The frame breakage at the drop-outs of the Flyer e-bike tested by the German product testers was a most controversial issue.  For Kurt Schaer the incident is not verifiable.

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Brackemann replied that the experiences Schaer referred to were applicable to bicycles of earlier production years. Stiftung Warentest had, however, tested bicycles of 2013 without any experience values gained during long-term uses. "New bicycles could therefore be concerned by the problem." This was a reproach Dirk Zedler could not leave hanging in the air and took the side of the e-bike manufacturer: "Broken drop-outs haven’t been a problem for years", explains the expert. This argumentation were a proof for the fact that the German product testers were apparently lacking bicycle know-how. "There is much too little knowledge in how to handle a bicycle. Look for test laboratories which have the knowledge", advised the expert. (…)

The uncritical implementation in the media

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There was for example the description of a scenario where the rear wheel breaks away while riding on a cobblestone road. However, the tests were exclusively conducted on a test stand without wheels. "I have nothing against a negative and critical press. But it must come from the bicycle sector and should not miss the point", makes Dirk Zedler clear. (…)

Lessons for future tests

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In one point there was, however, agreement among all participants: The currently valid pedelec standard which only meets minimum requirements, is not enough. Dirk Zedler suggested to additionally test the riding stability in the next tests conducted by the product testers. "Your test is not comprehensive. Practical riding stability and riding safety are not included in the test", he added to his advises for Brackemann. (…)

Author: Thomas Geisler

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