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The most common safety risks that we come across in our daily work around bicycle safety, technology and operating instructions are also published by us in articles in the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR (Europe's road bike magazine no. 1), BIKE (Europe's mountain bike magazine no. 1), MYBIKE and EMTB in order to make this information, which is important for the industry, available to a wider public.

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SAZbike 12/2016
Reading time 3:40 minutes

"German foundation for comparative product testing (Stiftung Warentest) cannot be taken seriously"

Bicycle industry at odds with latest e-bike test:

“Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win”, that’s what Gary Lineker lamented after the lost soccer world championship semifinal of his English team against the German team. This quotation could be suited accordingly to the bicycle industry: “Tests of the German Stiftung Warentest are simple: About 15 e-bikes are tested and at the end there is always one model at least which is rated ‘inadequate’”.

In fact, the July issue of “test” included 15 eletric bicycles with low step-through which were put to the test. Seven bicycles were rated “good”, however five models were rated “inadequate”. The other three models were rated “satisfactory”. Test winner was "BS.1" by Flyer, leaving the "E-Manufaktur 7.9" by Victoria and the Decathlon modell "City Nexus" by Riverside behind. Test losers were Pegasus with their model "Premio ES F", Stevens with the "E-Courier Forma", Fischer with the "ECU-1603 ", Kettler with the "Traveller E Tour FL'' and the Aldi model "Alu-City-Elektrorad" by Hansa. 

The reasons for the inadequate ratings were different. In the case of the Pegasus model it was criticised by the testers that the brakes were so weak “that they could not recommend the bicycle; during the endurance test the pannier rack broke”. Further weak points mentioned were an instable kick-stand as well as insufficient brackets on the pannier rack for the securing of the luggage.


For bicycle expert Dirk Zedler, however, things are quite obvious. “If there was one component in the cycle industry that didn’t cause any worries in the past 20 years, it’s Magura’s breakthrough hydraulic brake series HS 11' to 'HS 33’. ‘Mounting by screwing and forgetting’ is the motto. Among extreme and frequent cyclists it is therefore justifiably considered as carefree brake on the bicycle. Even Stiftung Warentest praised the hydraulic brake repeatedly and unexceptionally in the past, in order to devaluate two bicycles with this brake as “inadequate”. As serious tester they should have been obliged to find out possible causes (air in the system, dirty rims etc.) and eliminate them. As serious product testing organisation they should have been obliged to question the own inadequate stringency”, critises Zedler harshly.


In addition, Dirk Zedler is annoyed by the fact that cracks and breakages of safety-relevant components carried less weight for Stiftung Warentest. “In the past 23 years broken seat posts have been the predominant issue in our expert’s reports on material failure. This not only in terms of frequency, but also in terms of seriousness of the consequenes for the cyclist. Even without having seen the components, this procedure deserves in my opinion much consideration and is even contradictory to the actual bicycle claims in operation. A proof that the product testers and their testers are too far away from reality,” complains Zedler who states respectively: “German foundation for comparative product testing (Stiftung Warentest) cannot be taken seriously. This year’s results are again incredible.” In the case of the broken seat post Zedler refers to the Fisher model tested as “inadequate”. As regards the “Ecu-1603” Stiftung Warentest rated as follows: “Cheap pedelec. Breakages on both sides of the pannier rack and the broken seat post resulted in the devaluation. Unstable drive. Accelerates during the test under the influence of radio waves (e.g. amateur radio). Uncomfortable seating position. Pedal assistance starts with delay at the moment of setting off. Drive runs on long. Long charging. Reduction of the motor capacity even with semi-full battery. Long battery charging time. Low range.”


But the natives of Cologne also vent their anger out on the inadequate test result. Heinz Kettler GmbH as original distributor of the bicycle had a test according to which the saddle clamping meets the obligatory legal standards largely. In addition, ZEG had ordered further tests of the saddle clamp at Zedler-Institut as well as at TÜV Rhineland.“ 


Author: Alexander Schmitz

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