All about bicycles, electric-assisted bikes, 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.

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Urbanbiking, 03/2011
Reading time 1:40 minutes

Cheap frames and sloppy electric systems

If damage occurrs with discounter pedelecs, it’s mostly the low step through frames or the electric equipment that is concerned. The bicycle expert Dirk Zedler explains the backgrounds.

To offer pedelecs at predatory prices at all, they are often made on the cheap abroad. This can cause problems. The bicycle expert Dirk Zedler explains: "Cheap discounter e-bikes or pedelecs are often imported with specifications that do not comply with German requirements and without undergoing quality checks. That means that the customers obtain pedelecs that neither provide the necessary riding safety nor sufficient durability."

The frames of the cheap e-bikes at insufficient dimensions are often the first proof for the lack of durability. Poorly built low step through frames cause the major problems. Dirk Zedler: "Even without e-motor these poorly built unisex frames tend to have a very wobbly riding performance and the front parts of the frames occasionally break due to material fatigue during riding. Combining these weak frames with an electric motor in the front wheel and drilling holes for laying the cables for the power supply, increases the risk."

Consequences for bicycle and rider: The bicycle’s overall weight increases due to motor, rechargable battery etc.

Due to the motor assistance of the pedelec the rider will cycle more often, longer distances and above all faster. Dirk Zedler: "All factors that shorten the service live. Accidents are thus inevitable and have already happened, as we know from our daily routine as experts."

But it’s not only the mechanical properties of the many cheap bait and switch offers that are according to Zedler’s experience unsafe, but also the electric system. The expert states: "The use of plug connectors that are not designed for such purpose is commonplace. They not only bear the risk of failure, as rain water is likely to enter, but they are also susceptible to being mistaken, which may result in an explosion of the rechargeable battery. The list of shortcomings could be extended nearly at will."

Riding a pedelec should be fun and safe. This is not always the case with cheap pedelecs. Dirk Zedler’s conclusion: "According to our experience cheap pedelecs are after all neither fun nor sufficiently safe and durable."

Author: Björn Gerteis

Read the entire article here.

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