There is discussion among the experts about the fact whether the test with a firmly mounted rear frame can deliver practice-oriented results at all. The answer of the German product testers reads as follows: Firstly, the commissioned test institute has the necessary competence. Secondly, the results could be reproduced with another frame. And thirdly: Other frames had passed the same tests in sound condition. Critics of the test methods as test engineer Dirk Zedler who is specialist in bicycle technology are in doubt: He stated that the firm mounting of the frame is not a proof of special knowledge, but rather an indication that one had intended to save costs. He continued that a flexible mounting corresponding much more with practice with a "working" wheel in the frame, is much more extensive, i.e. more expensive. In his opinion that argumentation is a proof for the fact that the German product testers were apparently lacking the necessary bicycle know-how. The fact that a wrong test method with a consequent repetition produced the same non-practice-oriented result, would be only natural. The fact that the better scoring of other frames in the same test procedure had little significance became immediately clear to the audience of the panel discussion during the member’s general meeting of the German service and bicycle association (VSF), where Zedler voiced his criticism. One of the specialist dealers in the audience interposed that the fact that a softer frame had a better resistance to the loads on the test stand had nothing to do with quality.
Transparency requested for years
During the member’s general meeting of the German service and bicycle association (VSF) in Bad Boll, Stiftung Warentest represented by Dr. Holger Brackemann, member of the executive board and responsible for the department examinations, as well as the critics from the bicycle sector met in public for the first time since the beginning of the controversy. For the VSF Brackemann was however not an unknown: Several years ago he had already faced a lot of criticism on the occasion of a conference organized by VSF. At that time he had promised to make the test criteria of Stiftung Warentest comprehensible for the bicycle sector. Unfortunately, this had not been realized and he was reminded of that in Bad Boll, among others from Zedler. As expected, Brackemann defended the test and its results in front of the VSF members. Stiftung Warentest had shown this reaction already when companies of the bicycle industry and the German Bicycle Association (ZIV) had addressed to the general public with their disproval of the test results of Stiftung Warentest some weeks ago.
Author: Hans-Heinrich Pardey