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.

Fahrrad Zukunft, April 11, 2010

Vivavelo – sector reunion that claims to be political

In February 2010 VSF (the German association of self-governing cycle companies) invited to attend the cycle conference Vivavelo in snowy Berlin. About 300 attendees came and spent two days with speeches, workshops and panel discussions as well as with parties and networking. The whole event was reminiscent of the "Fahrrad Markt Zukunft"-fair in Bremen, before it had become a consumer fair. Contrary to the Bremen fair in the 90ies that was in general about further training of cycle dealers, the Vivavelo conference claimed to be more comprehensive, i.e. political. Besides the further training workshops it was about how to organise the cycle sector as lobby to promote the bicycle as means of transport, even in conservative-liberal times.

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The second conference day started with a comprehensive workshop program consisting of four parallel blocks. The attendees could choose between the issues electric bicycle, conflicting priorities of dealers and manufacturers, bicycle standards as well as initiatives on the promotion of cycle traffic. 

The panel discussion at noon dealt with a regularly recurring issue: Bicycle and component testing of the German Foundation for comparative product testing (Stiftung Warentest). Are these product tests a lottery for the sector? Dr. Holger Brackemann, head of the testing department of Stiftung Warentest, bicycle expert Dirk Zedler, the managing director of the German cycle club (ADFC) Horst Hahn-Kloeckner as well as Mathias Seidler, the managing director of bicycle manufacturer Derby Cycle Werke were spurred on by moderator Gunnar Fehlau to argue. 

The Derby principal tossed in that the positive or negative outcome of a test often happened by chance and that the tests regularly compared apples with pears. What he was missing above all, was transparency and traceability of the test procedures. Dirk Zedler took the same line: "In doing so you prevent progress and hinder the sector from learning from their mistakes". He added that the publishing of mere test results by Stiftung Warentest would not help. Brackemann made clear that it was not the business of Stiftung Warentest to assume the quality assurance of the manufacturers. 

There was controversy about reasonable test procedures. Bicycle manufacturers and experts like Zedler prefer more simple tests that are in alignment with European standards. Professor Fueglein, however, conducts on behalf of Stiftung Warentest a service load test on his costly hydro pulse. By means of this procedure it is actually possible to simulate relatively practical loads. It is however stated by Zedler that this procedure often produces types of damage that are not often seen in real life. There was agreement among all panel members about the fact that the types of damage actually occurring in real life were not registered systematically.  

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Author: Andreas Oehler

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