The idea was fascinating: Making a bike test over a really long period of time – that would be something! Previous endurance tests in specific interest magazines, i.e. bicycle magazines, also in the case of TREKKINGBIKE, were running maximum one to two years. In most of the cases there was not much information to be published. In addition, manufactures are only interested in wearing down potentially marketable bicycles in a controlled way, if the results and the attention to be expected after a publication would still be applicable to current models. A difficult issue indeed. What is more, riders involved in an endurance test cannot ride other bicycles, which is a real torment for bike people like we are in the editorial team and that we know: A season without bike holidays, without mountain biking, without epic kilometres on the road bike, because of the endurance test bike – another difficult issue! And who wants to keep a record about every little incident, if you only want to readjust the gears and to set off quickly? Inconveniences wherever you look...
Dirk Zedler came along just at the right time. He brought up for discussion his team and his infrastructure. What speaks for the Zedler team is professionalism in terms of cycling, technical understanding and documentation. The results of the endurance test are interesting for the company as well, as they prepare evaluation reports on insurance and accident losses, as well as manuals for bicycles. They allow conclusions useful for the design of a test stand or the development of an owner’s and service manual.
The pitiful bikes that you often find along the roadside were an inspiration for us in terms of our test material: How do technical components of varying quality and price categories withstand the tough conditions of controlled long-term use? A request at Stevens made clear the Hamburg manufacturer would cooperate. As a manufacturer they are also a Zedler customer and have tested various Stevens frames. The following four Stevens bikes were used as test bikes: The reliable Rohloff-Magura Sovereign travel bike with rigid fork (2499 Euro), the sports X8 cross bike with high-value Suntour NRX air suspension fork, XT drive and discs (1599 Euro), equipped for the everyday use at Zedler with SON hub dynamo, Edelux lamp and mudguard. Then the Flyer 11 (1299 Euro), still called "Super Flight 11" in 2011: a fancy Alfine bike, fully equipped with rigid fork and V-brakes. At the bottom of the range there’s the volume model Primera (849 Euro) completing the test fleet. There you find a reasonable Suntour NCX steel suspension fork, hub dynamo, drive and V-brakes from the Deore-groupset. Since spring 2011 various riders have used each bike alternately all over the year to make sure the differences in riding style and field of use are spread as wide as possible.
Author: Jochen Donner