Who cycles every day and throughout the whole year appreciates the undisturbed functioning of bicycle technology a lot. The latter is increasingly precise in its functioning and comfortable in its operation. However, the yet more and more developing technology is yet more and more prone to disturbances. And if this technology is not serviced and maintained regularly, this may result in the warranty becoming void, premature wear, down times and expensive repairs. We therefore make a field test of selected bicycle technology in form of a long-term observation between spring 2011 and winter 2012/13. Under controlled conditions we want to determine what happens when and why in the committed everyday use. Or why it does not happen.
This long-term test for TREKKINGBIKE is performed by the sworn bicycle expert Dirk Zedler. The Hamburg manufacturer Stevens has made available four differently fitted everyday bikes to Zedler and his team. For this test the Stevens bikes serve actually only as component carrier. What interests us mainly is how the components differ from one another in the field, their need for maintenance and their sensitivity to failures.
Key factor everyday
"We cannot test ride bicycles to find out at what point a frame brakes," explains bike whisperer Zedler his approach. "What we can do is to state and document: This hub dynamo behaves this way, this brake functions better than the other one in dirty weather, these gears are more prone to failures than others. And we are in a position to beat the manufacturers round the head with these annoying odds and ends like easily twisted bell levers already after the first kilometres!"
The better bicycle
On the other side, we have not experienced any measurable wear or significant damage after about 1900 to 2800 kilometres. This is an absolutely positive point. As it means that today’s quality level of bicycle technology is on a high level. But we are now facing the first winter; the material will undergo clearly more stress soon. There is one set of tyres with spikes available for every bicycle. That means the second round for the long-term test. The final evaluation which is waited with great interest is planned for the TREKKINGBIKE issue 1/2013. Fellow Heil is happy: "It actually doesn’t matter, what happens. In principle, we are all working hard to make the bicycle still better." (…)
Zedler - Institut für Fahrradtechnik
It’s only knowledge that helps: That’s the motto which Dirk Zedler, 49, has followed since 1986 while working on the issue bicycle. The sworn bicycle expert prepares expert’s reports for accident or material damage. At the same time Zedler also conducts basic research. As an active triathlete and road bike enthusiast he is a long-standing employee of the TOUR magazine. There he developed measurement procedures and test stands that have meanwhile become standard in the sector. In his own company he employs 13 staff members in the departments experts’ reports, user manuals and test stand construction. Zedler’s special knowledge about bicycle development, material properties and types of damage is quite unique.
Author: Jochen Donner
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