LUDWIGSBURG/SACHSENHEIM. “We are not a bicycle shop”, this is how managing director Dirk Zedler welcomes the ninth graders of the Junior-Engineer-Academy of Sachsemheim’s Lichtenstern Gymnasium. As a matter of fact, the new company premises in Ludwigsburg make you rather feel like being in a museum. From the draisine originating from 1820 to the carbon road racer made of state-of-the-art high-end fibres, there are more than one hundred bicycles from all kinds of development stages.
But Zedler does not focus on collecting bicycles, but on bicycle safety and technology. A car bears about one third of its own weight. Comparable to the ant in the world of animals, the frame structure of a bicycle is loadable with a multiple of its own weight and therefore a small miracle in terms of technology. After his mechanical engineering studies and first activities in the two-wheeler industry Dirk Zedler, fascinated by the bicycle, dedicated himself to the technical safety of bicycles, developed his first test stand in 1993 and has been working as bicycle expert since these days.
Besides the business fields expert’s reports and testing technology, Zedler draws up user manuals and writes critical journalistic articles on the issue bicycle technology which are based on the numerous accident analyses.
With such a variety of activities it is hardly surprising that Zedler’s one-man business developed into a test institute with all in all 24 permanent employees after 25 years of activities for the bicycle safety. His company runs a training program with apprentices, supervises Bachelor and Master theses and expands in new company premises.
“In China we are better known than in Ludwigsburg” reports the bicycle expert to the interested ninth graders. Taking account of the fact that the major bicycle manufacturers are located in China, this is not surprising. No matter whether the German brands Canyon, Centurion, Focus or Müsing, the US brands Cannondale, Specialized or Trek as well as the established Italian luxury brands, like Bianchi, Colnago or Pinarello – most frames are produced in China. In China as well as in Germany the expertise of the Ludwigsburg test institute is highly appreciated.
Whereas in the past the art of constructing bicycles was rather a craftsman’s skill, the cycle market has meanwhile developed in an engineering-driven industry, absolutely comparable to the development in the Formula 1. With great ambition the established manufacturers try to explore the limits of the material and to develop new solutions.
As recognized bicycle test institute the Zedler-Group works according to strict, scientific criteria. Together with his staff Dirk Zedler develops test systems simulating the continuous operation of bicycle parts and frames. One of the objectives is to reflect a bicycle life with its material loads over an about three-day long test period. More than 1500 tests are therefore conducted in the state-of-the-art test laboratories. “Testing in fast motion” that is how Dirk Zedler names this procedure. Within 25 years he compiled such a know-how which makes Zedler worldwide to the market leader in terms of technical bicycle safety. “Zedeler testing”, as the Chinese likes to put it, has developed into a quality feature in the sector. Zedler works in an interdisciplinary manner. There is a close exchange between mechanical engineers, bicycle mechanics, industrial mechanics, specialised journalists, graphic designers as well as translators under the same roof to be able to meet customer’s requirements in all business fields. The e-bike boom brought new dynamics into the market.
With special test procedures for pedelecs Zedler is able to take on the new challenges. Further growth is not excluded, as long as he will maintain the positive working climate as bicycle-friendly company.