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.
Shortly after the press had reported about the battery fire in an e-bike shop in Hanover, Germany, numerous enquiries about the incident of worried pedelec owners and employees of the cycle industry started piling up at Zedler-Institut. The battery of an electric bike had allegedly caught fire after charging and caused a major fire with high damage to property. The fire had not yet been fully extinguished when the safety of pedelec batteries was questioned in general by the first media reports and comment columns already.
With regard to this excitement I ask for patience in this matter: Blanket speculations on the safety of pedelec batteries as a consequence of this event of loss alone are not reasonable. We know that various reputed battery manufacturers use every technology available to successfully prevent their products from malfunction.
On the other hand, we found that the shop in question offers complete vehicles, conversion kits, batteries from little known suppliers as well as tuning kits on their website. With some of these products the statutory reference values for the legal operation of pedelecs and further vehicles on public roads are most probably ignored. This raises doubts as to the safety awareness of the e-bike shop. Final statements cannot be given until the official findings as to investigations of the causes of fire will be available.
Warm regards and good thoughts wishes
Those who want to deal seriously with objective information on development, sale and safe use of pedelec batteries, regardless of the current event of loss, are recommended to attend a seminar of Battery University in Karlstein on Main, Germany. There are still free places available for all interested parties.
Various lecturers in the fields of research, production and testing will provide among other things an overview of the basics of battery construction, the current state of the art and legal framework conditions (CE marking, transport regulations, product liability etc.). Dirk Zedler will give a lecture on bicycle testing and expert reports, product safety and the legal situation. Short-term registrations are still accepted directly at Battery University.
In the past years various bicycle manufacturers had to learn the hard way that tests passed in accordance with ISO standards are no guarantee for a reliable, safe function of bicycles and components. To avoid expensive liability claims or civil actions as well as costly recall actions it is worth performing load tests going beyond the standards prior to the market launch. For this purpose Zedler-Institut developed additional test methods for the rear triangles of mountain bikes.
In addition to the ISO standard and Zedler-Institut Advanced Plus, frame fatigue is tested first by applying recurrent vertical loads to the rear triangle. Subsequently, concentrated load peaks are simulated. The frame is tested intensively to its capability of withstanding terrain-induced effects and heavy impacts (e.g. In the case of jumps, drops).
In their completeness the tests not only meet the Zedler-Institut standards, but also the ISO standards currently in force. They also comply with the state of the art required by the product liability law. Test seals on Advanced Plus level developed by Zedler-Institut can be ordered optionally by frame and fork manufacturers, together with the basic ISO tests.
The reliable safety of a pedelec battery depends only in parts on its construction. The way it is handled by its owner is at least equally important. A customer-oriented user manual can prevent fears and faults in battery handling.
The strongest and safest battery cannot develop its full potential when not used as specified by the manufacturer. We know from our expert practice that negligence and a too careless handling of the power storages are frequently the reason why batteries get broken.
Such kind of damage can be prevented, if the pedelec owner is instructed in readily comprehensible language how to make the best of a battery. "Our completely documented manuals explain to the reader step-by-step how to charge and store the battery of an e-bike, what things he is allowed to do and what he should prevent," says Petra Grunewald, Head of the Technical Documentation department of Zedler-Institut. "Such kind of clear information establishes clarity for the customer and confidence into the product. This increases the riding fun in the long run and hence the customer’s satisfaction with his pedelec."
Exact and comprehensible instructions for an appropriate handling of batteries are already part of our Basic user manuals which are immediately available ex store in six languages. The individualised user manuals "Brand Basic", "Individual" and "Premium" can be provided with additional information and pictures tailored to a manufacturer or a certain pedelec model.
The fact that bicycles play an increasingly important role not only in the field of mobility, but also in Germany’s economy, is more and more perceived by politicians as well. The visit of Matthias Gastel, member of the German parliament, at Zedler-Institut is just one example for this.
The member of the Committee of transport and digital infrastructure used the visit to get our test laboratory and the development of expert reports and user manuals explained. Gastel seemed to be impressed by the high level of testing technology in the cycle industry as well as by the way Zedler-Institut managed to increase their economic success in the past years which in his eyes was not easy. Matthias Gastel praised the company’s innovative power and certified Dirk Zedler and his team a high motivation to promote the "good" bicycle.
The market archive of Zedler-Group is constantly growing: Since 2016 Eurobike Show our employees have collected and catalogued several hundreds of sales brochures and technical manuals of bicycles, pedelecs, components and accessories. This helps us providing you with information on what is sold today at a later date.
When it comes to determine the age and the value of a bicycle, the Zedler-Group market archive renders indispensable services for the development of expert reports. Every year they spend several working days on completing the archive with the latest product documents of several hundreds of manufacturers to enable the experts of GDFS to continue their work over the long term.
For this purpose the GDFS team systematically visited the more than 1,000 exhibitors on two days of the past Eurobike Show and collected catalogues and price lists of the 2017 model year from their booths. During these two days the six employees collected catalogues with a total weight of about 200 kilograms. Since the Show these product documentations have been registered in the content overview of the market archive and filed in a way that they are available without searching, if needed. In addition to the printed catalogues, the GDFS team also stores the offers made available by brand manufacturers, mail-order companies, department stores and DIY-stores in digital form. This is necessary for a comprehensive market overview, because many brands display their bicycle models on their websites only and often this information is not available for download over the long term.
At present the Zedler-Group market archive comprises already more than 15,000 catalogues and technical user manuals of bicycle brands and component manufacturers that have been active on the German market over the past 30 years.
Visiting a bicycle tester
Crackles and cracks
“You don’t check the fuel tank by using a lighter”
Hannoversche Allgemeine, 2017/02/08