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The most common safety risks that we come across in our daily work around bicycle safety, technology and operating instructions are also published by us in articles in the leading German special-interest magazines TOUR (Europe's road bike magazine no. 1), BIKE (Europe's mountain bike magazine no. 1), MYBIKE and EMTB in order to make this information, which is important for the industry, available to a wider public.

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Cyclinfo 2022-01
Reading time 1:55 minutes

The halo is at risk of getting a scratch

Comment Dirk Zedler, Managing Director Zedler-Group

Riding a bicycle is not only fun, but also sustainable and therefore the best compromise to travel short and medium distances. Healthy, emission-free, quiet, little use of materials and small space required are positive attributes. It is with good reason that bicycles are therefore seen as part of the solution to many current problems. On the other hand, I think it is completely out of place to rest on one's laurels, as the majority of industry players are doing according to my observations. Hardly any manufacturer knows about the ecological and also social footprint of global production. Investigating this is a tough goal to work at and one that also bears many sources of error. For the reasons mentioned, I think it would be also wrong not to tackle the issue at all.

Bikes have been built by cyclists for cyclists since the mountain bike boom at the end of the 1980s. In this corner of leisure activities, fads and functions have become sales arguments that the majority of riders cannot even experience or that have brought them little or no benefit. These sales strategies led to ever shorter half-lives of so-called standards for tyres, hubs, bottom brackets and fork steerer dimensions, etc.
What was hip one season was an old hat one or two years later already. That wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the lack of spare parts and the non-reparability of many a bicycle resulting thereof.
The industry has been riding the electric bike wave for 10 years now, but largely ignores the fact that the “E” on the bike changes almost everything. Historically weight-optimised brake pads and discs that wear out after a few downhill rides, super-slim chains with equally filigree cassette sprockets that are scrap metal after less than a thousand kilometres, designs that are not able to bear the generally tougher loads due to extra weight, higher mileage and child transport and break, as well as continued hectic model changes in combination with poor spare parts supply quickly compromises the basically good life cycle assessment of e-bike riding.
Especially in the past few years, we have seen an extremely dynamic change in the market and thus in the industry, caused in part by the e-bike, which has made the manufacturers' cash registers ringing loudly. By now at the latest it is time to actually complete the transformation from the sports and hobby corner into genuine sustainable mobility. Otherwise, unsustainable production and products that wear out quickly may become the issue and our halo will get a scratch that can hardly be removed.
Dirk Zedler is graduate engineer, bicycle expert and managing director of Zedler-Institut, the reference lab for bicycle technology and safety.