All about bicycles, electric-assisted bikes, technology and safety in the press

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.

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e-bike 03/2013
Reading time 1:30 minutes

Stiftung Warentest rated as "inadequate"

"The risk goes hand in glove" – this is the (translated) headline of the June issue of Stiftung Warentest’s "Test" magazine referring to the test of 16 low-step-through pedelecs. On the occasion of a press conference, head of testing Dr. Holger Brackemann assumed striking shortcomings in preventive measures with regard to consumer protection. Millions of TV viewers and millions of ADAC members learned that 9 of 16 pedelecs were inadequate due to imminent material failure.

The judgements of the Berlin product testers, however, do not reflect what I experience in my loss adjusting office for bicycle technology with expert’s reports. Pedelecs are not more often subject to expert’s reports than other bicycle types. In my opinion the presentation of the tests aims for sensationalism and a high print run. As regards the test partner ADAC, I assume that they want to distract attention from the fact that the development of electromobility has nearly come to a standstill in the automotive sector. In spite of millions of support money, there are currently no more than 6,000 electric cars registered. This figure is offset by about 1.3 million pedelecs.

Regardless of any policy, the test includes technical shortcomings. The partly critical riding stability of the bicycles is, for example, not taken into account. What is criticised instead, are shortcomings regarding the durability and the radiation characteristics of the electric drive. There hasn't been one pedelec in the test run comprising many pedelecs by  e-bike that has stopped running due to the communication of a truck driver via CB radio. There hasn’t been a single complaint referring to disturbances in radio transmission of rescue facilities, although the test riders passed an emergency rescue centre during every ride.

What is particularly concerning about the proceeding of Stiftung Warentest is that the test criteria are not published in detail. So it can neither be verified whether the test are realistic or much too hard, nor can the manufacturers check shortcomings or improve the products with Stiftung Warentest's test procedure.

Stiftung Warentest, test result “inadequate” due to non-transparency.

Author: Dirk Zedler

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