All about bicycles, pedelecs, 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.

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.

Eurobike Show Daily 2012 - day 1

How pedelec dealers can keep customers off of the TV news

The press has reported on pedelec riders who knock down pedestrians or hit cars at full speed, and on a bicycle expert who says 80 percent of pedelecs shouldn’t be on the market. Then there are the stories about exploding e-bike batteries that burn down bike stores, or send cyclists flying through the air and suffering serious injuries.

While there is often some truth to these stories, the media tends to report them out of context. Dealers and manufacturers must react professionally to ensure these reports don’t create uncertainty among users and potential buyers.

Are there problems with pedelecs?
Of course, just as with any new product category.

  • Rechargeable batteries have an enormous energy density, which makes them hazardous. Yet users want even bigger batteries for even greater range.
  • An electric motor can induce a kind of “driving euphoria” among pedelec owners,not all of whom can properly control their vehicles.
  • Finally, the relatively heavy motors and batteries stress a basic bicycle frame, yet riders may not account properly for the different characteristics of a pedelec compared with a standard bike.

Retailers can make a big difference in ensuring their customers don’t end up on the TV news. They can carefully choose the brands they carry through reviewing test results in serious magazines and by test-driving every system first-hand.

When choosing a brand, retailers should consider the service package offered by the manufacturer. Is training available for the staff? What special tools, diagnostics equipment or software are required? And, last but not least: Does the manufacturer supply easy-to-understand instructions for consumers, such as tips for charging the battery and storing it in winter?

Retailers must be careful to match the pedelec with the rider. Someone who is pulling a trailer, for example, shouldn’t buy a pedelec with a front-mounted motor.

Retailers need to configure their stores to handle pedelecs, especially for storing and charging batteries. That means locations with ventilation, smoke alarms and fire-resistant structures in case a battery or charger overheats. Class D fire extinguishers must be on hand in case of disaster.

Retailers must be equipped to accept old or damaged batteries — one of the weakest parts of the chain, in my experience. Employees need proper training in safely handling and storing old batteries.

Shop employees must also know how to work with software and diagnostic equipment to properly "read" a pedelec’s history and to know how to fine-tune the software to match the needs of each customer.

The good news is that customers are willing to pay for professional service. And a professional pedelec retailer can keep its customers from starring in their own bad news stories.

Read the entire article here.

Author: Dirk Zedler

 

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