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.

TOUR 12/2001

Marble, stone and iron break...

...but my bike won’t. Those who think so are mistaken.

Road bikes indeed run smoothly for several years. But appearances are often deceiving and sometimes, a component fails without warning. With disastrous consequences. TOUR knows and names the problems of some kinds of components which are still in use. 

What do a broken bike component and a cut down tree have in common? Of course, both are dead. But also their cut surface, ie, their fracture plane, look similar. And just like natural history experts can tell the tree’s age and growth per year from its annual rings, material experts cann tell from the rings in the material why the construction failed. Often, it is the fault of only very tiny defects that time takes its toll too fiercely on road bike components. The cunning thing about such so-called endurance breaks is that the breach getting bigger can hardly be seen from the outside. At some point, the component becomes so instable that it cannot fulfil its task anymore and breaks all of a sudden. 

Comment

Modern road bikes are lightweight constructions from the constructional point of view and are usually used quite intensely. Both factors make it seem careless that some manufacturers did not test their products at all or not sufficiently.

Everyday experience shows enough cases in which certain parts or a whole series got bad marks. The companies concerned know about it; the parts have often been improved in the course of the running production or with the succeeding model at the latest. Nevertheless, companies only very rarely recall dangerous products. This is irresponsible. Manufacturers should become active before crashes with severe consequences happen. This is also demanded by law in the context of product liability.

In order to avoid accidents caused by manufacturing defects, only material should be put on the market whose lifespan had been tested according to its purpose. Furthermore, parts should get some kind of "best before" stamp.

Author: certified engineer Dirk Zedler, bike expert, Ludwigsburg

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