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.

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 02/2015

Replacement for safety reasons?

Reader’s question

In the past you have conducted several informative handlebar and component tests. I have a question with regard to the durability. My road racing bike is four years old and has a mileage of meanwhile 45,000 kilometres without fall. My bike has Ritchey WCS-parts (handlebars/stem/seatpost) made of aluminium. I weigh 68 kilograms. Can you give me a recommendation after how many kilometres the parts should be replaced for safety reasons? There is no indication given by the manufacturer.

Reply by Dirk Zedler, TOUR technology expert and bicycle expert

Bicycle components have improved a lot over the past years. In most cases they last a bicycle life long, which normally means a usage of ten years. In case you ride above-average, as is the case with you, these ten years are certainly a little bit optimistic. The so-called operational strength essentially depends on the fringe conditions. If your bike has not experienced a fall, the service life is for sure much longer than if the bike had toppled over every now and then. Further conditions are the proper torque values and extensive care. According to my experience, maintenance and care are the most important preconditions for the service life. Aluminium parts are susceptible to corrosion. It is therefore recommended that you undo the bar tape every two years at least, clean the handlebars and rewrap a new tape. The torque values have also a major influence on the operational strength of the handlebars. In case they were always strictly observed, I wouldn’t be concerned already with your body weight in mind. An absolute judgement is of course hardly possible from the distance. If the mentioned conditions are fulfilled, I would continue using the parts for another one to two years, if I were you. Regardless of that it is always advisable to keep an eye on the steerer tube made of carbon of a road racing bike doing hard service. As in the recent past carbon steerer tubes were more susceptible to defects than high-value components like Ritchey WCS. When you are going to inspect your bike in spring, you should therefore thoroughly check the steerer tube for cracks or deformations in the area of the clamping in the top.

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