TOUR: Looking back on two decades as bicycle expert, what stays in mind?
Zedler: Within this period of time I gained experience of lots of accidents with severe consequences, from people who became dependent on care to cases of death. And there is nothing on the bicycle that has not broken on these occasions: Frames, forks, stems, handlebars, pedal axles, cranks, inner bearings, seat posts, saddle rails – maybe brake levers not yet.
Broken parts with brutal consequences: does this mean a personal stress for you?
There were indeed some difficult cases. You see that one of the components has a problem. But you as an expert are not allowed to issue a warning or to publicize it. Sometimes it is indeed an outrageous injustice. I still know some manufacturers who sit problems out.
Can you still enjoy road racing at all?
In the 90ies it often made me sick. I knew that many manufacturers were working on a trial and error basis and that there was no serious testing of their products. For many years, however, I’ve been road racing with passion, as I know that the knowledge of the bicycle sector has grown a lot. Meanwhile, lots of manufacturers have installed development teams and become much more professional, all in all we’ve experienced a significant leap forward in quality.
Is the bicycle purchased in a DIY construction market as bad as its reputation?
In most cases, these bicycles are not used for a very long time. Therefore, they often do not reach the critical limit of failure. As a matter of fact, this is completely different with an expensive sports bicycle.
How did your cooperation with the TOUR magazine start?
As a bicycle expert I knew which components were bound to make problems or fail. I had a lot of fun in developing together with Robert Kuehnen ideas for test methods and test stands. We only just kept everything under constant review and thought about different test procedures.
The three most important tips for more safety?
No clincher tyres without rim tape, no carbon part assembly without carbon assembly paste and torque wrench and the servicing of your bicycle by your bicycle dealer once a year. I treat my carbon bicycle like a raw egg. When you’ve done everything correctly, carbon is a really reliable material!
Interview conducted by: Kristian Bauer