Bicycle safety from Ludwigsburg for the whole world

The "Walk of fail(ure" at Zedler-Institut
State-of-the-art test procedures ensure position on the world market. Following their award as German “Company for Climate Protection” member of the German parliament Sandra Detzer of the Greens visits Zedler-Institut in Ludwigsburg.

The “Walk of Fame” in Hollywood is famous. But who knows the “Walk of fail(ure)” in Ludwigsburg? For Sandra Detzer, representative for Ludwigsburg in the German parliament in Berlin, it was a very special discovery. “For us in Ludwigsburg the ‚Walk of failure‘ tells the history of bicycle accidents and how mankind learns from them”, Detzer marvelled during her visit of Zedler-Institut, the institute for bicycle technology and safety this week.

Zedler-Institut has actually installed broken bicycle components from handlebars to headlamps in a long office corridor. However, the exploded battery

of an e-bike is also part of the total work of art “Walk of fail(ure)”. “We learn from the failure of technology”, explains CEO Dirk Zedler the installation. His company is allowed to name itself an institute because they have been researching and developing bicycle safety for over 20 years, i.e. for bicycles all over the world.

With their sophisticated test procedures Zedler-Institut set global safety standards for the most important bicycle parts, such as frames, handlebars, chains and wheels. “This is something that all those who cycle in Ludwigsburg can be proud of”, stated Detzer after intensive talks with Zedler. The reason for the MP’s visit was the recent award of Zedler-Institut by the green-led German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) in Berlin as German “Company for Climate Protection”. No more than 51 companies all over Germany are allowed to bear this title, among them now Zedler-Institut as first company in Ludwigsburg and the neighbouring districts Stuttgart, Rems-Murr, Enz and Pforzheim. This was not primarily due to the climate-friendly bicycle technology that Zedler and his 30 employees promote with their work. Zedler rather earned the respect of the Berlin Ministry because he introduced particularly climate-friendly measures for his employees. For example: Shower facilities at the workplace supporting those who cycle long distances to work. In addition, Zedler had the institute building constructed in such an energy-efficient way that the company produces in a climate-positive way, i.e. beneficial instead of harmful to the climate.

“Zedler-Institut shows how transformation of companies to climate neutrality is possible and profitable”, says Detzer who is also member of the Economic and Financial Committee of Germany’s Bundestag. That’s exactly what CEO Zedler intends to prove with his third sustainability report for his company next year. The report is intended to show, figure by figure, how climate protection can pay off in terms of business. “For us working for the bicycle is not only a dream job, but also philosophy”, says Zedler. A philosophy that works all the more as the demand for more safety on the bicycle is growing everywhere. Zedler’s core competence in that is testing bicycles to exclude material failure. His “Walk of fail(ure)” also wants to show what the company is fighting against. To make bicycles safer all over the world. According to Detzer “a very rewarding company”.

Author: WK Sandra Detzer MdB
Photo: Zedler-Institut

DVM e.V. – Working group bicycle safety

What is the dispute about: Durability - drive train

“The new diversity – challenges for bicycles”, was the topic of the 8th workshop organised by the working group “Bicycle safety” of DVM Deutscher Verband für Materialforschung und -prüfung e.V. on December 1 and 2 in Berlin.

As in previous years, founder and managing director Dirk Zedler had the opportunity as a speaker to present the latest findings from practice. Based on his valuable experience from the company's own test laboratories and experts’ reports department, he used his speech


to give answers to the question: What needs to change in the technology of bicycles and EPACs that bicycle components intended to be used for sports are more able to cope with higher mileage, the effects of the weather, lower maintenance and outdoor storage conditions?

The title of the speech in short: “Rethinking from sports and leisure bikes to electric bikes / transportation bikes in everyday mobility”. Using the findings of countless experts’ reports, he backed up with facts and figures the need for a change of perspective for manufacturers and retailers and the potential that modern bicycles still have.

In their regular workshops since 2008, the working group “Bicycle safety” has offered the opportunity to exchange experience and knowledge on the testing of bicycles and electric bicycles with a focus on operational stability. This year the range of topics included operational measurements related to service life calculation and wobble of multi-track cargo bikes, the testing of bicycles and cargo bikes, bicycle design as well as reliability and sustainability in the cycle industry.

Photo: Zedler-Institut

Believe it or not?

Risk assessment as a ready-made individual assessment

An e-bike rider is controlled by the police. The German police officers notice that the CE type plate is insufficient. After that, the officers go to the local bicycle dealer. The dealer refers to the manufacturer. The latter has the trade supervisory authority on his premises and only a few days to submit the complete documentation before making the product available on the market.

True or false?


A manufacturer lands a major order of e-MTBs in Italy. The local market supervisory authority comes to know and demands access to the test documents. The manufacturer refers to the mostly Asian test reports of the suppliers and to the EMC report of the drive unit manufacturer. The market surveillance authority does not accept them and sets a deadline of a few weeks for the provision of the test reports of the fully-assembled bicycle, including both the mechanical results and that of the electromagnetic compatibility.

True or false?

A manufacturer distributed electric bicycles in Switzerland. The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention issued a sales ban and imposed an order including the payment of fees as neither the CE marking nor the declaration of conformity nor again the technical documentation were complete.

True or false?

Risk assessment as modular system

Of course, none of the manufacturers concerned would voluntarily make this public. Just as manufacturers or dealers do not peddle their court cases, with which they are increasingly confronted. In our specialist divisions experts reports and technical documentation, such procedures have meanwhile become our predominant daily business. Basically hectic because of the tight time frames, but so far always finished within the limits to the satisfaction of the market authorities.

For most of these procedures, we have a corresponding toolbox for remedial measures. Be it a missing risk assessment, an insufficient declaration of conformity, an incomplete CE sticker or the missing national language of the operating instructions.

Sometimes our test engineers also provide ad hoc support with their more than 90 testing systems so that the missing reports can be submitted within the set deadlines and the procedure does not turn from a temporary sales stop into a permanent sales ban.

However, prevention is better than repair if the worst comes true

There is one thing that is beyond doubt: no manufacturer and no market is below radar level any more. From the market leader in certain segments to the exotic with homeopathic sales figures and in all countries from Poland via Italy to Switzerland, every market participant can be concerned.

Therefore, all manufacturers would do well to set off step by step so that the defensive shield becomes tight. We offer the following support:


  • training and workshops on this group of topics, intended for the management as well as the team members,
  • risk assessments from folding bikes to classic e-bikes, e-MTBs, e-gravel and transportation bikes, as a ready-made individual assessment or as a modular system with which you can assess your entire range,
  • templates for declarations of conformity, which are an intersection of all the requirements of the authorities throughout Europe that have become known to us to date,
  • operating instructions in more than 40 languages and
  • a 48-hour promise on testing services, as the latest possible date when your incoming ready-to-assemble test item starts on the first testing system.

Photos: Zedler-Institut