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.

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.

Hallo,

Pedelec

At this year's Eurobike Show the German Yellow Press "Bild" presented the special-interest magazine "Bicycle", which is possibly the most outstanding evidence for the bicycle’s rosy future. If the German Axel Springer publishing group produces a special-interest magazine, you can be sure that the products featured have reached the general public. Increasing piece numbers, in particular in the case of pedelecs are promising, because more and more people use bicycles and pedelecs in their daily life.

But those who are successful in this respect with products contributing in mobility break, however, new ground. Politics, authorities and consumer protectors keep a very close eye on everything around the bicycle. This is not discretionary, but a must and stipulated for example in the product safety law identically applicable all over Europe.

At this point Australia presses ahead and intends to enact specific laws on bicycle safety. It is for example planned to limit the period of use. What is going to happen then in our beloved cycle industry may be more than exciting. We have to fear that we will have to comply with requirements that will endanger our business model.

Zedler-Institut Prüftechnik

We should therefore prevent this by doing our homework as quickly as possible. We have long been aware of it; the fundamental regulations were written into our homework book by the respective European legislation as early as in 1989. But they have not been implemented by all countries yet.

The worldwide applicable ISO standards are an important step. It is, however, not a secret that these standards will by far not ensure the production of safe bicycles. And this will not change in the near future; in this respect the necessary international harmonisation is far too slow.

This newsletter offers you proposals for solutions and together with the articles published in the Eurobike Daily some evidence of the change of times as well as something to think about.

We hope you enjoy reading and wish you good thoughts

Dirk Zedler


Prevention instead of repair

Gabelschaftbuch

Especially in the case of forks material failure can have serious consequences. As a consequence of a fatal accident, Australia’s authorities are considering stricter regulations as to the durability of bicycle parts. It is, however, not only by legislative regulations that the safety of bicycles and parts can be improved, it is also by voluntary safety measures prior to the market launch. In the end realistic load tests during development are not only less expensive for bicycle manufacturers and dealers and require less effort, they also provide more safety when cycling than strict standards with limited-use restrictions.

At the beginning of December the cycle sport portal cycling.today reported on a tragic accident in Australia: A 49-old father of a family died as a result of a serious fall. The cause of the fall was the fracture of the fork steerer tube at full speed, as a consequence of which the cyclist all of a sudden lost control of his road bike. According to the Australian coroner, the material failure originated from a hidden manufacturing defect that remained undetected until this terrible moment after several thousands of miles.

Legal experts are now requesting a time limit for bicycles and bicycle parts to be introduced, at the end of which a product should no longer be used. They refer to similar limits in the aviation industry where material and manufacturing processes are often comparable to those used in the bicycles and bicycle parts production. That’s how accidents like the one of the father of a family are intended to be prevented in the future. The fact that forks in particular bear a certain safety risk is underlined by more than 40 recall actions in the past years. Numerous manufacturers, among them big brands like Canyon, Cervélo, Felt, Giant, Reynolds or Specialized, had to replace several thousands of bicycle forks due to an increased risk of steerer breakage.

Gabelschaftprüfung im Hause Zedler

There is, however, also another way to face the problem of component failure in service. If frames and forks are tested prior to their market launch, possible defects are likely to be found during development or fabrication, i.e. before the respective product is used by a cyclist for the first time. For this it is crucial that the fatigue strength tests are not only performed in accordance with the worldwide acknowledged ISO standards. These only make for a part of the loads to which a bicycle is exposed in practical use. For forks the standards provide for example only test cycles that apply loads from the front wheel to the fork legs. All forces acting from the handlebars on the fork steerer tube (for example when riding out of the saddle), are not considered. A defect like the one that caused the fatal accident in Australia can most probably not be detected with a load tests performed in accordance with the ISO standards.

Zedler-Institut therefore developed own test procedures going beyond the requirements of the ISO standards. Our test cycles for forks include various load tests depicting the multiple loads acting on fork legs and fork steerer tubes during cycling. These tests are performed by applying the cycles of the approved Multiload handlebar test on the fork. In addition, stress conditions are tightened by using a stem with an established high potential for fork steerer tube damage during the tests.

These tests comply with the tests developed by Zedler-Institut on Advanced Plus level and can be ordered by frame and fork manufacturers optional with the basic ISO tests. The certainty that a fork type has passed these high-level load tests successfully already prior to delivery to retailers and wholesalers allows manufacturers most probably to avoid expensive recall actions. By doing so, the bicycle industry also prevents strict legal regulations from being put into practice that would limit their individual scope of action to a considerable extent. Such strict regulations, as considered by Australian authorities at present, lose their urgency if manufacturers themselves take measures in view of ensuring operational safety and fatigue strength.


Lectures and seminars

Vorträge und Seminare Dirk Zedler

On 16th and 17th February 2017 battery university.eu in Karlstein upon Main holds a seminar on the issue pedelecs and e-bikes. The program offers a great variety and most probably covers the following topics:

- Introductions and definitions
- Overview of manufacturers and market trends
- Drive systems
- Value guarantee/Insurances
- Connectivity
- Assembly pedelec battery
- Maintenance and servicing, BMZ service tool
- CE marking and GS certification
- Pedelecs – The exciting way from the test stand to series-production
- Bicycle test stand, standardized range determination etc.
- Transport regulations for pedelecs/e-bike battery road

At this event Dirk Zedler will give lectures on the following topics:

- Bicycle testing and expert reports
- Product safety and liability
- Legal situation

There will be further members of the Zedler team in Karlstein as well.

 


Prize in the competition "Grand Prix of Small and Medium Business"

Auszeichnung beim „Großen Preis des Mittelstandes“

The German Oskar-Patzelt-Foundation honours the work of Zedler-Institut: As one of five finalists from Baden-Wuerttemberg the Ludwigsburg company was awarded at the "Grand Prix of Small and Medium Business".

In the laudatory speech Zedler-Institut was honoured as driver of progress in the cycle industry: "Since the foundation of the company Zedler-Group has stood up for/advocated improvements in the technology, quality and safety of bicycles and pedelecs." Organisers were furthermore impressed by the company’s environmental and social commitment. As examples for this commitment they emphasized the motivational incentives for the employees to commute by bicycle or the fact that Zedler-Institut established a bicycle workshop that is open to pupils and asylum seekers for free.

Company founder Dirk Zedler is very happy that his company made it to the final of the economic competition: "The award is a great honour for us as well as a significant recognition of the bicycle. It underlines that Germany’s bicycle industry has gained in importance and does not need to fear comparison with other industrial sectors anymore."

The annual business award of the Oskar-Patzelt-Foundation is classified as one of the most coveted business awards in Germany. This year 4,796 companies were nominated for the "Grand Prix of Small and Medium Business" in Germany, 874 small and medium-sized companies that were nominated are based in Baden-Wuerttemberg.


New apprenticeships at Zedler’s

At Zedler-Group young people have the opportunity to enter the job market and the cycle industry: In 2016 two new apprenticeship places in completely different professions were created and filled.

Two new young trainees joined the Zedler team this year in September. Jannik Würz started the training for the job as bicycle mechanic after gaining some workshop experience during his internship in the company in summer. At present, he prepares bicycles and parts for the tests in the test laboratory and returns them to the principals.

After graduation from high school Sultan Sen decided to start a training to become digital and print media manager at Zedler-Group. She supports the Technical Documentation team in the creation of operating instructions and user manuals and helps with the disposition of the "Basic", "Brand Basic" and "Individual".

Professional training has tradition at Zedler-Institut. In 2004 the first trainee to learn the job of a bicycle mechanic joined the Zedler team. Back in these days, Ingenieur- und Sachverständigenbüro für Fahrradtechnik Zedler was one of the first companies in Baden-Wuerttemberg to offer an apprenticeship for this still young profession. This pioneering role repeated when Zedler-Group created an apprenticeship for the job of two-wheeler mechatronics technician as one of the first training companies in 2014. With the newly created job in the field of digital and print media design, Zedler-Group extend their training offer to three different jobs.


A look at the bigger picture

Are mountain bikes to become disposables? Shall it be possible to replace pedelec parts at will? And which customer demands with regard to an electric bicycle are justified? Bicycle manufacturers and dealers are increasingly dealing with basic issues as to what expectations their products must meet. In Eurobike Show Daily magazine Dirk Zedler published three essays on this.

The past years have brought quite a flood of innovations in the field of sports bicycles and pedelecs. Regardless of the quality of these improvements, they resulted in the fact that the interests of manufacturers, retailers and users in the bicycle industry drifted apart considerably. New technologies and standards changing at a rapid pace have made the maintenance and the use of bicycles and pedelecs much more sophisticated.

The number and type of complaints that have to be clarified in court lead to the conclusion that some manufacturers don’t care a lot about the after-sales of their products. Buyers on their part have a claim that their investment pays for several years. If their pedelec loses range within a year or the suspension fork of their mountain bike can neither be repaired nor replaced after only four years, they are disappointed. The specialist retailer finds him/herself somewhere in between. They are torn between profitability pressure and the responsibility they must accept towards their customers.

Products which do not comply with the requirements of safety, reliability and a long service life are something Dirk Zedler is dealing with every day as a testing expert and publicly appointed and sworn expert. These experiences were incorporated in three specialist articles published during this year’s Eurobike Show. In these articles Zedler describes the current challenges and outlines the risks for manufacturers and dealers resulting from the innovation push of the past years. You can read these three articles by following the links below.

Germany’s pedelec replacement parts guidelines - overkill or a necessity?
Dirk Zedler takes up the cause of a conscious choice of replacement parts and wearing parts for pedelecs. In the article he outlines the legal requirements dealers and manufacturers have to consider.

Anspruchsdenken E-Klasse

Pedelec sales are rising in Germany, but pedelec lawsuits are booming
With pedelecs conquering the market dealers and manufacturers find themselves confronted with an increasing number of conflicts that can only be solved in court. Dirk Zedler describes how this is related to the electric bicycles themselves on the one hand and to the customers who buy them on the other hand. The specialist article also shows how to defuse difficult situations before they escalate.

Der Anfang vom Ende der Fahrradreparatur?

Every cyclist now has a choice of MTB sizes, as long as it’s a large
A critical consideration of the use of the new mountain bike wheel sizes and the risks resulting from the quick changes of assembly standards.


The press about us or "do good and let the others report about it"