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.

Hello,

Dirk Zedler - Pedelec Akku-Check

The 2016 market statistics of the German bicycle association ZIV most recently confirmed, what every bicycle manufacturer and retailer have probably already realized in his daily routine: The pedelec has actually arrived at the centre of society. More and more people use the electric bicycle, and these are by far not only “best agers”.

The new consumer groups and new fields of use come along with new demands what pedelecs can and should be able to bear. We have been thinking about these requirements on the cycle industry and we would like to share these thoughts with you.

Inspiring and pleasant reading wishes

Dirk Zedler


A weighty challenge

E-mountain bikes are enjoying increasing popularity. According to the latest market figures released by the German bicycle association ZIV, more than one in seven of the 605,000 pedelecs already sold in Germany are eMTBs. To ensure a long-term success for manufacturers and dealers you should be aware of the additional challenges with regard to product liability and fatigue strength this young product group entails.

As there is currently no specific testing standard for e-mountain bikes in force, the models are often tested in accordance with the EPAC standard EN 15194. This standard is, however, made for designs and loads typical for city and trekking bikes. Experience that is meanwhile acknowledged in the industry shows, though, that even the forces on motorless bicycles are significantly higher on sporty off-road rides than those arising in everyday mobility. This fact is accounted for by the ISO standard 4210 for mountain bikes.

Therefore, this standard is sometimes used as reference value for the fatigue strength and the operational safety of e-mountain bikes. It is closer to the loads arising in riding practice. It is, however, not able to depict these in full. On the one hand this is due to the fact that these bicycles are clearly faster uphill as an auxiliary motor allows for more powerful acceleration. This increases the forces acting on the frame and on some components of e-mountain bikes compared to those motorless models are exposed to. On the other hand cross-country bicycles with auxiliary drive are currently about 8 to 10 kilograms heavier than usual mountain bikes which is another reason why the frame is exposed to higher loads.

The standard currently does not include a hard limit, the implicitly given limit of the total weight being, however, around 100 kilograms. The limit is easily exceeded, a fact made clear by a simple calculation: According to the manufacturer’s indication, the weight of an average electric hardtail is mainly above 19 kg in model year 2017. Adding a packed rucksack with carefully calculated 6 kg, the rider’s weight including personal equipment (clothing, shoes, helmet) must not exceed 75 kg. According to the official statistics, the German average man, however weighs 84.3 kg (source: www.destatis.de). For him, the safety reserves of the mountain bike standard are definitely not sufficient, if he sits on a customary ISO tested electric mountain bike.

In order to account for the loads arising during the ride, Zedler-Institut developed SAFETY tests for bicycles and pedelecs which are based on the ISO standard, but subsequently go beyond these requirements. Frames and components do not only undergo tests with higher loads, but also tests which are not included in the standard. According to our experience and the customer service departments of our clients, the bicycles can be approved for higher weights of 120 or 140 kg with a clearly reduced failure rate.

These types of tests and load levels were developed on the basis of our experiences from our activity as bicycle experts writing expert reports about material failure during the ride. The operational safety of all products that pass these strict requirements will in addition be awarded with the Advanced or Advanced Plus seal of Zedler-Institut. In general, SAFETY tests will be performed in the laboratory of Zedler-Institut within three to ten working days.


Any difference between English and English?

British and US cyclists do not speak the same language: Especially in terms of technical terms, spelling and units of measurement there are significant differences between the English languages of both countries. Bicycle manufacturers committed to customer satisfaction in the respective markets supply their customers with user manuals which are adjusted to the respective language.

In many cases there are minor differences between British and American English. Sometimes, the differences come as varying spelling (e.g. tire / tyre, aluminium / aluminum, fiber / fibre, derailleur / derailer) and sometimes the different technical terms need a context to be identified correctly (e.g. puncture / flat). There are, however, some bicycle components, for which the British and Americans use completely different terms (e.g. mudguard / fender, luggage / baggage etc.). To avoid any misunderstandings before your customer sets off on his or her bike for the first time, the terms in the user manuals should be adapted to the country-specific requirements.

But still more important are the respective units of measurements used in the user manual of a bicycle. With regard to virtually all measures which are important for the individual adjustment of a bicycle to its user, Englishmen and Americans use different units, such as for example cm / inches for the lengths, kg / lb for the weights, bar / psi for the air pressures and °C / °F for the temperatures. The average cyclist is not used to converting the units, as a consequence of which the risk of error is comparably high. But once riding fun or operational safety depends on the correct adjustment (e.g. air pressure of suspension elements or tyres), a bicycle manufacturer with customer satisfaction in mind should avoid any misunderstandings and conversion errors by using the respectively familiar units in the user manuals.

The team of Zedler-Institut has many years of experience in the production of user manuals for the American and the British market. Linguistic differences are therefore taken into account when developing customer-specific premium manuals. Upon request we are also able to adapt existing user manuals from the British to the American version at a small extra fee. Bicycle manufacturers considering the country-specific differences between the USA and England signal their particular appreciation for their customers in these countries.


"Triceratops" for Munich

Whoever wants to perform objective tests, needs suitable test devices. This is the reason why Zedler-Institut updated and extended the laboratory of the leading German special-interest magazine bike – Das Mountainbike Magazin in the past months.

In its internal laboratory, bike has been performing tests for years to discover incorrect statements of manufacturers and to confirm findings of field tests. The editorial team of Europe’s biggest special-interest mountain bike magazine mainly relies on test stands made by Zedler-Institut. In the past months the bike laboratory was brought to the state-of-the-art with a newly developed testing system to record the relevant frame data of a mountain bike and a wheel testing system.

These testing systems are appreciated a lot by the editorial team; that’s why one of the delivered new test stands was affectionately nicknamed "triceratops" after a few weeks only. This nickname refers to the three functions for the measurement of the central frame stiffness, the spring characteristic curve of fork and rear frame as well as to the wheel trajectory curve.

The way tests are performed by the editorial testing team was videotaped. See the video by clicking the following link: www.zedler.de/so-testet-bike

Identical testing systems are available at the Zedler-Institut laboratory and may accompany your new developments. This means, the innovative recording of relevant data can improve your products prior to their market launch already.


Upcoming event: young meets old

To celebrate the bicycle’s 200th birthday, pupils designed an exhibition on the history and development of the bicycle. Zedler-Institut actively supported them during preparation. The results of this cooperation will be shown in the following months at the State Archives Ludwigsburg.

The seminar course of Technisches Gymnasium Umwelttechnik of Ludwigsburg’s Oscar-Walcker school had been exploring the development of the bicycle from its beginning on during the past months. The results of these inquiries were comprised in an exhibition that will be open to the public from March 22 to June 29, 2017 at the State Archives Ludwigsburg.

Each pupil focused on an outstanding bicycle from the past 200 years, which will be documented in the exhibition about the development from Draiss’ velocipede to today’s bicycle. The exhibition does not only show the technical developments, but also the bicycle’s impacts on mobility, culture and society.

Zedler-Institut helped the pupils to work their way through history and development of the bicycle. A few bicycles displayed originate from the collection built up by Dirk Zedler together with the Ludwigsburg bicycle enthusiast Helge Schultz. For their project the pupils obtained the necessary technical information, historical background knowledge and extensive photographic material.

Some of the bicycles described will be shown as a loan during the exhibition at the State Archives Ludwigsburg. Besides the historical exhibits Zedler-Group contributes to the exhibition numerous active elements by means of which the interested public may experience directly the progress in bicycle technology. This includes samples of various components, such as wheels or frame tubes. By touching and lifting these parts visitors may experience the differences in weight and comfort between former designs and state-of-the-art designs. On two cycle trainer rollers visitors of the exhibition have the opportunity to cycle on two considerably different bicycles.

The exhibition’s opening hours are from Monday to Thursday, 9.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m., and on Friday, 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. In addition, the exhibition is open on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. as well as on the following Sundays April 9, May 7 and June 11, 2017 from 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. The entry is free. More information and details on booking a tour through the exhibition are available at the State Archives’ website.

www.landesarchiv-bw.de


51,000 kilometres or 31,700 miles

The team members of Zedler-Group do not only deal with bicycle theory. In fact, they use their bikes for commuting every day - even at sub-zero temperatures. All kilometres taken together, they ride once around the world every year.

For many of the employees working at Zedler-Group offers the opportunity to combine personal passion with professional commitment. The fact that they use their bicycles for commuting regularly, hereby covering considerable distances, is therefore not astonishing. A current count revealed that the 22 employees cover a distance of altogether 51,000 kilometres / 31,700 miles by commuting. This is once around the world. The daily distances range from a few hundred metres to up to 50 kilometres / 31 miles. This means all in all about 230 kilometres / 140 miles ridden on average per working day.

This does not only keep the Zedler team fit and healthy, they also gather valuable practical experience on how bicycles and individual components prove in real conditions. Therefore, various test bicycles and pedelecs for commuting are made available to them by their employer. In return, the employees document distances, irregularities, wear and tear and in the case of pedelecs each battery charging. The results of a five-year study on wear and tear was published for example as largely noted report in the German special-interest magazine Trekkingbike. These bicycles are regularly serviced in the company’s own workshop to ensure that they are safe and reliable at any time.

As environmentally conscious company, Zedler-Group support their employees a lot when it comes to commuting by bike. There is for example a large, weather-proofed bicycle parking close to the company’s main entrance. Locks are available for free use. There are clean shower facilities and regularly washed towels available inside the building. Everyone has a locker and access to drying rooms for his/her cycle clothing and personal stuff.

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