Earlier this week, bike trade figures from around Europe, Asia and the US attended a congress on the new CEN Standards for bicycles. The congress was organised by Colibi/Coliped and held in Brussels. Here's a brief run-down on the main findings of the congress. There will more in-depth coverage in the print mag.

CEN Standards: confusion still reigns

Accell’s Rene Takens, congress chairman and president of Colibi, concluded the three hours of lectures and open Q-and A session by saying there’s still "confusion" about the application of the new CEN Standards.

This isn’t terribly surprising, Technical Committee 333 began its work in 1998 and tech experts have been chewing the fat since.

The new, pan-European CEN Standard has been adopted by all 25 EU members, plus the three EFTA countries, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, plus Romania. The Standards define the safety requirements (and testing procedures) for bicycles and bicycle parts sold in Europe from Spring 2006 onwards.

The first four bicycle standards – City/Trekking Bicycles, MTB’s, Road Bikes and Children bicycles – will be published April through June by each national standardisation body. After a transitional period of six months all these standards will formally replace their national predecessors.

Eddie Eccleston, a consultant to Professional Cycle Manufacturing Ltd., said:

"This doesn’t mean that as a parts or bike maker you can lean back and wait for these dates to come. From a jurisdictive point of view the new CEN standards become the ‘current state of technology and science’ from now on. This means any technical or legal assessments in case of a faulty product produced now are going to be made based on the new standards, regardless of the national publication and their official replacement."

The congress was attended by 90 industry representatives from 50+ bike and parts companies. They were treated to the technical elements and test procedures of the new CEN standards for bicycle safety by Siegfried Neuberger, technical Director ZIV/German Bicycle Association, and member of the CEN Technical Committee.

There was also a confusing lecture on the labyrinthine legal and legislative world of the General Safety Product Directive and the implications the new standards will have in relation to product liability and laws, a talk given by Massimo Casini, an Italian lawyer and ANCMA member.

The third speaker was Kristel de Jonghe, product manager at the VanBreda Insurance Company. She explained the safety precautions a company will now have to have in place, such as insurances against development or quality risks as well as special recall coverage.

The best strategy to prevent risks is to have processes in place where development, testing and production stages are thoroughly documented, parts and bikes arer numbered and dated and there’s provision of stringent, specific user manuals which clearly define a product use and limitations.


Those attending from the UK included:

Don Wright – chairman CEN TC333

Peter Graves, Halfords Ltd. Quality and Technical Director

Eddie Ecclestone, PCM Group/BAGB

John Moore, BAGB

Alan Cater, BAGB

Ray Hewitt, Professional Cycle Manufacturing Ltd.

From the US:

Tad Wesson, Quality Director, Answer Products

Rich Olken/David Montague – Montague

Specialized – 2 engineers

From France:

Brian Montgomery, EBMA

By Uwe Weissflog of http://www.inmotionmar.com/

In other news...

Sigma appoints Andre Bachmann as managing director

Andre Bachmann has joined the management team of Sigma-Elektro GmbH. In his new position as …