Six test riders clocked up over 2,500 km with 29 pedelecs and one e-bike in two weeks. Those are the vital statistics of the measured test rides in Tanna, which were concluded on Friday 23 October after snow storms, continuous rain and (a few) frosty, blue-sky days. The editorial team accompanied the test team with cameras and notebooks...
24 October 2009 - first conclusions
As a first, general observation one could say the test fleet was representative of the products on the market, meaning low step-thru bikes were well-represented and the motors were very similar.
The most prominent motors in the fleet were Panasonic, TranzX and BionX. Only a few bikes had looks and technical characteristics radically different from the dominant low step-thru look. Among them were the Styriette with the new BionX 3-gear hub motor and the KTM e cross.
„Unfortunately, the real novelties, such as the A2B of Ultra Motor, could not be completed in time for the test," said ExtraEnergy chairman Hannes Neupert.
Andreas Törpsch, head of testing, said more repairs had to be done to bikes this time around than in the previous test (Spring 2009), and that more bikes had to be withdrawn from the test. One reason was the continuous wet weather conditions early on in Tanna. Most problems could, however, be ascribed to the fact that several bikes had been pre-production models for the 2010 season. "This time around many test reports will be qualified with the note that the tested bikes were pre-production models," said Hannes Neupert.
At the end of the 2 weeks each test rider had a favorite bike and, interestingly, no bike was mentioned more than once. "That is confirmation that the test team was representative of the full spectrum of consumer groups, with their different demands," said Neupert.
Among the sport bikes the Dolphin and KTM received votes as favorites. The Hercules E Move Sport was a favorite in the tour bike group and (interestingly) impressed the youngest and oldest riders in the team, while the Vitalbike scored points with its powerful, noiseless motor. The bikes with Panasonic motors impressed many riders with their smooth and even support and well-placed point of balance – although some complained the additional power was too low.
In the meantime, the riders are back home for a well-deserved rest, giving the test technicians the chance to remove the testing instruments from the 30 bikes. To officially close the event in Tanna, test team head Andreas Törpsch rode a final lap on the test track with the photographers, editorial team and Extranergy design team. His next job will be to process the collected data with the specially developed software program. Before he can start, he first has to collect some more data for the Styriette.
In the coming days, the test bikes will be transported to Schweinfurt and Chemnitz, where the third leg of the Autumn 2009/10 Test will kick off soon, namely the testing of the bikes for their mechanical stability (conducted by velotech.de) and the checking of their conformity to prescribed standards (done by SLG). The results of these tests will be included in the final ExtraEnergy evaluations of the bikes for the first time.
The results of the 3-step test will be published in the spring of 2010 (expected release date at the end of February, or early March) on ExtraEnergy.org, in a number of languages and on television.
More about the Autumn 2009/10 Test
23 October 2009
By late today 30 bikes have each gone around the 14.5 km test track in and around Tanna five times and a non-motorized reference bike three times - at different speeds. With that, the test rides in Tanna were officially announced completed, the test riders headed home and the bikes to the laboratories in Schweinfurt and Chemnitz for the final leg of testing. Over the 10-day duration of the Tanna test rides, the thirty-one bikes covered over 2,200 km on forest roads, over hills and through towns. All bikes made it through the test, but not all with flying colors. In fact, a few scraped home.
At a test-rider feedback meeting the night before, it became clear that (as was the case after the Spring 2009 Test) it will be impossible to announce one bike as the allround favorite, or one motor-type as the best. In fact, what stood out from the meeting, was how varied the opinions of the testers were about the bikes, some saying, for instance, they preferred the bottom bracket motor and others the front wheel hub motor.
The collected data will now be evaluated, while the bikes undergo the frame durability test and conformity test (to the laws and regulations) in Schweinfurt and Chemnitz respectively. The results of these tests will flow into the final ExtraEnergy evaluation - to be published in the spring of 2010 - for the first time.
More about test rides in Tanna
To overview of bikes in Autumn 2009/10 Test
20 October 2009
Sunny weather enabled the test riders to catch up test rides today, which had fallen out last week due to the bad weather.
Testing had to be called off on a few days last week, after just three test rounds had been completed by every rider (instead of the planned five per day), when snow, rain and low temperatures made it impossible for testers to proceed - even with the best clothes. This morning white frost and frozen puddles greeted riders on their way through the forest, instead of rain drops.
19 October 2009
Both test riders and testing team could breathe a sigh of relief this morning: the rain had stopped (at last) and the weather was friendly. Today all test riders made good progress with their rides.
Sunny skies, curiosity and a lack of exercise forced members of the editorial team out of their office and onto the test track for a few laps. After a short crash course on how to use the measuring technology by test team member Andreas Törpsch, the computer-screen gazers set off on the test track running through and around Tanna.
Initially, over the tour section of the test track running through the forest and over fields. Then a quick check-back to the test office to confirm that the measuring equipment had functioned properly. Next, off to the hill and city sections of the test track measuring 14.5 kilometers all in all. There are several stops on the city section. They help simulate the typical stop-start way a cyclist proceeds through the city traffic.
On the way back from the neigboring town of Zollgrün, steep inclines have to be conquered, before the recuperation ability of the bikes is tested on the downhill. Finally, the rider cuts the motor out on the last few kilometers, to test the bike's handling without motor support.
The summary of the editorial team: The test riders have a very responsible job: they have to understand how the measuring technology functions, fix the special pedals with measuring equipment to every new bike they test themselves and keep an eye on the sensors to ensure they function properly.
Furthermore, they should not get lost on the winding route, because the collected data expose every outshooter. When data of a test ride fail to reflect the test track exactly, or the sensors fail to collect data for a moment, the data are ignored and the test-ride repeated. So, it is in the interest of all parties to make sure every round on the test track is completed absolutely problem-free.
18 October: Open House in Tanna
More than 100 visitors pitched up at ExtraEnergy's Open House event, to test-ride pedelecs and gather information about electric bikes.To the article
17 October 2009
After two cold, damp days with intermittent snowfalls, and uninterrupted rain today, the measuring technology on a few bikes revealed a weakness for wet conditions and malfunctioned.
The test riders, on the other hand, refused to capitulate to the weather and pushed on regardless of the circumstances. No-one referred to the weather any longer, maybe because their throats were too sore.
15 October 2009
It snowed in Tanna today - in the middle of "golden October". Despite the "difficult" conditions, the test riders pushed on, camouflaged in warm outdoor clothes. They fought their way through the routine - one bike after the next, one round on the test track after the next.
Every now and then test rounds had to be repeated, when measuring technology malfuntioned for short periods. With the exception of one, all 30 bikes are still in perfect running order and still in the test.
13 October 2009 - Test rides get underway in Tanna
In the meantime, the 6 test riders aged 15 to 66 years, have settled into Tanna, the 30 test bikes have arrived in Tanna from the ExtraEnergy showroom in Stuttgart and the measuring equipment have been fitted to the bikes.
This morning Frieder Herb, head of testing, and Andreas Törpsch, member of the technical team, introduced the test riders to the measuring technology and methods and gave the starter's signal for the second leg of the Autumn 2009 Test, after a demonstration round on the test track.
In coming days the test riders will be underway on the 14.5 km long test route in and around Tanna - come snow, rain and storm. After the Spring 2009 Test, the test route was shortened by 3.5 kilometer to 14.5 km and now consists of a 5.25 km tour section and a 9.25 km section for everyday riding, with inclines, downhills and a cross-town section.
Each tester will ride each bike over the tour section once, check the measured values and if all instruments recorded the data correctly, continue on the rest of the test track. The goal for each test rider is to test five bikes per day. If all goes according to plan, every bike will in the end have rolled over the complete 14.5 km test track six times and the data recorded. The evaluation of the data will then produce values, such as range and assistance factor, with which the test bikes can be compared with each other.
3 - 4 October 2009 - Ergonomic test in Stuttgart
The ergonomic test in the pedelec showroom in Stuttgart was concluded successfully. Over the two days, about 100 test riders tested the 30 test bikes for their suitability for everyday use.
Report and photos
Copy: Susanne Bruesch
Translation: Christoffel Volschenk
Photos: Patrick Knappick and Susanne Bruesch