In the days after the ergonomic test in Stuttgart, intricate measuring instruments were fitted to the bikes and all 30 bikes transported to Tanna, where six riders tested each one on a 14.5km-long test track, collecting performance data for a tour, mountain and city section. After 10 days of test-riding, the job was done.
Six riders ranging in age from 15 to 66 years, tested the 30 bikes fitted with several measuring instruments over a carefully planned, 14.5km-long test track.
The test track started at the test center (also the ExtraEnergy head office in Tanna). From the test center the test track snaked through the town of Tanna, the beautiful Thuringia countryside and the neighboring town of Zollgrün, before it turned back to the test center.
Included in the test track were hilly, flat, tarred and gravel road sections. The test track could be divided in two major parts - the first a 5.25 km tour section, running through the forest, the outlying parts of Tanna and over rolling hills; the second part a 9.25 km "everyday riding section", with two inclines, a downhill section and a town-crossing with several compulsory stops. The latter simulated the typical stop-start way of riding in city traffic.
Every tester rode each bike in the test over the entire length of the test track once. After the tour section, which was covered first, the testers made a short "pit stop" at the test center, where the collected data and the measuring instruments were checked. If all the instruments functioned properly and the data were properly collected, the riders set off on the "everyday section". If not, the riders had to start from square one and repeat the tour section.
On the "everyday section" the performance values for the hills, town section (through Zollgrün) and approaches to inclines were collected and saved separately. Over the last few kilometers the riders cut the motors out, to find out how the bikes behaved without motors.
After the Spring 2009 Test, the test track was shortened from 18 km to 14.5 km for the Autumn 2009/10 Test, since the extra loop behind Zollgrün produced no new insights or information.
The basis of all ExtraEnergy tests is always the actual (or real) experiences of the riders and their physical inputs. After all, the most important question is whether a rider enjoyed riding a bike, or not. No test bench or other testing machine can ever answer that question.
The test riders are private individuals, with no direct connections to pedelec retailers, or manufacturers. They apply for the position of test rider as advertised by ExtraEnergy before every new test.
The test riders spend two weeks in Tanna and conduct the test rides after a short introduction by ExtraEnergy. After completing the rides, they relate their personal, subjective impressions of every bike in a meeting (which can continue for more than just a few hours!) to the test team. Here the advantages and disadvantages of every product are also listed.
The test is open to the public. This is especially beneficial to manufacturers, who can eyewitness proceedings. ExtraEnergy welcomes their presence, because technical breakdowns are rectified quicker with them on location. At the same time the test affords manufacturers the excellent opportunity to connect with other manufacturers and get to know the products of the competition - for the benefit of all.
More about the measuring technology
22 October 2009