EFBE. The benchmark for safety and quality for bicycles and e-bikes.
EFBE has been a leading test laboratory for mechanical tests on bicycles and components since 1995. Our expertise is reflected in both international safety standards and our own stringent EFBE standards. All frames and components certified to our standards guarantee the maximum possible safety for you as manufacturer – and for your customers, the cyclists.
Our service portfolio guarantees certified safety for you and your customers:
Test service. Ensuring quality right from the start.
- Safety tests according to international safety standards
- Quality tests according to EFBE standards
- Certification with recognised testing seals
Test stands. Testing technology for your development and quality assurance.
Test results. Bike buying advice for end users.
Are you thinking of buying a new bike? Then look here to see whether your intended purchase also guarantees certified safety according to the highest standards. Click here for our test results …
EFBE. Actually just a testing institute. But in practice we’re a safety institution too.
In theory we are just a testing institute that performs mechanical tests on bicycles and their components. But in reality we are a little more than that. We see ourselves a kind of “proactive guardian angel” for cyclists. We make sure that cyclists can rely on their bikes with no risk to life or limb.
At the same time, we also provide manufacturers with the reassurance – and clear conscience – that, as far as humanly possible, their products pose no danger to other persons, but provide pleasure cyclists can rely on.
Besides our function as guardian angel, we still remain dedicated engineers who insist on absolutely relevant and valid parameters for every test. Of course it’s possible to test anything to destruction; but that’s not the aim of the exercise. We therefore devise realistic test criteria based on our expertise and experience – taking into account the “foreseeable use” and overload conditions above and beyond the intended use. These test criteria have proven to be so closely related to practical field use that they have been incorporated into European safety standards and are even regarded as de facto industrial standards. Of course this makes us a little proud. And it also makes cycling that little bit safer.
1. Fatigue test. The time machine for materials.
Fatigue damage is a particularly insidious problem because, under certain circumstances, fatigue fractures may only appear after years of use and can lead to sudden failure and potentially serious accidents. The EFBE fatigue test acts as a kind of time lapse and simulates years of usage within a short period of time. These tests investigate whether a component can withstand frequent intensive use over a long period of time. They therefore deliver important findings about material quality and dimensioning.
2. Maximum load test. Reality in the test laboratory.
The EFBE test at maximum load ensures you are always on the safe side, even at maximum permissible load. For carbon materials in particular, but also high-tensile alloys, it is frequently the singular peak loads that are the decisive factor governing component failure – and serious consequential damage. We test the component under defined static load conditions and determine the permanent deformation. This is a key condition for certifying the safety of your product under normal usage conditions.
3. Overload test. The no-compromise endurance test.
What people do with their bikes nowadays often has nothing to do with how it was before. Think of the downhill, gravity and dirt – then add E-MTB and other often fast-paced forms of mobility on two wheels. We investigate how much stress your parts can really cope with – and test whether a component can withstand short-term overload at critical limits without failing totally. Ultimately, everything will fail – but it is more important that your product fails benignly, even under “conditions of foreseeable (mis)use”. The decisive factor here is whether a crack, which can never be completely ruled out, becomes a warranty issue – or a case for your lawyer.
4. EFBE TRI TEST. The ultimate test.
The EFBE TRI TEST is an in-house development based on hard practical experience. It goes far beyond the realm of standard EN, ASTM or ISO testing. The three modules – fatigue test, maximum load test and overload test – investigate different load conditions to simulate the damage a frame incurs over the course of a bicycle’s lifetime in time-lapse. Each frame must for example, pass a minimum of seven separate test stages to earn the EFBE TRI TEST seal.
5. Stiffness test. What customers and testers want to know.
We test how much a component gives (flexes) elastically under load. We subject the component to a specified load and then determine its deformation. The results of non-destructive rigidity tests are regarded as an indicator of the stability and efficiency of a bicycle frame. They can uncover variations within models and detect damage to carbon components.
Reasons why the world’s leading manufacturers rely on EFBE.
Science as a fundamental requirement.
We only use testing methods that meet scientific testing standards, i.e. the validity, repeatability, and objectivity of the process must be guaranteed. The most obvious testing method is not always the most reliable and informative. We do not, for example, run durability tests of an entire bike on a roller bench. We apply particularly stringent standards for the EFBE TRI TEST.
The test methods which EFBE applies are by no means top secret, they are actually highly transparent. The methods, test samples and test results are all meticulously documented and recorded. EFBE’s activities are based on the quality management principles of DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 for test laboratories.
Precision measurement and control technology.
Small discrepancies in the applied forces of a fatigue test lead to disproportionately large differences in the achieved cycles-to-failure value. Therefore, only exactly defined and maintained testing loads deliver reliable and reproducible results. EFBE measures every single test force at high resolution and actively corrects target value deviations wherever necessary. This allows minor design changes, e.g. in the carbon lay-up or different welding sequences, to be compared with one another.
Evaluation of results.
Whenever benchmarking is practical and possible, our customer receives an evaluation together with the test report. The evaluation shows the results of comparable products in anonymised form. Customers then benefit from EFBE’s extensive experience gained over 20 years and its data pool compiled from many thousands of tests.
When a product successfully passes the TRI TEST the results can be published on our website. Certified frames are highlighted with the respective testing seal.
Some references (incomplete).
Acros, Apollo Bike, Astro Engineering, Batavus, Bergamont, Bulls, Carver, Drössiger, DT Swiss, Gazelle, Ghost, Giant, Hartje, Paul Lange, Kalloy, Lightweight, Pegasus, Postmoderne, Reverse, Rotor, Scott, Simplon, Solid Bikes, Sparta, SRM, Storck, THM, TTC, Tune, Wert Cycling, Winora, Yeti, ZEG.
Before it endangers a biker’s health, we’d rather test it to destruction.
EFBE tests bicycle frames and components to precise standards – according to national and international safety standards and the much stricter and practice-based in-house EFBE standards. Through our many years of experience, we know what really matters during the tests. This means we can produce – and reproduce – in the laboratory the precise failure modes which will occur – or have occurred – in use. This is almost a predictive capability – but in actual fact it provides ample proof of how accurately our tests model field practice.
These safety-critical components are tested as standard in the EFBE laboratory. We would be pleased to offer other tests on request.
Our test stands simulate roads, trails and downhill runs – plus rider obesity on request:
The pioneers of frame testing offer standard tests based on international standards, the recognised EFBE TRI TEST and a range of additional tests, e.g. for full suspension bikes, electric bikes, gravity bikes and many more. Go to the “Mechanical test of bicycle frames” test order form.
European and international standards together with the in-house EFBE TRI TEST guarantee safety – from track bikes to gravity bikes. Go to the “Mechanical test of bicycle frames with fork” and “Mechanical test of bicycle fork units” test order forms.
3. Handlebar and stem unit
Standard tests and the EFBE TRI TEST for safety and lightweight cockpit construction. Go to the “Mechanical test of bicycle handlebars with stem” test order form.
4. Seat post
For testing children’s and youth’s bikes, city and trekking bikes, MTB and racing bikes in accordance with European, international or EFBE test standards. Go to the “Mechanical test of bicycle seat posts” test order form.
5. Crankset unit
Crank assembly test in accordance with EN 14764, 14765, 14766, 14781, ISO 4210 and more practically oriented EFBE TRI TEST standard. Go to the “Mechanical test of bicycle crank assembly” test order form.
Other assemblies and components
Saddles, pedals, etc. – contact us. We would be pleased to offer you a solution.
Find out for yourself what your products can withstand – before your customers find out the hard way.
EFBE test stands for your quality control.
The importance of quality and safety tests is growing in all segments of the bicycle market. The reasons for this are not only due to legal regulations governing product liability and safety. The growing importance of quality management for brand-name manufacturers also plays a significant role. Advertising using objective performance data in the high-end market segment is an essential part of the entire marketing concept. The press in particular, uses rigidity as a comparative value when publishing bike tests.
The growing need for tests now makes even more economic sense for bike and component manufacturers to be capable of quickly running their own in-house tests. EFBE provides the bike-specific testing methods necessary for this.
Provided the safety standards contain the relevant regulations, the test stands are compatible with ISO 4210 and European standards EN 14764, 14766 and 14781. They also allow for the application of new improved EFBE standards. All test stands are built to customer order.
We offer the following test stands:
- Fatigue test stands
- Maximum load and overload test stands
- Rigidity test stands
- Customised test systems
There’s no substitute for experience: 20 years of EFBE test stands.
Our test stands are our core competency and the result of over 20 years’ experience and systematic optimisation. Test stands are designed as a modular system for performing seamlessly documented force and displacement measurements thanks to a high-precision servo-pneumatic control system. We can therefore offer 100% reproducible and cost-effective fatigue tests on all materials used in lightweight structures. We have also made a name for ourselves in testing fibre-reinforced composite materials.
News about EFBE.
Interesting facts about EFBE.
More safety for bikes.
Since 1995, EFBE Prüftechnik GmbH has been developing new quality and safety standards for bikes and related test methods. Our team of engineers and physicists is highly experienced in the fields of bike standards, test stand construction, and PC measurement and control technology. Since 1996, EFBE has also been conducting bike tests on behalf of the bike industry and the media.
EFBE sets standards.
Since 1985, EFBE’s founder, Manfred Otto, has assisted in the development of bicycle safety standard DIN 79100 by providing innovative test methods. Due to EFBE’s research and development work, test methods such as the “pedalling forces” frame test were incorporated into the former DIN 79100 standard. Since then, Marcus Schroeder has continued his work as member of the DIN standards committee. The European bicycle safety standards and the new ISO 4210 have also benefited from the work of our company. In collaboration with our customers and special interest magazines, existing test methods are undergoing a process of continuous development.
More facts, less fiction.
The technical evaluation of bicycles is still the realm of many myths and half-truths. This is why for many years now, EFBE has been pushing to inform the public about the fundamental aspects of bike (testing) technology in trade journals and discussion forums. We believe in proper, methodical and scientific procedures with validated, transparent test methods. Facts – not pseudo-science.
Requirements for modern bicycle testing technology.
Leading manufacturers of bicycles and components in Europe and Asia rely on EFBE for testing services – and increasingly on EFBE testing systems in their own labs. Over the past 20 years, EFBE has become the de facto industry standard, ensuring that western manufacturers deliver the necessary safety, and enhancing the credibility of Asian producers. In this respect we take some pride in the fact that that we not only sell services and products – we go much further by creating a common platform for quality and trust in the bicycle industry. The crucial points here are:
- reproducible results,
- transparent methodology and
- practical requirements.
Useful information about materials and test standards.
Different materials come with different strengths and weaknesses. Does bicycle testing need to consider this in order to uncover vulnerabilities and avoid problems in the field? When aluminium became widely used in the bicycle industry some 30 years ago and the first failures occurred, it immediately resulted in penalty tests for alloy components. One example was the handlebar test in ISO 4210, which prescribed almost 50% higher test loads for “non-ferrous” designs; another example was the impact test for forks, which was made 70% more demanding for aluminium constructions.
Similar things happen with fibre reinforced composites today. The current EN and ISO standards dictate a maximum increase of 20% for the peak deflection of composite frames and forks during fatigue testing. Elsewhere, we find specific test requirements for forks which have composite parts. Besides the fact that these are not the failure modes we see in our daily practice: We feel that test programs should not depend on the material. Why? Click to read more …
1. It’s not just the material that counts.
The durability of a fork is not only determined by the material strength, but by the overall design (wall thicknesses, cross-sections, materials, joining processes, thermal treatment, residual stresses etc.). It may make sense to evaluate cracks differently due to the material involved, but this plays no part in bicycle standards: Without regular inspections for such cracks, these cannot be accepted on bicycles anyway.
2. All are equal before the test.
The consumer ultimately does not mind what a component is made of. Each part has a function to fulfil, and it is only this function which needs to be tested. For good reason, a fundamental principle in safety standards is “functional requirements before design prescriptions”. The tested specimen is to be treated as a “black box”, which is subjected to defined requirements, but does not influence them.
3. The march of progress does not stop at standards.
It is in the very nature of standards that they follow technological progress. We do not know whether 2020’s bicycles will be made of nanotubes or baked from ceramics. We are sure however, that carbon fibre reinforced polymers will be yesterday’s news, that we will smile about our present-day fears and that new materials will bring their own strengths and weaknesses.
4. Test to improve – not to prevent.
If new materials indicate weaknesses which are not detected sufficiently with existing tests, the test programme must be expanded rapidly – but for all test objects, irrespective of the material and the production process. The bicycle industry is many years ahead of the automotive industry when it comes to the innovative use of materials and lightweight construction. We should not stand in the way of this innovative capability with delayed, knee-jerk reactions.
Prototypes in the test laboratory.
One of our business principles is to treat the test results of our partners as strictly confidential. At the same time we strive to operate an open lab and to avoid excessive secretiveness. In other words, visitors with specialist knowledge will readily be able to see how we perform tests and what is being tested. They may see broken test specimens from well-known brands, but we never disclose critical information such as the conditions under which the parts failed. And as everybody knows, everything has its breaking point …
When commissioning testing of a prototype that must not be seen in public, the customer can include a short note to this effect on their test order. The specimen will then be kept under lock and key.
Overload: Impact or defined forces?
In TRI TEST overload testing, we have replaced the impact tests with tests that use defined forces. Why? Ultimately, impact testing with defined drop energy is a standard method for material testing, and crash testing of cars also uses defined (kinetic) energy.
There are two reasons for favouring defined forces for overload testing bicycle frames. First, the peak forces in impact testing depend not only on the rigidity of the tested component (which is as it should be), but also on the (limited) rigidity of the clamping device. It does not, for example, make sense that EN 14766 allows fork impact test 4.8.2 (with the fork installed on the frame) as an alternative to 22.214.171.124 (with rigidly clamped fork), as the peak forces that occur in each test can differ significantly. Forks that fail when clamped rigidly may easily survive if they are mounted on the frame.
Secondly, bicycles have a completely different rider-to-vehicle mass ratio to motor vehicles. In extreme situations, the forces acting on the component are limited by the fact that the rider has to absorb the decelerating forces that occur during extreme jumps or collisions with their arms and legs.
Permissible rider weight?
We are often asked what rider body weight our tests are based on. In testing the fatigue strength of bicycle components the rider’s weight is relatively unimportant compared to
- the rider’s physical strength,
- the distance ridden,
- the road/track/trail surface conditions,
- the suspension system and
- the individual riding style.
For testing peak loads under extreme braking, we can be more specific with regard to rider weight. Our recommendations for forks and frame-and-fork units are based on the following weights:
- 100 kg rider weight
- 10 kg bicycle weight (racing bike) or 15 kg (MTB and trekking/city bike)
- 25 kg luggage on rear wheel