Europe’s bicycle industry is working on a common cargo bike standard. Marco Brust, Managing Director of the testing institute velotech.de (Schweinfurt), explains the advantages.
At the end of March, representatives of the bicycle industry, science and politics met at the Dutch standardization body in Delft to develop a common European cargo bike standard. The working group, with the acronym CEN/TC 333/WG 9, consists of Marco Brust (Managing Director velotech.de), trailer manufacturer NÜWiel, cargo bike, bicycle and drive manufacturers Riese&Müller, Urban Arrow, Accell, Shimano, Schaeffler, Bosch E-Bike Systems and Mando, as well as the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg, among others.
Together, they have developed the draft of the new EN17860 standard. It now also covers heavy cargo bikes and heavy trailers, which were previously not adequately standardized. The standard separately covers trailers with their own electric motor and brake, single-track cargo bikes with a gross vehicle weight of up to 250 kilograms each, multi-track cargo bikes with a gross vehicle weight of up to 300 kilograms, and heavy cargo bikes weighing up to 650 kilograms.
Export and development become easier
The velotech.de managing director Marco Brust explains: “Cargo bikes have developed strongly. This is especially true for freight transport, and here an EU standard is helpful to standardize the patchwork that exists across Europe. Some vehicles are classified differently from country to country; in the Netherlands, for example, a maximum weight for cargo bikes of 75 kilograms is being discussed; in France, four-wheeled vehicles are not considered bicycles in some regions, and in Germany, different rules apply again. This inhibits trade and also causes legal problems. That’s why the new EU standard will help. On the one hand, export-oriented manufacturers will benefit because sales in the European Union will be easier. On the other hand, the standard facilitates the development of each manufacturer because the specifications of what the product must do become clearer.”
Until now, cargo bikes have been tested according to the DIN 79010 standard, which was last revised in 2020 and was developed by velotech.de founder Ernst Brust in his turn as chairman. This standard will be replaced by the new standard. The old standard for city and trekking bikes, 15194, was also used, but is no longer up to date for cargo bikes due to the greatly increased weight and the safety aspects of transporting people as well as the serial hybrids, i.e. the bicycle without a chain and without a toothed belt. The standard was discussed at the European level and all objections were dealt with.
Freight bike standard: experience since 2013
velotech.de is particularly familiar with cargo bike standards: The first German cargo bike standard was launched by the founder of the testing institute, Ernst Brust, as chairman back in 2013, when the institute had just been accredited by DAkkS according to ISO/IEC 17025. This accreditation was the basis for the recognition of test reports by authorities and helped manufacturers to develop safe vehicles. In the meantime, velotech.de has been accredited for ten years and is celebrating its anniversary as a pioneer in this specialized field. In the meantime, velotech.de has been accredited for ten years and is marking its anniversary as a pioneer in this specialized field.
About standards and laws
Standards are an accessory to meet legal requirements. With them, a manufacturer can prove that he has carefully developed his product and thus contribute to safe cargo bike traffic. However, it must be taken into account whether the bike is used commercially or privately, the requirements for the material differ greatly. Whether a standard is met by a cargo bike is tested by velotech.de in its test laboratory in Schweinfurt.