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New International Standard in Final Stage

Laws & Regulations

GENEVA. Switzerland – To harmonize the safety and quality standard of bicycles worldwide, industry experts are currently working on a global standard to replace the existing CEN standards. In Europe ISO is mainly known for production standards in general while other countries are already familiar with ISO standards for bicycles.

New International Standard in Final Stage
Bike Europe

“The development of one global standard will be a big step forward for the industry and consumers. It will put manufacturers and test houses on a level playing field. It sets a higher level of safety standard globally for all major types of bicycles than ever before,” says Stefan Berggren, convenor of the ISO Technical Committee (TC) 149 SC1 WG9 in the interview in the Januari/Februari 2013 issue of Bike Europe.

Bicycle standards like ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and CEN (European Committee for Standardization) have come a long way. In the late Eighties and early Nineties of the twentieth century ISO had developed ISO 4210. Don Wright (UK) was instrumental in the development of that ISO standard, as well as the CEN TC-333 norms. ISO norms encompass a large group of what is currently the structure of CEN for the member states of the European Union.

ISO has been taken as a national standard for bicycles by many other countries outside Europe. ISO essentially laid the framework for what CEN TC-333 norms became (EN 14781, 14766, 14765, 14764). The further development of CEN TC-333 has been instrumental for the current revision of ISO 4210 and 8098. In the bicycle industry the ISO TC 149 SC1 has 15 member states. These are Japan, Brazil, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, USA, and the UK.

Scope of the standard
The scope of the ISO safety standard is twofold. First –  there is ISO 4210 Parts 1-9. These parts specify the terms and definitions related to safety and performance requirements for the design, assembly, and testing of bicycles and sub-assemblies. The nine different parts of the ISO safety standard are:

  • Part 1 – Terms and Definitions
  • Part 2 – Requirements
  • Part 3 -Common Test Methods
  • Part 4 – Braking Test Methods
  • Part 5 – Steering Test Methods
  • Part 6 – Frame and Fork Test Methods
  • Part 7 – Wheels and Rims Test Methods
  • Part 8 – Pedals and Cranks Test Methods
  • Part 9 -Saddles and Seatposts Test Methods

Specialized types

These nine parts relate to each other in the sense that they share a common test method, definitions, and requirements. The test method for each intended use may be different, such as the mass, the height, the cycle load, or cycle duration. ISO 4210 applies to road bikes, mountain bikes, city, and trekking bikes, and young adult bicycles. ISO 4210 does not apply to specialized types of bicycles such as bakfiets (work bikes), recumbent bicycles, tandems, and bicycles designed and equipped for use in severe applications such as sanctioned competition events, stunting, or other trick maneuvers.

The second part of the safety standard is the ISO 8098. This specifies safety and performance requirements and test methods for the design, assembly and testing of sub-assemblies and fully assembled bicycles for young children. This standard is applicable to bicycles with a maximum saddle height of more than 435 mm and less than 635 mm, propelled by a transmitted drive to the rear wheel. It is not applicable to special bicycles like BMX bicycles.

In essence ISO 4210 will turn into the same type of standard known as CEN today. Finally CEN will take on a nomenclature such as CEN/ISO 4210:2013 Parts 1-9.

Testing procedures
The new standards will apply to ferrous, alloy, and also specific requirements for composite materials. The ISO TC 149 SC1 is working toward developing the composite specific tests even further, with CEN and ISO working groups. The CEN working group 8 is a dedicated working group intended to develop requirements and test methods specific to composites or “new technologies.”

The new standard will include warnings and instructions to the consumers of such products for things like tightening torques with composite materials etc. Because the way composites are used and how the finished products are used is ever changing, the final standard has to be proactive instead of a static issue. As for production testing, ISO is focusing on a safety standard and not specifically a quality standard. It is prudent practice to have a compliance audit program in place which deals with production testing, which can be verified using the ISO 4210: 1-9 and ISO 8098.

Deadline for new ISO standard
Currently ISO 4210 and 8098 are in the draft stage of review and voting. Members are currently reviewing the DIS (Draft International Standard) drafts and making comments. Once this draft is commented and voted upon, it will be sent to ISO technical committee for review and translation into native languages. The voting process for the DIS takes 3 months. The current dates for DIS review votes are April 4, 2013 for (ISO 4210) and April 3, 2013 for (ISO 8098). It is likely that all voting and review will be completed in May of 2013. After that the FDIS (Final Draft International Standard) will be sent to members for voting by the ISO Central Secretariat for a yes/no vote. It is expected that the standard will be published late 2013 or early 2014.)

Legal implications

The implementation of new CEN and ISO standards always opens up new room for legal interpretation. CEN is a voluntary standard and if a country were to decide to mandate it as part of their national law, then it can become compulsory. In addition, if the manufacture places a mark on their product stating conformity to a specific standard then they in turn are required to ensure certification. On a liability level, ISO will certainly be a main focus for product compliance. Liability litigation tends to gravitate to the most progressive safety standards regardless of their application as law or not.

What is ISO?

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards. These standards provide specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective. Founded in 1947, ISO has published more than 19 000 International Standards covering almost all aspects of technology and business. Today ISO has 164 member countries and 3,335 technical bodies to take care of standard development. More than 150 people work full time for ISO’s Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.