Bicycle regulatory and compliance safety testing is at the core of our business. As with any consumer product heading to market, bicycle manufacturers need to confirm these primary factors to determine the final scope of the project:
- Intended age of the user. A children’s bicycle is typically for riders less than 13 years of age and requires more stringent testing protocols. If the bicycle is intended for adults above the age of 13, testing is adjusted to accommodate those older, larger, and more experienced riders. In addition, wheel size and other design parameters will help define the final classification of the user.
- Intended markets or regions for distribution. Testing varies regionally and is primarily based on country-specific requirements adopted by government agencies known commonly as standards, but requirements can be dictated at the state and local level entities as well.
Once the above items are clearly defined, follow this simple guideline for success when submitting your bicycle for testing. Bicycle testing focuses on the following items:
Construction and performance of the complete bicycle assembly
Specific tests analyze the ability of users to safely ride and stop the bicycle. The testing is focused on the rider’s ability to maintain control of the bicycle, and also be protected from common hazards that are identified over years of bicycle development.
Independent component part testing
Static strength and fatigue tests of each part of the bicycle, such as the frame, fork, handlebar, seat post, and drive chain (or belt) give confidence that these parts can withstand certain daily and lifelong stresses. Testing also includes reflectors or lights and their visibility to protect riders on the road.
Instructions, markings, and labeling
Labels indicating regional safety requirements, proper sizing, maximum weight, and potential cautionary warnings are often mandated to be on the bicycle. User manuals and packaging are also required to include certain assembly requirements and warning statements. Most importantly, the bicycle must contain a tracking label, such as a serial number, allowing consumers to reference a specific manufacturing name, location, date, batch run, and other crucial product information.
Most all consumer goods now need to confirm and declare they are free from harmful levels of certain chemicals. Bicycle users have direct contact with the product and can spend many hours interacting with the bicycle, increasing the chance of chemical absorption and exposure. Typical chemicals of concern are heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury in surface coatings or substrate materials, and plasticizers like phthalates found in soft, non-metals, or PVCs. Exposure to these chemicals can cause cancer or reproductive harm, but limits and directives vary regionally based on the age of the consumer and the chemical type. More recently, additional chemical testing on the packaging itself may be required by online retailers and other resellers, especially if transiting bicycles nationwide or direct to consumers.
Examples of common bicycle and chemical testing standards and regulations
CPSC 16 CFR 1512 – Regulations for Bicycle Safety
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)
California Proposition 65 Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act
Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH)
Europe and other EU recognizing nations
ISO 4210 – Cycles – Safety requirements for bicycles – mountain, racing, city/trekking, and young adult
ISO 8098 – Cycles – Safety requirements for bicycles for young children
EN 15194 – Cycles – Electrically power-assisted cycles – EPAC bicycles
REACH – Registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals
When ready for testing, companies are encouraged to submit the following items:
- A complete bicycle specimen, or more than one depending on what testing is required
- Completed user/operation manual
- Full carton, packaging materials
- Final product labeling
- If available, a manufacturing Bill of Materials (BOM), chemical safety data sheets (MSDS), or other lists of the overall bicycle product makeup
- Additional requirements may be required if the bicycle is electric, intended for users such as infants or toddlers (like push bikes), or if affixed with items such as racks or baskets, lights, and other accessories
ACT Lab’s bicycle and bicycle accessory testing services
ACT Lab offers a comprehensive range of consultation and testing services to ensure bicycle consumer safety and compliance around the world. Our services extend beyond just testing with an industry-leading team of experts providing individualized guidance on product evaluation, research and development, auditing, and quality control. With four test labs and six corporate offices across the globe, we work with our customers to navigate the complicated world of bicycle testing and compliance through all aspects of the global supply chain to deliver safe and reliable products to consumers.
For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, 562.470.7215, or submit a test below.