Although the bicycle is enjoying a real boom, suppliers are under pressure from many different directions: Deliveries from Asia fail to materialize, customer requirements are becoming more exacting, and competition is essentially also a race to generate more innovations in less time. A greater real net output ratio is the order of the day: from more in-house developments to new manufacturing concepts. EDAG's bike pros can help out with additional know-how and significantly reduce the time to market.
Bicycles, eBikes and pedelecs have gained enormously in significance in recent years. Drivers were both the Corona crisis and climate change. As a result of the global pandemic and the absence of opportunities to travel, vacationing at home became more popular again – along with walking and cycling tours. In addition, many people avoided using public transport, preferring to venture out into the fresh air rather than expose themselves to the potential risk of infection in overcrowded trains and buses.
The popularity of the bike is also due to ecological reasons, as a fossil-free alternative to the car. The high cost of petrol and diesel, but also rising vehicle prices and the decline in supply in the small car segment are boosting the trend away from four-wheels to two. Cities and municipalities are supporting the development by expanding the cycling infrastructure. They are expanding cycle path networks, providing parking spaces for cargo bikes and planning more fast cycle routes, setting up bike parking garages and repair service points close to train stations, and promoting bike sharing.
The figures speak for themselves. While cycles valuing some four billion euros were sold in 2019, the industry generated sales of 6.56 billion euros in 2021 – an increase of 60 percent in just two years. Increasing quantities (4.7 million bikes in total) and an increasing proportion of eBikes and pedelecs, which are on average more expensive than "normal" bikes (2.0 million units), have promoted this leap in sales. Admittedly, the trend was broken this year, due to delivery problems on the one hand and to the general reluctance to spend owing to the enormous increase in the cost of living on the other.
Never has there been a better time to time to enter the market or acquire further market shares. If companies want to cement this trend in the long-term, they will need to work even faster and more efficiently, and become more technologically advanced, so as to keep pace in a fiercely contested market. In view of the risks caused by the scarcity of complete bicycles or their individual components on account of the fragility of supply chains from Asia, in-house development and production are once again becoming increasingly important.
As part of the EDAG Group, the world’s largest independent engineering service provider in the automotive industry, EDAG Bike can provide support with the conceptual design and development of frames and other components. This enables the time to market to be significantly reduced while maintaining high levels of quality and innovation.
One of the key distinguishing features is the frame – it lays the foundation for the cycling experience, and so essentially determines the brand image. The development is based on factors such as styling, mechanical design, i.e. stability, rigidity and durability, first of all during simulation. Then industrial production, i.e. from the welding process to position layout or other new production methods, and finally approval of the entire development by means of validation and stress tests carried out on the hardware on the test bench.
If required, all the components for the bicycle are developed and brought to market maturity by EDAG Bike.
Pedelecs and eBikes are moved by a "second heart" – the electric powertrain. The battery system, control electronics and electric motor form an inseparable whole. This could mean the development of a new electric powertrain, the battery system, from the housing to the cells, including cell mounts and arrangement, to the battery management system (BMS) and the charging socket.
In addition, a great deal of data is generated by electrically operated bikes, which, in addition to the route and evaluation, also provides interesting insights or can be used to optimize control and consumption. A significant proportion of users expect easy-to-use apps that will enable them to access this wealth of data and make cycling safer, more stimulating and more entertaining. So it is not just a matter of data analysis and evaluation, but also of an attractive user interface.
On top of this, additional classic hardware components such as brakes, dampers and handlebars are also needed.
By bikers for bikers
There are therefore many challenges for the manufacturers of bicycles, pedelecs and eBikes to meet. Frequently, the resources available are insufficient to be able to promptly perform all the tasks needing to be addressed. In this case, an external service provider such as EDAG Bike can fill the breach and help to accelerate development and maintain a successful competitive position with a short time to market.
The EDAG Group is an established partner to the mobility industry, initially working for the automotive sector, but since 2011 with an additional focus on motorcycles, and more recently also on bicycle development. Due to the fact that more and more enquiries were being received, committed bikers pushed to establish such a department, under the motto "by bikers for bikers". Here, the bike experts can draw on not just their own know-how but also on the entire tool and methods portfolio of the EDAG Group with its more than 8,000 specialists, and so offer a genuine all-round 360 degree service.
Simulation models and methods that have been developed in-house are as much a part of EDAG Bike's test portfolio as its own test equipment for physical validation.
Whether the frame or spring elements are concerned, or the cockpit or add-on parts, EDAG provides the appropriate development capacities with in-depth know-how and extensive technical equipment. This means that EDAG has access to its own brake testing equipment; at EDAG, spring elements for high-performance dampers are tested and matched in our own spring laboratory. On request, EDAG can also undertake the development of the entire powertrain, including the battery system and electronics.
Another domain is app creation, which includes both the development of an intuitive user interface and software programming. As a service provider, EDAG Bike covers the whole bike development range, from concept design and frame, component and powertrain development, through to prototype production and approval, for both the individual elements and the complete bike.To optimize these and ensure a high quality capable of withstanding the stresses and strains of daily use, EDAG Bike offers a comprehensive testing and inspection program ranging from simulation models in the digital development process to the validation of prototypes and final confirmation of market readiness on its own test equipment, adapted to the components. This includes:
- Testing of the braking systems
- Suspension testing
- Validation and endurance tests on special test stands
- Stiffness and strength testing of the components and frames
- Environmental simulation tests (corrosion, sun, climate)
- Vibration tests
- Road trials
- Battery validation
- Powertrain testing
- Validation on the test stand
- Realistic validation during the road testing
Outsourcing development processes reduces the workloads of employees in-house, leaving them free for other tasks. The company's all-encompassing single-source development makes for smooth, perfectly coordinated processes which cut development times and therefore also development costs. The extensive tests help to avoid expensive errors before the parts go into production. And last but not least, the EDAG Bike experts contribute additional know-how and creative ideas.
Development alone, however, is not enough – the components still have to be manufactured. EDAG also has considerable expertise in setting up manufacturing plants, optimizing production processes for fast throughput and high efficiency, and ensuring production quality. The location of the production site plays no role here, be it in Germany, Europe or the Far East – EDAG has suitable specialists everywhere.
If you have any questions concerning our services and skills, or are interested in individual opportunities for collaboration, then please contact us. Niko Lehtonen, Team Leader Development/Simulation in the Motorcycle/Bicycle division, will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Further extensive details of how EDAG Bike can support your development are provided in our white paper: "Integrated Bicycle Development by EDAG Bike: Idea, Development, Prototypes & Testing". This also includes an illustrative use case describing how a prototype frame is created for a customer. A concise outline of of EDAG Bike's range of services is also provided in the EDAG Bike fact sheet, which you can also download here.