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Performance Standards for Mountain Bikes

The most popular mountain bikes today are lightweight with enhanced suspensions, tires and frames to handle on- or off-road conditions. In the ‘90s, when demands increased for tougher, lighter all-terrain bikes, component recalls caused the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to seek performance standards from the bicycle industry.

ASTM Bicycle Subcommittee F08.10 formed a task group in 1996 to develop performance standards for mountain bikes. Based on the subcommittee’s F 2043, Standard Classification for Bicycle Usage, which divides bicycle products into four classifications, the task group created F 2274, Standard Specification for Condition 3 Bicycle Forks.

“Condition 3 refers to mountain bikes used in common off-road sport conditions,” says Scott Boyer, the task group chairman. Hot off the press in June, the standard covers the most common form of off-road use, according to Boyer.

Bicycle and fork manufacturers, accident investigation specialists, test engineers, and a mechanical engineering professor collaborated on the task group. “The new standard should improve consumer safety by supplying manufacturers of bicycle forks a standardized test method and performance standard to qualify their fork designs. This should do a better job assuring both a reasonably robust design and affordable product for the given ride conditions,” Boyer says. “It will allow manufacturers of bicycles to better discern, in the marketplace, qualified product designs versus non-qualified product without having to set up a complex internal testing regimen to evaluate and qualify bicycle forks.”

Boyer, a vice president for Answer Products, Inc., Valencia, Calif., says, bicycles have grown into highly specialized and varied vehicles: “We felt it made no more sense to have just ‘one standard’ for all bicycle forks, than it does to have one standard for all tires.”

Direct questions to Boyer (phone: 661/257-4411, ext. 133).

ASTM Bicycle Subcommittee F08.10 invites participation when it meets in conjunction with InterBike, the bicycle industry trade show, Monday, Oct. 13, 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., Candlewood Suites Meeting Room, 4034 S. Paradise Rd., Las Vegas, Nev. (phone: 702/836-3660). Efficiency suites are $69/night and one-bedroom suites, $89/night. Contact Dave Mitchell (phone: 678/ 475-9000).

For membership or meeting details on ASTM Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities, contact Jim Olshefsky, director, Committee Services, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9714). //

Copyright 2003, ASTM