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May/June 2009

Bicycles and Trailer Cycles

At any given moment, millions of bicycles are being ridden throughout the world. Developing standards for bikes, and keeping current standards up to date is the responsibility of Subcommittee F08.10 on Bicycles, part of ASTM International Committee F08 on Sports Equipment and Facilities.

Recently, F08.10 has published an important revision to one of its key standards, and the subcommittee is currently working on a proposed new standard for trailer cycles.

Bicycle Usage

Originally intended as a standard to guide developers of other bicycle standards, F2043, Classification for Bicycle Usage, has now been revised to be used as an educational tool for both those in the bicycle industry and for consumers purchasing bikes.

According to David Mitchell, engineering consultant, MET Ltd., and an F08.10 subcommittee member, the expansion of the scope of F2043 occurred after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission expressed an interest in the standard as a means to guide bicycle purchasers in selecting the proper bike for its intended use.

The subcommittee devised five different intended bicycle uses that incorporate a standard naming scheme that would apply to all manufacturers. The five uses are:

  • Condition 0 — Adult supervision required, no traffic;
  • Condition 1 — Suitable for road riding (only);
  • Condition 2 — For off-road riding and jumps less than 12 in. (30 cm);
  • Condition 3 — For rough off-road riding and jumps less than 24 in. (61 cm); and
  • Condition 4 — For extreme off-road riding.

“There is not currently a designation for BMX-style riding,” says Mitchell, referring to bikes used in the sport of bicycle motocross, or BMX. “As bicycles evolve, the subcommittee intends to add additional designations for BMX use and other areas.” Mitchell notes that engineering personnel who can define new levels of bicycle use are welcome to join in the subcommittee’s work on future revisions to F2043.

Child Riding Trailer Cycles

Trailer cycles that carry children and are pulled behind bicycles have become a common sight at parks and on bike paths. However, because trailer cycles are recent additions to the bicycle industry, no definitive standards for them currently exist. Subcommittee F08.10 is currently working on such a standard, WK22294, Specification for Child Riding Trailer Cycles.

Steve Nagode, research and development engineer, REI Gear and Apparel, and an F08 member, says that the proposed trailer cycle standard is being written in three parts. The first section covers general items such as protrusions, sharp edges and reflectors while the other two parts cover tests that simulate riding situations.

The first riding test simulates the effect of a bump on the road for a trailer cycle traveling at a speed of 13 miles (20.9 km) per hour. The second test is to demonstrate how the side-to-side twisting that takes place between the lead bike and the trailer cycle will affect the trailer cycle.

Nagode notes that the subcommittee is in the midst of drafting WK22294 and that interested participants are welcome to join in the development process.


Technical Information: (F2043) David Mitchell, MET Ltd., Cumming, Ga.

Phone: 678-475-9000

(WK22294) Steve Nagode, REI Gear and Apparel, Kent, Wash.

Phone: 253-437-7466

ASTM Staff: Christine Sierk

Phone: 610-832-9728