- CEN safety regulations and the demise of the steel hardtail?
Had an interesting conversation recently with a bike manufacturer who was saying that they were experiencing difficulty gettting conventional steel frames certified to the new european standards. Allegedly part of the test is stiffness which ali frames pass with flying colours but nice steel twangy frames fail.Posted 9 years ago
Anyone got any further information on this or the ramifications if true?
our new frame just rocked through standard with some slight but subtle modifications that I’ve been hilariously open about.
Mods added perhaps 1/4lb to frame weight. But it’s actually come out better (skinnier top tube diameter so better ride)
Either that or I’m a genius. Scared the crap out of me, but passed now and happy.Posted 9 years ago
So it’s more of a BFe than a Soul – if you’ll forgive the comparison?
Flattered by the comparison. Particularly as mine will be £275 or less. All being well.
Yes – it’s a hard hitting hardtail. Now having got this one out of the way, working on a couple of other steel frames too – probably a “rigid only” model – which we should be able to go very light on, using the same principles we did in this frame, but with a shorter fork providing much less leverage over the frame meaning we can use less metal to keep things in one piece.Posted 9 years ago
Also working on a shorter suspension forked, slightly steeper geometry model too. With lighter parts thoughout.
Im doing this at the moment for brants old firm was called in to do the maths…
heres a problem that has been caused by a bit of non forward thinking
originally bikes had short forks and the test was relatvely simple to pass because of low cycles and low stresses
couple in the multiplication in force due to modern fork length increases and expectations and somewhere the loads got bigger and no one really paid the blindest bit of notice?!!! in reality…till the CEN test and industry compliance date got closer and closer
There are two choices you make its easy enough to make a frame that will pass the test under 4.75 – 5lbs but it costs money and a bit of cleverness to do it.This doesn’t really go in the direction of the customer a steel frame that costs the same as a carbon hardtail….hmmm
The other way is just throw material at the problem It depends which side of the engineering fence you sit on and a shedload of other minor but important bike designing considerations
Carbon frames are easier to get to pass the tests at a relatively light weight and for a fair few years I have been watching the old wives tales propagate about carbon and its pretty funny
The 456 was the tough nut in the range its simpler just to remove a steel frame and replace it with a carbon equivalentPosted 9 years agocySubscriber
You’re gonna see a lot of divergence on what people do to meet the standard. Although there’s a lot of stuff I don’t like about the standard, it’s too late to change anything now before we have to be legally compliant. Personally, I decided some time last year that I wouldn’t let this destroy what the Soul is, so I’m working with Reynolds on a custom tubeset I’ve designed which should result in pegging the weight of the Soul at it’s current level-ish and certainly maintaining the ace ride quality. I’ve got some keeerrrrazeee ideas to work through once it is compliant to the regs, but they’re all a way down the line yet.Posted 9 years agomiketuallySubscriber
working on a couple of other steel frames too – probably a “rigid only” model – which we should be able to go very light on, using the same principles we did in this frame, but with a shorter fork providing much less leverage over the frame meaning we can use less metal to keep things in one piece.
I’d be very interested in seeing that! I’m relatively light (75kg) and slow/jey so most MTB frames are probably massively overbuilt for me – riding Mavic MA3 rims on my Solitude with no problems at all.Posted 9 years agoCountZeroMember
Start panic buying and stocking up on steel h/tail frames now, before the EU bans them. I for one don’t want a recycled beer can to ride on. Seriously though, I really hope this won’t be the demise of the steel h/t, I just prefer the quality of ride/cost ratio. Forget carbon, and Ti is really out of the picture price wise, ally just feels dead, but a £250 steel frame is right on the mark for me. If Brant does a steel Ragley 29er I might seriously think about selling my Remedy and having a shed full of hardtails. (Three at the mo’, plus the Rem 66).Posted 9 years ago
Theres a basic get out of jail free card right at the very beginning which states CEN members… and also bicycles for racing are different
en14781 covers “racing bicycles” and it doesn’t really say la la land either
it was more to cover your halfords specials with cheese for bearings etc
the custom builder just needs to test one frame and once it passes he could stick the next one together with brass nails obviously a reputable builder wouldn’t use brass nails but he has the paper to prove it passed and doesn’t have to say he changed the method of construction …you see im cynical its supposed to bring in an element of QC ……lol
I used to spend a lot of time over on frameforum and to be honest custom builders are a law unto themselves theres a great deal of debate as to what makes a custom builder the time served builders or the newbies who have done about a month of building but with no materials engineering knowledge whatsoever are quite happy to flog you their second frame (they even mess with carbon fibre which is like playing with fire) and from some of the things you see they are dangerous
theres a limited feeling the standard was brought in to up the cost of frames by needing enhanced or improved material and engineering (if you have ever cut open a frame to find fibreglass instead of carbon as a material filler in a carbon frame this is understandable
but one of the engineering facts is the frames are failing , that longer fork increases the magnitude of force being pushed into the frame and the fatigue test cycles have been increased so its a pretty sure fire that the tried and tested tubeset from 10 years ago wont take the brunt from an engineers point of view its just a problem we need to solve…. a fun project
To sum it up basically you can sell a frame that doesn’t pass sell millions of them if you want but if you knowingly sell it in europe in a CEN member country and just 1 guy has an accident the personal injustry lawyers will tear you a very new shiny arsehole to go along with the leg you dont have to stand on
if it passes a pretty tough test with flying colours then the next one off the production line fails it doesnt matter it passed the test once so its safe the fact that it was a fluke doesnt matter you have a pretty solid defence as long as you didn’t change the specs the buck gets passed to mr wu who in reality wouldn’t give a flying **** what the french say anyhow …but from our point of view our arse is covered
in a positive sense all the buying folks can have a bit of confidence that if its a quality company the frames are consistent …its a damn good product and i think that goes for most peoples reputations mentioned above
and of course it means no more cheap chinese importsPosted 9 years agojim the saintSubscriber
Hmmm, IF CEN testing means the demise of steel hardtails then they need to re-evaluate the testing standards as there are obviously lots of good, strong steel hardtails already available that there is nothing wrong with. On the other hand though I’m all for a standard of testing that frames have to be subjected to before they are made available to the public.
I bought one of the first type geared Inbreds from Brant. The frames down tube and top tube had the same diameter and wall thickness. The front end crumpled when the front wheel got stuck in a rut. After a 20 mile walk home I called On-One and they said that they would sell me a new frame at half the price of a new one which I thought was a good deal. When the new frame turned up it was a mkII geared Inbred which although the frames geometry, intended fork travel and intended use was identical to the original the down tube had now increased in size. Obviously this increase in the down tube size made the frame weigh slightly more but it did increase front end stiffness and importantly strength. Now I obviously don’t know how many ‘original’ geared Inbred frames front ends crumpled, or whether the re-design of the down tube was down to product development or rectifying a fault with the original. What I do know though is that the original Inbred frame would not pass CEN testing and therefore would never have been sold. So if CEN testing would have meant that I wouldn’t have had do a 20 mile walk with blood gushing out my face and then had hand over £80 to get my bike fixed then I’m all for it.Posted 9 years agomike-at-dialledbikesMember
For companies/brands who sell frames which don’t break very often, this testing is another unnecessary cost and admin burden. Im in the process of sorting the tests out with my frame builders/agent but I’m confident they’ll pass because of the very low number of production dialled bikes frames that have ever broken (i.e. Only 7 frames in over 6 years of trading: 2 x Prince Albert Mk1, 2 x Morning Glory, 2 x Holeshot, 1 x Technique).
I suppose once the frames have passed the tests I’ll be able to join the club and exercise bragging rights that the frames are tough and people can depend on them. But most people know that anyway.Posted 9 years ago
All the best Mike – let’s keep the steel hardtail alive in the face of the Eurococks.
From my experience, problems seem to occur when people either try to:-
1) Make things very very light.
2) Do stupid things with gussets/tubes.
As your designs don’t do either, I can’t see you have too many problems.Posted 9 years agoballsofcottonwoolMember
I’ve just read through the standard and it all seems fairly sensible.
1200N 600N Push Pull load on the front fork for the horizontal fatigue test seems a bit weird, is this the one frames are failing?
“the steering head angle be not more than 75° and not less than 65° in relation to the ground line”
made me laugh is there a separate standard for choppers?Posted 9 years ago
– in what way does that make them “eurococks”?
Perhaps I was a bit harsh 🙂
But when frames that have been working perfectly well fail a test by a considerable margin, it seems a shame.
Still – it’s made frame designing a LOT more interesting in the last few months 🙂
Everybody has had to raise their game, and I think, in the end the consumer will benefit.Posted 9 years agoclubberMember
The tests themselves probably are questionable (ie tests are not necessarily exactly the right ones to actually ensure that frames really do the job they’re meant for) but as brant’s alluded to, what it does mean is that frame builders will need to be a lot more knowledgeable about materials/design/manufacturing techniques if they still want to design frames that aren’t simply massively overbuilt and that in itself is a good thing.Posted 9 years ago
😆 the good thing is that people are at least aware of the CEN est and if it passes they are buying a good product
hopefully the increase in weight isnt going to be a moaning point alterntely if it passes the CEN and weighs nowt and the cost doubles hopefully it will still be a moaning point but people will still give away their free money.
The standard does not apply to specialised bicycles bicycles designed for severe environments or competition events
there you go downhill and competition bikes set yourselves freePosted 9 years ago
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