Tiny Part Just Caused a Huge Recall of 1.5M Bikes

Malfunctioning generic lever is root of problem for bikes from 13 different brands
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2015 8:17 AM CDT

In 2011, Bicycling.com heralded the advent of disc brakes as the "biggest revolution in ride technology since integrated shifting," promising a safer, easier way to slow bikes down. But the safety part is now uncertain for some: The Consumer Product Safety Commission has ordered a recall of 1.5 million bikes in the US, Canada, and Mexico from 13 different brands sold between 1998 and this year, Gizmodo reports. It's the biggest group recall acted upon by the industry, the director of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association tells Bicycle Retailer, all from a third-party front-wheel lever that can open during one's ride and get stuck in the disc brake's holes, possibly "causing the front wheel to come to a sudden stop or separate from the bicycle, posing a risk of injury to the rider," per the CPSC notice. Affected brands include Cannondale and Diamondback. Just one incident with injuries has been reported so far, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The same issue and an accompanying recall occurred in April with almost a million Trek bikes that also used the vendor-supplied lever, Outside reported at the time, with Gizmodo adding that "this seemingly simple problem—where a generic-brand lever interacts with a newer brake design—illustrates how sticky it can be to integrate old and new technology into a single product." A dedicated website from the BPSA, which is helping organize the recall, offers a video and detailed instructions to help consumers determine if their bikes are affected. Those who are shouldn't panic: Per a BPSA press release, all one has to do if a malfunctioning lever is discovered is stop riding the bike and take it to the dealer, which will replace the lever "in as quick as five minutes." (Read more recall stories.)

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