Trek has issued a voluntary safety recall affecting almost 1.7 million bikes in North America and the EU. These are bikes with front disc brakes and the issue involves the quick release skewer. Non-Trek bikes are affected by the same safety issue although they are not subject to the recall.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the issue is that, “An open quick release lever on the bicycle’s front wheel hub can come into contact with the front disc brake assembly, causing the front wheel to come to a sudden stop or separate from the bicycle, posing a risk of injury to the rider.”
There’s no problem if the quick release mechanism is closed correctly, only if it is improperly adjusted or left open. In that situation the quick release lever can become caught in the front disc brake assembly because it opens past 180° (see Figure 1 and Figure 2 below).
Trek have reported three incidents resulting from this, all causing injuries. One incident resulted in quadriplegia, one resulted in facial injuries, and the third resulted in a fractured wrist.
“This recall involves all models of Trek bicycles from model years 2000 through 2015 equipped with front disc brakes and a black or silver quick release lever on the front wheel hub that opens far enough to contact the disc brake,” says the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Bicycles with front quick release levers that do not open a full 180 degrees from the closed position are not included in this recall.”
Trek say that the recall relates to about 900,000 bikes sold in the US, 98,000 sold in Canada, and as many as 692,000 bikes in the EU (that is the maximum number of bikes that could be affected, it could be lower).
Bikes involved range in price from US$480 to US$1,650, or the equivalent in non-US markets.
What should you do if you think your bike is one of those covered by the recall? You should take it to an authorised Trek dealer who will replace the front quick release free of charge. You will also receive a £15 voucher for use on Bontrager items, valid until 31 December 2015.
Here’s a Trek video that shows you how to use a quick release without washers correctly.
And here’s now to use a quick release with washers.
The quick release skewer involved is not exclusive to Trek so it could be that other brands issue a similar recall in the near future. The skewer is a bike industry standard referenced as QR11 across anyone who makes that design.
If your non-Trek bike has a front disc brake and the quick release lever can open more than 180°, the risk of the lever coming into contact with the disc brake mechanism is exactly the same as it is on a Trek. It's easy to swap that quick release for one with a lever that doesn't open more than 180°.
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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.
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