In conjunction with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Trek announced the recall of its 2021-2022 model year Emonda SLR bicycles and/or Bontrager Aeolus VR-C handlebar/stem from the market. of accessories 2020/2021/2022. Additionally, the carbon base bars provided on the 2022 Speed Concept SLR time trial bikes are also involved in the recall.
The recall is related to the possibility of the two different carbon handlebars cracking if overloaded. Trek Emonda bicycles with separate two-piece handlebars and stems are not affected by this recall.
A video shared by Raoul Luescher of Luescher Teknik has shown that the issue with the Bontrager Aeolus VR-C carbon stem/bar occurs at the corner of the handlebar bend, right where the top of the bar rotates 90 degrees towards the lever. of changes. The recently released CPSC recall notice confirms this.
Those affected by the recall (about 4,700 sales in North America alone) are instructed to stop using the bikes (or handlebars in question) immediately and contact their local Trek dealer for a replacement.
Owners of the affected aftermarket Bontrager Aeolus RSL VC-R or Emonda SLR handlebar/stem will receive a temporary aluminum handlebar and stem until an upgraded direct replacement is available. Trek will cover the new bar tape and labor.
Meanwhile, owners of the 2022 Speed Concept SLR bikes will receive a new base bar, new bar tape and installation.
For the hassle, Trek also offers a US$100/AU$150 credit that can be used towards Trek or Bontrager products (and is only valid until the end of 2022).
A slow public response
While the official CPSC announcement is new today, rumors of this recall have been circulating since late June. A discussion of WeightWeenies points to mixed experiences among those affected by the ‘stop the ride’ request or withdrawal, with Trek keeping an extremely low profile on the issue.
Some countries, such as Australia, which was required to post the recall by the ACCC (Australia’s governing body for such recalls), were apparently quite proactive in having their dealers contact customers of the bikes in question well in advance. of the withdrawal being published. Those customers were kept rolling with a different handlebar and stem, and were promised a proper replacement shortly.
Meanwhile, the thread on WeightWeenies points out that other people affected by this silent shutdown notice (and now I recall) were unaware of the issue until they stumbled across the forum thread. Those customers were not contacted by their place of purchase or, in one case, were not contacted by Trek for a bike purchased directly from TrekBikes.com. These customers who contacted Trek to inquire were told that there was, in fact, a trip stop notice.
Our efforts to contact Trek on this matter have gone largely unanswered. The most recent communication we had was that Trek suggested that there was no recall, but rather that an investigation was underway.
Meanwhile, it was announced today that in North America alone (US and Canada), and of the approximately 4,700 affected products, Trek has received 37 reports of broken carbon handlebars, including one report of injuries with scrapes and bruises. Compare that to Specialized’s hugely public Tarmac SL7 recall, where of its 6,900 affected units, it had two reported incidents and no reported injuries.
The Australian voluntary recall has been out since July 28. However, Trek did not inform us of this. Likewise, Trek Global hasn’t tried to get the word out before, even after we reached out to confirm the rumors were true. From what we can tell, it appears that Trek was following the rules of the CPSC, which takes control of all public communications while a recall investigation is underway.
Where things get a little murkier is that the CPSC has clauses that allow companies to expedite a recall within the US (within 20 days) and thus bypass the usual investigation process if they internally believe there is a legitimate security risk with the product. . And while our questions to Trek have yet to be answered on this matter, it appears that this faster path was not chosen.
This may very well be a case of perception versus reality, where the perception is far worse than what has transpired behind the scenes. That perception, however, is that Trek knew there was a problem, quietly told its dealers to fix the problem, and then made no further attempts to ensure the message was received more widely while it went through the official process with the CPSC.
This is an ongoing story.