A request by a manufacturer, and usually the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), to return a product after the discovery of safety issues. When a company finds a defect, it usually has 24 hours to alert the CPSC, which often investigates and collaborates with the brand to inform the public. There have been thousands of recalls of sports and recreation products since the CPSC began watchdogging in 1972. In April, Trek elected to recall the front-wheel release levers on close to a million bikes sold between 2000 and 2015, following the revelation that the vendor-supplied lever (which has been used by many other brands as well) can catch in the disc brake, causing the bike to come to a sudden stop—an extremely rare set of circumstances that tragically paralyzed one rider.
Many Unhappy Returns
When gear designs fail, consumer-safety recall alerts cut right to the chase.
“The head can separate from the shaft, rendering the tool useless for climbing or self-arrest.”
—Black Diamond recall of Black Prophet Bent Shaft ice tool (1996)
“The handle on the thermos bottles can break, causing the vacuum seal to fail and release organic, non-toxic charcoal powder insulation into the air. This can cause consumers to suffer short-term vision problems and temporary breathing problems.”
—Stanley recall of 45,000 thermoses (2005)
“When the bike arm bracket is moved to its down position, the pinch point has the potential to cause severe personal injury, including lacerations and/or amputations.”
—Thule bike-rack recall (2007)
“The cups can break if hit, posing a risk of serious injury hazard to athletes.”
—Under Armour recall of 211,000 athletic cups (2009)