CPSC judgement on disk brakes and QR forks



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J

James Annan

Guest
This is not actually the 'official' signed letter which is in the post, but I received the following
via email recently:

"Based upon the information currently available, the staff does not believe the problem identified
necessitates further action by the Commission under Section 15 of the CPSA. However, the Commission
has recommended that the ASTM Bicycle Committee, which meets in October 2003, take this matter under
advisement for further discussion, additional testing and problem examination."

Section 15 of the CPSA can be found at https://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/cpsa15b.html

James
 
S

S. Anderson

Guest
"James Annan" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> This is not actually the 'official' signed letter which is in the post, but I received the
> following via email recently:
>
> "Based upon the information currently available, the staff does not believe the problem identified
> necessitates further action by the Commission under Section 15 of the CPSA. However, the
> Commission has recommended that the ASTM Bicycle Committee, which meets in October 2003, take this
> matter under advisement for further discussion, additional testing and problem examination."
>
> Section 15 of the CPSA can be found at https://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/cpsa15b.html
>
> James
>

Well, I could see that this might happen. Let's face it, there aren't a huge number of people being
mangled by wheel ejection. Not to say it's not a significant problem, but maybe not a big enough
problem to create a recall or regulation. And I'm sure there is pressure being applied by the
industry. Nevertheless, a good bit of research and I think it will speed up the production of a more
intelligent design in the future.

Cheers,

Scott..
 
J

James Annan

Guest
S. Anderson wrote:

>
> Well, I could see that this might happen. Let's face it, there aren't a huge number of people
> being mangled by wheel ejection. Not to say it's not a significant problem, but maybe not a big
> enough problem to create a recall or regulation. And I'm sure there is pressure being applied by
> the industry. Nevertheless, a good bit of research and I think it will speed up the production of
> a more intelligent design in the future.

Nice thought, but if you follow the link you'll realise that the CPSC are saying that there is no
problem and the industry has no need to do anything at all. Not sure why you think 'the industry' is
going to apply any pressure to anyone!

James
 
J

Jobst Brandt

Guest
Scott Anderson writes:

>> "Based upon the information currently available, the staff does not believe the problem
>> identified necessitates further action by the Commission under Section 15 of the CPSA. However,
>> the Commission has recommended that the ASTM Bicycle Committee, which meets in October 2003, take
>> this matter under advisement for further discussion, additional testing and problem examination."

> Well, I could see that this might happen. Let's face it, there aren't a huge number of people
> being mangled by wheel ejection. Not to say it's not a significant problem, but maybe not a big
> enough problem to create a recall or regulation. And I'm sure there is pressure being applied by
> the industry. Nevertheless, a good bit of research and I think it will speed up the production of
> a more intelligent design in the future.

What strike me about this is that it is a typical NASA "culture" approach to the subject. If you
read the item on NASA denial at:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/08/26/national0151EDT0426.DTL

You could easily replace NASA with CPSA and the glove would fit.

I see we must wait for one of the victims to bring a multi-million $ damage claim against the
industry. CPSA should be culpable as well.

Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
 
J

Jose Rizal

Guest
James Annan:

> S. Anderson wrote:
>
> >
> > Well, I could see that this might happen. Let's face it, there aren't a huge number of people
> > being mangled by wheel ejection. Not to say it's not a significant problem, but maybe not a big
> > enough problem to create a recall or regulation. And I'm sure there is pressure being applied by
> > the industry. Nevertheless, a good bit of research and I think it will speed up the production
> > of a more intelligent design in the future.
>
> Nice thought, but if you follow the link you'll realise that the CPSC are saying that there is no
> problem and the industry has no need to do anything at all. Not sure why you think 'the industry'
> is going to apply any pressure to anyone!
>

I'm wondering what the role of the ASTM Bicycle Committee is on all of this, which the CPSA is
seemingly open to input from. Since at least one of the committee members is the VP of Answer
Products, maker of Manitou forks, I would have thought that the potential conflict of interest is
glaringly obvious.
 
S

S. Anderson

Guest
<[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
>
> What strike me about this is that it is a typical NASA "culture" approach to the subject. If you
> read the item on NASA denial at:
>
>
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/08/26/nati onal0151EDT0426.DTL
>
> You could easily replace NASA with CPSA and the glove would fit.
>
> I see we must wait for one of the victims to bring a multi-million $ damage claim against the
> industry. CPSA should be culpable as well.
>
> Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA

I think NASA is its own little universe. I'm not sure that the situation that exists there, an
organization that is dependent on government funding for its existence, can necessarily be
translated to this situation. But to be sure, most large corporations behave in a similar fashion to
the CPSA in this case. Certainly the auto industry does. It will boil down to the cheaper option:
lawsuits or revising the product to make it safe. As far as most corporations go, a human life has a
price. And if that price is lower than fixing the problem, the problem usually doesn't get fixed.
Sad as that may be.

Cheers,

Scott..
 
S

S. Anderson

Guest
"James Annan" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
>
> Nice thought, but if you follow the link you'll realise that the CPSC are saying that there is no
> problem and the industry has no need to do anything at all. Not sure why you think 'the industry'
> is going to apply any pressure to anyone!
>
> James
>

I began to write that you were being too idealistic in this, but I reconsidered. You're right. I
agree that the CPSC has overlooked a significant design flaw here and that as an independent
government body, they should at MINIMUM, recommend changes to the design. However, the realist in me
still says, as Jobst pointed out, nothing will happen until law suits cost the companies making
these products a significant amount of money, such that it's cheaper to fix the design. This can be
seen in the auto industry time and again. That CPSC document is filled with weasel phrases and makes
them pretty much toothless really, doesn't it??

Cheers,

Scott..
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Jose Rizal <[email protected]_._> wrote:

> I'm wondering what the role of the ASTM Bicycle Committee is on all of this, which the CPSA is
> seemingly open to input from. Since at least one of the committee members is the VP of Answer
> Products, maker of Manitou forks, I would have thought that the potential conflict of interest is
> glaringly obvious.

Welcome to consumer protection in America.
 
S

Super Slinky

Guest
James Annan said...

> This is not actually the 'official' signed letter which is in the post, but I received the
> following via email recently:
>
> "Based upon the information currently available, the staff does not believe the problem identified
> necessitates further action by the Commission under Section 15 of the CPSA. However, the
> Commission has recommended that the ASTM Bicycle Committee, which meets in October 2003, take this
> matter under advisement for further discussion, additional testing and problem examination."
>
> Section 15 of the CPSA can be found at https://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/cpsa15b.html
>
> James

Maybe they just understand that any bike part can be beaten into submission and that it just isn't
that big of a problem considering that any number of parts can and do fail on off-road bikes all the
time. Handlebars break, stems break, frames break, forks break, wheels bend, cranks break and on and
on. Perhaps they also comprehend one point that everyone here seems to pointedly ignore, and that is
if you don't like the conventional quick release + dropout design, then you don't have to use it. I
would suggest that you get a new riff and look elsewhere for your 15 minutes of fame, because this
one is getting awfully tiresome and predictable. Do you ever talk about anything else?
 
J

Joe Riel

Guest
Super Slinky <[email protected]> writes:

> Perhaps they also comprehend one point that everyone here seems to pointedly ignore, and that is
> if you don't like the conventional quick release + dropout design, then you don't have to use it.
> I would suggest that you get a new riff and look elsewhere for your 15 minutes of fame, because
> this one is getting awfully tiresome and predictable.

Considering that the vast majority of mt bikers have never heard of this failure, it is shortsided
to simultaneously suggest that

(1) users should just fix the problems themselves,

and

(2) James should quit discussing it.

If no one knew about it, what would prompt someone to do something?

Joe Riel
 
M

Mike S.

Guest
> If no one knew about it, what would prompt someone to do something?
>
>
> Joe Riel

If noone knows, is there a really a problem?

Seems that someone would know if they had a problem with their dropouts, and the LBS would start to
hear about it, and then the manufacturers would start to get warranty claims, and...

Sounds to me like some little boy's calling "wolf."

Mike
 
D

Doug Taylor

Guest
"Mike S." <[email protected]> wrote:

>Sounds to me like some little boy's calling "wolf."

Or Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling.

The evidence to date simply does not support labeling disc brakes used with forks having quick
releases as a substantially product hazard. This is no Firestone tire or Ford Pinto gas tank
situation, where huge jury awards and much publicity preceded staggeringly expensive recalls to
forestall future damage awards and continued bad press. It is a rare and obscure problem that
happens infrequently (if at all) and interests only bike geeks who post on usenet. Cost benefit
analysis says hold 'em.

--dt
 
G

Gary Young

Guest
James Annan <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> This is not actually the 'official' signed letter which is in the post, but I received the
> following via email recently:
>
> "Based upon the information currently available, the staff does not believe the problem identified
> necessitates further action by the Commission under Section 15 of the CPSA. However, the
> Commission has recommended that the ASTM Bicycle Committee, which meets in October 2003, take this
> matter under advisement for further discussion, additional testing and problem examination."
>
> Section 15 of the CPSA can be found at https://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/cpsa15b.html
>
It's a little hard to judge the adequacy of the response without knowing what information you put
before them. Could you post your letter to the CPSC here? Then we might be able to suggest ways to
beef it up.

The CPSC is supposed to be above politics, but perhaps the problem is that your letter didn't come
from a U.S. citizen. Those of us who live in the U.S. should start sending letters. Is there a
particular person you dealt with there?

I'm also curious if you've gotten any responses in other countries. I suspect that if even one
country says this is a problem, the whole industry will have to make the change. First, because it
would be expensive to keep two sets of inventory. And second, because a lawyer bringing legal action
against a fork maker would have a considerably easier time of it if he can point to the fact that
fork makers were perfectly capable of improving the safety of their product.
 
D

David Damerell

Guest
Super Slinky <[email protected]> wrote:
>cranks break and on and on. Perhaps they also comprehend one point that everyone here seems to
>pointedly ignore, and that is if you don't like the conventional quick release + dropout design,
>then you don't have to use it.

In the same way one could argue that there was nothing wrong with the makes of motor car that tended
to suffer petrol fires after crashes - after all, no-one had to drive them!
--
David Damerell <[email protected]> Distortion Field!
 
J

Jobst Brandt

Guest
Mike Shaw writes:

>> If no one knew about it, what would prompt someone to do something?

> If noone knows, is there a really a problem?

Noon is the time we usually eat lunch, no one should have a problem with that...

However, causes for all sorts of common phenomena are being discovered daily. That wheels have
separated is not a contention here but what one of the causes are is.

> Seems that someone would know if they had a problem with their dropouts, and the LBS would start
> to hear about it, and then the manufacturers would start to get warranty claims, and...

Oh, what you say. We read here regularly of people who have common mechanical problems with their
bicycles and are at a loss to explain what the cause is. Likewise, those who have had a wheel come
out are no better informed, especially since attributing it to incorrect QR closure is simple and
entirely believable. For proof of that, just read the insulting responses James Annan has gotten
from this forum.

> Sounds to me like some little boy's calling "wolf."

Mike, what motivates you to take this position? Why do you feel so attacked that you must go on the
offensive and give rude retorts to someone who has done nothing to you?

Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
 
J

James Annan

Guest
Gary Young wrote:

> It's a little hard to judge the adequacy of the response without knowing what information you put
> before them. Could you post your letter to the CPSC here? Then we might be able to suggest ways to
> beef it up.

Can't remember in detail, it was just the sort of stuff that has been discussed here, together with
some description of one or two of the crashes I've heard about. One minor difficulty is that they
didn't seem capable of considering the generic problem but were only geared up to handle a specific
complaint from a victim.

> The CPSC is supposed to be above politics, but perhaps the problem is that your letter didn't come
> from a U.S. citizen. Those of us who live in the U.S. should start sending letters. Is there a
> particular person you dealt with there?

Yes, the CPSC actually asked me to encourage others to add their experiences and I did suggest this
some time ago (maybe not here though). Of course got plenty of criticism from those who said I was
'scaremongering' and exaggerating the problem...but as we see, without such support from others, the
CPSC believes that quite literally there is no problem to investigate.

If anyone wishes to write to express their views, the CPSC person responsible for this is JDeMarco
(at) cpsc (dot) gov. I would appreciate a copy (preferred address on my web page, although the
hotmail one is checked occasionally) just so I can keep track of anything useful. I haven't yet
bothered replying to his recent letter but I suppose I should let him know what I think of his
performance. He might also be interested to hear that a couple of victims are taking legal advice on
the matter, since according to him such people don't exist.

> I'm also curious if you've gotten any responses in other countries.

I didn't bother contacting anyone else directly, since the manufacturers are all based in the USA
and the CPSC had a convenient web site and email address... It has been reported that the Australian
authorities were looking into it, but that was months ago. Also I heard that a Trading Standards
Officer in the UK actually advised a retailer to stop selling forks, but this was off the record and
an isolated incident that went no further.

James
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Gary
Young) wrote:

> The CPSC is supposed to be above politics

The CPSC on which planet? The one in the US is terminally embroiled in politics, and those politics
change like the wind with the various Administrations. This Administration is determined to remove
as much government interference from business as possible (while maximizing big government
interference into people's personal lives). You can be sure that the CPSC will be rendered as
powerless as possible for the next 6 years.
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "Mike S." <[email protected]> wrote:

> > If no one knew about it, what would prompt someone to do something?
> >
> > Joe Riel
>
> If noone knows, is there a really a problem?

Yes. Virnigia, there really is a problem. Even if you lack the wit to understand it.

> Seems that someone would know if they had a problem with their dropouts, and the LBS would start
> to hear about it, and then the manufacturers would start to get warranty claims, and...

Not in this case because "everyone knows" that front wheels only fall out of the fork as a result of
operator error, and that if it happens to you it's your own damned fault. Unfortunately this is just
more ignorance and misplaced lore.

> Sounds to me like some little boy's calling "wolf."

A call that's had some independent verification within the industry.
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Doug Taylor
<[email protected]> wrote:

> "Mike S." <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >Sounds to me like some little boy's calling "wolf."
>
> Or Chicken Little crying that the sky is falling.
>
> The evidence to date simply does not support labeling disc brakes used with forks having quick
> releases as a substantially product hazard.

Actually, the evidence is precisely contrary to your clam, and stands in support of Annan's
analysis. But feel free to continue to deny reality. And do check those QRs occasionally.

> It is a rare and obscure problem that happens infrequently (if at all) and interests only bike
> geeks who post on usenet.

It interests anyone who uses this equipment.

> Cost benefit analysis says hold 'em.

Until the costs include a hospital stay and facial reconstruction surgery.
 
G

Gwhite

Guest
"S. Anderson" wrote:
>
> <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> >
> > What strike me about this is that it is a typical NASA "culture" approach to the subject. If you
> > read the item on NASA denial at:
> >
> >
> http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/08/26/nati onal0151EDT0426.DTL
> >
> > You could easily replace NASA with CPSA and the glove would fit.
> >
> > I see we must wait for one of the victims to bring a multi-million $ damage claim against the
> > industry. CPSA should be culpable as well.
> >
> > Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
>
> I think NASA is its own little universe. I'm not sure that the situation that exists there, an
> organization that is dependent on government funding for its existence, can necessarily be
> translated to this situation. But to be sure, most large corporations behave in a similar fashion
> to the CPSA in this case. Certainly the auto industry does. It will boil down to the cheaper
> option: lawsuits or revising the product to make it safe. As far as most corporations go, a human
> life has a price. And if that price is lower than fixing the problem, the problem usually doesn't
> get fixed. Sad as that may be.

Hey, if tort law "reform" passes, even the civil court route might fail. Caveat emptor.
 
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