Trek QR Recall: An Audible Click

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Lever in disc rotor causes crash

Since Trek announced their massive quick-release recall, it’s been discussed in back channels and online. As the news broke, Trek told me in email that they pushed hard for the recall

We pushed CPSC on the recall. It was our discovery that we took to them to see if they were aware. They were not and we started working on the voluntary recall at that time. Our stance is that safety is a huge priority for Trek. We investigate every accident reported to us and in our investigation into an accident last year we made this discovery. Went to CPSC and are now taking this action. It’s a big number and it’s not easy to undertake but it’s the right thing to do and the decision to work with the CPSC was easy to make when we realized what the potential of the issue was.

Today, our magazine contributor Patrick Brady wrote on RKP about quick releases and cited a conversation I had with an industry insider about a clickable quick release

Someone needs to invent a skewer that will emit an audible click once the lever is tightened sufficiently. Until it’s properly tightened, no click. It’s a simple message: When you hear the click you’ll know you’re safe.

Sound silly? It isn’t. It’s smart and here’s why…the main problem is a cyclist belief system that the special riding club knows how to make a critical part of a bicycle work and others don’t. The end result is injuries, some serious. When wheels fell out of my bikes last year, it was laughed off, blown off, and seriously said to me, “that’s how it is.” I believe that’s because “racing” drives the marketing so much in the bike industry. So perhaps someone that isn’t hard, suffers, and races sure as shit doesn’t know how to put a skewer on, right?

Idiot skewer user!

Wrong. This is a design problem and it’s designer’s job to protect users and consumers from themselves. Whatever design solves this problem, has to do more than retain the wheel in the fork with either tabs or hooks, as is required by law now.

A clickable quick release sure sounds good to me and honestly, I know very smart people in tech who like to ride a bike once in a while and don’t know how a QR works, like at all. That’s just not something they should have to think too much about; despite the historical context of Tulio’s genius that cold day in the Dolomites.