Newish bike broke. I got injured. What to do?

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  • Newish bike broke. I got injured. What to do?
  • Hiya.

    Did my first ever triathlon at the weekend at Oban. On the mountain biking stage the main pivot of my rear suspension snapped causing my bike to basically stop. Fast. Resulted in my neck smacking off my stem, lots of swelling around my jaw and carotid artery. Caused a deep wound into my elbow down to tendons. Hard to use my hand now….certainly won’t be playing bass guitar for a number of days. Have many other injuries from this one crash. Thankfully I’ll recover but I’m off work.

    Thing is, this is on a replacement (new model for 2018) bike and the same issue happened on the first one (2016 bike) but luckily at low speed. The manufacturer said they had sorted “that issue with the rear suspension”.

    I have unfortunately decided to raise a personal injury claim as I feel it’s the only way the manufacturer will take this seriously enough to fix their design. However, I have no idea what to do. Don’t want to use any of those scheister injurylawyersforyou kind of people as I want the message I be balanced. I could have been killed and someone else could be if they don’t change their design.

    Anyone know what I should do. The manufacturer is a massive German company.  The bike shop have been brilliant and said they will support me in what ever way they can. Advised me to get my bike checked independently, but by who and how do I go about it? Is this something a normal small town solicitor can handle?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    When did you last check the pivot bolts, what torque did you tighten them to.

    It will be in the front of thr manual that you should check things before riding.

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    And that the bike isn’t intended for racing, I would imagine.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Do you have legal; cover with household insurance? British Cycling membership?

    plus one
    Member

    Sorry you were injured. Suck it up though biking/events are dangerous

    cupotea
    Member

    Had a car crash because the suspension failed catastrophically ? Suck it up, driving is dangerous.  Really?!?

    Is the fault well documented?  It could be argued that if they warrantied the same thing once before then they have little ground to say it wasn’t the bike at fault rather than you.  That said I don’t think many cover racing. Out of interest, what sort of terrain was it when it went.  Crashing down a rocky descent or the classic just riding along?

    I’d approach them and see what they say. I’d definitely ask for a different model if it’s being replaced again.

    Premier Icon lesgrandepotato
    Subscriber

    I think you need to decide if in your heart of hearts if it feels unreasonable that the bike broke. I ride a lightweight carbon full suspension bike in the lakes. There are moments when you can be outside what the manufacturer would have expected.

    On the other hand it could be a legit failure. Maybe post up some bits and we can see if we can work out what happened. If it’s a snapped bolt then the face of the break can tell quite a bit.

    Premier Icon dangeourbrain
    Subscriber

    The manufacturer is a massive German company.

    Not much point dancing around these things when your post history makes it very clear who they are but…

    Document your injuries, photos etc. now, they may be irrelevant in the long run but you can’t get them later.

    Speak to a solicitor, one which specialises in PI, they’ll probably have the initial chat for free.

    Get an independent LBS to inspect it and give you a written report, ideally just tell them it’s broken, do not explain it’s PI linked etc such that it might prejudice their appraisal, all the better if that shop also sells the big German brand in question, expect to pay a nominal amount for this.

    Then take it the lbs who supplied it to inspect the bike and give you a report, explain why, do not expect to pay.

    From there on follow solicitors advice. (Which may well be suck it up, it’s not worth the time)

    Premier Icon blurty
    Subscriber

    Slater Gordon would be worth speaking with (I found them very good when I got T Boned by a bus), this would be outside of their normal type of work I’d expect

    Do you have CTC/ Cycling UK membership? (PI legal cover is part of the package)

    Jakester
    Member

    Don’t use Rapid. I defended a claim brought in similar circumstances by them and they were hopeless!

    Hiya. It’s a Cube Stereo 140 Race.  It is roughly six months old. It was on a section of Land Rover track, mildly descending on gravel. I checked the bolts last week and the bottom pivot was fine for tightness. The pivot bolt appears to have rust around the edges. It’s had an easy, well looked after life from me. I was cycling beside someone, hear a crack, then I’m eating dirt.

    Whether I was racing or not had no consequence, it wasn’t being used any differently to a normal mountain bike ride or any faster or in harsher conditions. If anything the race terrain is milder than my typical ride.

    It is completely unreasonable that the part broke. It’s designed for trail riding and the shop have told me it’s designed to take big hits (which I have never given it).

    Just wondering if anyone knows how to get bikes checked independently and how to proceed legally as I have no idea.

    mickmcd
    Member

    it says race in the name

    cynic-al
    Member

    I’m not sure a bike check will be needed – you can present a broken bike and evidence that the same happened previously.

    I’d go with a specialist firm I think, more likely to do no win-no-fee, advise you on what your injuries are worth, and whether you have a good case or not. No harm in an initial chat with any firm.

    And I wouldn’t hold out any hope that one individual suing them will get them to pull the bike off the market.

    Suck it up+1

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    It is completely unreasonable that the part broke. It’s designed for trail riding and the shop have told me it’s designed to take big hits (which I have never given it).

    Speaking from a failure point of view it’s unlikely that it fails not unreasonable. Things snap that could be down to manufacturing defect, design flaw or a few other factors. Most of these will go their entire life without failing, some will snap early in life and others will snap at the end of their life.

    This is the dispassionate part of it. Stuff fails and failures have consequences.If I wanted to get all arsey from a manufacturing point of view then I’d want to know how you tightened it, where the calibration logs of your torque wrench were and your service records to ensure you did not over tighten or under tighten it.

    As far as racing as a term many manufacturers recognise that racing and riding are generally 2 different environments and offer shorter warranty on raced frames as they tend to have a harder life.

    I can also see why the bike shop may say they are supporting you but want somebody else to asses the part as they probably want to be separate from this and any blowback on them.

    IANAL but I would have thought in order to pursue a claim against them you would need to prove that they were at fault here.

    philjunior
    Member

    That said I don’t think many cover racing.

    I don’t think a warranty would have much bearing on a claim for compensation.

    Maybe if the OP was doing a huge huck to save time in the race (were you OP? I’m guessing not.) – sure, everything has a limit. But this doesn’t sound like that’s the case. Don’t expect it to be straightforward, there will be arguments (successful or otherwise) about whether maintenance/inspection has been adequate, etc.

    I would say whilst an inspection from another LBS may be useful, it’s not the same as a proper engineering investigation, which even the manufacturer may not be well placed to perform properly. Keep all the broken bits you have. These can be used to determine the source of the failure, which, with an appropriate inspection (i.e. not an LBS) could give an indication of fault.

    It may be also that, say, the manual says to inspect things every ride/week/month/year, however wherever the failure happened may not be inspectable without totally stripping the bike down, and further to this the critical crack size (that you’d have present one inspection for it not to lead to failure prior to the next) may not be visible to the naked eye (or may even not be detectable) – in which case it’s inadequate to expect the user to inspect it to guard against failure.

    philjunior
    Member

    Oh and another thing you might want to consider is whether you’d actually sue the company or the shop – which would be awkward but potentially necessary, and might put you off.

    Of course the buck would pass through the shop to their supplier and ultimately the manufacturer, but…

    joshvegas
    Member

    Nothing should fail on that course there is simply nothing that approaches bike testing.

    No advice but if it was on sunday* i hope you have warmed up?

    *Was it you coming in on a quad?

    geex
    Member

    Agree with everything Al (and the OP) have said. An awful lot of real tools here saying suck it up and trying to justify the failure when it’s clearly a design/manufacturing/assembly fault to have happened exacty the same way twice actually JRA.

    Good luck

    poolman
    Member

    A friend of mine suffered life changing injuries in a road bike failure in a race.  The forks collapsed one side and she could have been killed, she actually broke her back and still has limited movement now.  The discs are fused so she can still compete but cannot do some flex moves in pilates for eg.

    Anyway, she did not just suck it up, but claimed against the manufacturer.  An independent expert inspected the forks, carbon, and found a manufacturing defect.  Something to do with layering carbon, not too sure tbh, anyway the manufcturer agreed before court action and made a v generous award.

    I can find out the process if you want, she had to sign a confidentiality agreement so I cant be any more specific.

    The award was well into 6 figures so don’t get fobbed off, or listen to the biking is dangerous brigade.

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    out of curiosity, what was the point of failure?

    definitely not in the suck it up camp, but stoner might be along at some point hopefully (or someone could point this thread out to him) – iirc he closely followed, and reported  back here about, the Pinder/ Fox lawyer tabs case- might give you some insight into the difficulties potentially ahead.

    EDIT: found the thread, had thought it was on the old forum https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/pinder-v-fox/ if interested

    tjagain
    Member

    I would go after the manufacturer.  Sounds like negligence to me.  I don’t think it anything to do with the shop

    It will be a tricky case to make tho — expert reports, evidence of other failures, maintenance schedules etc etc

    I would be looking to the lawyers recommended by british cycling to see what they say.  I’d be hoping for an out of court settlement.  Its also complicated by the international aspects

    Premier Icon Greybeard
    Subscriber

    Guessing you are near Glasgow, if you want an independent view you could ask Ben Cooper (Kinetics). As a builder of custom frames etc (see latest Singletrack mag) he’s clearly an expert in bike structure. He’s on the forum as bencooper but doesn’t seem to have posted for 6 months.

    Got to say the shock mounting bolts on these bikes do unscrew themselves easily and you end up with the loads going through one side of an unscrewed bolt. The (steel bolts I think) are supplied dry from what I remember. I used blue thread adhesive and it proved not man enough for the job! The stronger red adhesive seems to be working.

    Most pivot bolts, for any bike, usually come supplied with dried up blue thread adhesive. I always clean it off and apply fresh! You have to be careful how you apply it, to prevent getting it all over the bolt shank and inside the bushings/hardware. I<span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>t’s better to put a tiny bit on the bolt thread, wipe it off, then apply more to the thread in the frame, if accessible!</span>

    Premier Icon mick_r
    Subscriber

    Chester – it isn’t “dried up” – It is meant to be dry and activates when you screw the bolt in.

    http://www.threadlocking.co.uk/loctite-dri-loc.html

    Yeah I know but I always put fresh on regardless. Force of habit, from experience of using old sealants/chemicals that have sat around on shelves. I’m happier applying fresh knowing it will work properly first time!

    ta11pau1
    Member

    What actually broke? The pivot bolt or the frame/swingarm?

    The 2016 and 2018 frames are completely different so I’m guessing it’s more likely to be the pivot bolt.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I would go after the manufacturer.  Sounds like negligence to me.  I don’t think it anything to do with the shop

    Warranty cases go through the shop, the shop deals with the supplier, the supplier deal with the company. This one might get escalated a bit above that due to the personal injury nature of it but it’s still to all intents and purposes a warranty claim.

    The shop have the contacts within the company to escalate it and more importantly from the OPs point of view, it’s one person in one shop they have to deal with, not being passed around “a massive German company”.

    dyls
    Member

    Yes tell us what broke, the frame? How much do you weigh?

    To me a 140mm bike should be expected to be ridden on demanding trails, otherwise what’s the point of 140mm travel.

    Premier Icon rjmccann101
    Subscriber

    Engineering departments in Universities often get brought in for this kind of case. If you get a good solicitor they should have the contacts necessary to get the cause of the failure investigated.

    ta11pau1
    Member

    Also bear in mind the front triangle frame design of the 2018 140 is almost identical to the 150 stereo, which is the bike raced at the EWS by Greg Callaghan etc. If there was an inherent fault with the bike I’d expect them to find it, they don’t exactly ride gravel roads.

    If it was one of the pivot bolts that has snapped, how many miles has the bike done? Have the pivot bolts and bearings been serviced in that time? If there was rust on the bolt, sounds like it may have either come loose allowing water ingress and/or may not have had much/any grease in the bearing, and it may have seized? We’re the bolts/bearings checked and greased by the bike shop as part of the PDI checks?

    Not trying to defend the manufacturer, or the bike shop – but I am a little concerned seeing as a stereo 140 will be my next bike next year…

    I’ve also heard of Stereo bolts breaking, although my own 140TM Stereo has been fine, and has done everything from the Lakes to the Mega, and is three years old.

    What actually broke? Was it the main pivot bolt? Was it loose, if you know?

    I think a personal injury claim will come down to whether it’s a known fault or whether it could have been a ‘big hit’ that caused it. Everything can break, if you hit it hard enough. That’s gonna be hard to argue against.

    Hi everyone. It is the pivot bolt on the drive side. That bolt is hard to get to but appeared tight when I checked it last week.

    It seems to have sheared on the transition from the swingarm to frame. I have to say I haven’t done huge miles, maybe not even medium miles and the hardest trails I have ridden ar the reds at Comrie Croft.

    I keep the bike clean and dry stored in a garage which is part of my house. The rust shows on the little part of the lip of the bolt that is visible from the outside. I have experience as a materials design engineer in automotive so have my own opinion about that.

    Regarding the law it appears that action has to go through the shop, even though they have done nothing wrong. The bike has had its follow up service only weeks ago and nothing was mentioned. It has been a joy to ride. The shop (Dales) are brilliant and have given completely unbiased advice.

    Premier Icon Davesport
    Subscriber

    @garryfmacdonald Was that you walking with your rear mech hanging off ?

    tjagain
    Member

    Crazylegs

    Consumer protection act stuff responsibility is the shop.  Warranty is over and above this and is provided by the manufacturer or importer not the shop

    this is not a warranty or consumer protection act claim.  Its a negligence claim and as its a manufacturing defect being claimed then its nothing to do with the shop

    IANAL but I doubt you are either

    OP – you need real advice.  the negligence is not on behalf of the shop.

    ta11pau1
    Member

    Have you been able to check the bearing(s) in the frame and swingarm? I can only think if it’s sheared between these then the bearing may have been seized in the frame and/or swingarm, and over time the twisting force then acting on the bolt has fatigued it and resulted in it shearing.

    Were the pivots dissembled, cleaned and re-greased as part of the service?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    I keep the bike clean and dry stored in a garage which is part of my house. The rust shows on the little part of the lip of the bolt that is visible from the outside. I have experience as a materials design engineer in automotive so have my own opinion about that.

    Well if you do get legal advice to go forward make sure you get a good worst case cost estimate.vs a potential payout

    Premier Icon Trekster
    Subscriber

    “identical to the 150 stereo, which is the bike raced at the EWS by Greg Callaghan etc. If there was an inherent fault with the bike I’d expect them to find it, they don’t exactly ride gravel roads.”

    I believe, having asked someone in the “know” that Cube sponsored riders get through a few frames in a a year!!!! Chatting to him and his brother at the weekend and it’s amazin what goes on behind the scenes that we, the general public don’t get to here about. When a shop owner won’t stock a brand then there must be something in the wind……

    I had ocassion a few years ago to have a discussion with Kona tech dept re the bolts they fitted to the auld Dawg frames. I ignored their advice and fitted bolts I knew were not going to cause me any further issues, and have had none. I am no engineer but am a time served motor Mach and 40yrs working as a factory fitter…….. irrelevant I suppose

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    When a shop owner won’t stock a brand then there must be something in the wind……

    Yep, I know a few reasons where shops have dropped brands, everything from normal business relations, to betrayal, arguments, finance and getting pissed off with distributors. Which one is it?

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