Thursday, January 08, 2009

8 Mavic Recalls R-Sys Front Wheel

This just in, thanks to an attentive reader of my blog : Mavic is recalling all its R-SYS front wheels made with carbon composite tubular spokes. This is not the first time Mavic is recalling wheels due to spoke issue. Back in 1995, over 1,100 Cosmic wheels were recalled due to serious hub and spoke problems.

This latest recall is effective as of January 5, 2009. I have documented the characteristic pattern of failure in these wheels in this post. You can also see more pictures of the failure in last year's Pace Bend Cat4/5 race in Texas. Other weaknesses in the product are also obvious. For example, Cog Snob noted in November 08 :

"The valve stem hole is a bit unprotected and can chafe the inner tube right at the valve stem. In less than two months I have had several valve stem failures due to this, a couple resulting in blow outs, and one that nearly caused me a nasty crash."

I'm happy that their designers have taken note of cases such as these on the web (if they have).

Courtesy : Dave@ DCM Photography

Mavic declares on their website :

"As part of its ongoing commitment to customer safety and satisfaction, Mavic has announced a voluntary recall of its R-SYS front wheels as a precautionary safety measure.

Mavic has identified that the carbon tubular spokes of the R-SYS front wheel may break during use in certain circumstances causing the rider to lose control and possibly fall, potentially sustaining injury.

All models of Mavic R-SYS front wheels are concerned (R-SYS, R-SYS test, R-SYS Premium), whether purchased separately or as part of a bicycle. The wheels must no longer be used."

Read more about the recall here. In exchange for your returned product, they'll give you a new redesigned wheel for free. I wonder how good the new ones will be.

UPDATE 1/12/2009

I'm hearing some folks voicing the concern that this recall is not officially recognized in the U.S as yet. However, in France, the recall is in full effect. Can anyone confirm this?

UPDATE 6/30/2009

Inspite of the front wheel recall, post recall wheels are also failing catastrophically, placing riders in series danger. Two recent instances of these failures are documented on :

1. Velonews's Ben Deleney experienced a shattering crash in a race due to a failure in the second generation front wheel. Read more here.

2. Bike Hugger's David Schloss experienced an R-Sys rear wheel failure, and seems to be furious. He feels lucky he wasn't riding at speed when this happened.

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  1. I like the use of the term "in certain circumstances." Such as using this racing wheel for racing...

  2. Anonymous5:26 PM

    Yours is the best cycling blog. Just started reading this..!

  3. Anonymous10:56 AM

    I definitely believe there are problems with the wheelset, hence the recall. However, the incident at Pace Bend included some heavy contact between the riders during a sprint finish. One rider who made it through had some nasty rash on his leg from the tire of the downed rider. It is almost certain that the spokes made contact with a pedal during the incident. Just some insight into th ephoto.

  4. Anonymous8:04 PM

    Yes, the update is correct. Mavic in USA will not recognize the recall until 31st March 2009. If you still want to ride your bike they're going out of their way to give you a pair of Aksiums that you can keep even after you exchange your R-Sys. Sometimes recalls are sweet.

  5. Anonymous5:05 PM

    you realize that if this were a car, people would get sued.

    what are they going to do, wait till someone dies before they pull their head out of their ass?

  6. Anonymous8:12 AM

    So whatever happened with these? I'd sort of forgotten about it with the latest Trek steerer tube failure news in VN. Any updates?

  7. Anonymous9:33 PM

    I'm currently running a set of R sys,post recall!Should I be worried of possible failure?

  8. Larry sez: The real issue here in the VN case is a classic "all about the money" issue. His wheel "failure" was eventually blamed by the wheel maker on the tire coming off the rim under stress. Once that happened the wheel came apart like the spokes were uncooked spaghetti. Can't fault Mavic as the wheel was never designed to withstand that sort of abuse BUT, did those who eventually determined the TIRE was actually at fault do anything about that? I've never seen any warnings about these tires, but it would seem the tire importer's goodwill and continued spec of the wheel makers products on their bicycles was more important than the safety of the folks who mounted X tire on their wheel? I'm sure denials will be thick and fast if anyone pushed hard on this but it's not hard to figure out what tire is the culprit if you do a bit of investigating. Where did the VN guy end up...working for Mavic?


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