Following our post yesterday on the Specialized Epic and Era recall notice from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, we received communications that the recall was “old news.” We did not, er, recall any past recall notice, so we decided to pursue the matter.
The hotline number Specialized provides did not answer.
There’s nothing about a recall on the Specialized Web site. There is, however, a .pdf about a “stop sale notice” affecting Epic and Era bikes, dated Nov. 23, 2009. There is nothing to link the notice with the recall, however, either on the Specialized site or in the CPSC announcement.
A friend forwarded an e-mail from an executive at Gregg’s Cycles in (the Seattle suburb of) Bellevue — a big Specialized dealer — noting that Specialized had notified dealers last November that the bikes should not be sold. (The flaw involves a tab on the seat stay which could fail and potentially throw the “Brain” shock cartridge into the wheel.)
We went to Gregg’s Greenlake Cycle and asked around. No one had heard of any recall notice, although one of the sales people did remember the Specialized advisory last fall. We talked to three Gregg’s sales people in all, and to a person they said any owner of any Specialized bike potentially affected by the recall notice should immediately stop riding and return the bike to Gregg’s for inspection. You do not have to have purchased the bike from Gregg’s, they will take care of you all the same.
A Web search turned up no past recall notice on Epic and Era. It did, however, confirm that Specialized had sent out a “stop sale” notice to dealers. BikeRadar posted a detailed story at the time, and MTBR Forums had a discussion as well. But the general public was never informed of the potential problem.
One post in particular on MTBR, a Q&A, attempted to clarify the situation:
Is this a recall?
This is not a recall at this moment. However, we are in contact with the CPSC and will follow all of their requests and protocols. We will keep you apprised as we get direction from the CPSC.
There you have it: “Not a recall” back then.
So the situation as best we can determine is this:
The recall is new. Some 1,350 bikes are affected. Presumably these are bikes that got out into the marketplace despite the stop-sale notification (or perhaps the number includes bikes sold as well as those examined before sale).
Don’t ride your Specialized 2010 without ascertaining if it’s part of the recall. Contact your nearest Specialized dealer for instructions.
We like Specialized (we have friends who work for the company) and admire its customer service. But in this case we feel it has dropped the public-relations ball. This may be intentional: No company, whether it’s Toyota or Apple or whomever, likes to draw attention to faulty products.
Specialized should be issuing its own bulletin on this situation to clarify any potential misunderstandings, including how many of the bikes made it out into the marketplace. And someone should at least pick up the phone at the “recall hotline.”