Crappy Things in the Bicycle Industry

Don’t worry, we’ll post more happy, pretty, shiny things from NAHBS in a sec, but here are two rather lame things going on in our favorite industry at the moment.

First, Trek Bicycles sued Trek Winery for trademark infringement.  The suit was filed in the bicycle manufacturer’s home state, and a judge threw it out for jurisdictional reasons, which means Trek Bikes will have to pursue it in California, home of the wine brand.  The contention is that Trek Travel’s most popular trip is a wine touring bicycle trip, and they claim confusion could be likely.  To which Trek Winery’s lawyer, Will Pecau of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, acidly ripostes, “Bikes aren’t wines. Anyone who can’t tell the difference between the two doesn’t need to be buying either one.”  Read the full story here.  (In all honesty, the winery’s logo font is strikingly similar to the bike brand’s)

Second, Bike Intelligencer sent us a link to a customer’s video showing what they claim to be a design flaw in the Thule T2 hitchmount bike rack.  Rather than type a big explanation, we’ll just show you the vid:

UPDATED! My buddy Karl, who just happens to handle PR and marketing for Thule saw this post and his reply is after the break…

Response from Thule:

We have heard of a few instances regarding the issues that have been described with the T2. Our quality testing team has been unable to replicate this scenario in our lab or on our road tests. As always, this testing is carried out with correctly assembled and installed products. Thule is committed to making products which have the highest safety and quality. Even though we were unable to duplicate the problem, as a precaution, we started installing a bolt on the underside of the T2 last year. This bolt helps to keep the T2 trays on the rack even if the tray bolts were not secured correctly during the installation.

The Thule T2 uses a similar 4-bolt design as a bicycle stem. As with a stem, each of the four bolts needs to be tightened down evenly with a tool that can provide adequate torque. Although we have not yet inspected this rack first hand, the tool used in the video appears to be a common multi-tool which is good to use for emergencies, but doesn’t provide enough leverage to fully tighten the lock-tight coated bolts on a T2.

We have been in contact with Tim to learn more about his experience with this rack. Repeated efforts by Thule to obtain a police report, make contact with witnesses or potentially injured individuals, gather any insurance claims or obtain the name of the trucking company that hit his bike have not been successful. Finally, our quality department has not received his T2 which is a must have for our internal analysis. Until we receive this information and rack we cannot determine what happened.

As with all Thule products, the T2 comes with a lifetime warranty and we stand behind the product 100%. If anyone has an issue with any of our products, they can call our customer service 800-238-2388. As soon as we do receive the rack in question back and figure out the cause for the failure we will let you and your readers know.

Thanks for the response, Karl.  We’ll post more info on this as we get it.

Comments

Thrillho - 03/05/10 - 11:55am

Man, I have one of those. This is an informative post. Please provide an update or a response from the manufacturer if one comes available.

Unknown - 03/05/10 - 1:46pm

Use a real wrench/torque wrench, not a cheap multi tool, to tighten and it won’t back out.

Tyler (Editor) - 03/05/10 - 6:05pm

Just posted reply from Thule

Minh - 03/05/10 - 6:43pm

If you do a google search on the T2 there are a LOT of people that had issues with their T2 coming off the hitch. The piece with the 4 bolts have been known to snap as well. Do a search and it’ll scare the crap outta you. With that said, i own a pre thule (sportworks) T2 and it is an AWESOME rack! I think thule messed with the design and screwed it up a bit. Just make sure you check the bolts EVERYTIME before you take off and you be ok. Also, i bought a thule snug tite lock the other week and the threads aren’t even the same as the one on my sportworks t2… wth?! I hope my T2 never breaks because i would HATE to have to “upgrade” to a newer model… oh, one last thing, the sportworks came in ALL black, looks way nicer than the silver that thule does.

NATHAN - 03/06/10 - 8:39am

hey drill a hole through the square tube that those platforms connect to then put a pin in it so those platforms can only back to that pin and wont come off

Ron C - 03/06/10 - 9:29pm

I have heard about this as well.
And even if you do what the install says , it does move. I like to find out why Thule thinks about this issue. It is not uncommon.

BBike - 03/07/10 - 3:34pm

I have a friend who lost a bike off one of these racks. Thule needs to wake up that not everyone is going to know what a “a tool that can provide adequate torque” is. Folks will grab whatever tool that fits the bolts and tighten them down. Also, what if you are at a remote trailhead and you realize your rack is loose and all you have is a multi-tool? A design with a more robust safety margin is required here. Thule – buck up and do what’s right. I will not buy any Thule products until they step up and take care of this issue.

[...] Thule wishes would go away: While at Sea Otter, I spoke with Karl, their marketing guy, about that infamous video that claims these racks are unsafe and that the design is inherently flawed.  Thule says the [...]

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