Carbon fiber fork woes?

I’m not a huge fan of carbon fiber for much more than headset spacers. (I prefer steel or titanium) But there are plenty of cyclists out there who have ridden thousands upon thousands of miles without any issues. So when I came across two articles about carbon fiber forks in the same day, it struck my interest.

First, Felt has issued a voluntary recall through the CPSC of their 2011 F3, F4, F5, and F75 models due to a fork failure. The recall specifically covers about 1550 units with the carbon fiber frame and fork combo. No mention of what kind of injuries anyone has sustained due to a failure, but here’s a company that’s taking action right away, regardless.

Next, I read about a lawsuit against Trek due to a carbon fiber fork that reportedly failed on a 2002 Trek 2000.

The problem that I have is this:

“The defendant is accused of strict products liability for manufacturing a defective and unreasonably dangerous product and for negligently designing, manufacturing, marketing and distributing a bicycle with a steering fork that can fracture. The defendant is also accused of breaching express and implied warranty of merchantability and of gross negligence.”

Yes, it’s unfortunate that someone was terribly injured while riding a bicycle. And while steel and aluminum frames and components have been known to fail, for some odd reason, when carbon fiber is involved, it seems as though the incident is far more sensationalized. Trek has been a pioneer in carbon fiber development, widely recognized for their OCLV technology. Their products are at least as good, if not better, than anything from Giant or Specialized. To point to a single eight year old bicycle as proof of negligence in design and manufacturing is preposterous. If there was an issue, Trek, like Felt, would surely have been aware of it sooner.

Again, I’m no fan, but that’s just not right.

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