Lectric eBikes, one of the largest suppliers of electric bicycles in the US, made a joint announcement today with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) of a voluntary recall for many of the Lectric XP 3.0 electric bikes produced and sold earlier this year.
The recall is related to a braking issue with the mechanical brake calipers on the bikes.
According to the announcement, “the mechanical disc brake calipers located on the front and rear of the e-bike can fail resulting in loss of control, posing crash and injury hazards to the rider.” The recall covers approximately 45,000 Lectric XP 3.0 electric bikes with mechanical brakes sold between November 2022 and May 2023.
Among those 45,000 e-bikes, there were four instances reported of brake failure due to a faulty part in the brakes produced by one of Lectric eBikes’ suppliers. Two of those instances resulted in injuries to the rider.
That model hasn’t been sold since May of this year when Lectric eBikes switched the XP 3.0 over to hydraulic disc brakes.
Recalled e-bikes to get at-home upgrade kits
Lectric eBikes has prepared a remedy for the affected bikes that includes a hydraulic disc brake upgrade kit. The kit is designed to be simple enough for most riders to install on the bikes themselves in 10 to 15 minutes, but Lectric will pay for a bike shop to professionally install the hydraulic disc brakes for anyone who doesn’t want to install the new brake kit alone.
The hydraulic disc brake upgrade kits are already available, and Lectric eBikes is contacting owners of all affected bikes to get their hydraulic brake kits sent out immediately.
I spoke with Lectric eBikes cofounder and CEO Levi Conlow about the recall, and he explained that “once we learned of the issue, we immediately stopped selling those e-bikes with mechanical disc brakes.”
They then reached out to the CPSC to begin the process of a voluntary recall.
The four instances of brake failure only occurred under a certain scenario when the brake cable was not properly adjusted, and so the company also sent out a service bulletin to its riders explaining how to check and adjust their brakes to ensure that any potentially affected brake calipers would be properly adjusted to prevent any future failures. The company also began offering its hydraulic brake upgrade kit for free to any XP 3.0 e-bike owners back in May, and around half of its customers have already taken the company up on the offer to receive a free hydraulic brake replacement in advance of the recall announcement today.
Despite Lectric eBikes electing to enroll in the Fast Track Recall program, it is common for companies engaging in recalls with the CPSC to be barred from officially announcing the recall until the CPSC makes a joint statement. In this case, it looks like Lectric stopped selling the models in May when it announced its hydraulic brake upgrades, but the CPSC’s announcement only came in September.
Lectric eBikes had already been in the process of moving the Lectric XP 3.0 e-bike line to hydraulic disc brakes, but expedited those plans when it discovered the mechanical brake issue. “We moved up our hydraulic brake timeline by around six months,” Conlow explained. “It was supposed to be our big November launch.”
But for the company, it was important to make those changes quickly despite the small number of brake failures. “We knew we were going to do the right thing. We weren’t going to cheap out or wait until 200 incidents were reported.”
For Conlow, the most important thing in the days following the discovery was to act quickly as they could and make the process as easy and safe for riders as possible. “For us, it was important to spare no expense. We’re paying for shop installations. We have the replacement kits in stock already, right now. In fact, I probably bought way too many of them, but we knew we had to have enough to have everyone covered right away.”
Anyone seeking more information on the recall can reach out to Lectric eBikes at 879-479-5422 or find more information online at https://www.lectricbikesrecall.expertinquiry.com or at www.lectricbikes.com under the recalls tab for more information.
E-bike industry recalls
The last few years have seen several large recalls in the e-bike industry. One of the freshest on the minds of many riders involved the RadWagon 4, a cargo e-bike that was recalled due to a wheel issue. Over 29,000 of those models were recalled after 137 reports of tire failures, and riders were left waiting several months for upgrade kits to arrive.
Trek recently issued a recall for over 96,000 bikes that had a separate braking issue related to the brake cables and housing. In that case, the bikes continued to be sold over a nearly two-year period from June 2021 to March 2023 until the recall was issued in June of 2023. A total of 195 cases of brake failure were reported.
This is certainly an unfortunate turn of events, and anyone who owns a Lectric XP 3.0 with mechanical disc brakes should absolutely reach out to Lectric to get their free hydraulic upgrade kit. Even if your brakes appear to be fine, you never know if there’s a defect inside your brake caliper. Plus, higher quality hydraulic disc brakes are a great upgrade – and there’s no price better than free!
Unfortunately recalls do happen from time to time in any consumer product industry, but I’m glad to see that Lectric appears to be handling it quite well. The problem seems to have been related to a small number of improperly produced brake calipers (with only four reported failures), but since Lectric couldn’t know exactly how many or which bikes were affected, they immediately reached out to all XP 3.0 customers to help them adjust their brakes properly to prevent the issue from occurring even if the brakes contained the manufacturing defect. Then it seems to me like they’ve worked to officially recall the bikes as fast as they were allowed to by the CPSC, and they already have the solution in stock and shipping out. As far as recalls go, this is about as good as it gets, in my opinion.
Obviously it would be better if the brake defect had been found before it ever made it out, but this also highlights a unique advantage of the direct-to-consumer business model. For example, in the case of Trek, their brake recall included nearly 100,000 bikes across over a dozen models. And since they sell through dealers, Trek was somewhat hamstrung in contacting customers since it simply didn’t know where all of its bikes were. With D2C sales like Lectric’s and many other value-priced electric bike manufacturers, direct sales mean the company knows who all of its customers are and can contact them directly. D2C isn’t better for everything, but in this case it appears to have been an advantage.
Lastly, the recall gives us interesting insight into Lectric’s sales figures. In a six-month period from November 2022 to May 2023, Lectric seems to have sold 45,000 of its XP 3.0 models. Extrapolated to 90,000 bikes annually (though that may not be entirely accurate due to seasonal sales impacts) in just one of the company’s several model lines, those are some impressive sales numbers.
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