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Old 05-27-14, 12:12 AM   #1
tjax
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Sister was in serious accident, not sure what to do about this...

This may go to another thread but please hear me out without judgement, and let me know what might be best to do.

My sister purchased a new mountain bike two weeks ago and went on a bike ride with me on Monday. Things were well, and we went 19 miles before she couldn't stop and lost control on some gravel and landed hard on the ground. She lost consciousness, came to, and couldn't remember were she was, why she was with me, or how old she was. I called 911, and rescue had to drive down the trail, and they immediately brought her to the ER. One of the fire fighters was very kind, and put our bikes in a fire truck and dropped it off at my house.

To make a very long week put simple, she has a Traumatic Brain Injury, with a severe concussion, and is having a difficult recovery.

My sister is currently staying at my moms house for 24X7 supervision, and requested that I drop her bike off at her home. This is were things get a little hairy. Before bringing the bike to her home, I decided to check the bike for damage and take it for a spin around my complex. I immediately discovered that her hydraulic brakes do not come to a stop, instead they lightly rub forcing the bike to slow down without any stopping motion. Her bike, and my bike have the exact same break setup. My breaks are firm, and are very responsive with the slightest grab. My sisters brakes were very spongey, and when applying pressure, the brake handle touches the rubber grasping handle on the front bar, just barely slowing the bike down with no stopping power. This happens on both brake handles on the bike.

I am very confident that this could be a major contributing factor to not being able to control her speed and ultimately ending up in an accident, but I don't know who to talk to about reviewing the setup of the bike. Do I make a complaint with the bike shop, or the manufacturer? Either way it needs to be fixed, and someone needs to address the matter.

In Hind site, I wish I would have ridden her bike before we went on our trail, I would have immediately known something was wrong with the braking and we wouldn't have ridden that day. My sister is an experienced rider, but has never had disc brakes before. She understood the braking as being normal, as she purchased the bike from a reputable dealer in town, and was not an expert.

Any help as to the best method of going about having this looked into is greatly appreciated.

Thank You
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Old 05-27-14, 12:37 AM   #2
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You didn't mention a helmet , was one worn ? Don't feel guilt for the accident, after all you had done 19 miles. She is an experienced cyclist you said, a cyclist should know that if you break , the bike slows down. That is with rim or disk breaks. I wish her luck in her recovery , and to you as well.
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Old 05-27-14, 12:47 AM   #3
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Sounds like youre looking for someone to sue.

How does an experienced rider not know that a brake going all the way to the bar and not stopping the bike isnt normal? She rode 19 miles before this on those brakes.

Anyways good luck you probably wont get anything out of the bike shop and definately not the manufacturer.

The manufacturer is gonna blame the shop and the shop is gonna blame you, you dont have proof the brakes caused the accident and the 19 miles before hand were rode without issues or her complaining so it will never get anywhere.

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Old 05-27-14, 01:05 AM   #4
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First of all, my sincere thoughts and prayers for your sister's swift and complete recovery, and for you as well.

Now, I can't say too many positive things about the brake on your sister's bike. Chances are, it was defective from the beginning and could have caused her to crash. It is also possible that the impact of the accident broke the brake. For a bike that went through a crash like that, I'd predict both the bike shop and the manufacturer would try vigorously to defend themselves saying the accident was the major contributor for the broken disc brake, not the other way round. An expert investigation may be able to reveal the truth, but it would probably cost a lot of money.
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Old 05-27-14, 01:44 AM   #5
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Hoping for a speedy recovery for your sister.

You need to consult a reputable personal injury lawyer specializing in products liability law. Litigation like this can be expensive as you or your lawyer would have to hire experts and as others have said, the bike shop and the manufacturer will look to defend themselves.

You didn't mention whether your sister was wearing a helmet and second, whether you or she checked the brakes before hitting the trail. I am not much for mountain biking but, whether I ride roads, MUPs, or trails, I always check the brakes before heading out. 99% of the time, it is a quick 2 second check but once a few years ago when my son was younger, it was a good thing I checked. Somehow, the cheap V brake on his front wheel had been damaged and was totally non functional. He apparently didn't notice as the back brake was still working but bombing down the hill or in an emergency situation, you never know.
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Old 05-27-14, 07:51 AM   #6
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All bike manuals tell you to test brakes (and everything else) before riding. It is the riders responsibility to ensure their bike is functioning properly.
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Old 05-27-14, 10:17 AM   #7
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Things can go wrong on the maiden journey of any bike. I am really sorry to hear about your sisters injuries. Hydraulic brakes should be very consistent, so I don't understand that problem. Have the bike inspected by a different bike shop. Don't tell them anything about the injury. Just ask for a "Objective Inspection." Be ready to pay for the inspection.

As for the injury, I join the crowd who will pray and hope for a good quick recovery. It happens. I spent 9 days in ICU and wasn't going that fast when it happened. That is the down side to MTBing. But that was 2010. I have had a ton of fun since then on the bike. Never give up, just get smarter.

OH Yeah, a helmet saved my life on that one.
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Old 05-27-14, 11:10 AM   #8
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If you are considering any legal action or investigation whatsoever, you (probably know you) should consult an attorney and immediately stop posting anything online.
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Old 05-27-14, 02:03 PM   #9
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If they are hydraulic disks couldn't they be full of air because of the accident? I have heard that an upside down bike can easily get air in the brakes if the lever is accidentally pulled.
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Old 05-27-14, 03:48 PM   #10
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If they are hydraulic disks couldn't they be full of air because of the accident? I have heard that an upside down bike can easily get air in the brakes if the lever is accidentally pulled.
If that is the case I had no idea. Info like this is why I ask.
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Old 05-27-14, 03:49 PM   #11
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Sounds like youre looking for someone to sue.
Litigation is against my core beliefs, other than serious loss of injury. I want the bike fixed, and I want to know what caused the failure. I did not make mention of a law suit, and it is not the focus of my research.
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Old 05-27-14, 03:51 PM   #12
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How does an experienced rider not know that a brake going all the way to the bar and not stopping the bike isnt normal? She rode 19 miles before this on those brakes.
I understand were you are going with this, but failure at speeds higher than your average riding speed would only be present in that circumstance. Are you now going to tell me that one should not ride more than 11 MPH or something like that?

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Old 05-27-14, 03:53 PM   #13
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You didn't mention a helmet , was one worn ?
Sadly, one was not worn due to her extreme stubbornness. I also kept pushing to have her wear one. I know without a doubt, she will never ride without one again, and she is using this as a lesson to warn others of the dangers of not wearing a helmet.
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Old 05-27-14, 03:57 PM   #14
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You didn't mention whether your sister was wearing a helmet and second, whether you or she checked the brakes before hitting the trail. I am not much for mountain biking but, whether I ride roads, MUPs, or trails, I always check the brakes before heading out. 99% of the time, it is a quick 2 second check but once a few years ago when my son was younger, it was a good thing I checked. Somehow, the cheap V brake on his front wheel had been damaged and was totally non functional. He apparently didn't notice as the back brake was still working but bombing down the hill or in an emergency situation, you never know.
I did not, and it would have seemed somewhat normal at slow speeds, but at about 10MPH+ you can definitely tell right away they are not responsive. She has ridden for many years, and I now know to make sure to ask others before we ride to make sure their bikes have been looked over. I also will not ride with someone who is not wearing a helmet after this experience, as she was not.

Also, she was under the impression that the bike was functioning as it should because she previously addressed the brakes when she purchased the bike.

I am saddened that this happened, and I am never one to point blame at something else, and never even had a second thought until I rode her bike (which does not have other damage besides a scratch.

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Old 05-27-14, 04:03 PM   #15
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Thanks for your suggestions all, I am taking the bike to another shop tonight, I will let you know of my findings.
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Old 05-27-14, 09:27 PM   #16
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I also will not ride with someone who is not wearing a helmet after this experience, as she was not.
I understand your feelings, but even though I ride with a helmet ( BTW my worst, most painful accident happened while doing 1 mph or less ) I don't care if others don't . We all make our choices.
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Old 05-27-14, 09:36 PM   #17
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Litigation is against my core beliefs, other than serious loss of injury. I want the bike fixed, and I want to know what caused the failure. I did not make mention of a law suit, and it is not the focus of my research.
Im sure they will fix it, it should have been spotted before it goes out on the showroom. Im a bike mechanic so it was a failure of the shop, but she should have test rode it as well during the fitting process then it should have been checked over again before she took it.

Sounds like a bad shop, things go wrong but it sounds like they werent checked and bled properly,
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Old 05-27-14, 09:40 PM   #18
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No a spongey brake happens at all speeds, and i doubt both brakes had an issue at the same time other than not bled.

Theres also the huge possibility that she just crashed regardless of braking. <<< probably the most likely.
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Old 05-28-14, 08:38 AM   #19
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No a spongey brake happens at all speeds, and i doubt both brakes had an issue at the same time other than not bled.

Theres also the huge possibility that she just crashed regardless of braking. <<< probably the most likely.
User error is usually 99.9% of all injuries I believe, but not having a bike that gives you control is merely a contributing factor, and dangerous.
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Old 05-28-14, 08:43 AM   #20
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Thanks everyone. Took the bike to a shop, and just asked them to look at the brakes, didn't even tell them what happened. Bike was ridden twice, first on a 2.5 mile ride, and second on a 19 mile ride before the crash. The mechanic firmly believes the originating shop did not set or check the brakes before selling the bike. I also learned that the spongy brakes were a matter of never having the brakes bled, and crashing the bike does not effect hydraulic brake operation. I also learned that the bike shop is supposed to certify all the components before putting it on the floor. The mechanic firmly believes the bike was never checked before releasing it to my sister. The worst part of this scenario are all the "what if's." For now, I am not sure how to properly address the store that the bike was purchased from, but kindness always wins, so I may ask for them to fix it without telling them the situation. I am not sure.
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Old 05-28-14, 08:48 AM   #21
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What brand & model are the brakes?
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Old 05-28-14, 08:51 AM   #22
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What brand & model are the brakes?
Shimano M395
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Old 05-28-14, 08:57 AM   #23
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I'd probably take the bike into the shop she got it from ASAP as the more time that passes the more questions they will have especially if other shops have looked at and possibly adjusted/altered things. Ask for the store manager and see where the discussion goes

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Old 05-28-14, 07:29 PM   #24
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I'd probably take the bike into the shop she got it from ASAP as the more time that passes the more questions they will have especially if other shops have looked at and possibly adjusted/altered things. Ask for the store manager and see were the discussion goes
Not to mention that you may help uncover someone not following process and help others from experiencing an issue like your sister.
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Old 05-29-14, 12:52 PM   #25
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If that is the case I had no idea. Info like this is why I ask.
Firstly tjax, I’m sorry to hear about your sister’s accident and I hope she fully recovers and soon.

Many hydraulic disc brake systems forewarn that bikes should not be flipped upside down, as air bubbles in the brake lever reservoir can potentially make their way up into the inverted brake caliper thereby reducing braking efficiency. Shimano’s Techdocs forewarn of this issue per my Shimano M445 hydraulic disc brakes, but this is just one of many hydraulic disc brakes that weren’t intended to be flipped upside down.

In theory, if all the air was removed during the bleeding process, it shouldn’t present an issue, but there’s no way of knowing with absolute certainty that all the air was removed during the bleeding process, so that’s where the possibility of lost braking efficiency arises.

Upon crash impact, the potential for previously trapped air bubbles to make its way into the brake caliper is a very real possibility, so she may have had full braking capacity until she lost control and the impact of the crash altered the braking performance.

For both of her independent front and rear hydraulic disc brakes to have failed simultaneously prior to the crash is almost astronomically improbable, but for both to be damaged as a result of a crash is entirely possible.
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