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REI appeals Monika's case
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
REI appeals Monika's case on 05/20/2011 08:47:28 MDT Print View

usually i like REI for their return policy .. but the below makes me go hmmmmm ....

read the full link for more details and gruesome photos of the injuries

I just learned that REI is appealing the most recent ruling in Monika's case.

For those who don't know, Monika was riding downtown in 2007 when the carbon fiber fork on her bike sheared off from the frame and caused her to face plant onto the pavement. Broken jaw, broken teeth, trauma to the brain. She was going about 5 mph on the sidewalk when it happened. Forensic testing showed that the failure was due to a manufacturing defect. Monika had to pay for the test herself, but was never reimbursed by REI. (REI issued a recall based upon the test results.)

REI has denied responsibility, maintaining that the company who manufactured the fork is responsible, not REI, even though REI sub contracted that company and sold Monika the bike under REI's brand name, Navaro. REI even went so far as to suggest that Monika was to blame for the fork's failure because the bike wasn't clean. As though it was Monika's responsibility to notice a manufacturing defect. The superior court sided with Monika, ruling that REI is responsible to Monika and that REI could pursue legal action against the manufacturing company if it wished. REI appealed, and the appellate court ruled in Monika's favor the day she died. And now REI is appealing again. Wasting the time and energy of Monika's lawyer (and friend) and family.

The whole thing makes me sick. REI never reimbursed Monika for any of her medical or dental expenses, nor for her lost wages. Monika never wanted to crucify REI. She just wanted compensation for her expenses and for not being able to work full time on account of her brain injury. (She managed to sleep only about 3 hours a night)

And yet Monika still managed to get by, despite all those expenses and side effects. She did better than get by. She managed to be happy.

REI boasts about being a co op. Pretty swell treatment of one its nicer members.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
Navaro on 05/20/2011 08:50:04 MDT Print View

"even though REI sub contracted that company and sold Monika the bike under REI's brand name, Navaro"

Yeah, that does seem like the important element.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
court decision on 05/20/2011 08:51:54 MDT Print View

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: REI appeals Monika's case on 05/20/2011 09:36:00 MDT Print View

REI denied responsibility and yet did a recall?

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: REI appeals Monika's case on 05/20/2011 10:28:45 MDT Print View

This is why I prefer a heavier, all metal bicycle to one with crucial elements made of carbon fiber. Especially if I'm the kind of rider who goes 5mph on the side walk, which I am sometimes.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
bike riding is dangerous on 05/20/2011 10:48:00 MDT Print View

This is why REI doesn't push the limit in making lightweight gear.

Jason Acker
Re: bike riding is dangerous on 05/20/2011 12:04:51 MDT Print View

Thats because REI pushes the limit on making cheap gear for their own brand of stuff. Every REI brand product I have bought has had the zipper fail. I will never buy REI brand again.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
REI appeals Monika's case on 05/20/2011 12:55:28 MDT Print View

That's so wrong......and they're hypocrites. Ain't the first time -

"Another noteworthy waiver winner: Seattle-based REI. The trendy Pacific Northwest outdoor equipment retailer's progressive CEO and Democratic campaign donor, Sally Jewell, appeared with President Obama in 2009 to tout White House health care reform initiatives. Two years later, REI snagged a waiver to protect the health benefits of a whopping 1,180 workers from the very tentacles of the big government bureaucrats Jewell embraced at Obama's roundtable."

Edited by skinewmexico on 05/20/2011 12:57:50 MDT.

Nate Lee
(nathan52) - MLife
cf forks on 05/20/2011 13:19:47 MDT Print View

Cf forks are definitely dangerous. You better understand what you're riding on. Hit a pothole at speed and forever after the forks are asterisked.

5mph? Really? A 5mph faceplant did that? Well if true and u can prove it, then the bikes manf and distributo r on the hook or should be.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: cf forks on 05/20/2011 13:39:01 MDT Print View

"Hit a pothole at speed and forever after the forks are asterisked."

Happy to see any science that backs that up. I've been riding a CF bike (Trek Madone) for a few years now, including banging around over and in numerous bumps and potholes. No issues. Plenty of carbon bikes w/carbon forks in Paris-Roubaix, if you're familiar with that race (it's called the Hell of the North and a Sunday in Hell, due to the very rough roads, if that gives you any indication). In fact carbon bikes w/carbon forks have won multiple Paris-Roubaix's. Plenty of carbon bikes w/carbon forks in the Tour de France. etc. etc.

Edited by idester on 05/20/2011 13:51:54 MDT.

Stephen B Elder Jr
(selder) - M

Locale: Front range CO
+1 Doug on 05/20/2011 13:45:57 MDT Print View

Wait untill the word gets out how dangerous they are. I'll be able to trade all of my steel for carbon, and maybe get some $ in the deal.
Have fun,

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: +1 Doug on 05/20/2011 13:50:45 MDT Print View

Forks breaking at 5mph??????????????? Wow that sounds strange.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Carbon fiber forks are more dangerous than chrome-moly. on 05/20/2011 15:04:36 MDT Print View

I shoot carbon arrows, one of the warnings with carbon arrows is that you should flex
them before shooting. This helps you catch the damaged ones that if shot could explode
into slivers.

Carbon fiber ski poles can give you some nasty splinters when they let go too.

Seems to me if you are using a high end specialized product designed for racing, you
should be checking frequently to make sure everything is safe to use.

Carbon fiber forks are more dangerous than chrome-moly.

So should they be outlawed?
Require manufacturers to carry insurance?
Require liability releases for users?
Let the free market decide by letting those with the best lawyers win?
Nationalized medicine to patch up users?

Jason Acker
REI is the problem, not carbon forks... on 05/20/2011 15:12:28 MDT Print View

The problem is that Monika had another company do a detailed analysis that found the fork to be defective. REI stands behind their products... except for when the turds hit the fan. If you have a stove that leaks and burns you then MSR says it was because of bad O rings, do you hold MSR responsible or do you go after the O ring company?

Please not that the MSR example is just that. MSR is a great company IMO.

Edited by NWCLIMBER199 on 05/20/2011 15:14:01 MDT.

Willie Evenstop
(redmonk) - F

Locale: Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
REI appeals Monika's case on 05/20/2011 15:18:52 MDT Print View

Monika PAID for an analysis.

Sometimes people find what they are paid to discover.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
carbon fiber on 05/20/2011 15:30:42 MDT Print View

Carbon fiber is definitely finding acceptance in all spheres. People are even making carbon mountain bike forks (niner bikes).

I'd really like to know what statistics are beneath that. We know there are periodic fork failures. Are they just so rare that they don't appreciably change the overall risk of the activity?

(When I bought my carbon fiber trekking poles the store employee gave me a brief "fear the carbon" lecture. And actually, that was at REI. Interesting. The Peak ULs are current unavailable on-line. A related closeout?)

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Replace your forks every 4000 miles on 05/20/2011 15:34:58 MDT Print View

"If you are a bike rider it is important to maintain your light bike by performing a fork replacement every 4000-5000 miles, and always after any serious impact just as you would your helmet. Always follow safety rules and guidelines and keep your bike in good repair to prevent accidents and injury."


"Carbon Fiber forks are light and when they fail they can’t hold a rider. No matter how meticulously a rider checks his equipment, there really is no way for him to know if a carbon fiber fork is failing because the material won’t show external damage. Another reason it is so hard to detect a failing carbon fiber fork is because if the fork was made sub-standard there are air pockets or other “voids” in the fork that aren’t visible until breakage occurs."

So I was wrong about being able to check forks for damage, as you can test arrows.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
REI appeals Monika's case on 05/20/2011 20:36:02 MDT Print View

REI's brand is Novara, not Navaro.

Kev Test
(klimthesmartcow) - F

Locale: South East
Re: Re: cf forks on 05/22/2011 22:43:15 MDT Print View

What he said has some merit, although a pothole would probably not be a good example. Carbon fiber will delaminate when it is struck against the surface, say a bike is poorly protected on a bike rack, or is run into something. While this may not cause visible damage, the structure of the component would then be in question, I think an asterisk is a good way to phrase it. Once there is some delamination, the fork will never return to its original structural integrity the way a metal component would under the same impact.

The pothole example, however is not good, because in that case, the force would act on the fork along the fibers, in the way that they were designed to handle, and there would be negligible amounts of damage done to the fork in this case.

Regardless, Im not a big fan of certain carbon fiber components, such as handlebars, which are very likely to be struck at some time in their life, and would be very harmful in the event of a failure.

Sumi Wada
(DetroitTigerFan) - F

Locale: Ann Arbor
Re: REI appeals Monika's case on 05/23/2011 14:18:25 MDT Print View

I've heard/read it suggested that REI's insurance company is probably calling the legal shots in this case and I think that's a real possibility.

I broke my ankle a couple of years ago on a friend's yacht. It was just a freak accident that ended up requiring surgery, physical therapy, etc. A couple of months into rehab, my own health insurance started asking me for the name of the owner of the yacht, etc. When I refused to give it, they started threatening me with refusing to pay my medical bills, cancelling my insurance and insinuating that I would end up on some insurance blacklist.

They called me 3-4 times with the same threats. I told them to go right ahead and try and, eventually, the calls stopped and nothing came of it. But it did reinforce my dislike of insurance companies and their tactics in general.