By Jade Toomey

A man in a bike repair workshop holds a part in his latex gloved hand.

Canberra bike mechanic Stuart Carling says, given the number of reports of malfunctioned cranksets, the faulty equipment should have been recognised earlier.(ABC News: Jade Toomey)

Help keep family & friends informed by sharing this article

Link copied

Cycling manufacturer Shimano has issued a global review of one of its most prolific bike parts after widespread reports of malfunction and injury.

Key points:

    • Bicycle part manufacturer Shimano has issued a global review of its cranksets

    • There have been long-running complaints about the crank arm splitting from the body of the bike, causing crash risks

    • The review was only launched after an investigation in the United States found the fault potentially contributed to a serious accident

At least 2.8 million cranksets globally are set to be the subject of an inspection and review program launched this week by Shimano, the largest manufacturer of bicycle components in the world.

It follows investigations by product safety agencies in the United States and the European Union after more than 4,500 complaints were made in just over a decade about the cranksets failing riders.

The crankset, or ‘crank’, is the part that connects a bike’s chain to the arm of its pedal.

But Shimano’s Hollowtech II model has become notorious for problems with its adhesion corroding over time, forcing the crank arm to split when pressure is applied to the pedal.

A man in a white polo shirt holds a bicycle part.

Since learning of the widespread problem, cyclist Henry Strong noticed his Shimao crankset was among those that had started splitting.(ABC News: Jade Toomey)

Canberra cyclist Henry Strong owns two sets of the affected cranks, and said it was frightening to be using potentially faulty equipment while cycling at high speeds.

“The feeling that you might have faulty equipment when you’re doing 75 or 80 kilometres [per hour], that’s quite terrifying,” he said.

“When you’re cycling, something going wrong could, of course, be fatal.”

The issue has been the subject of long-running online forums and dedicated social media pages.

Canberra bike mechanic Stuart Carling said the faulty equipment should have been recognised earlier.

“I don’t think I’ve seen [a recall] like this in this industry, it’s huge, it affects potentially thousands and thousands of people,” he said.

“This is something that should have been recognised years ago.”

Mr Carling counted eight bikes affected by the problem in his small bike workshop in Canberra, even though they were originally being repaired for different issues.

Shimano said it had not been able to determine the cause of the issue, but had now acted on the complaints after a US Product Safety Commission investigation found the fault could have contributed to a serious accident involving an American rider.

“We are deeply sorry that any riders have been affected by this issue,” a Shimano spokesperson said.

Shimano’s Australian branch declined to reveal how many complaints it had received about the issue, and how many units it anticipated were affected in Australia.

The company said it would launch an app in October to facilitate its replacements.

“But it’s too little too late, if you ask me,” Mr Strong said.

“You’ve already had thousands of people that have had incidents, many broken bones, some people hospitalised.

“It appears as though they’ve finally come to the point where they have to acknowledge it, but I think they should have done it a lot sooner.”

A broken crankset on a Shimano bike.

There have been long-running complaints of the Shimano crankset arm splitting from the body of the bike.(Instagram: thanksshimano)

Mr Strong, who competes in triathlons, will not be able to use his bike without a replacement before the first race of the upcoming season in two weeks.

“I don’t feel particularly safe using this equipment,” he said.

“We trust that the equipment we buy and invest in will support us, and will be reliable and meet a certain standard.

“I think Shimano has failed to meet that standard by continuing to manufacture and sell faulty equipment for close to 11 years.”

Riders are directed to get their bike inspected at a Shimano dealer, who will decide if it needs to be replaced.

Mr Carling said he was bracing for an influx, but questions about who would pay to fix the issue remained.

“I don’t believe that should be the customer, it is probably going to have to fall back on Shimano, but how are they going to do that?” Mr Carling asked.

A spokesperson for the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it was aware of the recall in the US and EU, and that Shimano Australia had commenced an inspection and replacement program for affected cranksets.

“If a supplier becomes aware of a death or serious injury/illness caused by a product they supply, the supplier must make a mandatory report through the Product Safety Australia website,” the spokesperson said.