Stop ride recall on Tarmac SL7

Looks like there’s an issue with the fork steerer/headset interface which could cause catastrophic failure of the fork steerer.

I don’t think this will be the last time we will see issues with fully-integrated cables through the bar/stem/fork steerer. I know Huang has brought this up with regards to cable rub on fork steerers, but this seems to be another point of potential failure depending on how a manufacturer tackles the problem of integrating cables through the bar/stem/fork.

I’ll wait another generation or two before I go with fully-integrated cables…

Don’t get me wrong, a risk of catastrophic failure on fork/steerer is about as bad as it gets. However, when properly installed, maintained, torqued, I honestly have no clue how that alleged old/problematic compression ring could flat out sheer off and snap the steerer of the image shown around the interwebs. I have an original Aug2020 SL7…. has the black (old) ring … 21,500miles on the bike in the last 14months. Checked mine today. The steerer is flawless.


I wonder if there have been documented failures or if this is a hypothetical worst-case scenario and Spesh are covering themselves?

I do rather wonder about full integration, I have to say. Yes, it looks very clean, and for the high-level racers, it doubtless does save a few watts. But for most of us, the efficiency gain is an irrelevance, and it makes simple adjustments to stack height, and routine servicing, fiendishly complicated and just plain annoying. These days, if I can’t service it myself most of the time/in most conceivable circumstances, I proceed with caution.


There’s one particularly bad failure photo out there. We will likely never hear of others unless those who’ve had it happen speak up. Anecdotally, hundreds of SL7s ridden and raced year round where I live, and haven’t come across it yet.

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There is definitely something to be said about slightly more old school options like a threaded BB, simple routing and round seatposts.

Yeah if you’re aiming for the top step it’s gonna help, it’ll also help bike shops with long maintenance bills!


Seems reasonable documentation of a failure.


Ouch. Yep, that seems pretty clear!

I looked at your pic and it looks like there is a crack in the photo.

What is very confusing from Specialized (to stay polite) is that they part is available the same day they announce the “stop ride” meaning they knew about it long before and remained silent so they can produce the fix. In other words, they decide to let people riding a potentially death risky frame to avoid a scenario like canyon that is still struggling to propose the fix months after.

That’s more concerning that the initial problem.


I think this is a good point, but there have also only been 2 cases of damaged forks reportedly (and none with injuries). In the US, across ~7k bikes sold, that is a staggering low failure rate. If it weren’t for the potentially bad outcomes, it wouldn’t even rate a recall.

Whether we like it or not, there are always business and financial considerations which need to be taken into consideration. Honestly, I go can go either way on this issue. One side they should have issued a “stop ride” declaration immediately and the other says they handled it properly given the astronomically low failure rate.

I would review the statement of “staggering” low rate when it’s a matter of life.
2 that broke means that an unknown other are damaged, weakened, but now to the point of breaking “yet”.

Sure they wanted to avoid the Canyon drama, looking like idiots, and they will likely get away with it but the reality is they decided to play with peoples physical integrity.

No, it is still staggering low. You are talking about a .03% failure rate across 7k bikes. Any company that manufactures consumer products would be thrilled with a defect rate like that.

As I noted, the potential risk of severe injury or death is what prompted the recall. Whether we like it or not, business considerations will always factor into these decisions.

I think if they genuinely thought it was a .03% failure rate, they wouldn’t have issued a recall - it’s too expensive and image-damaging. They’d be far more likely to leave it and blame user error/improper maintenance (as Shimano, Cannondale, Cervelo et al have done for years, albeit admittedly in usually less safety critical parts) if anything goes wrong. That said, it must be a low number as they obviously felt the risk was low enough to let people ride around on it for a year.

You’re quite right, though: I guarantee you someone will have sat down and worked out how much it would have cost them - lawsuits, lost future business etc - if they didn’t do the recall, versus how much it would cost to do the recall.

Life and serious injury has a material value, folks (as any lawyer, loss adjuster or actuary will tell you). Grim, but the business reality.

I’ll defer to the lawyers, but IIRC, if you issue a recall, you have to provide the data to the CPSC re: numbers if incidents. It isn’t just a PR statement.

Still disagree, you measure the catastrophic failures, not all the damaged ones you/Specialized had no idea when they could have failed.
Even though, taking your numbers, following a statistical normal distribution, we are just above a 5 sigma… and that’s even a worse performance that I initially thought before running the maths.

I do not want to buy a bicycle from a company that would consider 3/10000 failures/year to be acceptable on a safety critical component where failure during operation is likely to lead to serious injury or death. 3/10000 for inner tubes being shipped with a leak - that is likely acceptable to most companies and customers.

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I’m not sure I’d call this Specialized’s Pinto, but that seems to be where this conversation is headed.

But they didn’t consider it to be acceptable. They issued a recall for it. Also worth noting that it was a voluntary recall, not mandatory from the CPSC.

But they didn’t informed customers as soon as they knew they had a problem. They designed, produced the replacement parts and only after they dare to inform, that was my initial point.