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The sudden failure of bicycle parts is an unexpected cause of cycling accidents. Injury claims arising require a focussed approach which Cycle SOS is providing with greater frequency.

Do not think you cannot make a claim for injuries sustained by something failing on your bike even if it may appear to be out of warranty. We’d always suggest you contact us for free initial independent advice.  Even if a claim is unlikely to be viable we have a data-base of repair specialists including carbon fibre.

If you have been involved in a cycling accident which you believe was caused by component failure, our helpline team are here to assist you. The first thing they’ll say is ‘don’t part with failed component’ (even if you have taken images of it).

If you have been in touch with the manufacturer/store directly it is likely that they will have asked you to return the bike or faulty part in to be examined. We recommend you hold onto that as evidence in your claim. 


We are fortunate to have some of the best contacts in the business to make a forensic assessment of a potentially defective part. We work with academic experts from UK universities and specialist assessors in the components industry to ensure the reason for failure is accurately identified. This means that the strongest possible case can be prepared on your behalf.

What Causes Bike Component Failure? 

A bicycle relies upon the interaction of many different parts and components to operate safely and efficiently. Should any one of these parts fail while in use, it could lead to loss of control and a crash. A sudden involuntary swerve or dismount can lead to complications in a group ride, on a track or in busy traffic.

The failure of components can be variously  attributed to design, manufacture, assembly, maintenance and use issues.  Unfortunately, we see component failures from some  well-respected  brands as well as the budget end of the market.

Careless fitting or inadequate problem diagnosis   by professional bicycle mechanics or store staff may also be responsible. However, all cyclists have an obligation to themselves to undertake certain basic checks before every ride, to undertake routine maintenance and to react to any change in a cycle’s characteristics or unusual noises!


Sudden and involuntary contact with the planet is almost always going to hurt. Sometimes the young and/or fit appear to bounce back; we’ve all from time to time picked ourselves up with due thanks to whatever protective kit we were wearing. 

But even a fall onto grass can cause fractures; a lamination issue in a carbon fork threw one client onto a sports field with humeral fractures.

A fork drop-out which did exactly that deposited another client onto the tarmac and into theatre for a replacement shoulder.

For another client, a broken chain sadly resulted in a concussive brain injury with cognitive issues.

Unlike the tragic recent case in which the rider of an e-scooter was killed by falling under a truck, we’ve fortunately not seen a component failure cause such an awful event, but the principle is the same. The e-scooter had very under inflated tyres, so when it struck a modest highway irregularity, control was lost. 


Our experienced team are themselves cyclists, some of whom have built their own machines, so know the difference between a headset
and a bottom bracket.  Others are also trained in accident investigation and reconstruction techniques, headed by a former Sergeant from the local Crash Investigation Unit.

We are members of the Law Society’s Personal Injury Panel and Headway, the charity for the victims of ABI and their carers. One of us has a particular empathy with the clients as his own implants trigger airport security scanners.

In addition we also have a network of specialists who conduct forensic investigation and analysis on behalf of our clients to strengthen their claim and assist us in assessing and their case.  

Over the past 30+ years, our team have taken on some of the biggest opponents in complex cases, successfully recovering large sums of compensation where other firms have turned them away.

When claiming for compensation, we will always take into consideration all consequences of the accident. In addition to obtaining damages
for the injuries sustained, we will also include compensation for past and any future loss of earnings, medical treatment, care and assistance, and damage to the bike and kit.

In the past, our team have been involved in supporting many initiatives to improve cycling safety. Most notably, members of our team previously worked with Cycling England, the Cycling Demonstration Town project and various cycle city expos. The opinion of Consultant Solicitor Paul Darlington has also featured on BBC Radio current affairs.


We’ve compiled a gallery of defective components we have photographed as part of real ongoing or concluded cases:

Whilst the individual circumstances of every claim are different, we do see trends in the ultimate cause of the failure in a case involving defective components. This is by no means an exhaustive list – we have included the brief details of recent failures we have assessed so that you can use it as a reference against your own accident. Many clients have little confidence that they will be able to pursue a claim when they first make an enquiry, but drawing on 30+ years of experience in this type of claim, we can more often than not find a way forward to pursue a claim on your behalf. Recent failures we have evaluated include:
  • Spontaneously fractured fork on a new mountain bike delivered 3 months prior to the accident.
  • Corroded and snapped crank axle on a bike purchased a year before.
  • Broken pedal axle on a new mountain bike purchased less than 6 weeks prior to accident.
  • Newly purchased bike chain which spontaneously snapped.
While failures of the steerer, forks and cranks are most likely to result in immediate loss of control, they are not the only parts on a bike which can cause problems. Something as seemingly harmless as a mudguard stay, if fitted without proper care and thought, is capable of causing an accident. Should the head of bolt securing the stay to the guard catch in the tread of the rotating tyre, a plastic guard is likely to telescope and jam between the crown of the fork and the tyre; the most abrupt emergency stop and a close encounter with the road ahead. It’s happened, because a shop fitted aftermarket guards which were slightly too narrow for the tyre and led to complex maxillo-facial injuries.


Under no circumstances part with the component until you have taken advice. In the event of component failure, it is important to ensure the faulty part is forensically examined. Cycle SOS can help with this as part of your claim. The failure should be photographed and recorded in a forensic report before considering returning it to the manufacturer/supplier. To check if you may be able to pursue claim for an injury caused by bicycle component failure, call us for a free initial assessment on 0808 100 9995 and talk to our specialist legal team. Our helpline is available without charge or obligation.

How to Make a Successful Claim for Bike Component Failure

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Manufacturing defects are one of the main causes of cycle component failure. These defects can occur during the production process, resulting in components that are not up to the required standards. For example, there may be errors in the design or machining process, or flaws in the materials used. Defective components may fail prematurely, causing safety issues for the cyclist. In some cases, manufacturers may issue a recall or offer free replacements for these components. However, not all defects are immediately obvious, and it can be difficult for cyclists to identify them. To mitigate the risk of manufacturing defects, it’s important for cyclists to regularly inspect components for signs of wear and tear or damage, and to follow the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines. If you suspect that a component has a manufacturing defect, you can contact our team on 0808 100 9995 for independent advice. By taking these steps, cyclists can help reduce the risk of cycle component failure due to manufacturing defects.
The consequences of cycle component failure can range from inconvenience to serious injury. In the case of a minor component failure, such as a derailleur failure, the cyclist may be able to repair the issue quickly and be back on the road after repair. However, a major component failure, such as a broken fork, can result in a serious accident that can cause significant injury. When the fork fails on a bike, the front wheel can suddenly lose stability, causing the rider to lose control of the bike and likely leading to a serious accident. In addition to the potential physical harm, component failure can also result in significant financial costs, as damaged or broken components may need to be repaired or replaced. Cyclists can minimise the risk of component failure by performing regular maintenance and inspections on their bike, replacing worn or damaged components, and choosing high-quality components from reputable manufacturers. It is also important to pay attention to warning signs, such as unusual noises or vibrations, and to address any issues promptly to avoid a potential failure during a ride. By taking these steps, cyclists can enjoy safer and more enjoyable rides while reducing the risk of component failure and its consequences. Please contact our expert team on 0808 100 9995 for advice if you think your bike component is defective.
The material and manufacturing process of a cycle component can have a significant impact on its failure rate. Generally, high-quality materials and precise manufacturing processes lead to more reliable and durable components that are less likely to fail. For example, components made from carbon fibre are generally considered to be more lightweight and strong than those made from other materials, but they can be more prone to failure if not manufactured correctly. Overall, it’s important for cyclists to choose components made from high-quality materials and to pay attention to the manufacturing processes used by the manufacturer to minimise the risk of failure. It’s also important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule to keep the components in good working order. Our expert team can provide advice if you believe your bike component is defective by calling 0808 100 9995.
It’s important to note that warranties and guarantees vary by manufacturer and product. However, most reputable cycle component manufacturers offer some form of warranty or guarantee that covers manufacturing defects and faults. These warranties are typically for 12 months and may include free repairs or replacements. It’s important for cyclists to research and understand the warranty and guarantee policies of the specific cycle components they purchase, as this can impact their rights and options if a failure occurs. Consumers are also afforded additional protection under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and also the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Feel free to call 0808 100 9995 if you suspect a component on your bike is faulty. We will provide you with expert advice.

Bike frames can fail for a variety of reasons, and recognising the possible causes is critical if you’re looking for compensation after a bike component failure. Here are a few examples of common bike frame failures:

Fatigue failure: Bike frames are constantly stressed and strained during normal use. Repeated loads and pressures can damage the frame over time, resulting in cracks or fractures. Fatigue failure can occur as a result of faulty design or manufacturing faults.

Material flaws: Bike frames are often made of steel, aluminium, carbon fibre, or titanium. Manufacturing flaws in the frame, such as impurities in the material or poor bonding, might jeopardise structural integrity and lead to failure.

Accidents or crashes, such as striking a pothole, colliding with an object, or colliding with another vehicle, can cause substantial damage to a bike frame. Such impact damage can cause the frame to fail immediately or weaken it over time.

Environmental factors: Prolonged exposure to adverse environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures, excessive wetness, or direct sunlight, can degrade the material of the bike frame. This can result in corrosion, joint deterioration, or structural integrity degradation of the frame.

Manufacturing mistakes, such as poor alignment, insufficient welding or bonding, or insufficient quality control, can all lead to frame breakdowns. These faults could be the result of human error, poor machinery, or quality assurance breaches.

If your bike frame fails, it is critical that you collect evidence of the breakdown, such as photographs, witness accounts, and any related documents. Consult with a specialised personal injury solicitor to examine your circumstances and determine whether you have grounds to claim compensation.

Call 0808 100 9995 and speak to one of our specialist solicitors. We’re here to help. You can email us or schedule a callback.

The lifespan of bicycle components can vary based on numerous factors, such as component quality, frequency of usage, maintenance, and riding conditions.

A well-maintained bicycle frame can last many years, if not decades. High-quality frames composed of materials such as carbon fibre, steel, or aluminium are more durable than lower-quality frames.

The lifespan of the drivetrain (chain, cassette, and chainrings) can vary substantially based on factors such as riding conditions, maintenance, and shifting habits.

Brakes: Brake components such as brake pads and cables wear out over time and must be replaced on a regular basis.

Wheels: The lifespan of bicycle wheels varies greatly depending on the type of riding, rider weight, and wheel quality. Well-made wheels can last for several years, but they may require truing and spoke replacement on occasion.

Suspension components (if applicable): The manufacturer recommends service intervals for suspension forks and rear shocks. These components can last for several years with adequate maintenance and care before needing to be rebuilt or replaced.

It’s crucial to note that these are only rough estimations; individual results may vary. If you believe your bike component failed prematurely or as a result of a manufacturing defect, please contact our expert team for advice on your case, as you may be entitled to compensation. Contact one of our specialist solicitors at 0808 100 9995 and speak to one of our specialist solicitors. We’re here to help. You can email us or schedule a callback.