You are here

Shimano: electric share bike accidents ‘not a Shimano brake issue’

Published April 17, 2019

By Dean Yobbi

IRVINE, Calif. (BRAIN) — Shimano says manufacturers apparently didn’t follow its requirements when spec’ing front brakes on some electric share bikes, possibly causing problems that led to Lyft and Uber pulling the bikes from service.

Motivate, Lyft's bike-sharing division, operates the Citi Bike system in New York, Ford GoBike in the San Francisco Bay Area and Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C. 

Lyft announced in a Citi Bike blog post on Sunday that it was removing e-bikes from service in those three markets because of “a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel.”

The New York Times and other media have reported that numerous Citi Bike riders say they were injured from going over the handlebars.

Lyft’s ride-share rival, Uber, said it dealt with a similar problem with Shimano brakes on its e-bikes last year. The Washington Post reported that Uber, which offers electric share bikes under the Jump brand, has been replacing bikes with the Shimano brakes with new models.

“Late last year we introduced an updated model bike with a new brake system,” Uber spokesman Matthew Wing told The Post. “Our older bikes have Shimano brakes but with a hardware modification to improve braking."

Shimano said Wednesday that “this is not a Shimano brake issue.”

The company, in a statement shared with BRAIN, said “the specification requires the use of a power modulator for this brake. It appears this specification was not followed by manufacturers of some of the bicycles in question.”

The company referred to a user manual that explains that the hub intended to be used with the front Inter-M brake has a built-in power modulator that prevents over-braking. It's not clear whether the bikes used that hub. 

“This system controls the braking force so that excessive force is not applied if the braking force reaches the specified value. If the hub is not equipped with the power modulator, the braking force may be excessively applied.”

Citi Bike has said it is working on a new e-bike that is expected soon. Until then, it is relying on regular pedal bikes.

File Attachment: 
Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

Join the Conversation