[Photo on 7th and A by Derek Berg]
The design of the newer-model Citi Bikes are being questioned — by Citi Bikes' own mechanics.
According to an email that the company's unionized mechanics sent to management, as reported by Gothamist:
"We tried to warn management many months ago about these safety issues with the new bikes but were completely ignored," wrote one mechanic and TWU representative in an e-mail to his coworkers last month (he asked that his name be withheld for fear of employer retaliation). "We do not want to be blamed for the catastrophic failure that is the Motivate bike."
In late March, Citi Bike pulled 1,000 bikes from its fleet for maintenance:
“We have determined that the forks in our new bike fleet — the part that holds the front wheel in place — have been wearing faster than expected,” Citi Bike said in its email.
But, according to the email from mechanics, this problem was just the beginning, as the Daily News first reported:
“It's not from high usage,” a Citi Bike staffer with knowledge of its fleet told the Daily News. “To a lot of the mechanics, it means that the company is interested in replenishing the system with bikes of lower quality.”
Parts that hold the rear wheel in place on the new bikes were becoming “skewed and uneven” to the point that it could result in “catastrophic axle breaks and premature hub/wheel failure,” according to the email.
A Citi Bike spokesperson issued this statement to Gothamist yesterday: "The new line of Citi Bikes are very popular with riders with a sleeker, more comfortable design. Like with any innovation we've learned lessons and are making improvements to durability, but all Citi Bikes on the road are extremely safe — with nearly 28 million rides and no fatalities."