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Cargo bike company Babboe announces replacement programme for 22,000 faulty frames after attempted cover-up of manufacturing defects

The Accell Group-owned Dutch brand has announced that all owners of the faulty models will be offered a new bike

Dutch cargo bike company Babboe has issued a recall and replacement programme for 22,000 of its faulty bike frames, after also advising owners to not ride their Babboe cargo bikes any longer before getting an inspection to check for manufacturing errors, amid accusations of a cover-up by the brand to hide the faults from customers.

The brand which is owned by Raleigh and Lapierre’s parent company Accell Group landed in trouble in February after an investigation revealed that it was aware of the sale of its defective frames, even allegedly forcing the staff to “make up stories” to hide the issues from customers.

A few days later, a temporary halt of sales of its entire range was announced by Babboe, after the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) also ordered the company to stop selling eight of its bike models due to safety risks.

In a statement published on its website now, Babboe said: “In total, in all countries where Babboe is sold, approximately 22,000 cargo bikes are being recalled and replaced. All owners of these models will be offered a new bike.”

This week it was announced that the NVWA and Babboe have entered the final phase of research into the safety of its cargo bikes. Babboe also wrote that it expects that “the majority of cargo bikes sold can be put back on the road after an inspection/repair.”

Babboe Curve cargo bike

Babboe Curve cargo bike

After the initial investigation in February, Babboe decided to recall the e-cargo bike models City and Mini, but now the recall and replacement programme has been extended to the City Mountain, Slim Mountain, Transporter, Pro Trike (e), Trike-E, and Pro Trike XL Motor worldwide, with a specialised Babboe technician to visit the customer’s home for an inspection.

> Cargo bike company Babboe stops sales and tells customers to “immediately stop” riding their bikes due to faulty frames – after “lying” about defects

All Babboe cargo bikes produced in the last five years will be replaced with a new one. And to compensate for the inconvenience and error, customers will also be able to choose a higher-quality bike, including e-bikes.

For all bikes older than five years, however, Babboe has said that customers will get a refund based on the current value of their bike, which they can utilise to buy a new bike.

Gerard Feenema, director of Babboe, said: “The majority of our customers can get back on the road after an inspection and if necessary, repair. Carrying out the entire operation will take a lot of time. We understand that this is annoying for our customers and have therefore done our best to find a suitable solution and compensate them. The technical files will be completed by the NVWA in the coming period.”

The news about the faults and the attempted cover-up was revealed after Dutch news website RTL Nieuws undertook the investigation. They found that the company directors were “well aware” of the defects and that the staff were often instructed to “lie” to customers to keep the issues under wraps.

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“We always had to lie,” a staff member employed by Babboe BV told RTL Nieuws. “I made a story to the customer: ‘this never happens’, and gave them a free cargo bike rain cover and a free cushion.” 

Another employee said: “A new boy came to work with us. He told a customer: ‘This happens every day.’ Then they said, ‘You really should never say that.’”

The NVWA said that it had been receiving “hundreds of reports” on frame breakage from customers, and launched its own investigation last December when it found out that Babboe had failed to lodge any formal issue with the body. 

Babboe initially declined to comment but a week later, they acknowledged the findings, halting sales of its entire range and instructing customers who own the affected models, the frames of which are subject to manufacturing errors and welding defects, to “immediately” stop riding their cargo bike, as the company prepared for the subsequent recall.

Adwitiya joined in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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