Trek Bicycle Corporation has launched a huge recall that could apply to more than 1.6 million Trek bicycles equipped with front disc brakes and specific quick release levers. Trek is offering the free replacement of these parts in an operation that started two weeks ago and could involve up to 690,000 Trek bicycles across the European Union.

The recall comes after three injuries in the U.S., one of which caused quadriplegia. A statement from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission relating to the recall explains that an open quick release lever on the bicycle's front wheel hub “can come into contact with the front disc brake assembly, causing the front wheel to come to a sudden stop or separate from the bicycle, posing a risk of injury to the rider.”

A spokesperson for Trek in Europe emphasized that the skewers in question are widely used in the bicycle industry and they are not faulty, but issues may arise when they are used improperly on bicycles equipped with front disc brakes – mostly mountain bikes.

The recall involves models of Trek bicycles manufactured between 2000 and 2015, equipped with front disc brakes and a black or silver quick release that opens far enough to contact the disc brake. Bikes with front quick-release levers that do not open a full 180 degrees are not included in the recall.

The criteria for the recall apply for about 900,000 Trek bicycles sold in the U.S. and 98,000 in Canada. The number of 690,000 bicycles potentially involved in Europe is a worst-case scenario, because Trek is uncertain how many bicycles sold between 2000 and 2008 are equipped with the relevant levers and front disc brakes.

While it's likely that only a fraction of the owners will act on the recall, it could still come at a significant cost. Apart from the cost of the actual replacement skewers, the company is issuing vouchers with a value equivalent to $20 for each participating bicycle owner, while the retailers will get compensation in the form of credit amounting to $5 for each replacement.