Trek Bicycle Corp. was recently named in a legal complaint over its Bontrager WaveCel helmets.
Trek Bicycle Corp. is coming under fire in a legal complaint for allegedly “misleading consumers into believing it’s Bontrager WaveCel helmets protect against concussions more than the average helmet.” According to the suit, the plaintiffs allege the brand “conducted unreliable research for marketing purposes.”
The lead plaintiff in the suit, which was filed on January 8, is Andrew Glancey of Staatsburg. The suit is seeking $5 million.
What are the details surrounding the suit, though? For starters, the plaintiffs allege Bontrager, which is owned by trek, “released helmets featuring its licensed WaveCel tech early in 2019 that was allegedly 48 times more effective than standard EPS foam at preventing concussions resulting from common cycling accidents.” Soon after, MIPS, “the company responsible for the Multi-Directional Impact Protection System featured in many cycling helmets, questioned the claims.” In fact, in March 2019, the company said:
“MIPS subjected the new WaveCel helmet technology to their battery of tests, with results far below WaveCel’s substantial claims of injury prevention.”
When speaking before a New York federal judge, Glancey said:
“Trek falsely stated its WaveCel helmets are ‘up to 48x more effective than traditional foam helmets’ in preventing concussion incidents when it has not performed adequate studies to back up this claim.”
The suit further states that “Trek made deceptive representations regarding the product” and noted the “study the company relied on had one or more authors with a direct financial interest in the WaveCel technology, which is licensed exclusively by Trek.” Additionally, the suit claims “Trek did not disclose these significant potential conflicts of interest.”
Glancey further alleges the study “did not use the actual helmets sold, instead using different helmets that were modified to include the WaveCel component.” Because of this, the suit argues the helmets and the alleged benefit they offer “is not equivalent to the price premium added to the helmets.” The plaintiffs argue they “would not have paid the premium if Trek had not made false statements regarding the product.”
Several times, MIPS and other representatives have “called for better standardization of helmet testing.” In March 2019, MIPS said, “There is still a lack of an industry-wide standard from third-party testing organizations to ensure accurate information for consumers.”
It’s important to note that Virginia Tech, where impact tests are carried out in collaboration with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “awarded helmets with WaveCel tech five stars.” However, it also “awarded Bontrager helmets without the technology five stars.”