Motorcycle Views Newsletter

Friday, March 28, 2008

Big Bear Choppers Recalls Choppers for Frame Cracks

Big Bear Choppers has issued a recall of certain 2004-2005 Devil's Advocate and Venom Choppers and 2005 Sled Choppers.

Some motorcycles may have inadequate weld penetration between the neck, backbone, and down tubes of the frame. High loads created when riding on rough road surfaces, structural modification made to the frame by owners, and/or failure to maintain the specified torque setting of the top motor mount may cause the affected welds to crack.

351 units are affected.

Check out my Motorcycle Recalls feature for more details.

10 comments:

ironglass said...

The remedy for poor weld penetration in this recall is stated as inspecting the weld and maintaining the proper torque of the top motor mount or to modify the frame as necessary

This remedy sounds fine to most consumers but I don’t think it is realistic or safe.

Proper weld inspection is done by die penetrant, magnetic particle inspection or x ray.
Big Dog dealers do not have this type of equipment and they are not certified to perform the weld inspections.

If the weld is found to be defective they would modify the frame?
Again Big Dog dealers do not have a frame weld jig and are not certified to perform the weld repairs.

That leaves the owner and dealer with the “maintain proper torque of the top motor mount”.
I can’t imagine how the NTSB bought off on this as a fix for the problem. Sure proper motor mount torque is important to maintaining rigidity between the backbone and down tube but it is not a fix for inadequate weld penetration.

The owner manual for Big Bear Choppers states:
2. Frame and Swing arm is warranted against cracks or breaks for the duration of ownership by the original pur¬chaser.
(ref:
http://www.bigbearchoppers.com/bikes/BBC_2006manual_LR.pdf

Why don’t they have responsibility for replacing or repairing the frame?

This warranty also means that the unsuspecting 2nd owner of the bike has no rights to claim against Big Bear Choppers when the neck snaps off the frame.

There needs to be an outcry from all riders to hold Big Bear Choppers responsible for poor workmanship that could lead to injury or death. And to make the NTSB aware that the remedy is not going to prevent the likely defect from occurring.

The forums are buzzing about this issue. Here is a link to an owner’s photo of his Big Bear Chopper. This is not a pretty picture:

http://rides.webshots.com/photo/2192249970076244200pMEjnw

It sure seems to me like the problem is being white washed with a load of bull and someone is going to get hurt.

Anonymous said...

the company is clearly negligent in design or workmanship...the only way owners can protect their rights is to bring a class-action suit against the company , owners and shareholders (if any) for damages...this should be a slam-dunk win for owners...get organized and find a good consumer class action litigator!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading a lot about BBC and this issue. I just can not believe how they dodge and try to bully the person who actually got hurt on one of their faulty product. Instead of fixing the problem, they tried to point fingers, and away from them. This says so much about how the owners really are.

Anonymous said...

I own a 2004 Venom Chopper and my backbone cracked almost completely all the way around right above the upper tank bracket and BBC told me that Certain frames were "farmed out" to Hellbound Choppers to build them for them... and that Hellbound workers used the wrong tubing for my frame... Needless to say, I dad to foot the bill for all the work to be done to break my bike down and get a replacement which looked like it was a frame just "off to the side"... I was not happy about the whole situation...

KrazyOtto said...

OK....Here are some "FACTS" about BBC.
I am an owner of one of the piece of crap bikes in the recall.
I bought mine second hand and I should of followed my instincts ,but I didnt and its been a nightmare ever since.
BBC is claiming that the welds are being ground down and thats the reason for the failers.
I'm the second owner so I cant say for a fact mine wasnt ,but I doubt very seriously they are telling the truth only because I have been dealing with these guys for months now and they are shady to say the least.
I am a certified structual welder and when I was at my school getting certified I saw a job listing for BBC and they werent requiring certification.
I guess if I was going to lose my ass in lawsuits I'd make that claim too, but if that were the case why are they recalling 3 models of one year....one reason might be they outsourced alot of of their frames that year and who knows who did that work.
I know this because one of the guys there told me that was why my bike had that problem.
I wanedt to see the name and certification number of the welder who fixed the recall and they wouldnt give it to me...... "RED FLAG".
I have little faith in BBC workmanship period ,becuase this isnt the only problem this my bike has had.
I had a tank mounting bung crack and spring a leak which BBC fixed ,but I had to repaint it.
I had my recall work done ,but they screwed up the bike when they put it together by mounting the tank on the wiring harness so when I u-turned my bike to put it in my garage my turn signals had the wires yank back and out.
They also mis-directed my fuel line over the top of my enrichener knob crimping the fuel line blocking off my enrichener knob and cause the line to leak.
I have an external fuel filter and they lost the internal gasket so they used teflon tape to seal the thread instead > < .
I sent it back and things got worse they chipped my tank and my frame and left the finish work up to their painter.
I still havent got the bike back and I have lost about 4 months of riding for something that should have taken 2 weeks .
I talked to some of the locals at a bike shop on Big Bear and they say that BBC hire and fire continually which shows me they are unstable and unreliable, besides the fact I have had nothing but a nightmare dealing with them.
I truly feel sorry for any of you that are out of California ,because I live down the mountain from them and if I had to endure this much crap you are in for a fight.
They arent paying to shipping cost , its up to you to get it to them and if the dealers arent touching them you are truly screwed.
If there is anyone out there who is a Lawyer and would like to help file a class action or just is a owner interested in filing a class action against these guys let me know.
Call me Steve 714-270-3540
BUY HARLEY they back their bikes!

Anonymous said...

I am a professional weldor and skilled in the TIG welding process. I have seen first hand exmaples, picture examples of failures and picture examples of the welds on the affected BBC frames. The tubes at the weld joints were mill cut. The tube ends were not chamfered to allow proper weld penetration and eliminate thin wall sections at certain spots of the tube cuts. TIG does not provide deep weld root penetration and need correct joint preperation for correct strength weld. From the pictures of failures and x-ray inspection, it is obvious that only a surface bead was applied by an incompetent weldor. All welds should be suspect and require rewelding, not just the steering head that is getting the main focus.
BBC is minimizing their negligence with claims of weld modification or top mount tightness. The fact is that the welding is not adequate for a motorcycle frame and will fail normal use.

Stephanie said...

Hey! Just got my recall notice in the mail today. I called big bear and they gave me a load of crap about how they only done the recall because this happened to someone that had modified their frame but no one was hurt and this was the only time this had happened. I have had a lot of problems with my bike and many things have fell off so I don't trust their fix for this. If anyone has any up to date info on any class action law suits on this please contact me because I will be contacting my attorney. Thanks, Stephanie. (270) 234 3011

Chopperjoe said...

There has been many more models of Big Bear Choppers motorcycles added to the recall over 1200 bikes now. Many owners of these bikes have not been able to ride their expensive bikes for over a year now and are still not able to get the recall completed. Look up club chopper on the internet if you want to read the real stories from owners of these bikes. I just got my bike back on the road after a six month ordeal. Big Bear Choppers did the recall repair on mine. They shimmed my brake caliper right into my brake disc which destroyed it. When I called them about it they told me that my bike was certified shimmed correctly and there was no way my bike left there shop like that. I quess what they meant by that was I took it home and did it myself. They damaged the paint on my rear fender and gas tank and the paint on the repaired area of my frame doesn't match the paint job on the rest of my frame. They also called me and told me they couldn't get my bike started. That they put power directly to my starter and it wouldn't turn over and that I had delivered my bike to them in a not running condition. (I rode my bike to their shop when I delivered it.) They called back later and said thay had found the problem and that it was a special wire that I had added to the bike kit that had a bad connection on the battery that was causing the problem. Well I didn't add any wires to the wiring kit they supply with the bike. It was the wire going to my starter relay that was not reconnected to the battery. So they lied about puting power directly to my starter or they just don't know what their doing. They also told me any problems I had with the paint I would have to talk to the shop where they had my bike painted.

scott said...

Well its now 2010 and i have heard of these neck stories... and i still bought a Big bear Athena and am building it myself with no prior experience, this company prides itself on quality. How you ask do i know this... I'm a welder by trade and the frames are rock solid! If your biker you know that every now and then a bolt may loosen same with at car. Get a life and wrench stop slamming an innovator that gave you a wicked option of a motorcycle.

Scott Edmonton Alberta

dorthypacker said...

Thank you for sharing this information on frames. I have a bunch of frames that have cracks in them, but I don't want to throw them away. Where can I get frames for cheap in edmonton? Thank you for your help!