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CPSC recalls two helmets that failed Consumer Reports test last year

Published August 28, 2020

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued recall notices for two of the three bike helmets that failed tests performed by Consumer Reports magazine last year. After the magazine test, one of the helmet makers disputed its findings, calling them "fake news." That company, Morpher, is now closed.

The two new recalls are for the Morpher folding helmet, which was sold in one size, and the Woom Bikes' children's helmet in size Small only.

According to the CPSC, which announced the recall Thursday, the Morpher "failed to meet federal safety standards." It said the company has received no incident reports involving the helmet. Morpher sold about 8,500 of the models through its own website and Since Morpher is no longer in business and unable to conduct a recall, the CPSC is telling consumers to stop using the helmets and dispose of them. It said Amazon and Morpher are contacting all known purchasers. 

In Consumer Reports' testing, results of which were published in July 2019, the Morpher failed impact tests, specifically to the rear of the helmet. Morpher founder Jeff Woolf told BRAIN at the time that CR's article would "wreck" his company. He said the helmets were certified to pass multiple standards, including CPSC and European standards and that the helmet's manufacturer in China conducted regular production tests and never found a problem. "(Consumer Reports) are really calling the whole CPSC verification system into question," Woolf, based in London, told BRAIN in a 2019 phone interview. "I think it's kind of fake news actually; I don't think they should be doing this. Who says their test is better than the CPSC test? It's a terrible thing to say."

Morpher launched following a 2013 Indiegogo campaign that raised $400,000. Now the Morpher website consists of a notice saying,  "Unfortunately, due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, I regret to inform you that we have been forced to cease operations.

"It’s being great fun developing the folding helmet market and if you are a Morpher owner then thank you so much for your support."

The CPSC announced the Woom recall on Aug. 21. Woom had pulled the helmet from the market immediately after the CR article was published last year. On its website, Woom said it has "been working closely with testing partners, including the CPSC, since then to gain more information and details on the failure. In August 2020, we concluded that we need to recall all small helmets." Consumer Reports said the Woom helmet failed side-impact testing.

The Woom helmet size is marked on the rear. Only size Small is being recalled. The company said it sold about 1,900 of the affected helmets through the company website and two U.S. IBDs. Woom is not recalling other sizes. The Small helmets are identified by an "S" mark on the back of the helmet. Consumers are being issued a full refund. 

A Bontrager Ballista MIPS helmet also failed the Consumer Reports testing due to buckle failures. That helmet has not been recalled by the CPSC. Last year, Bontrager's parent, Trek Bicycle, said it had been unable to duplicate CR's test results but was in contact with both the CPSC and the CR about the issue. 

According to a spokesman, Trek sent helmet samples to CPSC for testing. "They could not identify or replicate the concerns that Consumer Reports outlined and closed the file," said Trek's Eric Bjorling. "As of right now, we are not aware of any issues with the ballista that would lead us to need to recall the helmet."

More information: CPSC Morpher helmet recall notice | CPSC Woom helmet recall notice.

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