The fourth recall in only four years time has been made by ABS airbags. There is a problem with the steel cylinders of the airbag system.
Let's have a look at the four recalls:
August 12, 2011: ABS recalls all cylinders produced between September 1, 2008 and April 15, 2010. Due to a production error it appears to be impossible in some of the cylinders to release the nitrogen when the handle is pulled. The result is that the airbag is not inflated.
December 15, 2013: ABS recalls all wireless controlled handles. When the handle gets older it appears that it's not possible to operate it remotely and all so-called wireless activation handles are recalled.
October 2, 2014: Vario base units of production year 2011/2012 are recalled. Upon activation the velcro appears too strong so that the airbags do not come out. It concerns base units with serial numbers starting with 612 or 712. Do you have such a unit, please contact ABS.
Unique ABS problem?
The above problems relate to ABS, but are not unique. Also Mammut / Snowpulse airbags have been recalled due to problems with the cylinders, activation levers and sticky velcro. You can expect of a backpack of let's say 650 to 800 euro that might save your life to work properly. Well, it's always better to have the right knowledge and stay out of trouble, practice with your avalanche transceiver and prepare yourself for a day in the backcountry. Dr. Gear chooses to ride with his trusted companions on the mountain than 'freeriders' with an airbag but without any knowledge. Let's put things in perspective here. Dr. Gear is not saying that freeriders with an airbag don't have any knowledge, but you'll have to admit that freeriding starts with knowledge, not with an airbag.
Dr. Gear is a bit confused about that. As a gear freak dr. Gear comes in many places and speaks to many people. ABS has to deal with a major operation and a legal challenge. A major operation in the sense that an estimated 150,000 cylinders need to be replaced. Replacing all the cylinder might take a while. If you buy a new airbag, test it with a cylinder filled after December 3, 2014, or better with a carbon cylinder.
Also, there is a legal challenge. In some countries shops are working as a service partner. A nice thought, and sometimes easier for the customer, but what if still something goes wrong afterwards? Who is responsible? The local shop or ABS? And which shop may act as a service partner in this recall and which not? You can also send your airbag to ABS. For this you can register with ABS and you automatically (within 24 hours) receive a confirmation email with details on how to send your airbag via DHL. Dr. Gear has no idea how long it will take for ABS to check your system. Anyway, ABS is taking their job seriously by organizing such a recall and that's absolutely one thing that the German company has done well.