China’s quality control authority conducted an extensive investigation into the quality of dockless rental bikes and uncovered startling results. Some of the bicycles we rent every day are not as safe as we thought.

Of the total 24 batches of bikes that are sampled in the test, three batches of bikes run by Mobike, Ubike and a smaller startup named Quancheng Qiyou (全城骑游) failed to meet standards. The results show that the overall defect rate is 12.5%, higher than that in previous years, which is 10% and 11.5% in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Defect rate of rental bikes (2016-2018) (Image credit: Xinhua)

Given the market share, Mobike (37.5%), ofo (25%) and Hellobike (20.8%), the three top bike rental brands account for a combined 83.3% of the sampled bikes. The test was run on 14 items such as brakes and pedals. Distance between pedals and bike reflector are where the companies failed.

The high defect rate of Mobike is particular striking given the company’s high-end positioning which boasts a focus on design and greener lifestyle. Mobike has even won an award from one of the most prestigious design competitions, iF Design Awards

Mobike’s products were sampled in six cities in Tianjin, Wuxi, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan. The failed batch was collected from Guangzhou.

“Mobike apologizes to all the users and will tighten quality control of our products. The company promptly called back all 1,240 affected bikes after remotely locking them the day we discovered the issue. No incidents were reported from these bikes. We will launch a deeper investigation into all bike models and has submitted rectification report to relevant authorities,” a Mobike spokesperson told TechNode.

The news comes just days after Mobike is being acquired by China’s tech giant Meituan.