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Crashing and frame replacement?(11 posts)

Crashing and frame replacement?TNRyder
Sep 19, 2003 8:48 PM
Sorry to bring up the subject again, but I was unable to get online for a few days and have lost the thread where I asked this question b4.

Somebody had had a crash and as a possible result of the crash had some damage to their fork steerer tube. It was mentioned in the thread that it was unlikely (or even unethical) for the fork to be replaced under warrenty as the bike had been involved in a crash. As a MTNbiker just getting involved in the road side of things, I find it strange that a part would not be replaced under warrenty. We crash all of the time on our MTNbikes, and if all it took to void the warrenty was one crash the warrenties would not be worth the paper that they were written on. Maybe they aren't, I have never had to warrenty a frame. I have had freinds that did though, and the ? of whether or not the bike had been crashed never came up. Maybe it is just a given with a MTNbike.

So is this true about crashes voiding your warrenty? If so, how big of a crash. As we all know by now, Lance took a little tumble after getting his handlebars tangled in a goody bag (Muesette bag) @ the TDF. This 'little' crash was enough to break one of the chainstays on his very expensive frame. Had it been me on that road, would I be looking @ purchasing a new frame right now?

Just curious.
re: Don't crash...hudsonite
Sep 20, 2003 5:34 AM
The warranties on most bikes cover manufacturing and material defect. If you crash, the warranty does not cover any damage to the frame, fork or components.

Some ‘lifetime' warranties are even more outrageous. For example, if you read Cannondale's warranty for their CADD7 frames, the lifetime warranty excludes ‘fatigue' to the frame caused by regular use. They even warn you that the frame is not designed to last more than a couple of years.

This is from the Cannondale owners manual:
CAAD7 bikes are designed to be today's ultimate lightweight road racing frame. You must understand that CAAD7 is intended to give an aggressive racer a competitive edge for a season or two of racing. A less aggressive rider will enjoy longer frame life. Please understand you are choosing light weight and a shorter frame life over more weight and a longer frame life. All frames that are very light need frequent inspection for cracks that would indicate that the frame is worn out from fatigue. ".end quote

The tubing used is thin and can be easily dented. Owners must use care in handling and transporting a CAAD 7 frame. The top tube is particularly vulnerable to dents. Let it fall against a post or other bike; you may dent it. If the handlebars spin around and strike the top tube; you may dent it. Crash it; you may buckle or break the tubing, ruining the frame. " .end quote.

This from the Warranty of Cannondale

quote ..."
FRAMES: Cannondale frames (except 2004 freeride, see below) are warranted by Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, 16 Trowbridge Drive, Bethel, CT 06801 against manufacturing defects in materials and/or workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner." ...

· This warranty is void if the bicycle is subjected to abuse, neglect, improper repair, alterations, modifications, an accident or other abnormal, excessive, or improper conditions.
* Damage resulting from normal wear and tear, including the results of fatigue, is not covered. Fatigue damage is a symptom of the frame being worn out through use. It is one kind of wear and tear. See sections 5, A and D. ... end quote

My intention is not to pick on Cannondale. They manufacture good bikes and offer decent customer service. But it answers your questions about crashing and more.
Road bikes are lightweight machines. Some are stronger than others. The lighter the bike, the less likely that it will survive a crash. Spending more money on a bike does not make it stronger. It may actually make it weaker by the use of super lightweight metals and carbons. As buyers of these machines, we take on the responsibility of its use and take the pain when we bang it up.

There are some bikes out there that are more crash resistant. I have seen a Trek 5200 crash that caused no frame damage. But I have seen other bikes have simple crashes that destroyed the frame.

Many of the better bike companies have crash replacement programs, where even if the damage is not covered under warranty, they will replace the frame at a good price.
The best thing to do is talk to a good LBS. They will be able to guide you towards strong and reliable bikes. They will also be able to tell you which companies are most flexible when it comes to warranty replacement.

The best advice is don't crash.
Frame as "wear item"filtersweep
Sep 20, 2003 5:45 AM
That is a fascinating bit from Cannondale- that "fatigue" is not covered. Apparently this is a "free from manufacturing defects" warranty?

Of course, I ride a Look, which is like not having a warranty- although I've heard that as they are ramping up better US distribution, they might be matching Trek's warranty (to go toe to toe with them).

I wish more builders had a crash replacement warranty. It would likely help sales. In racing, crashing is part of the package- although I've seen all sorts of nasty crashes that leave the frame unscathed (but shred the seat, pedals, and skewers...) so oddly, unless hitting a fixed object, the frame is usually well protected. But wouldn't it be cool if for maybe $400-500 you could have all your parts moved over to a new CAAD7 frame if you crashed...?
Look warrantyhudsonite
Sep 20, 2003 6:44 AM
Your comments about the Look warranty are interesting. I am in the process of purchasing a Look frame and this is one of my issues. There is nothing worse than buying something that breaks and then not having recourse.

The warranty in the US is 2 years on Look frames. In France, the warranty is 5 years. Obviously 5 is better than 2. I think that the US distributor actually sets the warranty policies for the country. It is unfortunate that they set them so low, when the manufacturer in France actually offers a warranty that is more than double the time.

But the bigger issue is really the customer service component on a warranty claim. A good company/distributor will make things right quickly. A not so good one will make things difficult. For example, if a carbon frame breaks and you crash, will they cover it or claim that the crash caused the break!

Manufacturing defects occur on all products. The warranty is there to allow the consumer recourse in case they get a lemon. Good distributors/manufactures try to build a brand through good customer service. All too often some of the more 'boutique' brands offer poor customer service after the sale.

A 'real' 5-year warranty would be a good enough for me. If there are no issues with a frame after a few years, it is unlikely that there will be issues long term. But the idea that regular riding is not covered, because of fatigue, makes these types of ‘lifetime' warranties as good as non-existent.

For my info, why do you claim that you have no warranty on your frame? Do you have evidence that the distributor is difficult or did you buy the frame 'grey' market?

2 years is two yearsfiltersweep
Sep 20, 2003 5:59 PM
Well, my time is about up. I was comparing 2 years to these so-called "lifetime" warranties.

I purchased my Look through my LBS.

Interestingly, what POSSIBLE manufacturing "defect" could turn up AFTER two years anyway?

How can a frame really be a lemon- there are no moving parts. Worst thing I can think of is a tube coming unbonded- and that is sure to happen relatively early in its life- unless the frame is wrecked.
re: Don't crash...divve
Sep 20, 2003 10:31 AM
I don't know of a single manufacturer that warrants against fatigue, i.e., wear and tear. Cannondale always had that in their terms of use. You just happened to have discovered it recently. In case you still have reservation about the fatigue of their frames check the below links. They are consistent top scorers for both their road and MTB frames:
re: Don't crash...hudsonite
Sep 20, 2003 11:56 AM
Yes I am aware of how well Cannodales score on these tests. They are among the best engineered frames in the world. But I believe their warranty policy is misleading.

I have purchased Cannondale bikes. The LBS sold me on the fact that the bike has a lifetime warranty. The representation was that the frame was strong and would not break, and if it did, there was a lifetime warranty on it.

There was no mention of the T&C's with respect to fatigue before I purchased the bike. As a matter of fact, I never did receive any warranty documentation from the LBS.

I also was never told that the expected frame life was only two years. Nor was there any mention that fatigue was not covered. As soon as you say fatigue is not covered, you are effectivly saying that there is no warranty for a breakage caused by riding, unless it happens in the first couple of months of ownership.

Compare this to Trek. The Trek warranty is lifetime on the frame and there are no exclusions for fatigue caused by riding the bike. Yes there are limitations for accidents and wear and tear, but the warranty does cover the frame against failure caused by using the frame.

The '' is that bike buyers need to be fully informed on the warranty conditions before they buy the bike and they must make informed decisions on the reliability and strength of the bike before they buy.

BTW, the Cannondale is a great bike and there has been zero issues with the frame or anything else on the bike. And yes, i would buy another.
There have been issues in the past....divve
Sep 21, 2003 2:26 AM
...where Cannondale MTB frames failed due to design flaws and what have you not. In every instance they promptly recalled all the bikes and replaced them with at that point latest models. People have broke 8 year old road frames and got brand new ones. What I'm trying to say is that Cannondale stands behind their warranties just as any other reputable manufacturer does. The wording in their warranties, although accurate, consists of a lot of "scary" talk, which should be taken with some consideration as Russ explained very well.

Aside from that, I think they've been receiving a number of complaints regarding CAAD7 dented top tubes. The aluminum tubing is very thin in that section. Their additional CAAD7 warranty statement clarifies that by reasoning it's a pure racing bike and designed as such. You can ask any Euro pro team racer. Their most used bikes are replaced 2-3 times a year. No one in the peleton is riding an 8 month old C-40 beater:) Take into account they ride more miles in one year than most do in 10 years.
re: Don't crash...MShaw
Sep 22, 2003 10:01 AM
The difference between Trek and C-dale is that Trek admits to not building the lightest bike they can. Trek'd rather build something a little heavier and not have to worry about breakage. C-dale, on the other hand, likes to push the envelope. Good for Euro pros, bad for Joe Blow who wants a bike to last forever...

That said, my CAAD4 mtn bike was still going strong (I just sold it) after being ridden for 10+ years.

In 15 years of working in bike shops....russw19
Sep 20, 2003 5:20 PM
I have never seen an aluminium frame "fail." I have seen welds fail, but never the actual tubeset fail. I have seen crash damage, and crash or impact dents, but never seen an aluminium frame tube just up and snap. Not in the middle of the tube... I have seen failures at weld points, but that is a manufacturing defect (air in the weld) and should be covered under warranty.

This whole thing is really a lame point... bikes just don't up and break all too often. What they do is break at welds (warrantied) and they are crashed.

I see absolutely no reason why anyone here should expect a manufacturer to cover their crashing. Do you expect your 5 year/50,000 mile drivetrain warranty in your car to cover your car in the event of a collision? No. And you shouldn't expect your bikes warranty to cover against a crash either.

Now, I stated above that I have never seen a frame just plain fail. That doesn't mean it has never happened, and it doesn't mean it won't ever happen again. And I am sure the flood gates will now open with everyone telling us all stories about how their best friend's sister's cousin's frame just up and snapped outside of 31 Flavors the other night. It's BS. It just doesn't happen that often. And if it did, it should get warrantied, but not if you crash it.

My $.04, since I already put 2 in the last thread.

If you crash, admit you crashed...merckx56
Sep 20, 2003 8:56 AM
and try to warranty something at a shop, most will laugh and say "Too bad...!" If it breaks, most of the time it will indeed get replaced at little or no cost to you. Most companies will honor a warranty for a bit longer than stated, especially if they still make the same model of whatever ended up broken.
As for Lance's "little" crash, you must remember that a 145 pound man fell directly on the chainstay when they went down. Lance still was able to ride the bike to a win, which says something for the strength of OCLV. Personally, I wouldn't ride a Trek if you gave it to me, but I can appreciate the engineering that allowed the above scenario to occur!