This is my first time posting up here but I have been reading the forums for about a year now.
I have been riding the same Novara for over a decade. I bought the bike because I have always heard good things about REI's service and bikes. Another big selling point on the Novara's was that (at least at the time I bought mine) they claimed a lifetime warranty on the frames.
Long story short is this, I ride the bike fairly agressively. Some street riding, some mountain trail riding, etc. I was on a ride with a group of friends a couple weeks back and came off a decent sized burm and landed square on the rear tire. I am 6' 1" and weigh a good 210. The framed actually buckled and broke the small pinch weld right below the seat. I got tossed pretty good as well. I brought the bike into REI to discuss it with them and see what options were available as far as repairing or replacing the frame. I mentioned the "lifetime" warranty and the bike shop tech said "well lifetime doesn't actually mean life time". Well then what the hell does it mean? Now I realize that there are wear and tear items on a mountain bike, like brake pads, tires, rims, pedals, cables, etc. So I would never expect those to be covered, but the frame?? Seems like the one thing that should be under the warranty is the part that buckled.
Now I can see a frame not being covered due to being run over a by a car, or crashing into a brick wall, or some other thing that wasn't directly related to regular riding. However this was riding and jumping a burm that was not very large.
Am I wrong in thinking this? He said the warranty only covers "defects in manufacturing". Well if the frame buckles because the factory used a very poor grade of metal (steel frame) and I am riding the bike the way they advertise them to be ridden (trail riding, jumping, etc) then should it not be covered? He of course did not have the final say and was going to talk with REI corporate and get back to me later.
What are peoples thoughts? Any and all info is greatly appreciated.
BTW I have no idea where Novara bikes are made these days but mine very clearly says "made in Taiwan" in three different places on the frame. (for those who wondered) My family and I have been riding on Novara's for almost 20 years and have never had a real problem until now. Hopefully it will be easily resolved.