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  1. #1
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    Trek Warranty?...

    [EDIT: I see some people could misread my first sentance - I should have said "I have" instead of "I've got" to be more clear, I am the original owner of this bike]
    I've got a 1983 Trek 400 with a bend in the frame where the downtube meets the head tube. This happened when I lifted the front wheel slightly off the ground to avoid a pothole and when it came down the wheel bent badly. The wheel bending was surprising, a little upsetting of course, but it was much more disturbing and shocking to see the frame bent.

    That was in Massachusettes, where they have mountains. As an aside, the top speed I'd reached coming down was 55 Mph. I was going much slower when the pothole incident happened.

    I'm now in Ohio and a Trek store recently opened. I stopped some weeks back out of curriosity. I mentioned the bent frame and a worker said I should have it looked at maybe it'd be covered under warranty.

    I'll have to call Trek on Monday because today, after having had my bike for more than two weeks the shop called and said they denied my warranty claiming that the bend was caused by collision or such - I don't remember exactly because I was too upset to think clearly.

    I was upset for a couple reasons I guess, I couldn't imagine they'd take more than two weeks then tell me they'd do NOTHING. I'd been preparing myself mentally for the disapointment that they'd only replace the frame and I'd have to buy new wheels (and a bunch of other new parts) because the shop told me they sometimes replace the whole bike, sometimes just the frame - they just didn't know what they'd do.

    The other reason I'm upset is that the frame honestly did bend the way I said and essentially they're accusing me of lying, they didn't even have the decency to call and speak to me about it directly, they just told the shop.

    I hadn't actually thought of the lifetime warranty until the shop suggested it, I'd even forgotten that my frame had the lifetime warranty. I'd just been riding the bike and hoping it would last.

    I knew I was being honest and the guy at the shop had said it's probably not safe to just keep riding the bike with the bent frame - once a they mentioned that Trek might just replace the whole bike, then, they kept it for weeks I'd been getting my hopes up, rather excited about finally having a new Trek after 28 years.

    I'd even had my father dig up my old original owner's manual and receipt and dropped it off at the store even though they'd not asked for it.

    My father's also has the same bike as mine, his is also bent in a similar manner, although the reason for the bend is entirely different. His was mounted on a car roof rack and he ran into an awning. He's also fairly honest and won't try to get it repaired under warranty, he also just rides his as is hoping it won't fail.

    I would have gone on doing the same had the shop not suggested seeing about the warranty. Now, I'm upset and I'm not sure what I'l do*. I've never sued anyone before but this business of them falsely claiming the damage is due to collision has got me worked up. I guess I assumed they'd probably think that anyway because it does seem so odd the way my frame bent, but, as usually happens in my naiviety I wrongly believe that people will believe me because I'm telling the truth.



    I'll see what they say when I call on Monday.

    EDIT: I added Pictures on page 2...

    *I was upset because it seemed Trek was calling me a liar.
    Last edited by critofur; 09-11-11 at 01:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    Oh - since they had my bike in the shop so long I had to pickup another bike to ride in the meantime. I suppose I should be happy about that, I got a 1987 Trek Elance for a couple hundred $ through craigslist.

    It's interesting that my 1983 400 also cost me $200 back in 1983 - I guess it's a lot more "adjusted for inflation".

    I've always had headaches with rear derailures, they never work just right for me even if I keep brining them back to the shop for adjustment. I'd been looking forward to trying a quality bike with a "modern" one that actually clicks right into gear without grinding, ker-chunking, and sometimes making the chain pop right off. I've got my fingers crossed that Trek will still come through, there's no way I could afford to buy myself a new bike in the foreseeable future. (I'm back in college, working part time and have two kids - my wife wouldn't "let" me (she'd get too upset if I did it) buy a nice new bike until I get some high paying job again)

  3. #3
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Hate to tell you this but I seriously doubt that suing is going to do anything. It is going to be your word against theirs as far as how the damage happened. Also, if you threaten to sue be prepared to go thru with it. Most likely once you mention it no one will speak to you at the shop or at Trek, they will just direct you to their attorneys.

    Also, in the fine print most warrantees state something about bike must be in original condition. So, if you changed the tires, chain, bar tape, anything it could technically void your warranty. Your best bet is to just talk to them reasonably, if they help you out then great, if not time to look for a new bike.

    As far as how the damage happened I'm not calling you a liar, but if I was working at the shop and you showed me a bent frame and said it was from a slight wheelie I would be pretty doubtful as well. You saying that your dad has the same type of bend from hitting a canopy doesn't really help matters so I would avoid mentioning it.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

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    1983 bike, are u complaining for a 27 y/o bike that now a days is like 150 bucks?? I wouldnt even dare to claim anything. Just spend 500 get a new one and ride man.

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    That ^^^^^ +1 , really.......

  6. #6
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    a lifetime warranty is what the company thinks the lifetime of the product is, not what you think the lifetime of the product is. If the company thinks that the lifetime of the product is 5 years then the warranty is up after 5 years. I am pretty sure that the 'lifetime' of that bike as specified by Trek is less than the time that you had it. But I may be wrong, i'm just speculating.
    Quote Originally Posted by lvleph View Post
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  7. #7
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Warranty is for MANUFACTURER'S DEFECTS TO THE ORIGINAL OWNER. You riding through a pothole is not a manufacturer's defect. That's your fault and no one owes you a thing. You also have to be able to demonstrate that you are the original owner. Used bkes have nada warranty.

    What is it today that everyone thinks they are entitled?

    It's a collision. That's not a defect.

    BTW, the reason they communicated with the shop is that's the process. They need to deal with people that actually understand the process and how it works. Generally the shop holds the frame for the rep to come in and look at it and then a decision is made. Also understand that many of us in this business have been ti more than our share of rodeos and have heard it all. What we refer to as "JRA's" (as in "I was JUST RIDING ALONG"). So, yeah, the approach is to look carefully at the damage. Especially on a frame this old. And even if they had done a warranty, they would not have given you a free frame many time better than what you had. There would probably have been an upgrade charge of some type.

    MANUFACTURER"S DEFECTS to the ORIGINAL OWNER who must demonstrate that they are, indeed, the original owner.

    Sue? LOL. Ask former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond how suing Trek worked for him.

    facepalm....
    Last edited by roadwarrior; 09-11-11 at 05:33 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abikemechanic View Post
    a lifetime warranty is what the company thinks the lifetime of the product is, not what you think the lifetime of the product is. If the company thinks that the lifetime of the product is 5 years then the warranty is up after 5 years. I am pretty sure that the 'lifetime' of that bike as specified by Trek is less than the time that you had it. But I may be wrong, i'm just speculating.
    Yes, you are wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    Also, in the fine print most warrantees state something about bike must be in original condition. So, if you changed the tires, chain, bar tape, anything it could technically void your warranty.
    Another load of nonsense.

    People. Trek is not in the business of screwing people over. They are quite reasonable about their warranty, and often go beyond its technical limits (despite waterrockets' experience).

    The trouble here is that the damage to the OP's bike is not a manufacturer's defect, as roadwarrior has pointed out. It's either from roof-racking it into the garage, crashing, or maybe even as described by the OP. Hitting a pothole enough to bend the wheel, also bending the frame, is not a defect.
    Last edited by Pedaleur; 09-11-11 at 07:17 AM. Reason: ' & ' again...

  10. #10
    Senior Member embankmentlb's Avatar
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    What the %^$# is wrong with people?????

  11. #11
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    The impact was severe enough to bend both the wheel and the frame, and yet the bike store employee suggested that Trek might cover the damage under warranty? I hope the Trek rep reamed him a new one.

    The OP says that he's upset that he was implicitly accused of lying when the Trek rep said that the damage was caused by a collision. So the bike store guy created a nonexistent problem by talking about warranty coverage when he should have known better, and now he's trying to shift the blame to the Trek rep. Assuming that the OP told the bike store employee the whole story about how the impact happened, "collision" versus "impact" is just semantics. Damage from impact = not covered by warranty. That bike store guy needs to have that sentence tattooed on his forehead.
    Last edited by Trakhak; 09-11-11 at 07:42 AM.

  12. #12
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    There are a couple points: 1) I don't think we should accept that BS "what they think lifetime means". and 2) regardless of fine print they claim collision and it was not caused by collision. I was, and am being, honest about this and they are claiming otherwise. It's disapointing that honesty is such a liability.

    In regards to point #1: had the frame not bent I would happily use it for another 25 years and why shouldn't I? I like my 1983 Trek better than any bike I could afford to buy today. So much so, in fact, that I just bought another similar model/age/brand bike while waiting for the warranty repair/replacement.

    Many people would gladly purchase a 1983 Trek 400 today if it did not have a bent frame. Can any of you name a better $200 bicycle?!? I take a lot of pride in my hand made in the USA quality alloy frame and I like having a steel bike. I would not want to buy a non-alloy lesser quality (and heavier) WalMart bike, or, a rigid aluminum one.

    It wasn't a "wheelie" I did, more like a partial bunny hop.

  13. #13
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
    Another load of nonsense.
    Sorry you feel that way. You are certainly welcome to your opinion though. If you don't think that Trek (and other manufacturer's) cover their butts with wording like this, well......

    For example, most mtb's are not recommended for off road use. This usually doesn't keep them from warrantying a product, it just covers their butts if they decide not to cover the damage under warranty.
    Last edited by LowCel; 09-11-11 at 07:28 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by critofur View Post
    I've never sued anyone before but this business of them falsely claiming the damage is due to collision has got me worked up.
    People don't sue over something worth a few hundred dollars. You could buy an expensive new bike for the amount of money and effort suing would take!

    Quote Originally Posted by critofur View Post
    I've got a 1983 Trek 400 with a bend in the frame where the downtube meets the head tube. This happened when I lifted the front wheel slightly off the ground to avoid a pothole and when it came down the wheel bent badly. The wheel bending was surprising, a little upsetting of course, but it was much more disturbing and shocking to see the frame bent.
    This sounds unusual. It's possible that the frame was weakened by some other event (many years) before this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    Also, in the fine print most warrantees state something about bike must be in original condition. So, if you changed the tires, chain, bar tape, anything it could technically void your warranty.
    ??? This is silly since it would mean the effective warranty is about 6 months. I know people who have had frames replaced and your odd restriction has never been applied.

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    you collided with the pot hole. Its collision

  17. #17
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    ??? This is silly since it would mean the effective warranty is about 6 months. I know people who have had frames replaced and your odd restriction has never been applied.
    Doesn't mean it will be used, just a way to protect their butts. Obviously it would kill them to use it as an out on a regular basis. However, most warranties say void if the item is modified. It doesn't take much to "modify" a bike.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abikemechanic View Post
    a lifetime warranty is what the company thinks the lifetime of the product is, not what you think the lifetime of the product is. If the company thinks that the lifetime of the product is 5 years then the warranty is up after 5 years. I am pretty sure that the 'lifetime' of that bike as specified by Trek is less than the time that you had it. But I may be wrong, i'm just speculating.
    No. They would just specify a warranty of 5 years. Companies usually limit warranties to the original owner.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    Doesn't mean it will be used, just a way to protect their butts. Obviously it would kill them to use it as an out on a regular basis. However, most warranties say void if the item is modified. It doesn't take much to "modify" a bike.
    No, it's silly. The frame would have to be modified. I've never heard of a warranty being denied in the way you've claimed.

    In this case, it's much more likely that the damage was deemed to be the result of an accident (which would not be under warranty).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    Hate to tell you this but I seriously doubt that suing is going to do anything. It is going to be your word against theirs as far as how the damage happened. Also, if you threaten to sue be prepared to go thru with it. Most likely once you mention it no one will speak to you at the shop or at Trek, they will just direct you to their attorneys.
    I did, but then I told them that I don't know what I'm saying I'm just upset and I've got a knot in my stomach and I'm not thinking clearly. The guy seemed to understand and gave me his card with the company phone number to call.

    Also, in the fine print most warrantees state something about bike must be in original condition. So, if you changed the tires, chain, bar tape, anything it could technically void your warranty.
    They're not claiming that, they're claiming that what I said about how it happened is wrong. Throughout my life things that happened where I should have sued but never did. Who knows, maybe the world is a better place because I didn't.
    Your best bet is to just talk to them reasonably, if they help you out then great, if not time to look for a new bike.
    That's what I'll do and that's what I'm hoping. I won't actually sue, I just got angry at being called a liar.

    As far as how the damage happened I'm not calling you a liar, but if I was working at the shop and you showed me a bent frame and said it was from a slight wheelie I would be pretty doubtful as well. You saying that your dad has the same type of bend from hitting a canopy doesn't really help matters so I would avoid mentioning it.
    Well it's the truth. My dad was thousands of miles away (parents divorced shortly after we got these bikes). I was in Massachusetts and he was in Kansas? Not sure exactly where.


    Quote Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
    1983 bike, are u complaining for a 27 y/o bike that now a days is like 150 bucks?? I wouldnt even dare to claim anything. Just spend 500 get a new one and ride man.
    Quote Originally Posted by roadwarrior View Post
    Warranty is for MANUFACTURER'S DEFECTS TO THE ORIGINAL OWNER. You riding through a pothole is not a manufacturer's defect. That's your fault and no one owes you a thing. You also have to be able to demonstrate that you are the original owner. Used bkes have nada warranty.

    What is it today that everyone thinks they are entitled?

    It's a collision. That's not a defect.
    I didn't say "just riding along". No, not a collision. As I explained I lifted the front of the bike up to avoid a pothole - of course I didn't expect the frame to bend when the wheel came back down? It's a high quality "touring" bicycle - one can't expect perfect roads?
    BTW, the reason they communicated with the shop is that's the process. They need to deal with people that actually understand the process and how it works. Generally the shop holds the frame for the rep to come in and look at it and then a decision is made. Also understand that many of us in this business have been ti more than our share of rodeos and have heard it all. What we refer to as "JRA's" (as in "I was JUST RIDING ALONG"). So, yeah, the approach is to look carefully at the damage. Especially on a frame this old. And even if they had done a warranty, they would not have given you a free frame many time better than what you had. There would probably have been an upgrade charge of some type.

    MANUFACTURER"S DEFECTS to the ORIGINAL OWNER who must demonstrate that they are, indeed, the original owner.

    Sue? LOL. Ask former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond how suing Trek worked for him.

    facepalm....
    I am the original owner. I even have the original owner's manual with my name filled out way back when I was 14? years old in 1983, and, the little serial number paper tag thing that was stuck between the spokes on the wheel on the showroom floor taped to the back of the manual, and, the original receipt.

    EDIT: I have to edit my post later - my 2 year old is screaming and I must go take care of her now, I hope to come back to this later...

  21. #21
    Senior Member hokie cycler's Avatar
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    You're mincing words with the Trek rep. He says collision, you say it was a not a collision but it was obviously caused by a pot hole or your attempt to avoid the pot hole. That's not a manufacturing defect, it's an accident. What about this accident makes you think it's a manufacturing defect?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
    1983 bike, are u complaining for a 27 y/o bike that now a days is like 150 bucks?? I wouldnt even dare to claim anything. Just spend 500 get a new one and ride man.
    I think I already explained that I can't "just spend $500". Besides, show me a $500 bike with a fine handmade in the USA alloy steel frame??? That's right, they don't exist. That's why I spent the couple hundred and bought another similar year/model/brand 1987 Trek Elance 400D...
    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    No, it's silly. The frame would have to be modified. I've never heard of a warranty being denied in the way you've claimed.
    THANK YOU for your post. Nice to see someone posting other than to just insult me or call me a liar again.
    In this case, it's much more likely that the damage was deemed to be the result of an accident (which would not be under warranty).
    So, I just need to prove to them what actually happened?

  23. #23
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Best of luck to you, I hope it works out. Keep in mind though, just because you can't afford a new bike doesn't mean that Trek should just give you one if they don't believe it is a manufacturer's defect.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hokie cycler View Post
    You're mincing words with the Trek rep. He says collision, you say it was a not a collision but it was obviously caused by a pot hole or your attempt to avoid the pot hole. That's not a manufacturing defect, it's an accident. What about this accident makes you think it's a manufacturing defect?
    Shouldn't one be able to avoid a pothole and not expect their frame to be bent? Besides, I actually do think that hitting a pothole would not typically cause a bend in a bike frame? It wasn't an ultralight racing bike after all.

    I think they're claiming I HIT something, as in head on. I did not. Perhaps when I speak to them on the phone Monday it will be more clear.

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    To me lifetime warranty means lifetime warranty, not some bogus arbitrary "we think the "lifetime" of this product is five years. That's NOT how the phrase lifetimetime warranty was interpreted by consumers in 1983 and I'm not willing to accept that interpretation now either!

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