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Cannondale refuses to replace broken frame (lifetime warranty)

Old 08-27-15, 02:12 PM
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InTheRain
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Cannondale refuses to replace broken frame (lifetime warranty)

Edit: 09/15/15 - rather than read through the entire thread... The LBS went to bat for me with Cannondale and got Cannondale to agree to a frame replacement.

I was commuting to work on my carbon fiber cannondale synapse. I had just climbed a very short hill, coasted for a bit, and on my next pedal stroke by bike came to an immediate and abrupt complete stope. Fortunately, I was only going about 8mph and was able to click out of the pedals without crashing. Upon inspection, my rear derailluer was firmly jammed into the rear wheel and spokes as well as into the rear cassette. I thought the derailleur hanger had broken.

I took the bike to the shop where I purchased the bike (Old Town Bikes, Olympia, WA.) They were able to pry the rear wheel away and get the derailluer out of the spokes. Upon their inspection, the dearailleur hanger had not broken but had torn through the carbon fiber rear dropouts. The result... carbon fiber frame us now useless. The bike shop submitted a claim to Cannondale. Cannondale came back with their decision today and said they would offer me 20 percent off for crash replacement. I explained, there was no crash where the bike was damaged. Plus, nearly all bikes are reduced 20 percent off for the new models coming in... their "offer" was really no offer at all.

Needless to say, Cannondale gets a thumbs down from me. I won't buy a bicycle (or anything else) from a dealer that sells cannondale. There is no such thing as a lifetime warranty... this is merely a bunch of useless sales rhetoric. $3000 bike is now a door stop.

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Old 08-27-15, 02:19 PM
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Your frame didn't break because of a manufacturing defect in the frame itself, which is what a lifetime warranty on a frame typically covers, your frame broke as a result of some mechanical malfunction.

Something broke which was not your frame -- maybe the derailleur itself? -- and then caused damage to the frame. Crash replacement is the correct term and coverage for something like this. I can't think of a single bike company which would consider this as a frame defect covered under any warranty on the frame.

So what caused the derailleur malfunction? How old is the bike? When's the last time it was serviced? What did the shop say happened to cause the mechanical issue?
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Old 08-27-15, 02:29 PM
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If you took them up on the 20% frame discount, would oldtown charge you to transplant the working parts?
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Old 08-27-15, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
If you took them up on the 20% frame discount, would oldtown charge you to transplant the working parts?
Why wouldn't they charge for the work? Other than they are nice people who would prefer to support a customer and lose money...? Our shop's usual policy is that we will swap parts on a warranty replacement frame free if the bike was purchased through our shop, but we will charge for a frame-up bike build if the bike was purchased elsewhere. Shops are not reimbursed by factories to do this work, so they either eat the cost of something they are not responsible for in order to maintain good customer relations, or they rightfully charge for the work...

20% off crash replacement usually means that much off a whole new bike, not just a frame.
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Old 08-27-15, 02:55 PM
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Your broken frame is the fault of whoever adjusted the derailleur last, or whoever handled the bike roughly leading to a bent derailleur hanger.
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Old 08-27-15, 03:11 PM
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Derailluer hanger is still straight - the bike has not been handled roughly. Any adjustments to derailleurs or cables have been made by the bike shop - authorized cannondale dealer (I bought lifetime free tune ups which includes those adjustments.)
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Old 08-27-15, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
Derailluer hanger is still straight - the bike has not been handled roughly. Any adjustments to derailleurs or cables have been made by the bike shop - authorized cannondale dealer (I bought lifetime free tune ups which includes those adjustments.)
How can the derailleur hanger still be straight? How steep was the hill? How many shifts did you have to make?
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Old 08-27-15, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
If you took them up on the 20% frame discount, would oldtown charge you to transplant the working parts?
As much as I enjoy the guys at Old Town, they are directly linked to Cannondale. It's difficult for me to go back to Old Town since this did not end satisfactorily for me. I have plenty of other options it this community, right?
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Old 08-27-15, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
How can the derailleur hanger still be straight? How steep was the hill? How many shifts did you have to make?
How steep was the hill? Well an experienced rider wouldn't even notice it. I was not on the hill when this happened. I had already climbed the hill (which is only about 40 yards long) and I had easily coasted another 40-50 yards before I took that 1/2 pedal stroke. I was on the 50 tooth front ring. I shifted from the 3rd largest sprocket on the rear derailleur to the largest at the bottom of the hill. I had not shifted out of that gear when I resumed pedaling at the top of the hill after coasting for a bit. And yes, the derailleur hanger is still straight, it would be perfectly functional on another bicycle.
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Old 08-27-15, 03:52 PM
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Well there is the rank beginner mistake.
Cross chaining. Sorry.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Well there is the rank beginner mistake.
Cross chaining. Sorry.
Cross chaining on a compact double 50-34? I don't think so. Another "selling point" from the dealer over a triple.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:07 PM
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See if you can get 20% off the current 20% off price.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
How steep was the hill? Well an experienced rider wouldn't even notice it. I was not on the hill when this happened. I had already climbed the hill (which is only about 40 yards long) and I had easily coasted another 40-50 yards before I took that 1/2 pedal stroke. I was on the 50 tooth front ring. I shifted from the 3rd largest sprocket on the rear derailleur to the largest at the bottom of the hill. I had not shifted out of that gear when I resumed pedaling at the top of the hill after coasting for a bit. And yes, the derailleur hanger is still straight, it would be perfectly functional on another bicycle.
I was also thinking it was some kind of cross chaining incident. Gambler and I figure the 50T is your big ring and should be used 'only' with the top (smallest) five or so teeth on your rear cluster. Cannondale's are especially unforgiving of cross-chaining because they run very short chainstays, at least they used to. That was what I liked most about early Cannondales. Their road frames practically looked like track bikes. So you probably should have dropped down to the (39T?) smaller front ring at the bottom of the hill before doing anything with your rear derailleur.

But what really made this the catastrophe it turned out to be, is the carbon frame. There is just too much dissimilarity in the properties of the metal bits that hold hubs and derailleurs and such and the composite that makes up your frame. Even if I could afford one, I would not see much point in a carbon frame. I am surprised Cannondale did not use some kind of breakaway derailleur hangar to forestall just such a scenario.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
Cross chaining on a compact double 50-34? I don't think so. Another "selling point" from the dealer over a triple.
Cross chaining doesn't care about tooth counts it cares about chainstay length. And TBH, cross-chaining is not usually the most terrible thing a cyclist could do. But... what better explanation do you have?
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Old 08-27-15, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by velocity View Post
See if you can get 20% off the current 20% off price.
I see that you're a cannondale guy by the bikes you ride. I was, too. But really, with the way this situation has been handled by cannondale (the bike shop would do anything that cannondale instructs them to do) I'd find it difficult to be riding a cannondale at this point even if it was given to me for free. If so, the first thing i would do is cover the cannondale logos with black tape. I really thought cannondale would come through with a much, much better solution... but they didn't. I think I'll be replacing the frame with a steel surly frame. I guess I have a trust issue with carbon fiber at this point.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
I see that you're a cannondale guy by the bikes you ride. I was, too. But really, with the way this situation has been handled by cannondale (the bike shop would do anything that cannondale instructs them to do) I'd find it difficult to be riding a cannondale at this point even if it was given to me for free. If so, the first thing i would do is cover the cannondale logos with black tape. I really thought cannondale would come through with a much, much better solution... but they didn't. I think I'll be replacing the frame with a steel surly frame. I guess I have a trust issue with carbon fiber at this point.
First I am sorry for your loss. It is true I have had a lot of Cannondale's of those 2 that I wished I still had. Why not look at the CAAD 11 Aluminum or even a CAAD 10. Both should be outstanding rides. If you don't mind me asking is it Shimano, CAMP or Sram that failed you?
V
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Old 08-27-15, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by velocity View Post
If you don't mind me asking is it Shimano, CAMP or Sram that failed you?
Seems to me it was the limit screw/mechanic that failed him. I'd be pressuring the shop more than Cannondale. I agree with the mfg that human error was the major cause rather than frame failure.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dtrain View Post
Seems to me it was the limit screw/mechanic that failed him. I'd be pressuring the shop more than Cannondale.
Ahhh you see where I am going with this. I am looking at the drive train malfunk...
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Old 08-27-15, 04:44 PM
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^ odds are about 90% that it's Shimano, but there are some Sram offerings in the Synapse line.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
Any adjustments to derailleurs or cables have been made by the bike shop - authorized cannondale dealer (I bought lifetime free tune ups which includes those adjustments.)
Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
Your broken frame is the fault of whoever adjusted the derailleur last, or whoever handled the bike roughly leading to a bent derailleur hanger.
Originally Posted by dtrain View Post
Seems to me it was the limit screw/mechanic that failed him. I'd be pressuring the shop more than Cannondale. I agree with the mfg that human error was the major cause rather than frame failure.
Unless the shop can somehow lay blame on the derailleur, sounds like they should be on the hook for this...

If the shop is washing their hands of all this, it wouldn't hurt to go over the head of the shop and the local/regional outside rep, and file a complaint with Cannondale corporate direct.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:52 PM
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Don't see how cross chaining could cause that. Maybe if the skewer was a little loose, the wheel could have been pulled into the derailleur. Possibly the hanger was loose or maybe even over tightened.

From the bike shop and Canondale's perspective, I suppose it's hard to believe that some sort of crash didn't cause this.

I wouldn't rule out a defective frame.
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Old 08-27-15, 04:54 PM
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Sounds like the bike is a little older than I was thinking when I posted. Under 6 months old (or within a month of a tune-up)...maybe there's a chance to pin blame on the shop. While not a crash, I think there is clearly human error somewhere here.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
I think I'll be replacing the frame with a steel surly frame. I guess I have a trust issue with carbon fiber at this point.
My carbon bikes have held up. I had a steel bike that was trashed after a low impact crash.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:04 PM
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My guess is the guy that set the bike up may not have used a torque wrench and didn't put on the spoke protector on.
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Old 08-27-15, 05:17 PM
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Maybe human error, maybe even a design flaw.
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