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Trek Warranty Claim Denied

Old 06-12-24, 06:24 PM
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Trek Warranty Claim Denied

Son broke a 2022 Domone at the right chain stay/BB junction. Trek claims it is not a defect, but due to the chain being jammed between the crank and chain stay.
Yes, there are marks from chain suck. The crack is radial around the tube, The marks from the chain are about a centimeter aft of the crack. Is it possible? Sure, anything is possible. We put men on the moon for Pete's sake. Anything is possible. Is it probable? Low probability from where I sit, UNLESS there is a lack of material or protection at this juncture on the frame.
I worked in the bike biz from 1981 to 2021. That is a long time. We sold every configuration of bike made from every material except magnesium and I have never seen a chain stay crack in this manner from chain suck.
I propose that Trek and whoever makes these frames for them knows about chain suck, they simply must know it happens. I propose in an effort to chase grams and lower costs Trek and whoever makes these frames for them do not put any protective measures in place to prevent damage from chain suck, even though they know it is likely to occur.
I propose Trek and whoever makes these frames for them must add a protective measure in that area to prevent this from happening in the future.

As it is, he is getting the frame repaired and will ride it, but is already looking at a new bike from a different brand. Another 8k and Trek doesn't care one bit.
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Old 06-12-24, 06:33 PM
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that is bad CS. Did you have a LBS sponsor the warranty? I wonder how much effort was put on the inspection? That isn't a very old frame either. Is your son the original owner?
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Old 06-12-24, 06:33 PM
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A chain catcher might be a useful addition. A friend destroyed the BB shell of a Cervelo but I think he may have dropped the chain more than once.
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Old 06-12-24, 06:59 PM
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I’ve had issues with Trek CS. They make nice bikes though. I would send the frame to Calfee for a repair.
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Old 06-12-24, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
I worked in the bike biz from 1981 to 2021.
while reading this i thought to myself: that's a long time. then you wrote:

Originally Posted by TiHabanero
That is a long time.
got a chuckle out of that...anyway, sucks about the claim.
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Old 06-12-24, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv
A chain catcher might be a useful addition. A friend destroyed the BB shell of a Cervelo but I think he may have dropped the chain more than once.
i put these on my dedicated trainer bike and my outdoor bike. never a drop since. it is extreamly cheap insurance.
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Old 06-12-24, 08:09 PM
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Trek has experience with this area / issue going back 30+ years to the first early 90’s OCLV frames (and possibly earlier ?)

Trek almost immediately began to include / ship (install ?) a large steel ring / ‘washer’ to be installed on the drive side bottom bracket cup on OCLV frames so a thrown chain would not saw through the area around the drive side chain stay

( see picture above - gotta look close but you can see the dark gray ‘washer’ )

it’s a shame … apparently little was learned ?
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Old 06-12-24, 08:55 PM
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The bike industry is wild to me. A lot of companies go out of business due to losing business from bad CS. Sounds like Trek has been doing it a long time and are still one of the biggest manufacturers.
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Old 06-12-24, 09:08 PM
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I dropped my chain on my 531 steel Croll today. Problem solved. Of course, three pounds heavier!
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Old 06-12-24, 10:14 PM
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The only reason I seem to hear for not using a chain catcher is "not needed with a properly adjusted derailleur". Yeah, I get that. I'm a pretty good home mechanic and installed and maintained derailleurs on many bikes for many seasons. But I put a chain catcher on every carbon fiber frame that comes through the household. Not so much on the metal frames. To not put a chain catcher on a CF frame is just dumb.
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Old 06-13-24, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Camilo
The only reason I seem to hear for not using a chain catcher is "not needed with a properly adjusted derailleur". Yeah, I get that. I'm a pretty good home mechanic and installed and maintained derailleurs on many bikes for many seasons. But I put a chain catcher on every carbon fiber frame that comes through the household. Not so much on the metal frames. To not put a chain catcher on a CF frame is just dumb.
Oh, that's what that thing is on the Shimano road 11 FD I picked up used for a project but haven't used yet.

I always used to remove spoke protectors aka dork discs from all bikes once bought, until dropping the chain inboard off the low cog and chewing up spokes, granted it was a poor RD, but I put nice clear plastic tasteful discs back on all bikes at first opportunity.

a) Don't buy Trek again, tell all your friends don't buy Trek, and tell everyone about it *forever*. People harp on me for bringing up a frame failure that a different company didn't warranty 7 years ago. FOREVER.

b) Don't buy carbon fiber anything (for bikes), most especially a frame because it's so expensive for a complete loss. A respected LBS recommends against carbon anything unless you are a bonafide competitive racer and it makes a difference, both due to cost, and bad failure modes of carbon fiber composites. The same money will buy a fine titanium frame these days, maybe even less money, for a frame that is high performance, durable, and repairable.

EDIT: There was another thread months back, also a hole in a carbon chainstay, can't recall what brand bike. They're all thin. If I had one I'd armor it in that area, either thick and foamy, or thin but rigid enough to spread the load, like 1/16" 6061 aluminum, bent to conform to chainstay, held in place with something not too strong, like clear silicone seal or 4000 sealant.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 06-13-24 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 06-13-24, 04:17 AM
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When a manufacturing company starts to have financial problems, the first and second steps are "right sizing" and denying warranty claims. It really does save a lot of money because warranty claim costs aren't covered by the original purchase price margin.
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Old 06-13-24, 04:54 AM
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"Don't buy carbon fiber anything (for bikes), most especially a frame because it's so expensive for a complete loss."

Interesting statement in that my son said that for someone that uses the bike a lot, a metal frame makes more sense. I agree with that statement, and I have had two carbon bikes!

I know there are thousands of riders that use carbon frames and forks that have had no problems. That is always the case, however in this case it didn't work out well at all and he has no recourse with Trek.
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Old 06-13-24, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax
When a manufacturing company starts to have financial problems, the first and second steps are "right sizing" and denying warranty claims. It really does save a lot of money because warranty claim costs aren't covered by the original purchase price margin.
If a company manages to last many decades despite honoring warranty claims, as has been the case for Trek as well as other bike manufacturers, that demonstrates that warranty costs are indeed covered by the price margins. Such manufacturers are of necessity obliged to treat claims as a cost of doing business, including closely monitoring the claims and associated costs and projecting future claims and costs.

Bike manufacturers primarily regard warranty claims as a marketing tool. Schwinn invented the practice of offering a lifetime warranty for bike frames, and other companies followed suit, reluctantly, because they had to do so to survive in the marketplace.

The damage to the Trek frame in question is unfortunate, but it doesn't represent a failure in materials or workmanship, any more than damage to a frame from a front impact does. You can argue that Trek should have used enough material at the chain stay/bottom bracket junction to withstand damage from a chain drop, but you can also argue that all frames should have gussets at the head tube.

As our local Bianchi sales rep told me in the mid-1980's, when I asked what they were going to do with a Italian-built frame that he'd just approved for replacement under warranty (seat stay cracked at the seat lug from overheating), they just threw such frames away. He explained that Bianchi of Italy did not cover any frame failures under warranty.

He said that the Italians found the idea of warranties on racing frames laughable. "We can sell you racing frames with a warranty," one of them had once told him. "They'll weigh one or two kilograms more, though."
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Old 06-13-24, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
"Don't buy carbon fiber anything (for bikes), most especially a frame because it's so expensive for a complete loss."

Interesting statement in that my son said that for someone that uses the bike a lot, a metal frame makes more sense. I agree with that statement, and I have had two carbon bikes!

I know there are thousands of riders that use carbon frames and forks that have had no problems. That is always the case, however in this case it didn't work out well at all and he has no recourse with Trek.
I've never owned a carbon frame bike and have zero interest in buying one. Sure, they are a little lighter and possibly a bit faster with anyone other than me riding it, but speed ALWAYS comes with a durability price. BTW my 18 lb. 58cm road bike has a steel frame.
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Old 06-13-24, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
Son broke a 2022 Domone at the right chain stay/BB junction. Trek claims it is not a defect, but due to the chain being jammed between the crank and chain stay.
Speaking as someone from the automotive industry, I can tell you that "Factory Warranty" is a guarantee against a manufacturing defect, and damage caused by anything else is not covered. You would be shocked at how many people think damage caused by them running over a large rock and tearing out their oil pan, and then continuing to drive until the engine seizes should be covered under warranty.
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Old 06-13-24, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul
Speaking as someone from the automotive industry, I can tell you that "Factory Warranty" is a guarantee against a manufacturing defect, and damage caused by anything else is not covered. You would be shocked at how many people think damage caused by them running over a large rock and tearing out their oil pan, and then continuing to drive until the engine seizes should be covered under warranty.
Yes, it's more of a poor design issue than a manufacturing defect. There needs to be enough room that a dropped chain doesn't wedge and cut into a carbon chain stay from a dropped chain. Other than that, a protective metal plate there would cost very little for Trek to incorporate into their carbon frames, but then they wouldn't be selling you a new frame, now would they?
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Old 06-13-24, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TheBlackPumpkin
The bike industry is wild to me. A lot of companies go out of business due to losing business from bad CS. Sounds like Trek has been doing it a long time and are still one of the biggest manufacturers.
I don't think even the OP is claiming bad customer service. He was disappointed but seemed to understand that user error was involved. The notion that the bike industry as a whole (or even Trek as a single company) has customer service worse than the norm is unfounded.
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Old 06-13-24, 11:27 AM
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Bad scene, hope you get some satisfaction.
First part of your OP seems to say break wasn't from chain suck. Second part seems to be about dropped chains.
Since chains have been dropping ever since Adam invented the derailleur, I would bet Trek frames are not liable to crack from a chain drop or we would have heard about an epidemic of cracked Trek frames.
That leads me to think there must have been a (rare) flaw in the welding/metallurgy, bending/etc. of the chain stay.
Disclaimer: My knowledge of welding/metallurgy/bending/etc. begins at about the third decimal place.
What ever the reason, not honoring the warrantee stinks (with no c before the k, like Trek).
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Old 06-13-24, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt
Bad scene, hope you get some satisfaction.
First part of your OP seems to say break wasn't from chain suck. Second part seems to be about dropped chains.
Since chains have been dropping ever since Adam invented the derailleur, I would bet Trek frames are not liable to crack from a chain drop or we would have heard about an epidemic of cracked Trek frames.
That leads me to think there must have been a (rare) flaw in the welding/metallurgy, bending/etc. of the chain stay.
Disclaimer: My knowledge of welding/metallurgy/bending/etc. begins at about the third decimal place.
What ever the reason, not honoring the warrantee stinks (with no c before the k, like Trek).
the OP’s frame is carbon AFAIK - this wouldn’t have been an issue with a metal frame
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Old 06-13-24, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by 13ollocks
the OP’s frame is carbon AFAIK - this wouldn’t have been an issue with a metal frame
I agree, and the issue may have been further exacerbated by a young rider not stopping crank movement at the moment the chain came off.
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Old 06-13-24, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
I agree, and the issue may have been further exacerbated by a young rider not stopping crank movement at the moment the chain came off.
In my experience, chain suck often happens faster than you can react to it. I'm a "not young" rider.
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Old 06-13-24, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
In my experience, chain suck often happens faster than you can react to it. I'm a "not young" rider.
Maybe you just peddle faster than I do. I only know that I've dropped a chain before and ground the chain against the stay worse by turning the crank enough to get my foot in a better spot to dismount. Scratches the heck out of metal, so carbon would be even more detrimental.
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Old 06-13-24, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
Maybe you just peddle faster than I do. I only know that I've dropped a chain before and ground the chain against the stay worse by turning the crank enough to get my foot in a better spot to dismount. Scratches the heck out of metal, so carbon would be even more detrimental.
I don't always pedal the same speed. This is the nature of riding bikes over varied terrain, at different speeds. I've been riding bikes long enough that I've had chainsuck more times than I can count, and probably at least once on every bike I've owned - road, gravel and MTB. Most of those bikes have been CF, including some that are over 20 years old that I still ride. Some CF frames have a metal protection plate on the drive side chainstay to minimize damage. Some do not. I also do not subscribe to CF paranoia and the assumption that a small scratch means immediate catastrophic failure.
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Old 06-13-24, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I don't always pedal the same speed. This is the nature of riding bikes over varied terrain, at different speeds. I've been riding bikes long enough that I've had chainsuck more times than I can count, and probably at least once on every bike I've owned - road, gravel and MTB. Most of those bikes have been CF, including some that are over 20 years old that I still ride. Some CF frames have a metal protection plate on the drive side chainstay to minimize damage. Some do not. I also do not subscribe to CF paranoia and the assumption that a small scratch means immediate catastrophic failure.
Apparently the OP had more than a small scratch. Likely would have only destroyed a plastic bike without a protection plate though.
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