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Trek carbon frame crack - warranty

Old 11-04-20, 03:24 AM
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_Mullen
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Trek carbon frame crack - warranty

Hi guys,

I've just wanted to ask for your experience or thoughts about my issue. Let me explain it more. After months of evaluations about which bike I will purchase and originally aimed to Canyon at the end I have decided to spent much more and buy Trek Supercaliber 9.7. The biggest trigger of this decision was the declared top quality, customer care program and lifetime frame warranty of Trek bikes because I expected using of this bike many years. On Trek website there is also statement: We build our bikes to last, subjecting them to brutal punishment in the world's toughest test lab.

Unfortunately, my one and only experience is very different. During the fifth ride in ordinary forest some branch laying on the ground hit the frame from the bottom side. Nothing extraordinary, during forest ride several such hits are coming and 4000 USD race bike should be designed to withstand such events as they are expected to happen during every ride from time to time.

After arrival back home and during washing bike I have observed crack in paint at the bottom of main frame tube approx. 3-4 cm long with some color detached. Well I decided to return to shop and apply frame warranty. Dealer dismantled the frame and sent it to Trek (I think Denmark plant) for warranty evaluation.

After 3 weeks I have got answer that carbon is damaged but this case is not covered by warranty because it has been caused by external force (what a surprise..). The offer is new frame with discount (4000 USD to 2000 USD!). Also they have stated that due to carbon damage it has not to be safe to ride the bike anymore…(!!!) I had no words and was disappointed like never in my life. I really spent significant amount of money buying brand new Trek bike expecting a top-quality product which should be designed, manufactured and tested to withstand ordinary riding conditions in a forest. Even more so because it is a racing model.

I have contacted TREK directly now hoping better solution. Will share the results with you when it arrives.

Do you thing my claim is really not justified? I mean TREK is declared to have a top customer loyalty and warranty program in this industry but this would look really different I think.

Thank you.

Mike.
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Old 11-04-20, 04:27 AM
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While this situation is unfortunate, Trek is correct. Trek's warranty, like every other frame warranty that I know of, covers manufacturing defects in material and workmanship and does not cover crash damage or other external damage situations.

Good luck with your claim.
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Old 11-04-20, 04:28 AM
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Thread moved from General Cycling Discussion to Manufacturer Feedback.
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Old 11-04-20, 04:30 AM
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Picture Assist.

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Old 11-04-20, 04:30 AM
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Are you located in the EU? If so, you may be in luck, because the EU now has much better consumer protection laws. I would start the process of filing a claim against Trek now.

For the claim to have merit, presumably you would need to demonstrate that the product itself is flawed in a way that allowed an ordinary impact, through the course of ordinary use (rather than abuse) of the product, caused the frame to crack and fail.

Good luck.
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Old 11-04-20, 05:03 AM
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Yes I am, going the law suit is something I feel as last option but very probable mainly because the fact that the bike cannot be used more for safety reason. If it was only paint maybe I could live with that. But this different story.
Thank you.
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Old 11-04-20, 05:06 AM
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Yes, but shouldn't be such top mountain bike designed for this ordinary impacts during riding?
Thank you.
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Old 11-04-20, 06:56 AM
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carbon repair? bash guard in the future,,
specialized stumpjumper has it stock, others too...
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Old 11-04-20, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by _Mullen View Post
Yes, but shouldn't be such top mountain bike designed for this ordinary impacts during riding?
Thank you.

If that were a broad stick, yes, you would think that it could handle it. A sharp rock hit is something different. It sucks that it happened but not sure what can be done. I would look at just getting that spot repaired. Carbon repair is easy and can be cheap. Don't even get that area painted after, just cover it with a plastic guard.
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Old 11-04-20, 01:44 PM
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It's hard to figure how any bike could be designed to tolerate external impacts of any magnitude. How would they quantify that? Would they say "you can hit a moveable object of this mass or less, going this many mph or less, etc, etc?" Some materials are more impact resistant, obviously, so next time you might want to try something else. Especially if you are going to hit stuff each ride.
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Old 11-06-20, 04:33 PM
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I always have to wonder also how easy this is to do. I bought rather cheapo carbon mountain handlebars and crunched one of the ends with an inappropriate bar-end thingie, and decided it was a hazard (after screwing it up even more trying to shorten the bars). So I decided to break it up to prevent anyone from picking them out of the trash. I beat on it with a heavy sledge-hammer for several minutes, and as much as I tried, I was unable to make any impression, let alone crack it.
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Old 11-07-20, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
I always have to wonder also how easy this is to do. I bought rather cheapo carbon mountain handlebars and crunched one of the ends with an inappropriate bar-end thingie, and decided it was a hazard (after screwing it up even more trying to shorten the bars). So I decided to break it up to prevent anyone from picking them out of the trash. I beat on it with a heavy sledge-hammer for several minutes, and as much as I tried, I was unable to make any impression, let alone crack it.
Exactly, carbon fiber is very durable material and this was actually the reason why bike manufacturers started using it. Therefore I think my carbon frame damage was mainly caused by some material or manufacture fault (otherwise such major damage during normal ride cannot occur) and and should be fully covered under warranty. Thank you. So far no answer from Trek to my email...
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Old 11-07-20, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
It's hard to figure how any bike could be designed to tolerate external impacts of any magnitude. How would they quantify that? Would they say "you can hit a moveable object of this mass or less, going this many mph or less, etc, etc?" Some materials are more impact resistant, obviously, so next time you might want to try something else. Especially if you are going to hit stuff each ride.
Yes, not easy but such manufacturer should be able to ensure some product quality. They state on official website that: "We build our bikes to last, subjecting them to brutal punishment in the world's toughest test lab..." So I think hard hitting by tree branch is something what should be included in test of 4k USD mountain race bike or am I wrong??
Thank you.
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Old 11-07-20, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus View Post
If that were a broad stick, yes, you would think that it could handle it. A sharp rock hit is something different. It sucks that it happened but not sure what can be done. I would look at just getting that spot repaired. Carbon repair is easy and can be cheap. Don't even get that area painted after, just cover it with a plastic guard.
Yes I know, but in such case my loyalty as a customer of this company will much likely drop to zero..
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Old 11-07-20, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by _Mullen View Post
So I think hard hitting by tree branch is something what should be included in test of 4k USD mountain race bike or am I wrong??
Thank you.
Yes, I think you are wrong. There are better choices if you need a more durable bike.
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Old 11-07-20, 06:36 AM
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This reminds me of something I was told by a Bianchi USA sales rep back around 1990, when I worked in a Bianchi dealership. The rep was there to examine a frame with a crack at the junction of a seat stay with the seat tube lug, obviously a consequence of having been overheated in the brazing process. The rep said, "No problem. We'll send out the replacement frame immediately." I asked what they were going to do with the cracked frame, whether they were going to show it to someone from Bianchi of Italy for reimbursement.

He laughed and said that Bianchi of Italy sold their bikes to Bianchi USA without warranty and that they thought the idea of offering frame warranties was hilarious, especially for lightweight, high-end frames. He once heard an upper-management Bianchi of Italy guy teasing a Bianchi USA guy by saying that, sure, we can start selling racing bike frames with a warranty. Of course, they'll weigh a kilogram or two more than they do now.

Sorry---there's almost certainly no bike company anywhere in the world that would cover frame damage caused by impact from a tree branch or the equivalent under warranty. Offering a frame for half-price or for some such discounted price is the industry-wide approach for accommodating situations like yours. If it were me, I'd let it go and follow the suggestion by other people in this thread to just wrap the tube in carbon and install a bash guard.
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Old 11-07-20, 06:44 AM
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Insurance covers crash damage, warranty covers manufacturing defects.
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Old 11-07-20, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by _Mullen View Post
Yes I know, but in such case my loyalty as a customer of this company will much likely drop to zero..
I hear you. I almost think they we are getting to a point where these bikes need insurance.
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Old 11-12-20, 01:42 PM
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Thank you all for very valuable and helpfull comments! It is true that Trek trail bikes like for example Fuel have bush guard on down tube so this damage cannot happen. Unfortunately as somebody here also mentioned Supercaliber is a cross country and it is not designed for impacts of branches or stones in hard terrain therefore not protected but from time to time owners take this bike also to such conditions so maybe it deserves some better protection than thin foil. I will let it repaired and for sure install bush guard or some protector (maybe AMS) to avoid any future issues like this..
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Old 11-12-20, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
This reminds me of something I was told by a Bianchi USA sales rep back around 1990, when I worked in a Bianchi dealership. The rep was there to examine a frame with a crack at the junction of a seat stay with the seat tube lug, obviously a consequence of having been overheated in the brazing process. The rep said, "No problem. We'll send out the replacement frame immediately." I asked what they were going to do with the cracked frame, whether they were going to show it to someone from Bianchi of Italy for reimbursement.

He laughed and said that Bianchi of Italy sold their bikes to Bianchi USA without warranty and that they thought the idea of offering frame warranties was hilarious, especially for lightweight, high-end frames. He once heard an upper-management Bianchi of Italy guy teasing a Bianchi USA guy by saying that, sure, we can start selling racing bike frames with a warranty. Of course, they'll weigh a kilogram or two more than they do now.

Sorry---there's almost certainly no bike company anywhere in the world that would cover frame damage caused by impact from a tree branch or the equivalent under warranty. Offering a frame for half-price or for some such discounted price is the industry-wide approach for accommodating situations like yours. If it were me, I'd let it go and follow the suggestion by other people in this thread to just wrap the tube in carbon and install a bash guard.
Thank you very much! It is true that this mountain bike weights only 11 kg so we cannot expect miracles like not destructible frame. Maybe I should choice some different one.. Hope that at least in next several years it will go smoothly and without any other defects..
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Old 11-21-20, 10:58 PM
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There is no way on earth a branch caused that crack. Something is suspect with that frame. A blunt hit by a big branch would've taken off all kinds of paint. That is a stress crack and I would continue to fight it with Trek.
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Old 11-22-20, 03:05 AM
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Carbon fibre frames aren't particularly durable and abuse-able they are a premium low weight product. It should be pointed out that both Trek and Canyon use Quest Composites for their carbon fibre frames and forks who are quite a low end carbon fibre manufacturer in my opinion. Maybe the high end models use a different factory. Obviously neither Trek or Canyon manufacture their own bikes they are just brands they rely on importing from manufacturers from the far east and this may vary by year and price point but last I heard both Canyon and Trek were getting the majority of their carbon fibre frames from Quest Composites but that may have been more road bikes. Obviously both brands present themselves as manufacturers but really they are importers and most of the design, engineering and certification of those bikes are performed by the actual manufacturers. The importers would dictate geometry and frame paintwork. I realise both Canyon and Trek do have some IP but again they would rely on other asian manufacturers to make those components. There are few brands that are actually the manufacturer too, Giant and Merida come to mind. Looking at the brochures and marketing for Canyon and Trek would you think their high tech frames were made in a factory where people are sitting on small tables rather than chairs and don't even bother to wear hair nets properly to protect dust and hairs getting into the carbon fibres and resin? This is an image from the Quest Composite site too no doubt there is worse that goes on. I think most of these brands like Trek try to find the cheapest factories to protect their margin and a long warranty is factored into the final price and obviously they will not honour claims where the frame was damaged they are only guaranteeing against manufacturing defects. Carbon fibre is like a stronger version of fibre glass it will not deform under load and is strong only up to a certain point. It is no way as robust as steel or even aluminium even if stronger under load in one direction of load.

Ultimately I think Trek are in the right here except of course I personally wouldn't buy one of their carbon fibre bikes in the first place as their prices and margin is sky high and see little point paying hundreds maybe thousands more for a slightly lighter bike which is far less durable. However in this scenario I don't think Trek have done anything wrong.

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