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Frame warranty - am I being unreasonable?

Oct. 1, 2020, 11:04 a.m.
Posts: 1595
Joined: July 11, 2014

I bought a new road bike from a local shop in mid April. Was going for a ride early September (so about 4.5 months old), went to put in a crank and heard a snap, pulled over and somehow the small chainring had snapped apart into 2 pieces. The broken chainring and chain fell into the BB area and gouged up the frame. Bike still had 100% OEM build on it and no work had been done on it besides cable tension adjusted by the shop. Took the bike in, and shop initially ordered a chainring from Shimano on warranty and told me the frame damage was cosmetic. I told them I'm not happy with that and want them to ask the frame manufacturer about a warranty/repair. Rep supposedly got back to shop agreeing it's cosmetic and no warranty. It's a carbon frame, Ultegra Disc 8000 series spec, so not a $15k build but not entry level either. They haven't examined the frame at a composite shop, they are basing this on pictures.

My complaint is I bought a brand new bike, an OEM part was faulty and failed causing frame damage through no fault of my own (my suspicion is the chainring bolts were either under or over torqued when they built it up), so either the frame manufacturer or shop built the bike poorly, or the Shimano part was faulty. So at best I have a cosmetically damaged frame which will be very hard to sell, because who is buying a road bike with paint damage all around the BB shell which _could_ indicate structural damage? At worst I have a compromised frame which could fail catastrophically.

If I had installed components on the bike, it was older, it was a mountain bike etc. I'd be more understanding but this is pissing me off. Also heard through a friend the exact same situation happened at another shop on a Cervello frame and they replaced under warranty.

Am I being an unreasonable dick here?

Oct. 1, 2020, 9:19 p.m.
Posts: 4771
Joined: July 9, 2004

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. Not sure what the answer is but I'd possibly be going direct to the manufacturer at this point. There should be a mutually agreeable solution here.

Oct. 2, 2020, 12:46 a.m.
Posts: 11631
Joined: June 4, 2008

Not at all.

Oct. 2, 2020, 7:16 a.m.
Posts: 1668
Joined: Feb. 26, 2015

The shop should eat the cost, IMO. The supplier won't warranty it and that's understandable.

Have a pic you could post?

https://www.robertscomposites.com/

I had a similar situation happen with a carbon tri-bike. Not my fault but the shop wouldn't replace, needless to say I never stepped foot in that shop again. It too was more cosmetic damage. Rob repaired, touched it up paint wise, was impossible to see the damage was even there. The guy is the master, body shop level repair.


 Last edited by: Brocklanders on Oct. 2, 2020, 7:27 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 2, 2020, 7:24 a.m.
Posts: 409
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

My number one rule when requesting any customer service from a company is to "not be a dick". There is a human on the other side of the email/phone just trying to get through their day and treating them poorly doesn't get anybody anywhere. I'm always very polite and I try and be as positive as possible.

In terms of the coverage of the frame damage I would read the warranty on the crank which is provided through  Shimano and the warranty for the frame from the bike company and see what they say. Usually damage/repairs covered are limited, but it's worth a read to be sure you understand the situation.

If you find something in the warranty documents that seems to address your issue you can bring that to the appropriate company's attention and request action.

I'm going to guess that the cosmetic frame damage is not covered by either warranty. In that case I would contact the bike company directly, explain your concerns about resale and see if they will help you out. They might. They might not. A company can always do anything it wants even if the situation is not covered by a warranty.

I don't think it's unreasonable to make the request or to be unhappy this happened. 

FWIW - I had two warranty issues with bikes [frame issues] where the bikes were made functional, but where they were not cosmetically 100% and the resale was affected. I did not receive any compensation from the companies involved. It did not particularly bother me. I don't buy bikes to resell them. I buy them to ride them and sometimes that means they get some damage. I was just happy in both cases that the companies got my bikes rolling again so I could keep riding them. 

Oct. 2, 2020, 9:27 a.m.
Posts: 3517
Joined: Dec. 17, 2003

The shop is 100% right. The warranty (against defects in manufacturing) from the manufacturer of the bike does not cover damage caused by Shimano components failing - Shimano's warranty covers that defective component and is limited to just the component, not subsequent damage to you or the bike). The frame is not defective - it's damaged.

Regardless, the shop should be doing what they need to do to make you happy. It'll suck for the shop, and be a solid hit to their margins/profit, but it's the right thing to do.


 Last edited by: nouseforaname on Oct. 2, 2020, 9:28 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 3, 2020, 1:22 a.m.
Posts: 1595
Joined: July 11, 2014

Chainring showed up from Shimano so shop has put it on, they don't seem like they will change position or offer me anything else. I understand it's their bottom line, but it just seems fucked especially with how much volume/$$ shops are doing during COVID. Imagine buying a car and having a part fail and damage bodywork and the dealer telling you it's just cosmetic and talk to the part manufacturer? Stupid bike industry fuckery.

I'll post pics when I get it back. At least the damage is in a place I won't have to stare at every time I ride. I have heard Roberts does great work, my friend had his high end road frame repaired after he damaged it and it looks perfect. Might do that and just pay a shop to remove/put the BB back in if he needs it out to repair as I don't have a press.

nouseforaname: I hear yah and I get it, sucks for the shop but hard to justify why I should walk away with just a new chainring and nothing else, at least it feels that way to me. 

I am not planning on selling/upgrading the frame for a long time, but if the shop/manufacturer don't do anything for me beyond chainring then I'm never supporting either again.

vikb: definitely have been cool and not a dick at all and agree that's not the way to handle these things. Will probably call the manufacturer and explain the situation and see if they will do anything for me.

Oct. 3, 2020, 1:58 a.m.
Posts: 625
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

There are so many ways to look at this, but imo it comes down to whether the part failed due to mfg'ing defect or due to assembly defect. If mfg'ing defect then Shimano should be picking up the tab (yeah right) and if an assembly defect then whoever assembled the crank is on the hook. My guess would be the bike came from the mfg'er with the cranks already installed so that might be your best option and the shop should be advocating for you. That said, if it's something that doesn't affect the operation or safety of the bike I can see why the Rep said no joy. If the bike was a only week or two old though I think you might have gotten more consideration as well. Have you read the warranty policy?  It's a shitty situation, but sometimes things just go wrong and there's no happy outcome.

Oct. 3, 2020, 4:44 a.m.
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

As a last resort, if you bought it with your credit card, read carefully your extended purchase "guarantee" and you might be able to reclaim the frame through that. I've had a shop screw up an expensive headset while installing it, never wanted to replace it, and I called the CC company to see what was possible. Since a bad "installation" was not covered, they didn't want to do a thing, but they said that if I had accidentally dropped it on the ground for example, it would have been covered.

Read everything in the fine print before calling them and ask them like if it was a hypothetical situation to see if they'd cover that before making a formal claim, because from memory there were very few situations where the insurance would cover. If "accidental damage" is a cause, you might be lucky.

Oct. 5, 2020, 11:56 p.m.
Posts: 624
Joined: May 11, 2018

I've never seen a chainring fail. I have seen the chainring bolts loosen and then something twists or bends.

If the chainring bolts came loose first, it is on the rider. Bike companies say you are supposed to check every bolt before every ride.

I actually go over my bike pretty carefully when the shop works on it. I have had a shop not tighten my stem twice. Luckily I discovered it on a slow section of trail each time. I dont go to that particular shop anymore. If the shop gave you your bike and this happened on the third ride, you would definitely have a case. If several months had passed since the bike was in the shop, it would be a different story.

Sounds like a shitty situation for you. The first scratch/gouge in a frame always hurts the most - especially when its not your fault.

Oct. 6, 2020, 4:32 p.m.
Posts: 91
Joined: March 13, 2017

Posted by: Brocklanders

"The shop should eat the cost, IMO. The supplier won't warranty it and that's understandable."

I 100% disagree with this. The shop is at no fault and if they did the replacement of the parts without charging labor, they have done enough.

It's like blowing a relatively new car tire, then running your car into a wall. Do you go after the car manufacturer, NO, do you go after the dealer, NO. Neither were at fault for the manufacturing defect in the tire, so how are they responsible for anything.

Grambo, I'm interested to see the damage, post up the pictures of that.

Oct. 6, 2020, 5:18 p.m.
Posts: 70
Joined: May 1, 2018

What's the standard warranty on the frame? 

I've had a chainring fail on my own bike (folded, outwards, hopping off a curb) and seen a couple of the original SRAM road rings fail almost immediately.

My perspective is that it should be covered by manufacturer or shop. This isn't analagous to a new tyre on a car, it's a bike sold as a complete OEM unit.

I'd find a local carbon repair place - they can ultrasound the damaged area and tell you if it's cracked or cosmetic. I have seen a lot of warranties approved after customers show that 'cosmetic flaw in the lay up' is actually a catastrophic failure about to happen or underway.

Oct. 8, 2020, 8:41 a.m.
Posts: 91
Joined: March 13, 2017

Posted by: Heinous

What's the standard warranty on the frame?

I've had a chainring fail on my own bike (folded, outwards, hopping off a curb) and seen a couple of the original SRAM road rings fail almost immediately.

My perspective is that it should be covered by manufacturer or shop. This isn't analagous to a new tyre on a car, it's a bike sold as a complete OEM unit.

I'd find a local carbon repair place - they can ultrasound the damaged area and tell you if it's cracked or cosmetic. I have seen a lot of warranties approved after customers show that 'cosmetic flaw in the lay up' is actually a catastrophic failure about to happen or underway.

Actually, it is analgous to a tire o a car, the tires are OEM on a car, made by a different manufactrurer than the vehicle (this is why I said tire and not engine or transmission). OEM part fails, gets replaced by OEM supplier, not the frame manufacturer.

Now if the OEM part failed because of BB/frame mis-alignment, then this could be blamed on the frame manufacturer, Watch some Hambini on Youtube for info on this sort of stuff. (Plus he is f'n funny)

If Grambo thinks he is owed something, he needs to go after Shimano, it is their part that failed and did the damage. If the shop chooses to help by rebuilding a replacement frame, they have gone above and beyond. (this is just my opinion of course)


 Last edited by: TonyJ on Oct. 8, 2020, 8:45 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 8, 2020, 8:53 a.m.
Posts: 323
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

It’s not analogous to a car tire. Way back when Bridgestone tires were falling apart on Fords, it was Ford that dealt with the replacement. You follow the supply chain. If a person bought a bike from a shop, the shop has to deal with it. The shop can go after the manufacturer and the manufacturer goes after their supplier of parts. Sale of Goods act. Look at it this way, if the chainring failure cause a serious injury, any lawsuit would include the shop, the bicycle manufacturer and the parts manufacturer as they would all have some culpability.

Oct. 9, 2020, 4:02 p.m.
Posts: 3517
Joined: Dec. 17, 2003

Posted by: andy-eunson

It’s not analogous to a car tire. Way back when Bridgestone tires were falling apart on Fords, it was Ford that dealt with the replacement. You follow the supply chain. If a person bought a bike from a shop, the shop has to deal with it. The shop can go after the manufacturer and the manufacturer goes after their supplier of parts. Sale of Goods act. Look at it this way, if the chainring failure cause a serious injury, any lawsuit would include the shop, the bicycle manufacturer and the parts manufacturer as they would all have some culpability.

I think Tony's point is that the tire failing causing you to go into a wall doesn't mean that the damage from the wall is warranty damage. Warranty policies are written specifically to exclude this kind of liability.

Like I said, it'll suck for the shop, but they should be doing better. In store credit, labour credit, discount off next new bike, leverage relation ship with brand for a solution. There are creative ways that are less destructive to margin to find a solution that keeps the customer happy.

These days, the destruction to a brand image that can be done with honest instagram accounts of issues is immense. Even without hyperbole.

Anyone old enough to remember the "Caps wouldn't lend me a chainbreaker" thread"? I knew customers who would bring it up 5 years after the fact.


 Last edited by: nouseforaname on Oct. 9, 2020, 4:02 p.m., edited 1 time in total.

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