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  1. #1
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    Carbon Frames: Which brand offers best warranty / longevity?

    Carbon bikes have their fair share of issues as with any bike material...I know carbon gets a bad wrap but the truth is carbon fiber can last as long as metal. I've heard carbon frames last about 20 years or so from some other threads but it would seem that is a myth, and carbon can indefinitely last a lifetime.

    Interesting thread from a google search:

    Carbon Fiber Longevity - Pilots of America Message Board

    "At the other end of the spectrum I worked on Indy Cars for 15 years. In 1992 I watched the carbon fiber and aluminum tub of a car hit the turn 4 wall at Indianapolis Speedway. It was travelling at 220 mph and hit head on with Nelson Piquet at the wheel. The tub was crushed back to about where his knees were but he survived the crash and had his legs rebuilt. I saw him at the speedway 2 years later looking for a ride. Over the years of racing I watched a goodly number of crashes and piled debris into the race trucks all too often. The composites of the cars after 93 was all carbon and aluminum or phenolic honeycomb which is what a lot of the commercial aircraft use now. It is great for energy absorbtion in the crashes and seems to hold together well. Lifetime is anyones guess though. Maybe not much of an answer to your question but only because your question is hard to answer. It needs to be more specific......"
    So maybe we can dispel for good the theory that carbon is a weaker material right now from titanium, aluminum, or steel. And the real problem with a carbon frame lies with the quality of carbon material, design, and the QC of the manufacturing process of these carbon frames.

    Maybe the issue also lies with Brands trying to make the carbon frame as light as possible, and this in turn might hinder longevity...building for lightness rather than durability and length of ownership in mind. So maybe light race frames have the least longevity since they might use the least material?

    Anyways in the end, it's the warranty and your ability not to crash that is going to save you from losing thousands on that new carbon bike you bought.

    That said, which brand that makes carbon frames offer the best warranty bar none for carbon bikes out of the big companies like:

    Specialized, Cannondale, Fuji, Giant, Cervelo, BMC, etc.?

    And should we assume that all carbon frames from the big names(not the ebay chinese knock offs) have about the same longevity as far as durability? Maybe each company has certain defects and anomalies in manufacturing process as with all companies? Or has some been more prone to having failed frames?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalel View Post
    I know carbon gets a bad wrap
    Especially Chinese carbon...
    2013 Felt Z4 56cm
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  3. #3
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    I don't know about all brands, but I own a Cervelo and used to own a Felt and both had lifetime warranty's on the frames.

  4. #4
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    Two things I would consider, do not buy anything that was made in China. Find out where the Carbon is made and stay clear of China. Anything made in China I would avoid if you can.

    Second, I have a Trek and it comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame. What that means though is unclear because if you have any type of crash it can void your warranty. If you do so much as to drop the bike and any damage is done to the frame may result in the manufacturer not honoring the warranty.

    I would look for a lifetime warranty on the carbon frame and look for a product made in Germany if you can find it. The Germans make quality stuff.

  5. #5
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    BMC offers 5 years if you register the bike/frame within 30 days of purchase.

  6. #6
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    I wouldn't worry to much about the China stuff. I'm pretty sure all brands make frames in China now, including Trek (all models except their high end 6 or 7 series I think). Chinese quality has come a long way. As long as the company & dealership is reputable then you should be okay.

  7. #7
    FTR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sisophous View Post
    Two things I would consider, do not buy anything that was made in China. Find out where the Carbon is made and stay clear of China. Anything made in China I would avoid if you can.

    Second, I have a Trek and it comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame. What that means though is unclear because if you have any type of crash it can void your warranty. If you do so much as to drop the bike and any damage is done to the frame may result in the manufacturer not honoring the warranty.

    I would look for a lifetime warranty on the carbon frame and look for a product made in Germany if you can find it. The Germans make quality stuff.
    Ummm, you do realise that China is the largest producer of HIGH QUALITY carbon fibre products (not just bicycles) in the world??
    Your China-phobic post is absolutely laughable and shows your complete ignorance on the topic.

  8. #8
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    My Madone was wrecked when I was hit by a car. Trek gave me 45% off a new Domane as per their loyalty program. If you incur minor damage to your frame due to operator error, then investigate the companies that repair carbon. There are more and more of them that can fix little things like dented chain or seat stays.

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    Don't put too much weight on a Lifetime warranty. Calfee's 25 year warranty is plenty long. My Calfee (lemond era) was built in 1992 so I've still got 4 more years on the warranty. About 3 years ago I got a new road bike because... Well, I just wanted somethign new. I still ride the Calfee as a single speed. Before 25 years is up you'll either want something new, or have stopped riding.

    That Calfee was tough too. It had been crashed in a crit, knocked over countless times and ridden off road. The only repair ever needed was when one of the drop outs came loose from the chainstay. Craig repaired that without any hesitation.
    Last edited by ericTheHalf; 04-08-2013 at 06:32 PM. Reason: Must learn to type.
    Don't mind me, it's just the online disinhibition effect typing.

  10. #10
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    Re: Carbon Frames: Which brand offers best warranty / longevity?

    I have had great direct experience with Trek and Scott carbon frames. In my experience wheels and components wear out faster, and eventually a new frame comes along that you want, so a lifetime warranty is seldom needed. I think everyone is making good frames so find one you like that fits and you'll be happy.
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  11. #11
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    ive had trek replace my frame as the rear hanger was cracked 2 weeks old was at the end of the year so I got a new frame and upgraded model. VERY HAPPY with trek took less than a week to get new frame and fork. 2days to be exact. LBS was also very helpfull did same day rebuild drop off old in morning few hours later done. Support your lbs and they support YOU!

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    Have to give Cannondale major thumbs up on this topic. Purchased a System Six a few years back, and after logging some fair mileage had noticed the clear coat over the carbon / aluminum joints was cracking and stressing. Frame was replaced with new full carbon Super Six under warranty, no questions asked. Had to buy the fork separate and assemble. However, the entire process was clean and painless. Was looking at other brands before I knew outcome, now a fan for life.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FTR View Post
    Ummm, you do realise that China is the largest producer of HIGH QUALITY carbon fibre products (not just bicycles) in the world??
    Your China-phobic post is absolutely laughable and shows your complete ignorance on the topic.
    +1. If you knew how many so called high end European and American frames were made in China and Taiwan (arguably part of China) you'd be shocked.

    My Parlee Z5 has a lifetime warranty. This fine American bike is made in Asia btw.

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    My Blue Competition Norcross has a lifetime warranty for frame and fork.

    Marty

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    I bought a Le Mond Zurich in '06 which was built by Trek, just shortly before the two parted company. Three weeks ago the drive-side dropout broke just in front of the axle and derailleur hangar, so I took it back to the LBS from where I originally purchased it. It had a life time warranty when I bought it but I was 'concerned' that due to the dropped relationship between Le Mond and Trek that I might be out of luck, however the LBS took one look at it and said 'new frame'. I got a new Madone 5.9 frame within a week and was back on it within 10 days. Of course in the time that I didn't have it I augured in on my Weigle when I caught some debris on a turn with oncoming traffic. If it had been the new frame THAT would have ruined my day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sisophous View Post
    Two things I would consider, do not buy anything that was made in China. Find out where the Carbon is made and stay clear of China. Anything made in China I would avoid if you can.
    Another statement of xenophobic nonsense.

    There are outstanding frames made in China, as there are lesser quality frames made in China. One has to do some homework just as in any purchase.

    Parlee has a lifetime warranty.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by chudak View Post
    Especially Chinese carbon...
    Sad but truth, I can't understand how carbon differs from country to country but it does lol

  18. #18
    FTR
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland44 View Post
    Sad but truth, I can't understand how carbon differs from country to country but it does lol
    Are you posting just to get your count up?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sisophous View Post
    The Germans make quality stuff
    Trabant?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland44 View Post
    Sad but truth, I can't understand how carbon differs from country to country but it does lol
    No it's not true. Good stuff and crapola have nothing to do with nationality.

  21. #21
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    Agree with Calfee for a robust frame. Plus, they fix everyone else's. But robust isn't everything. You still have to enjoy riding it.

    I own Scott Addict, Canondale SuperX and Parlee Z5 frames. The cf frame I enjoyed riding most, an '06 Scott CR1 SL, was also the least robust.
    I got six Cadillacs, five Lincolns, four Fords, six Mercuries, three T-Birds, and a Mustang.

  22. #22
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    Actually this recommendation is not a brand, it's a cycling store? yup. Competitive Cyclist will warranty the bike for as long as you own it...even if you're crash it! It's their satisfaction guarantee that if you ever unhappy for any reason simply return it postage paid and select a new bike of equal value or upgrade and pay the difference.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk98yvozq1g
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvk63...eature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=p92Stnnigjs
    "They don't do things that way anymore. This is the Age of Science Know-How, electronal marvels."

  23. #23
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    The issue is not the length of the warranty alone. The issue is also how good the manufacturer is in working with you when there is damage to the bike. Is the manufacturer going to resist and demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt (one extreme) or is the manufacturer going to help you out, even if it is possible that an accident led to the damage (the other extreme). As this thread shows, there are some consumer-friendly companies. Other threads talk about companies that are difficult to deal with. The warranty is on paper. You want to know how those words play out in real life situations.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RtR Pir8 View Post
    Of course in the time that I didn't have it I augured in on my Weigle when I caught some debris on a turn with oncoming traffic. If it had been the new frame THAT would have ruined my day.
    If that had been my Weigle, it would have ruined my day!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by rgordin View Post
    The issue is not the length of the warranty alone. The issue is also how good the manufacturer is in working with you when there is damage to the bike. Is the manufacturer going to resist and demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt (one extreme) or is the manufacturer going to help you out, even if it is possible that an accident led to the damage (the other extreme). As this thread shows, there are some consumer-friendly companies. Other threads talk about companies that are difficult to deal with. The warranty is on paper. You want to know how those words play out in real life situations.
    +1

    Bravo!

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