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  1. #1
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    Beware of Litespeedís lifetime warranty claim

    First disclosure; I am not affiliated with any frame or component manufacturer or reseller; Iím just a guy who likes to ride.

    I didnít want to write the post. But because I believe that Litespeed is failing to honor the lifetime warranty provided to me as the original owner of a Unicoi I think a little negative press is deserved.

    The Readers Digest version.
    1. I weigh 165 lbs; ride XC 4-5 times a week in summer and 1-2 times on average in winter (in the dead of winter I might not ride for weeks).
    2. I purchased a brand new 2001 Unicoi from an approved Litespeed dealer; makes me the original owner.
    3. 24 months of use later the weld where the drive side chain-stay meets the bottom bracket failed.
    4. Litespeed repaired the frame at no cost except shipping.
    5. 18 months of use later the same weld failed again.
    6. Litespeed again repaired the frame at no cost except shipping.
    7. 3 months (as in 12 weeks or 90 days) of use later the same weld failed again!
    8. Litespeed is now refusing to honor the lifetime warranty and will only repair the frame for a fee of $329 + shipping ($329!? Yeah right! With this trend Iíd be lucky if it didnít come back broken.)

    The frame was purchased in early 2002 and last failed in early 2009 and after each repair it hung on my living room wall for a couple of years before being pressed back into service.

    So this frame has seen a grand total of less than 4 years of regular summer time use and infrequent winter use. Apparently that is definition of ďlifetimeĒ according to Litespeed.

    I take pride in caring for my possessions and assert that the frame was not used in a manner that it was not intended or advertised for.

    The warranty claims that the product will be free of defects in material and / or craftsmanship. Litespeed is claiming that the failure is a result of wear-and-tear. I disagree for 2 reasons.
    1. The fact that the failure happened in the same place and fashion each time clearly indicates a defect in materials used and/or poor craftsmanship. Why werenít other welds failing due to wear-and-tear?
    2. The last repair lasted all of three months. No reasonable person would expect such a high priced item that boasts a lifetime warranty to have a service life of 3 months. Come on!

    Second disclosure; after the second failure I complained to Litespeed and they sold me a Sewanee at cost (not as a replacement for the Unicoi) which was nice of them. The seat tube (not the post, the actual frame) snapped in half after about 18 months of use. They replaced the frame with a year newer model. Iím hoping it doesnít break again.

    I understand nothing lasts forever and Mt bikes by nature are stressed. However when as a company you charge a premium for your product and boast about your craftsmanship, youíd better be able and willing to back a lifetime warranty claim. Anyway beware of Litespeedís. Forewarned is forearmed.

    Ride safe.

  2. #2
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    i'm sure that after litespeed was bought from the lynskey family by american bicycle group, warranty issues and quality control became a problem. check out some of the threads on the merlin works/ellsworth tiruth. you'll see a lot of people have had trouble getting warranty work done.

  3. #3
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    In 2000 and 2001 Litespeed purchased tubing made from Russian and Chinese billet. IIRC even though it "met spec" I seem to recall that the grain structure was sub-standard and it's not what I would have called prime material... I would not have used it for any aerospace application and it would not have net spec for aerospace. There was no offical spec for material to be used for recreational purposes (bike frames, glog clubs, etc..) but up until that point Aerospce spec was the benchmark for 3-2.5 tubing to be used in bike applications. Remember titanium Airbornes?..... that was Chinese crap.

    The traditional sources of Sandvik and Ancotech (made in USA.....) were shelved for the mighty dollar. I know because I was very involved with one of the suppliers.

  4. #4
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    Same issues

    I have a 04 pisgah which broke across the downtube. I was really just riding along, no rocks, no jumping, nothing stressful. The frame just broke.

    After contacting ABG and tracking down my receipt from the bike store I sent the frame to them. I was informed it would be 200 to fix, after they had the frame. After several rounds of emails and phone conversations battling with them in regard to the "lifetime warranty" which is clearly a crock, I relented. They have now had my bike 6, almost 7 months. When I contacted them again, I was told they were concentrating on production bike right now.

    I'm at my wits end dealing with these people and can honestly say I will never buy their brand again

  5. #5
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    I have zero sympathy for people who have years of their history available, yet still buy from them and then are surprised at what they get out of the frames, and then surprised at the following treatment.

    They overcharge for their frames when someone can buy custom, with a higher quality build for cheaper, yet people flock to them, so I have zero sympathy. The company has been crooked for years and people still buy.

  6. #6
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    I purchased my bike in 05. Reviews I read about that particular model were good and I had not heard anything disparaging about ABG/Litespeed on the customer service front. Part of the reason people buy brand is they generally get some degree of customer service that might not be available in a custom scenario.

  7. #7
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    Litespeed warranty issue

    I bought a LITESPEED UNICOI 2000 and a MERLIN ECHO ten years ago. I would like to buy a new Ti frame from them. After learning Litespeed warranty issue, I am very disappointed at its customer service. Building customer loyalty is very difficult. I shall very likely buy Moots product.

  8. #8
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    Shocking Waranty Service

    LITESPEED USELESS WARANTY AND ZERO SERVICE.
    MY 2005 SHEWANEE FRAME HAS CRACKED AND THEY ARE REJECTING MY CLAIM AS THEY WONT RECOGNIZE THEIR SOUTH AFRICAN IMPORTERS INVOICE AND DOCUMENTATION. NOT EVEN ENTERTAINING THE FACT THAT THERE PRODUCT HAS FAILED . I OWN 3 OTHER LITESPEED BIKES. BUT THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I BUY FROM ABG........ LITESPEED SUCKS
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Beware of Litespeedís lifetime warranty claim-sewaneeimg_3481_3.jpg  


  9. #9
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    I thought that crack looked familiar (see attached).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Beware of Litespeedís lifetime warranty claim-sewanee_crack.jpg  


  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbmaddoc
    LITESPEED USELESS WARANTY AND ZERO SERVICE.
    MY 2005 SHEWANEE FRAME HAS CRACKED AND THEY ARE REJECTING MY CLAIM AS THEY WONT RECOGNIZE THEIR SOUTH AFRICAN IMPORTERS INVOICE AND DOCUMENTATION. NOT EVEN ENTERTAINING THE FACT THAT THERE PRODUCT HAS FAILED . I OWN 3 OTHER LITESPEED BIKES. BUT THAT WAS THE LAST TIME I BUY FROM ABG........ LITESPEED SUCKS
    You may lodge a complaint to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    http://www.cpsc.gov/talk.html

    For your information, I faced similiar problem with my MERLIN ECHO Ti soft tail bike a few years ago. MERLIN ignored my complaint until I lodged a complaint to the Commission. It sent me a free replacement parts via courier post to HONG KONG in three days.

  11. #11
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    I do a quick search on bicycle related complaint on the Commission web site and found over 1,200 documents. I pay a premium in buying Ti frame from LITESPEED and it should make SAFE product in its US factory.

    http://search.cpsc.gov/query.html?qt...set=iso-8859-1

  12. #12
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    STILL NO REPLY FROM LITESPEED, PROBABLY IN THE PROCESS OF CLOSING DOWN , SEE THEY HAVE SOLD MERLIN........JUST A MATTER OF TIME I THINK.


    I HAVE BOUGHT MYSELF A SCOTT SPARK RC....LOVELY !!!!!! BUY BUY ABG

  13. #13
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    No good

    This is from my 1998 Litespeed Tellico. 6/4ti. Not from a crash, just regular riding.


    This was their response.

    At the meeting today when I presented the claim on your behalf, it was decided by the senior members of the department that the frame is suffering from wear and tear. Unfortunately we do not warranty the frame from wear and tear as it is not considered to be a manufacturing defect. The warranty policy is in place to cover the first user of the frame from manufacturing defects. We believe that unfortunately this frame has come to the end of its useful life cycle. The life cycle of the frame is not the same as the warranty period and is determined by many different factors such as rider weight, riding style, maintenance, road conditions, weather conditions etc.

    We would like to work with you to get you back out riding and so we can look into a new frame at a really great price. If you would like to go for a new frame, please check out our website then confirm the model and size that you are interested in and I will be able to give you the pricing and the lead times.

    Unfortunately, due to the nature of the crack, this frame cannot be repaired.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Beware of Litespeedís lifetime warranty claim-ouch.jpg  


  14. #14
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    Upset same story, different dude: litespeed leaves me high and dry in peak season

    I feel your pain. 3.5 yo unicoi cracked at downtube welds, told it was "wear and tear" and could replace bike at "discount" or repair weld defects for $440 and shipping. After reading these forum threads, I intend to avoid throwing good money after bad

  15. #15
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    Same Litespeed story here, except that this is a 2001 road bike, a "Blue Ridge" ridden about 2000 miles per year on paved roads for 10 years, with nothing unusual and no abuse. The wording of my warranty response tracked others that have posted here. They've offered to repair the frame for $823 plus shipping or to sell me a new one with no special deal attached.

    I share the disappointment of many -- why call this a "lifetime" warranty if the "lifetime" is less than 10 years (or even less for others, as I see)

  16. #16
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    I too had a warranty problem dealing with Litespeed on my ti roadbike frame. It's clear that Litespeed doesn't stand behind their products and will do anything to avoid honoring a warranty claim. After my experience I would never buy another Litespeed product.
    Last edited by hrdude; 06-09-2011 at 09:18 PM.

  17. #17
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    Merlin Works 4.0 2008

    My Merlin Works 4.0 frame only 3 years old broke and the new company spun off from American Bicycle will not honor the lifetime warranty on the frame. They claim extreme use would only cause this break. The bike was always well cared for, no jumping, just cross country riding, no air on this frame. Merlin now part of competative cyclist and no production or repair facilities, so no wonder they only want to evaluate any warranty issues via pictures on email. If you have a Merlin I hope nothing happens to it because you have nowhere to go
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Beware of Litespeedís lifetime warranty claim-merlin-photo.jpg  


  18. #18
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    I bought my Litespeed Obed in 1998 baited by many who told me that a Ti frame is indestructible. My frame broke at the driveside chainstay twice within 2 years and both times the frame was repaired and refinished no questions asked. I appreciated that. I rode the bike for another 5 years and it held up well. I suppose my experience with Litespeed CS was the last of the better times they had in terms of reputation. Since then, I've had frame warranty dealings with two other manufacturers and as a result learned to move on each time. When things like this happen it's often not worth all the aggravation.

    Too bad these once prominent Ti frame brands have not maintained the same reputation they once held. I wonder how Seven Cycles is doing.
    Remember, you are unique, just like everyone else.

  19. #19
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    Just come across this thread. Theres also another customer here with a similar situation:

    PSA : The sad reality of a liftime frame warranty ę Singletrack Forum

  20. #20
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    Looks just like the communication exchange I had with Litespeed. They obviously have a standard MO for passing on the costs for valid warranty claims. I'm surprised the company is still in business and/or the Litespeed name is still in use. I think the management of this company should be outed so we can avoid dealing with these people wherever they may go.

  21. #21
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    Arrrrrgh. Thanks for raising this thread from the dead and PISSING me off all over again!
    __________________________________
    '12 Trek Superfly 100 Elite Carbon
    '08 Titus RX-1
    '95 Klein Adroit 1x8

  22. #22
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    Who's still riding a Litespeed Mtn bike these days anyway? This forum gets almost no activity. RetroKlein, looks like you moved on with a Trek.
    Remember, you are unique, just like everyone else.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aust95 View Post
    Who's still riding a Litespeed Mtn bike these days anyway? This forum gets almost no activity. RetroKlein, looks like you moved on with a Trek.
    Me with my Tanasi and Lookout.
    My son with his Tanasi.
    A lot of friends with Litespeed hardtails.
    No problem with them, so no activity...

  24. #24
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    I moved on with a Trek because THEY upheld Klein's lifetime warranty when my '97 Mantra broke...
    __________________________________
    '12 Trek Superfly 100 Elite Carbon
    '08 Titus RX-1
    '95 Klein Adroit 1x8

  25. #25
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    Happy I found this as I was researching their Sewanee '13 frame.

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