Cautionary Work About Marin Bikes Warranty And Service
Primer to the article I wrote RE marin bikes. A coulple magazines have offered to publish a article I wrote about this which I will greenlight if it does not resolve quickly. In the mean time for anyone considering buying a Marin. Ever since they were sold they have been changing they way they do business.
Cautionary Bike Warranty Tale
Being involved with cycling since 1993, I have seen all sorts of trends come and go. After a short hiatus, I became active in the sport again around 2007. After a four year break it was amazing how much had changed. Needing an every day training bike for the times I did not have time to participate in group rides, I started researching in preparation to purchase a new bike. Knowing the marketing gimmicks that manufactures play, warranty and reputation were important to me. I say reputation, because even the best warranty is worthless if the manufacture does not want to honor it. After a few hours of research I settled on a Marin. At the time the warranty was:
All Marin Bikes Frames, (Except QUAD XC, QUAD Trail, Quad XLT, and carbon fiber Road frames as covered below) shall be free from defects in workmanship and materials for the lifetime of the bicycle purchased for the original owner.
It then went on with an entire list of caveats but was a fairly traditional warranty. I know that there are always loopholes and subtle language in any warranty, but that is reason why I felt that the second part of my earlier comment about warranty AND reputation were important. Marin at this point had a long history of being a stand up company.
Approximately two weeks after I purchased the bike, when I took the bike on a short ride the rear hub started to bind in a way I had not noticed before. Not sure what the problem was, I suspected it was a problem with the bearings. I returned to the shop where I purchased the bike. They confirmed there was indeed an issue with the bearings and stated that the wheel would be covered under warranty as they were bad. The wheel was still in perfect dish, round and true. After waiting over two weeks, I became impatient and decided to build a new wheelset, as my old ones were 7-8 speed not 9-10. After $426.35 out of pocket I had a nice new XTR wheel set that I would use for off road and just figured I would use the OEM wheels for on road with slicks when they came back. Long story short, even though the original wheels were covered under warranty, I never received the wheels back. At this time, I was not that upset as I had no real faith in the quality of the original wheelset since they failed in such a short period of time. However, I was a little annoyed by the lack of follow through by Marin. Shortly after this event, I began taking part time contract work for the local shop as a mechanic since I was spending so much time there and was a certified bike mechanic.
Some time later, approximately 8 months, the front end started to develop some slop on a ride. Upon returning home I checked the headset to find that the crown on the fork had cracked and the stanchion had lash in its seat. Knowing this was unsafe, I contacted Marin immediately. They agreed that this was covered by the warranty, but was told that there was a problem with their inventory and I was told it would be a few weeks before they could send me a replacement part. Knowing from the previous history, I purchased an upgraded replacement for $475.60 out of pocket. My plan was to sell the new/warrantied part on ebay whenever it came in. Needless to say, after several calls, and days growing into weeks, I filed this away as “I'll get taken care of next time.” In retrospect, I should have stayed on them over the wheels and fork, but working 50+ hours a week, plus additional hours in a bike shop as a hobby, you tend to let things slide. Between this point and the 12 month ownership date, the seatpost cracked, and I had a bottom bracket fail. The seatpost fix was just the cheap 5 dollar one that almost every sub two grand bike comes with, so again I thought no big deal. The bottom bracket is considered a wear item and I wanted to upgrade the crank anyway so this also was never mentioned to Marin, but was annoying to have a bottom bracket fail so early. So at just under $400 for the crank and the seat post, I had spent close to $1300 dollars on repairs, most of which should have been covered under the one wear warranty period.
Since this was my personal bike, and money was not a major problem, I never pushed these issues for myself, but did fight vehemently on a few occasions to obtain warranties for customers of the shop. Even with all of these challenges up to this point, I still believed in the Marin bike at its core, the frame. Ironically, it was at this point that Marin changed their warranty from lifetime on the frame to:
10 years for all Marin® Bikes frames, including pivot hardware and bearings of Marin® QUAD Linkage Full suspension frames. (Excluding all bikes or parts listed in this table as 5, 3 or 1 years)
What was even more shocking to me was this caveat:
3 year warranty one Marin® Team CXR and Team HT hardtail, Titanium Frames, pivot hardware and bearings of Marin® FRS 120 Full suspension frames.
Three years on titanium frames... Owning several titanium bikes and also being a Litespeed dealer this made no sense to me. Was Marin simply following industry trends? Upon checking Trek, Cannondale, and Felt frames, I found they still offered lifetime warranties on their higher end frames as they always had.
While all this was a little strange, it did not shake my trust in the quality of the frames from this company. In all these years, I had never seen a single frame crack. That was until mine cracked. Not at a weld as aluminum usually does, but right in the middle of the top tube. At this point, I have been selling and working on Marin's for over 5 years. Having a strong background in automotive engineering, I knew the questions they were going to ask. Is it at the seat tube indicating an impact? Are there any dents? Does the frame show signs of a major impact? In this case it was none of those. The frame simple cracked in the tubing not at a weld where it is butted. So the calls are made and Marin immediately agrees that is a defect in the frame and covered under the warranty. That was not so bad was it? Was it...
Not expecting much, I asked if I would be able to upgrade the frame so it would not be 2k in components on a frame that probably cost around $250. I was told no problem, I could get a 2009/2010 Scandium Team Frame or the newer designed hydro frame and this was confirmed via email from the national sales manager:
Would rather him get a 2011 Hawk Hill frame. Jason, our product designer says that 2011 Hydro-formed A6 aluminum frame is lighter and stronger than the 2009 Scandium model was anyway. The Hawk hill would be no charge, the Scandium frame would be $250.00 to upgrade. Keep in mind both frames are integrated head tubes so you would need a different headset and we changed sizing measurements since 2007 to "center to top" so he would now be a 19". Barry will be back tomorrow so you can decide what you want to do and give him a call to place the order.
Unless their top tube is 4” diameter I am not sure I ride a 2” larger bike but whatever. So it looked like for ~$120 for a new Cane Creek headset, I can be on an upgraded frame. Or even better for $370 I can be on a Team Scandium frame. Keep in mind at this point that I am on retainer for two websites that specialize in bike reviews. Prior to making my decision, I make am inquiry through the shop to see what Marin would most like to see reviewed as both are still current generation frames. If its the scandium, are they willing to discount the upgrade price in exchange for a full review? At this point, I have not even mentioned the wheels, the fork, the seatpost... I never hear back, so an email is placed to Barry (our Marin sales representative), whom I believe got caught by surprise by all of this. I am then told I am getting a 2008 frame. But wait? I thought the 2011+ frame was so much stronger per the “product designer”. That aside, I was leaning towards the scandium frame anyways. So here I sit. Two weeks later with no bike or a resolution. In total, I have been sidelined over 2 months dealing with warranty issues. Had I not paid out of pocket to fix them, who knows how much longer that would have been. Will I ever get a new frame? I am hoping Marin will come through, but will it also be a lesson in futility. If I plan on riding any time soon, I may have to buy a Felt or Litespeed? At a certain point you have to step back from a brand you are attached to and take a hard look. I am taking a hard look at Marin.
I had a very good frame warranty experience lately with Marin. However, I think I got my frame replaced just prior to the ownership change.
In the spring of 2007 I bought a 2006 Rock Springs frame online from Bob's Bicycles in Boise Idaho. Last fall, 2011, I noticed a crack on the drive side of the rear swing arm right in the middle of and through the little sheet metal gusset adjacent to the bottom pivot location. Since I am a frequent lurker here on MTBR, I knew that any replacement frame would be a crapshoot of what was available at the factory. With that in mind I shopped around and bought a 2010 AT 6.7 frame online for a good deal knowing that this frame was a little burlier than my original Rock Springs and still had 150mm of rear travel.
So at this point I have the 2010 AT built up and riding so I contact Bob's about my 2006 RS for warranty. I believe I started this process in Jan or early Feb of this year, 2012, just a few months prior to the end of my 5 year frame warranty. They asked for a photo and I volunteered to send it in so that there would be no back and forth questions. It cost my $70 to ship the broken frame. Once they got it, they contacted Marin and sent the frame in. The Marin rep was helpful and after a 2 or 3 week delay, he sent a new frame, 2007 Mt. Vision Pro, to Bob's. Once Bob's had it, I paid to have it shipped to me for $40. So in the end, I got my warranty frame which is a backup to my AT at this point for about $120 out of pocket.
Guess I finally had some good luck as I heard about the ownership change in the middle of the warranty effort.
Keep your head tube up!
2012 Marin Mt. Vision XM Pro
2009 Jamis Dragon ONE
You need to figure out how to tell this story and make your point in 1/3 as many words.
15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.
Originally Posted by kapusta
Sent from my Android phone who can't spell using Tapatalk
Nice blog dude. We're all real sorry that you're super butt-hurt about your experiences with ONE frame cracking. The rest of the stuff all sounds like other manufacturers bits, not Marin's work. Like did you attempt to deal directly with RS or Fox when their fork cracked? Also, why not use your skills as a "bike mechanic" to replace a cartridge bearing in a wheel yourself, or maintain your bottom bracket cups? Sounds like a better alternative than waiting weeks on warranty service for a 5 dollar bearing.
You don't actually expect anyone to believe that a magazine is going to print that do you?
I had similar problems with my 2011 Marin Rift Zone XC6.. The rear end felt wobbling and not sure what it was. Back to the dealer they explained me that it was something with the bearings and washers. This was when the bike was just 2 months old. It than stood at the shop for 3 months! Don't get me wrong! Its not the shops fault. They tried everything in their power to get this fixed fast! But back and forward emails revealed that he really tried hard! Anyhow the shop owner offered me a East Peak 5.6 2012 Brand new and I took that instead. NOt one day later the rear shock came loose... ok. Back again.. Fixed but still.
Now I found an entire new problem wit the East Peak 5.6. When in lowest gear the chain keeps rubbing the frame and its nicely and slowly creating a whole in my frame. Not wanting to go back I have contacted Marin direct but this is something impossible to do!
Let the Marin bashing take place now.
I love the way my Marin Alpine trail 29'r rides and looks, however who still routes cables under the BB? on a MTB it just causes issues as it is doing with mine. It seems the cable guide is to thin and now my shifetr cables are cutting a nice groove into the frame. Worse yet about 10 miles into a ride the bike stops shifting correctly, why becasue dirt and gunk has built up on the cables and BB shell and frame causing slow shifting to high gears.. whats the fix,you ask? a raised plastic cable guide.. Did it work? NOPE!!
It just moved the cable contact point up the downtube some.. Emails went off to Barry, so far no reply.. Guess I need to find a new frame after reading all thats going on with Marin.
Almost ALL HT still route the cable on the bottom. Specialized, Giant and Cannondale are just some small companies that do so.
Originally Posted by racinteach
I think the general consensus is along the top tube nowadays (at least for the rear cables).
Originally Posted by Spinning Lizard
The old-school cable routing on Marin HTs was actually one of the things that put me off them when I was looking for a new bike a few years back. Seeing this RD cable floating in mid-air because the chainstays where hydroformed looked like it was asking to get snagged on something.
I had a problem with my 2011 nail trail 29er, the free hub went bad. I contacted sun ringle however and it was fixed in 2 weeks including shipping time.
Didn't even think about calling Marin, since they didn't make wheels.
I own a shop that sells Marin. We're based in Canada so things may be very different but we have been thrilled with how fast and generous Marin has been with the few warranty cases we've dealt with. I know in 2 cases we saw cracked frames because kids had been using light weight XC frames as freeride bikes - Marin obviously knew because they would have seen all the freeride parts, including forks, that had been installed on the bikes. We had frames sent out within a day or two and everything was taken care of.
As for the parts on the bike having warranty issues. Every bike manufacturer I know of does nothing related to the parts (unless of course the bike brand made the parts in question). We are told to deal with the company that made the fork or wheels, brakes, drivetrain etc. This is standard practice in most places I think?
Lastly, related to the warranty and small print. Marin's warranty on their full suspension bikes is among the best in the bike business. Those frames you quoted with limited warranties are mostly race frames - designed for and usually used by racers. If I owned a bike company I'd limit warranties on those products too. Racers demand extremely light bikes then beat the crap out of them. Race bikes are not built with long-term robustness as the main goal - they are light weight racing machines that often get 10 years worth of riding in one year.
You also mentioned the issue of frame size with your warranty frame. The fact that Marin realized there was a difference in measurement points from one bike to the next demonstrated they were paying attention and trying to make sure your new bike was an appropriate size. The first bike's measurements were likely center of bb to top of seat-tube, as opposed to center of bb to center of top-tube - this can make quite a difference.
I'm terribly sorry you had such a bad experience with your bike and what happened when you tried to claim warranty. You had bad luck and I think had bad luck with how your warranty claims were managed through the shop you dealt with.
Like I said, I own a bike shop. I have very happy with how good our dealings with Marin with warranty issues. It is one of the reasons we continue to sell Marin. My shop's reputation can be ruined if one of our bike suppliers screws up. We have ditched a number of well-known brands over the years - in some cases directly because we're afraid of what might happen in the case of a warranty. I wanted to make sure there was some mention of positive dealings with Marin on this post. thanks.
So I recently have had Marin issues too!
I had a 2010 Mount Vision and had a weld bust on the rear swingarm after owning it about 3yrs.... I ride pretty aggressively but nothing over the top.
Contacted Marin (LOOOONG Story there) and let's just say that after them Lying about "not having a replacement frame" (when they totally did!) to them sending me the wrong parts 3 times. Took about 2.5 months to resolve and about 3 shipments of incorrect parts.
Finally I was able to speak with someone who actually took care of me as I thought I should have been.
They replaced the Full frame and the Rear Shock (damaged in break) and sent all the components necessary to fit all the old parts from my bike on the new frame.
Now this sounds great right? Well if I told the FULL story it wouldn't. I fought tooth and nail for this. They lied to me several times and didn't pay attention to details, like What parts where correct to send me. I even work for a bike shop that sells Marin and they knew this!!
So I have had the new frame less than 9months....and guess what. Broken Frame Again!!! WTF --> I wasn't jumping I was just taking a hard turn and the SEAT TUBE Sheared off right in the middle, no where near a weld! WTF How does that happen! and in 9months!
I am so far much happier with my warranty experience, although now they don't want to replace the shock, which was again damaged by the frame, and they only are replacing the Front Triangle not the Rear as well.
They are upgrading the front triangle to the 2013 Carbon, but now I will have a Frankenbike frame....not the end of the world. I wish they would just replace the full frame and shock as it should be. The warranty says "Frame" not "Part of frame".
My real issue is that NO ONE has even raised a hair about breaking the frame in 9months. WHY DID THIS HAPPEN. Is this a regular occurrence for Marin>? So much so that they aren't even wondering why the Seat Tube would just shear off mid length?? I am on an XL frame and I am 6'3'' 210+10lb pack.....but still, it's a frame built for large people and it's a high end bike!
Am I being unreasonable????
The bright side is I am getting a Carbon Upgrade! But I am nervous as HELL to ride it now with my current Frame Luck....
Do people "normally" break frames this easily??
P.s. Just read Bikebros Comment (the last one) and have to say, maybe i am asking too much....... but I think if the frame breaks, then I shouldn't be out any $$$ to make all my old components fit the new frame and have and damaged components replaced.....and Maybe I ride about "as much" as a racer but I am not one.....hmmmmm I still am just doubting the quality of work now with such bad luck.... I need some reflections from others out there... thanks!