Warranty claims, the perils of buying online, and possibly some useful information- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Warranty claims, the perils of buying online, and possibly some useful information

    This is not a knock on Bikesdirect, but I had an issue with my bike and I'm not even sure what would be reasonable to ask for in a warranty claim, so I'm soliciting feedback here.

    The story:

    I bought my Fantom 29er Pro back in January. Northwest winters being what they are, I haven't had much opportunity to ride it, maybe ten times since I got it, and only on the road or gentle gravel paths (I mainly got it to ride with my kids and start commuting to work this summer). This Tuesday I was riding with my daughter to the local ballpark. Halfway there after stopping to walk over a curb, when I got back on and just started to pedal I felt something catch, heard a crunch, and looked back to see my rear derailleur had broken off at the hanger. The chain and derailleur were kindof tangled up but didn't look too bad, so I didn't think much of it and ordered two new hangers from BikesDirect, which should come in sometime next week.

    Hating to be without my bike now that the weather's gotten nice, I did some research on compatible hangers and called the Redmond REI to see how much they would charge to install a new hanger. Here's my bit of useful information: The Wheels Manufacturing "Hanger 67" is an exact drop-in replacement hanger for the Fantom 29er, and is a pretty common part at local bike shops. The REI shop had 3 in stock.

    So I brought my bike to REI today (Thursday) and the shop tech (who was incredibly/unbelievably nice) put the bike on the rack to replace the broken hanger. During the course of the repair he discovered three things:
    1. The chain was separating at the connecting rivet (this is the special rivet that doesn't look like any of the others). This was pretty clearly a manufacturing defect, and almost certainly the chain got hung up on the derailleur, which is what caused it to break.
    2. The XTR rear derailleur was slightly bent where it attached to the hanger and at the bottom of the cage.
    3. The rear wheel was slightly out of true, although it's unclear if this was related to the derailleur or just something that needed to be taken care of.

    In the end, he was able to straighten the the derailleur well enough that it appears to work, and I had to buy a new chain since removing the two bad links from the existing chain made it too short and he didn't have any spare links for a DynaSys chain. I'm picking up the bike tomorrow (he was going to true the wheel this evening). The total is going to look something like:
    Hanger: ~$20
    HG94 chain: $50 (the original chain was an HG74, but REI doesn't stock those. The HG94 is one step up).
    Labor: ??

    If I had bought it from a local bike shop, I would have just taken it back to them and let them repair it. But I knew going into it that buying mail order entailed some risks, and I'm otherwise happy with the bike.

    So here's my question: What would even be reasonable to ask for as part of a warranty claim? Do I ask for a replacement hanger or chain (what would I do with them-- remember I've still got two other hangers on order)? Should I worry about the rear derailleur, which we had to bend back into shape but which (hopefully) will still function correctly? Or should I just let it be?
    Last edited by AndyRaf; 05-21-2011 at 10:32 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyRaf
    So here's my question: What would even be reasonable to ask for as part of a warranty claim? Do I ask for a replacement hanger or chain (what would I do with them-- remember I've still got two other hangers on order)? Should I worry about the rear derailleur, which we had to bend back into shape but which (hopefully) will still function correctly? Or should I just let it be?
    Warranties replace items that are defective. So it is only reasonable to ask for a hanger and chain. The derailleur likely got bent when then hanger broke. It is probably okay, but you should also ask if you can get a warranty replacement.

    I reccommend that you learn to work on your own bike. These things would not have happened if a knowledgable person had checked everything out prior to riding the bike. So educate yourself so you know how everything is supposed to work. Not only wil it save you some money, but potentially keep you from getting injured should something break.
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  3. #3
    DynoDon
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    Hangers are made to break/bend instead of more expensive things happening, it doesn't take much to bend/break one, (a stick/rock/falling or dropping the bike) its a good idea to carry a spare, most people that have been riding for awhile do.
    Maintenance is part of owning a bike, I doubt a LBS would cover a broken hanger or the results of breaking one.
    Learning to take care of your bikes can save alot of money, its actually pretty easy, the special tools will set you back at first, but pay for themselves in the long run, a good book like Zinn & the art of Mountain Bike Maintenance, Youtube, Park tool.com, and this site will help with learning.
    Anyway you learn its going to cost you, you have now learned about derailleur hangers, you'll have more issues, Preventive Maintenance helps, learning maintenance is a good thing, REI has basic classes too.
    Happy Trails
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  4. #4
    Green Wrencher
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    I would also ask who assembled the bike upon delivery?

    I purchased a Gravity.5 thru BD and had my LBS assemble it. They discovered the rear der hanger had been bent during shipping. Wheels of course needed truing. These are the things a good bike mechanic will check during maintenance and tuneups.

    Been a great bike for me, I hope your bike can get repaired without much more pain and suffering. Very sorry for your situation.

  5. #5
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    I think SOP for bikesdirect warranty claims is to send the whole bike back for inspection. I wouldn't get my hopes up...
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  6. #6
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    Did you email BD with your issue? FWIW, chain and RD issues like yours are not a completely unknown problem with BD. The chain separates at the pin and rips the RD off when the link side plate hangs up on the RD cage.

  7. #7
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    Interested to hear if there was a resolution on this.

  8. #8
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    I would have emailed BD first before i started spending money to get it fix. actually it happened to me once. rear wheel started making some grinding noise and when i couldn't figure out what was making that noise I emailed BD and they sent me a replacement.
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  9. #9
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    Follow up

    To complete the story...

    Got the bike back from REI. The bill came to $95 ($20 hanger, $50 chain, $17 labor + tax). No problems so far, althought I was still a little concerned about the derailleur having been bent.

    I sent email to Bikesdirect laying out the story (pretty much what I said above, edited for brevity), along with pictures of the old chain. I said that while I have no need for a hanger or chain, and don't expect them to pay for the repairs, it would be nice if they could send a Bracket Axle Unit and Inner Plate from an XTR derailleur, which appeared to be the components of the derailleur that were bent.

    I got an email from BD earlier this morning which said that they found an XTR derailleur from a bike they had to strip for other parts and would send that out to me. That's pretty much more than I was hoping for, so I'm happy with the results.

    Responding to some of the other comments in the thread- I originally put the bike together myself, and had carefully examined all the components. If the chain had already been separating when it was delivered I would have caught it. Sometimes defects don't present themselves until something breaks.

    I agree that in retrospect I should have emailed BD first before spending money to fix it. In my defense, at first it looked like a simple busted hanger, which wouldn't be covered under warranty anyway. It wasn't until the REI shop tech had everything put back together that he noticed the separated spot on the chain. Once we were at that point, it was either take the bike back home, contact BD for the replacement parts, and wait; or go ahead and get it fixed on the spot so I could get the bike back the next day. It was late, I was tired, what can I say?

  10. #10
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    Bicycle technology is relatively unchanged in the last 100 years. Most bikes = chain drive w/ derailleurs. They are simple machines.

    If a bike has not been used in several months ALWAYS check:

    1. Air in tires
    2. Brake function
    3. derailleur function
    4. chain/ lubrication

    If you can't or won't check these things yourself on a frequent basis (a very easy process) it will cost you money. An XTR rear derailleur is a high-end part (light & inherently less durable) so, it must be treated differently than an a heavier more durable part like Alivio.

    Save yourself some money. Learn how to work on and maintain your own bike. Do preventative checks on tires, brakes, derailleurs and chains. Buy a bike maintenance book, read it and buy a few tools.

    Biking is a fairly inexpensive hobby if you do your own maintenance, but a pretty expensive one if a shop does the work.

    Your mileage may vary. Good luck.
    Last edited by b3ksmith; 05-28-2011 at 04:43 AM.
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  11. #11
    Rollin 29s
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    Glad BD took care of you. This is the reason I bought my $2000 titanium Motobecane from them, and why 3 friends have purchased from them on my referral.

    If you work on your own bike, there is NO reason to pay bike shop prices.
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  12. #12
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    So what is a reasonable amount of time to hear back about a frame issue? I discovered a hairline crack on a weld on the seat tube of my Windsor 29er. I emailed Windsor (no other contact info available) 4 days ago and have not received any correspondence from them. I figured I'd give them until friday before I get mad. I have already stripped the frame and built another bike but I want my cracked frame replaced per the lifetime warranty. I have referred 8 people to BD for bikes in the last year but I doubt I will anymore due to the lack of communication from their manufacturers.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jrsummit View Post
    So what is a reasonable amount of time to hear back about a frame issue? I discovered a hairline crack on a weld on the seat tube of my Windsor 29er. I emailed Windsor (no other contact info available) 4 days ago and have not received any correspondence from them. I figured I'd give them until friday before I get mad. I have already stripped the frame and built another bike but I want my cracked frame replaced per the lifetime warranty. I have referred 8 people to BD for bikes in the last year but I doubt I will anymore due to the lack of communication from their manufacturers.
    Did you email Bikes Direct?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    Did you email Bikes Direct?
    not yet. I am just following the warranty instructions on their site. They will be contacted Friday if I still hear nothing. I guess I am expecting to do it the way they say to and not have to jump through hoops.

  15. #15
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    I think you are going about it in the right order, following the instructions in the warranty, but just remember that Windsor is Bikesdirect, or vice versa. Bikesdirect owns the brand so you might get there faster by cutting out the (fictional) middle man. Hope it all works out for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Screw the search function... you're new, ask the question(s). If anyone gets thier undies in a bunch it's thier problem.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Test Dumby View Post
    I think you are going about it in the right order, following the instructions in the warranty, but just remember that Windsor is Bikesdirect, or vice versa. Bikesdirect owns the brand so you might get there faster by cutting out the (fictional) middle man. Hope it all works out for you.
    I understand the relationship. Let's just say I am playing the game for now. I figure it will be a good real world test of BD's customer service. I will give a full write-up of the process.
    I hope they are as good as they say they are, I have been a fan for a while now so I hope they don't make me look like a fool to those I reffered to them. My buddy cracked his Gary fisher (Trek) the day after I cracked mine and the wheels are already rolling for him. LBS 1 BD 0 so far.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jrsummit View Post
    I understand the relationship. Let's just say I am playing the game for now. I figure it will be a good real world test of BD's customer service. I will give a full write-up of the process.
    I hope they are as good as they say they are, I have been a fan for a while now so I hope they don't make me look like a fool to those I reffered to them. My buddy cracked his Gary fisher (Trek) the day after I cracked mine and the wheels are already rolling for him. LBS 1 BD 0 so far.
    I completely understand and support your method. And its not surprising that the LBS wins in "speed" of warranty service. You get to walk in and get served, no need for Email processing, shipping whole bikes or parts of bikes, etc. There are still many things a mail order company just can't do like a local business.

    And just what are you guys doing to crack these frames? Very interesting that you guys cracked two frames in two days
    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Screw the search function... you're new, ask the question(s). If anyone gets thier undies in a bunch it's thier problem.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Test Dumby View Post
    I completely understand and support your method. And its not surprising that the LBS wins in "speed" of warranty service. You get to walk in and get served, no need for Email processing, shipping whole bikes or parts of bikes, etc. There are still many things a mail order company just can't do like a local business.

    And just what are you guys doing to crack these frames? Very interesting that you guys cracked two frames in two days
    Mine was just a fluke with a cruddy weld. My buddy tried to hop a downed tree and hit his BB. completely split it open. I made a thread on this warranty adventure in this forum. Check it out.

  19. #19
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    To me, it sounds like your r. derailer was out of adjustment (set screw), and got shifted into the rear wheel. The chain damage could have caused the issue OR could have been a result of the issue. Not that it matters at this point. I was a mech. at a bike shop for several years and I think what people do not realize about the BD bikes is that these are no different than any other shop-brand bike; when they come out of the box, they may have all sorts of things wrong with them that need to be attended to before going out the door - this includes but is not limted to: removal of BB for greasing, re-torquing all bolts, truing wheels, facing surfaces, greasing all threaded surfaces on bike, adjusting derailers, un-bending hangers that were bent in shipping, etc. There are all sorts of special tools for these tasks that the average person will not likely have. I think most people are just putting the wheels on etc. and riding these bikes - this is what can happen. Glad to hear they are helping you; its a good business model and will keep people coming back. FYI - I have no issues with these bikes and have considered one myself..they are just such a great $$ deal! The only bikes that actually come mail-order read-to-ride are the ones from places like Performance, Jenson, etc. if you pay for the "pro-build" where they should do all the above items, then disassemble it and ship it.
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