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Cannondale lifetime guarantee

Cannondale lifetime guarantee is it a good reason to buy a new Cannondale bicycle, with the knowledge that your bike is guaranteed for a lifetime. Obviously many believe so, and on top of that Cannondale make such nice light bikes it is easy to want to buy one of their very nice machines. Twelve years ago I bought a Cannondale R900SI and rode it about 500 miles a year for the next ten years, not a great deal but enough for me to be happy in my ownership of a nice road bike. After having owned at least a dozen bikes previously. The last two years saw me increasing my mileage and I was then getting up to 2000 – 2500 miles a year for the last two seasons on the bike. Unfortunately I noticed a funny noise coming from the frame and realised that it had cracked near the saddle pin along the end of the top tube. In all honesty I was ready to throw the bike away as it had twelve years and about 10000 miles on it.

However I remembered the lifetime guarantee and sent it off to my local bike shop. Who were very helpful. Unfortunately I have since been told Cannondale have a policy on what lifetime means, it is in fact the lifetime of what a high quality Aluminium product should be and not at all the lifetime of me, the purchaser. This post is simply to put it out there, maybe Cannondale should just give a limited frame guarantee of five years as obviously very rarely would they need to supply a frame on the “lifetime guarantee”. Indeed I wonder what the lifetime of a carbon fibre frame should be…. Below a part of my correspondence coming back from Cannondale. Thanks for reading.

Our ‘Lifetime Warranty’ like anyone else’s, covers issues arising from manufacturing defects and faults only. Generally such issues rear their head very quickly (usually unless unused within first 1-4 years of ownership). Aluminium, like all other frame materials has a finite lifespan and is heavily affected by ‘fatigue’ (structural weakening through usage). Due to its nature, at some point in their life all alloy frames will fail unless unused. High use =high fatigue = shorter lifespan (WILL fail sooner). The exact lifespan of a frame is dictated by the amount and type of use and maintenance that a bike receives and, as such, can vary massively.

Any metallurgist will tell you that the life expectancy of a faultless alloy frame which receives normal use and regular maintenance is around 5-7 years as dictated by the natural qualities of the construction material. This however takes no account of specific usage. One person can use their bike as much in one year as another does in 10. As such, each case is individual and is COMPLETELY dictated by individual personal circumstances (unless there is a known design fault / issue). This is the reason for a ‘Lifetime’ Warranty. The statement is open ended to allow for timescales dictated by personal circumstance. We will not and do not abuse that. It does not mean however (as stated in our manual) that a bike made of finite lifespan construction materials can or will last forever but, it likewise doesn’t mean that all users are penalised with a set timescale of cover. i.e the customer who has a 15 year old bike that he has only ridden 5 times and it has broken would not get warranty when really, if it hasn’t been crashed, he should. On the flipside it is quite possible if an alloy 5yr old Cannondale bike has broken, but has clearly been well used and covered a lot of miles that it has failed as a result of being ‘worn out’ (fatigued) as opposed to a warrantable issue. A ‘Lifetime’ Warranty rather than a specific timescale warranty gives us the chance to judge every case individually and does not unduly penalise anyone. It should mean that every one of our customers ends up getting their monies worth from their bike.

Cannondale lifetime guarantee

Cannondale lifetime guarantee Cannondale lifetime guarantee

I think the frame broke due to the steel cap that inserts into the boss of the frame, it reacted to the Aluminium and oxidised therefore weakening the frame. But hey what do I know? I know that I wanted to keep the bike as I was happy with it and was going for a respray this winter, now however I need to find a frame which is a pain in the backside. I would almost like to buy another Cannondale, however with their Cannondale Lifetime Guarantee appearing to be nothing other than  a marketing ploy, why would I.

Thanks for reading.

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