I am not at all not happy with Trek’s warranty support or should I say, lack thereof, nor am I happy with my local Trek dealer; Haymarket Bicycles.
Here’s the story:
I purchased a 2013 Trek Remedy 9.9 frame from a local Trek dealer (Haymarket Bicycles) in August of 2015. The bike shop offered to build the bike using all the parts from my 2011 Remedy I purchase on e-bay which had a broken seat-stay for which Trek no longer had parts available for and was not covered by the warranty as I was not the original owner. As the 2013 frame was now a couple years old, it was marked down about 30%. It was and still is a very nice frame, but you be the judge in regard to Trek’s warranty support.
Issue 1 – Within a few weeks, I noticed the paint peeling from the chain stay near the crank. Upon close inspection, the paint simply peals like an egg shell. I took the bike to Haymarket Bicycles for support. They photographed the peeling paint and said they opened a case with Trek and sent them the pictures. A few days later the bike shop called and said Trek doesn’t warranty the paint at all. The store owner said he may be able to get some touch-up paint, but I said not to bother as it didn’t affect the functionality and touch-up paint would likely not adhere well anyway. I told him I’d apply some clear protective tape and call it a day. I did apply the tape, however, the first time I attempted to remove the tape to apply new tape, the paint started pulling off with the tape. As such, I have not replaced the tape in nearly three years to avoid removing more paint. To me, this has all the appearance of a faulty paint job but as I said, the bike is still functional, and Trek wouldn’t cover it.
Issue 2 - Last year, 2017, the rear most cable holder pulled out of the rear of the top tube. When it came undone, little pieces of Carbon Fiber came out of the frame as well. Again, I took the bike to Haymarket Bicycles for support. Again, they photographed the frame area of the issue and said they opened a case with Trek and sent them the pictures. A few days later the bike shop called and said Trek doesn’t warranty the cable holder as it is not considered part of the frame, yet the cable holder wasn’t the issue, the part of the frame surrounding the cable holder gave way. I did not and still don’t understand how that was not considered the frame. The bike shop said they could replace the frame insert that holds the cable holder at my cost. After they attempted the replacement, they found they need a larger fitting as the hole was enlarged. They ordered the fitting, installed it, and I was on the trail again less a few bucks.
Issue 3 – I discovered the current and latest issue while having issues shifting to the 2nd and largest front chain ring. I rarely use the front derailleur but it’s nice to have when you need a bit of high speed. I tried adjusting the cable adjustment on the shifter while I was riding and that seemed to fix the issue at first. Then I start hearing chain rub from the front derailleur when I usually hear none. I couldn’t figure what was causing the issue as all the cabling looked fine and the derailleur was secure to the mount. At closer inspection, I noticed the paint was cracking and shifting slightly around the cable hole at the rear of the top tube every time I shifted the front derailleur. Once I started wiggling the cable slightly, the paint peeled away revealing an elongated oval aluminum cable holder that was no longer connected to the frame. The aluminum cable piece was somewhat white and powdery due to the aluminum being corroded. Keep in mind, this cable holder is behind the paint at the underside of the top tube and none of this was visible until the paint was removed. After the ride, as I was up in PA near Wilks-Barre at Moon Lake, I decided to stop by the local Trek dealer. The owner was there but his mechanic was on vacation. The owner had a look and assumed it likely needed some sort of clip to retain the cable holder. He asked me to return when his Mechanic was in but as I was heading back to VA the next day I declined the offer. So, again, I took the bike back to Haymarket Bicycles for support. Again, they took pictures and sent them in to Trek. Trek’s response is that the issue was caused by corrosion and not covered by the Trek lifetime frame warranty. So, I called Trek to discuss the decision. I spoke to one customer service tech who when I explained the issue, initially thought it should be covered. However, once he read what whomever had evaluated the pictures wrote, he changed his tune. I requested to speak to his manager as I could not believe Trek was not going to honor their lifetime warranty. I was transferred to Jim.
Jim listened to me and noted that I should have seen the corrosion forming and taken care of it. I noted that the piece that corroded was behind paint and until the paint peeled off, there was absolutely no sign of corrosion. Jim also asked if I lived in a high corrosion environment. I said no, as I bike in Northern VA and NE PA; neither of which I would consider a highly corrosive environment. He then asked if I sweat a lot. I said well, I bike all year long regardless of temperature so yea, I sweat when it’s hot. He noted that he’d seen handlebars corrode in half due to corrosive perspiration and that was likely the cause. I noted that none of my other bikes have ever had any corrosion issues including a 2004 Trek Fuel EX 9 that I rode for nearly 10 years, just prior to buying this frame. I went on to explain the other two cases I had with Trek, the second issue being physically about an inch from this one and noted that I believed there was something wrong with the frame in that area. He then told me that the current case is the only case ever opened on my frames serial number. I asked how that could be as I was told pictures were sent in and the previous two cases were denied the same as this one. He said the bike shop must not have submitted them or the case would be in the system and as such, he couldn’t consider them. GREAT! Thank you very much for nothing Haymarket Bicycles! There’s more to this as originally when I spoke to Jim, he was going to have the bike sent in to Waterloo to have the issue checked by their engineers. At some point, between Jim and Haymarket Bicycles they decided not to send the bike in, but rather disassemble the bike at Haymarket Bicycles. Evidently, they were looking for corrosion on other parts of the bike and as the headset was the only component that was also the same age as the frame they inspected it and found what I would call very minor surface corrosion. However, as they found corrosion, they deemed the issue with the cable hole not covered by the lifetime warranty. Keep in mind that the headset was still functioning perfectly while the cable holder was not. Jim did offer to assist by supplying some sort of cable holder, capable of holding three cables, to re-cable the front derailleur. However, as the cockpit on this bike is already very busy with cables, I didn’t opt for this solution. What I did ask for assistance with, as I had to Haymarket Bicycles, was going to a 1 x 10 or 1 x11 crank set. While not providing all the gearing of a 2 x 10 I could at least get to the extremities of the gearing and this would likely be an acceptable solution. After speaking to Jim on this point he said Trek didn’t work with components, but Haymarket Bicycles had offered to provide a 10 percent discount. I asked if that was off list or cost and Jim wasn’t sure. Well, good old Haymarket Bicycles offered 10 percent off list price. As I noted to Jim in a later conversation, I’d received at least 10 percent discount from every bike shop for Military discount and said that the offer was much like a slap in the face. During my last conversation with Jim, I noted that several people I had talked to pertaining to my case were disappointed to hear that Trek would hide behind the small print of their warranty rather than cover what looked like a defect or at least something that should certainly be covered after a very short three-year period. Jim noted again that corrosion is not covered and that I should always read the small print on contracts. I told him I intended to post a sign on my car everyplace I bike stating, “If you sweat, don’t buy Trek. It voids the warranty” as this is effectively what I was told.
The bottom line:
First, I recommend you don’t buy or have anything serviced at Haymarket Bicycles in Virginia.
Second, if you’re buying a Trek bike because of its wonderful lifetime warranty as myself and many of my friends have, think twice. I’ve already received confirmation that this issue would likely have been covered by a rival bike company. Likewise, the other bike manufacturer also covers paint issues, such as I had, for a one-year period, as do most if not all the premium bike manufacturers.
Reason of review: Warranty issue.
Monetary Loss: $7.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
I didn't like:
Will not cover warranty issue.