While most manufacturers offer limited warranties with new bikes, these generally only cover "defects in workmanship and materials" that crop up when the bike is being used for its "intended use".
In reality, that means that if you hit a patch of ice and crash your road bike or damage your mountain bike tackling anything bigger than a kerb, you'll often hit a brick wall when trying to claim a replacement. The same is true if you use it for racing.
Of course, some bike makers don't set such stringent conditions and are keen to help out anyone who's had a problem with one of their products. Unfortunately, they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.
However, Swiss company BMC have gone a step further and are offering an official crash replacement programme for their 2011 high-end models. While this type of scheme is common for cycle helmets, it's rare to find one for complete bikes, although Trek do offer similar cover for their carbon fibre bikes.
The way it works is that BMC's more expensive road and mountain bikes (see below for a list of eligible models) are automatically covered by the company's standard three-year warranty, but if buyers register their details online within 30 days of purchase, cover is extended to five years and they're also eligible for the crash scheme.
If their bike is damaged in a way that has a "detrimental effect on the functional capacity... and riding safety", the owner is eligible for a 40 percent discount off the RRP of a replacement frameset. Of course, there are some conditions. Only one claim can be made per warranty, and the damage must have been caused "during proper use", "through no fault of your own" and "without involving third parties".
Despite these limitations, we think this kind of scheme is definitely a step in the right direction. For more information, visit www.bmc-racing.com/int-en/service/warranty.
- Teammachine SLR 01
- Racemachine RM 01
- Roadracer SL 01/02
- Pure PR01
- Timemachine TT01
- Timemachine TT 02
- Fourstroke FS 01
- Speedfox SF 01
- Trailfox TF 01
- Teamelite TE 01