Friday, 11 February 2011

This is a description of my experience claiming for a replacement bicycle frame through Evans Cycles under Cannondale's Lifetime Warranty, which is provided to the original owner of every bike they sell.  The supplier for Cannondale in the UK is a company called Cycling Sports Group (CSG), whose website doesn't even work anymore - a sure sign of professionalism!

My bike was a 2008 Cannondale Capo, size 63cm, which had, after weeks of making strange sounds whenever I rode it, developed a crack in its top-tube where it meets the seat-tube.  The bike has never been crashed.

A timeline follows.

5 December 2010

I notice the crack and take the photos above.

6 December 2010

I phone Evans Cycles' warranty and returns (W&R) department, who say that they first need to locate my purchase on their computer system and will call me back.

8 December 2010

After not hearing back from them, I phone again.  I am asked to provide photos of the bike, the damage, and proof of purchase, as they have not been able to locate my order on their system.  I provide all of these things the same day.  Evans W&R dept says that it can now submit my claim to its Cannondale supplier.  I am told that it may take some time, as things slow down during the Christmas period.

15 December 2010

I e-mail Evans W&R to enquire about progress.  I receive the following response:

Dear Mr xxx,

The guy at the supplier who I passed the images on to has informed me that he has forwarded them on to the Cannondale claims team and he said he would get back to me once he hears something. I apologise for the time it is taking.

Kind Regards,


Joe Carter
Contact Centre Agent
01293 574 993

Evans Cycles banner

29 December 2010

I e-mail Evans W&R.  No response.

6 January 2011 

I e-mail Evans W&R.  No response.

10 January 2011 

I e-mail Evans W&R.  No response by late afternoon.  I telephone them and speak to a guy called Ryan who says he'll look into my claim and phone me back that day.  No callback is received.

11 January 2011

I phone Evans W&R again and ask what's happening with my claim.  Ryan is not available but somebody else says they will look into it and call me back.  No callback is received.

12 January 2011

I phone Evans W&R again, this time speaking to a guy called Phil.  He says he will look into my claim and get back to me.  No callback is received.

17 January 2011

I phone Evans W&R again and ask to speak to the manager, who is a guy called Drew.  I explain my experience thus far and he says he will ensure that my claim is progressed.  He phones me back later that afternoon to let me know that the warranty claim forms have now been submitted to Evans Cycles' Cannondale supplier, CSG.  The first step of the process, the submission of warranty claim forms, has therefore taken Evans Cycles six weeks.

21 January 2011

I receive a phonecall from Phil at Evans W&R, who says that CSG needs to examine the bike.  Not just the frame, but the whole bike.  I'm confused as to why they need wheels, a chain and other componentry on the frame in order to examine a crack to the top-tube, but agree to it.  Phil is unsure of whether I will get the components back if my claim is successful.

22 January 2011

I drop the bike off at Evans Cycles, Crouch End branch.

8 February 2011

I receive a phonecall from Evans Crouch End, asking me to drop off the saddle that I was using on the bike, as CSG need to see how/where the saddle-rails were clamped.  I am incredulous, but drop off the saddle that day in order to comply.

10 February 2011

Evans Cycles Crouch End phone me and read out CSG's report to me.  I pick up a printout of it later that day.

They have an initial speculative attempt at discreditation of my ability to setup a bike sensibly:

  • "Seatpost shows wear-marks both above and below minimum insertion mark."
So they're saying that I rode the bike with an insufficient amount of seatpost inside the seat-tube, thus stressing the frame.  I have only ever ridden the bike with the seatpost in one position, which is the one it was set at when I gave the frame to them, and it was well inside the specified insertion zone.

But the conclusion of their report, and reason for rejecting my warranty claim, is thus:

  • "the plastic subframe of the saddle is cracked" and therefore "the damage here has resulted from a severe impact to the top of the saddle which has broken it and cracked the frame".

Before I continue, I must mention that the saddle in question has magnesium alloy rails (these are the bits that fasten to the seatpost and suspend the body of the saddle in the air).  Rails are typically about 6mm in diameter.  The rails of this saddle are undamaged (I didn't even notice any damage to the plastic body of the saddle, but that's beside the point).  The top-tube of the bike in question is made of aluminium alloy and is about 500mm in diameter.

Aluminium alloy is also a significantly stronger material than magnesium alloy (tensile strength of 200 MPa to 600 MP vs tensile strength of 135-285 MPa).

What they are suggesting is that an amount of force was exerted down into the saddle, cracking the plastic saddle but leaving the 6mm-diameter magnesium-alloy rails intact, and this force travelled down the seatpost into the frame of the bike, where it cracked a 500mm-diameter aluminium-alloy tube.  This is the conclusion of the expert analysis by CSG.

The full report follows:

11 February 2011

I own another Cannondale bike:  a 2007 Synapse Veloce, also bought from Evans Cycles.  In the absence of the Capo, I had been riding it to work and back.  With the most unbelievable timing, on my way to work this morning the left seatstay cracked.

This should be interesting.


  1. I had at least 3 raleigh frames replaced FOC due to broken chain stay in the 90s and in 2007 i had a 1998 trek replaced for similar, they rebuilt the bike and even gave me a new seat post as my old one was to narrow, the benefits of a decent local bike shop

  2. I know it's been a while but what was the outcome to your cannondales?

  3. I own a cannondale synapse and my chainstay has snapped off from both bots on the frame, the bike isnt even 6 months old. Any suggestions on what to do as it was brought through the ride to work scheme