I am going to keep this high level for the purposes of understanding the logic behind warranty terms and conditions.
In the early days warranty claims on carbon fibre bikes were largely successful even in cases where the accident was the owners fault. Nowadays it is much tougher if you have caused the damage knowingly or even unknowingly.
The circled areas on the left image are the key areas where frames are shored up in the manufacturing process.
The centre picture shows the actual parts shown in these circled areas. These are injection moulded carbon ‘lugs’ which are much more dense and heavier in construction then the rest of the frame. They form the foundation of the interconnecting parts. In the right image you can see the BB shell part in situ. Most carbon frames hide this join in the design and finish of the frame but if your frame cracks anywhere near this area it is best to have it inspected. These areas ‘shouldn’t’ crack.
Here are a few tips on how to spot a potential claim on your frame.
Claimable areas*: Any join interface (highlighted in red) which is bonded in the factory which comes away through normal use is a potential claim. (* Depends on whether the manufacturer can prove negligence). In many cases there are faulty designs on the market which are subject to recall so look at your manufacturer’s website or contact your bike shop.
Non-claimable areas*: Any sections in-between these marked areas. Any locations where the customer can tighten components such as seat post, rear/ front dérailleur, skewers and BB cups (*In some special cases these areas can be claimed against but it will be much harder)
Carbon wear on non-removable dropouts and seat clamp cracks are largely unsuccessful claims. Although I have made it clear in the past of my dislike of carbon dropouts the customer is still responsible for ensuring the rear wheel is sufficiently clamped not to cause undue wear.
We have seen many grey areas in warranty claims but I suggest if you are confident you were not at fault and the warranty claim is unsuccessful come to us and we can investigate. In some cases we find manufacturing flaws which the manufacturer is happy to address again.
I hope that clears it up a bit. Happy riding in 2015!