One baby bunny-hop, and my Trek carbon fiber mountain bike literally popped apart: I heard an odd noise, then noticed my seat was suddenly about an inch too high, and the rear suspension was not feeling so comfy any more.
I present my new “hardtail” mountain bike:
As shown below, the frame de-bonded, popped up, and then crushed part of the seat tube into the inner frame tube. The is actually the second time this frame has failed, the first time one of the cables sawed through the carbon fiber within about 6 months from new. I have also been unhappy with the poorly functioning suspension control cable system and the quirky XTR drivetrain which mis-shifts the minute a little dust or dirt gets on it. All in all, a very disappointing experience, the worst bike I’ve owned in 15 years.
My understanding is that the Trek frames have a lifetime warranty, which is something I’ll be counting on, as this was their top of the line frame when I bought it 6 years or so ago.
I hope that Trek can do something nice for me. This failure-prone design, the difficult-from-day-one suspension cable design, the constant maintenance XTR drivetrain all made for a frustrating experience over the years, so I didn’t ride it nearly as much as I had thought I would.. I trusted Trek when I bought the bike to deliver something reliable and enjoyable, but my expectations were definitely not met with this bike.
Old parts and a new frame will cost me money to deal with no matter what (install problem parts on a new frame makes no sense, and replacing some parts is required for a current frame). A reported 25% replacement bike discount when coupled with a 9.25% sales tax here in California doesn’t look like all that good a deal.
I sure hope that the Trek road bike frames are made to a higher standard than this potentially deadly failure (as in the frame coming apart on a steep downhill). But the frame came apart on a flat road taking my 9 year old to school at about 10mph, so I was lucky.
I expect a $5000 bike to last (like my 16 year old Merlin titanium), and this Trek has seen very modest use, and never been crashed or beaten up on the tough stuff. But to be fair, anything can fail, and this is just one bike, and nothing can be inferred in general about the reliablity of the frame design from one bike.