I like to think about the the cost differential between a “premium branded” carbon wheelset and lesser known brands (also referred to as “Chinese wheels”, although I’m not a fan of that term) as breaking down into two categories: extra insurance and signalling.
It might seem weird to think about the warranty in terms of insurance, but that’s effectively what it is. You pay an amount of money, a premium, to hopefully get increased protection from bad things happening to your stuff. This insurance breaks down further into defect and crash protection. At a high level, “premium brands” generally have both a defect and crash warranty, but that isn’t always the case. Where there is generally just a defect warranty, and fairly restrictive one at that, from the lesser known brands.
The other aspect is signalling. If we’re honest about it, there’s a lot of signalling going on in cycling; nothing screams dentist/lawyer/stock broker like a nice set of ENVE wheels ;P. To be clear, I don’t mean this pejoratively, and I’m just as guilty as anyone else with my Acid Mint S-Works Tarmac. More that we need to be realistic about what we’re paying for, and it’s totally fine to care about signalling. Also totally fine to call it what it is.
Both of these things are just an expression of values and preferences. Where I personally am totally fine self-insuring my wheels, someone else might prefer the peace-of-mind that comes from having bought the insurance. This is why extended warranties are so popular in the broader consumer space. It should go without saying that this is a valid preference, there is plenty of room for a diversity of thought on this topic.
There is also a potential argument to be made around safety/quality, and that is fair if you go far enough down the lesser known brands rabbit hole. There are sketchy brands, with potentially dodgy track records for durability, manufacturing quality, counterfeit hubs, etc. but it’s not reasonable to lump all of the “Chinese wheels” into this monolithic category. That is a position based on FUD, or put another way, ignorance. Which is a mistake I’m sure no one here is going to make. Probably also worth mentioning that many of the “premium brands” have their designs manufactured in the same factories, by the same OEMs, that are now bringing their own products to market.
In an effort to provide a somewhat comprehensive list of OEMs and their warranty policies, I started the list below. Hopefully this makes it easier to chose your next set of wheels from a place of knowledge around this topic.
- Bontrager (Trek): Lifetime defect, two years crash for the original owner. 2nd buyers, sorry.
A great set of carbon wheels can give your ride an instant upgrade in performance and handling. We understand they’re an investment, and that’s why we back every carbon Bontrager wheelset with a lifetime warranty to the original owner.
When you buy Bontrager carbon wheels, you’re buying confidence in craftsmanship that lasts a lifetime.
Additionally, every set of Bontrager carbon wheels is backed by the Carbon Care Wheel Loyalty Program, which provides free repair or replacement in the unlikely event you structurally damage your wheels while riding within the first two years of ownership (and deeply discounted rebuild or replacement to the original owner regardless of the date of purchase).*
This program applies to all Bontrager carbon wheels that come stock on bikes as well as aftermarket wheel purchases and comes at no additional cost to the original owner.
- Boyd Cycling: Lifetime defect for the original owner. $300 for crash replacement; applies to any owner.
CARBON WHEEL WARRANTY (2018 AND UP)
Our wheels are built from a lifetime of cycling passion for a lifetime of riding enjoyment so we offer a limited lifetime warranty with each carbon wheelset from 2018 to current. Yes, we said “lifetime” three times because we want you to know we really mean it. Now onto the fine print.
Lifetime Warranty covers manufacturing defects in materials and workmanship when riding the wheels within the scope of their designated use and applies to original purchaser only
CRASH REPLACEMENT POLICY
Anybody who owns a Boyd Cycling wheelset, regardless of age, condition, or where they bought the wheels is eligible for a crash replacement at a reduced price. Our goal is to always get the customer back up and riding again if some sort of damage occurs.
Most of the time in the occurrence of a crash, the rim is what needs to be replaced. For this we have a simple pricing structure as follows:
Carbon rim crash replacement – $300
Alloy rim crash replacement – $150
The crash replacement price includes a new rim, new spokes, nipples and labor to rebuild. Basically, its a new wheel built on the old hub.
If the crash replacement requires replacing a hub, a detailed pricing estimate will be given prior to any work being done as this can be harder to diagnose ahead of time. We do our best to keep costs down for the customer but also make sure the wheels are fully operational again.
In the case of the wheel being totaled (both hub and rim are no longer good) we will offer our trade in program where you can receive 20% off towards the purchase of a new wheelset.
Shipping to Boyd Cycling and return shipping is not included.
The crash replacement is available at any time for a wheel in any age, any condition, and for any reason. Whether it’s a crash or you ran over the wheel with your car, we will get you back and riding again for a very reduced price.
- Corima: Two year defect. No crash. Original owner only. I didn’t know Cormia existed before starting this list. Going to forget them in 3, 2,…
Our products are guaranteed against all manufacturing defects for 2 years from the date of purchase for the original owner. The guarantee does not cover the improper use of products, failure to abide by the conditions of use, second hand owners, or damage caused by impacts or related damages.
- DT Swiss: Lifetime defect. 10 year discount on crash damage. Original owner only.
With our Fair Share Policy, we extend the guarantee coverage for our carbon wheels beyond the legal warranty period of 24 months.
- On material and workmanship defects, we offer the first owner of a carbon wheel an unlimited guarantee and replacement of the defective rim free of charge.
- We cover damages resulting from riding errors with our cost-conscious and environmentally friendly Fair Share Policy. DT Swiss provides first-time owners with a 10-year guarantee period and will replace the damaged rim for a personal contribution of CHF 249 / EUR 249 / USD 249 per wheel. Exception: For the ARC 1100 DISC disc wheel there is a charge of CHF 749 / EUR 749 / USD 749.
- ENVE: Five years defect for original and subsequent owners. Sliding scale crash for original owner. Crash does not survive ownership transfer, not that your dentist friend was going to sell them anyway. So pretty…
5 Years (From original date of purchase of the original product on receipt for firsthand owners, and from date of manufacture of the original product for secondhand owners)
<3 Years (0-36 Months) No charge on the specific damaged component – Customer responsible for costs related to parts (ex. spokes, nipples), labor, and shipping >3 – <4 (37-48 Months) 50% Off MSRP, Customer pays all shipping >4 – <5 (49-60 Months) 40% Off MSRP, Customer pays all shipping >5 (61 + Months) 30% Off MSRP, Customer pays all shipping Secondhand Owner No Discount
- Farsports (Wheelsfar): Farsports sells through two channels, both have the same two year defect, no crash, warranty. Wheelsfar verbiage is included below. Having been through this personally, it’s not scary. You buy a new rim, they mail it to you, and you get the wheel built locally. It was ~$300, but obviously will vary rim-to-rim and where you live.
All products we sell in Wheelsfar.com are in good quality and under strict quality test before shipment. We will try our best to avoid any quality problem.
We promise warranty for quality in 24 months. We will repair or replace it free of charge if defects were found in 3 months. You will only need to pay the shipping cost if the defects were found after 3 months and whtin 24 months. This warranty is non-transferable and valid to the original purchaser of the product only.
After 24 months, we will still handle the quality problem with certain charge.
The following improper use will void your warranty
- Crashes and accidents
- Misuse (off-road riding, jumping, trick riding, Cyclocross, etc)
- Modification of wheels or Improper assembly
- Tire pressure exceeding 140psi
- Normal wear and tear
- Improper follow-up maintenance or maintenance by an unauthorized technician.
- Installation of parts or accessories not originally intended for, or not compatible with the wheelset as sold
- Damage or deterioration on the surface finish or appearance which has no effect on the function
- Damages caused by natural disaster
- FLO Wheels: Two years defect for original owner only. No crash warranty.
FLO Cycling warrants its products to be free from material defects or workmanship issues for a period of two years from the original date of purchase. This warranty is only valid for the original owner and does not extend to any third parties. To start a warranty claim please contact us. Original proof of purchase is required.
- Fulcrum (Campagnolo): I wasn’t able to find any documentation on Fulcrum’s site around warranty. Not awesome. I reached out to their support. Will provide an update when/if I get one.
- Hunt: Three year defect, 35% crash discount. Hunt probably shouldn’t be here since they’re resellers (which explains the discount approach), but given the popularity of the brand, I caved.
We are riders ourselves and will do everything we can to get you back on the road and are here to support you. We offer a comprehensive 3-year warranty on all HUNT wheels including free returns if wheels need to be inspected. Goods found to have faults outside of normal wear and tear will be repaired or replaced (subject to stock availability).
We hope you don’t need this but if you have a crash, we offer a 35% crash replacement discount on all wheels and spares. Please contact us and we’ll do our very best to get you out and riding again as quickly as possible.
- Industry Nine: Lifetime defect for the original owner, must be purchased through an authorized channel. Crash warranty is a bit more nebulous than I would like, I’m a details guy. I emailed I9 support, and they indicated that in most cases it would be a straight warranty case. Probably would work out for you, but YMMV. Did I mention I’m a details guy?
Industry Nine has gone the extra mile to ensure we offer the best Carbon Wheels available. We are so confident in our wheels that we are now offering a limited lifetime warranty on all carbon wheelsets sold after January 1, 2018.
The limited lifetime warranty applies to all Industry Nine branded complete carbon wheelsets. Under the limited lifetime warranty, Industry Nine certifies all wheels to be free from defects in materials and workmanship* and applies to the original owner.**
Industry Nine carbon wheel systems are engineered to be ridden every day and are designed and tested to ensure the strength of the wheels far exceed the loads incurred during their intended use.*** You can rest assured that if you are on an Industry Nine Carbon wheelset, we have you covered.
*The warranty applies to all original owners who purchase their wheels from an Industry Nine Authorized Dealer or directly from Industry Nine; wheels purchased through third-party sites are excluded from the warranty.
**Keep in mind that wheels (as with most moving parts) require periodic maintenance and service. Bearings are considered a wear item and if properly serviced, should last several years, but are not covered under the lifetime warranty. The exception is our Enduro XD-15 Hybrid Ceramic bearings (which are an upgrade option). Any wheel that has been altered, improperly maintained or installed, or modified from its original build will not be eligible for this warranty.
***If you are riding the wheels within the scope of their designated use, we have you covered. If you hit a tree at 30mph or come up short on a double while riding your road bike at the bike park and break a wheel – we have a great crash replacement program.
- Light Bicycle: 3-year defect, 10% crash discount, for original owner.
Applies to all Falcon, Recon, and Drift series rims. You can use the product filters on our website to determine which series of rim you have.
Coverage: 3-year warranty from the date of purchase.
(1) If any manufacturing defect occurs within 30 days of the date of being received, Light Bicycle is obligated to replace the rim(s) and pay for the shipping cost. If any manufacturing defect occurs after 31 days and up to 3 years, Light Bicycle is obligated to replace the rim(s), and the customer is responsible for the shipping costs.
(2) At our discretion, we may send a heavier-duty rim version. If we no longer make the rim you purchased we’ll upgrade you to the newest equivalent model at no extra cost.
(3) The Standard Warranty program is not transferable and only applies to the initial purchaser.
(4) Any problem found on the warranty replacement product should be claimed within 7 days after the replacement is received, otherwise, the replacement is viewed as settled. The warranty period applies to the original purchase date and does not reset with a replacement rim.
- Reserve (Cervélo): Lifetime defect and crash, for the original owner. Warranty does not survive ownership transfer.
We’ll repair or replace at our option any Reserve rim that is damaged or destroyed by riding. The warranty will be in effect for the lifetime of the rim and is available only to the original owner.
- Reynolds (Hayes): Lifetime defect, two year crash, for the original owner if purchased through an authorized channel. Warranty does not survive ownership transfer.
To the original owner, Hayes Bicycle Group (HBG) warrants Reynolds carbon rims against manufacturing defects with a limited lifetime warranty. This limited lifetime warranty covers the Reynolds branded carbon rim if damage occurs while riding in normal and intended use. Within the first 2 years of purchase, spokes, nipples, labor, and return shipping will be included when a rebuild is required and when received at the factory or authorized distributor location with a valid proof of purchase, freight prepaid. All other warranty claims not included in this statement are void. This includes assembly costs (for instance by the dealer), which shall not be covered by HBG. After 2 years consumables, spokes, nipples, labor, and return shipping are excluded. In the event of a non-warranty or non-riding incident, the original owner may qualify to receive crash replacement pricing.
- Roval (Specialized): This is a tough one. Specialized recently redesigned their website and looks to have euthanized the Roval warranty policy in the process. The link is from Jan 2023 via the Wayback machine. It looks to be lifetime defect and two year crash for the original owner, and two years defect from the original purchase date for a 2nd hand buyer. The crash warranty does not appear to survive the ownership transfer. I emailed Specialized for clarification and they sent me some screenshots of the same policy I linked (text below). You might get lucky at your Specialized dealer though because the rep also said “All details regarding any potential claims are on a case by case basis, and are facilitated by a local Specialized retail partner and their respective warranty rep“. Which I read to mean you might get lucky, but don’t count on it.
For your Roval products to be covered under the “**It Happens Policy”, they need to be purchased in the United States after 1 September 2019. The policy applies only to the original retail purchaser. The products also need to be registered here within 30 days of purchase. That way, we know you’ve purchased an eligible product and can better service you. Follow the link for more information on the registration process.
In all cases, the policy applies to damage that happened during riding. It does not apply to wear and tear items or cosmetic damage. Overshot a jump and broke your wheel while tomahawking down the mountain? That’s covered; well, at least the wheel. Damaged your carbon wheel from an exhaust pipe or drove into your garage with your bike on the roof? While that **it happens, it’s not covered.
To take advantage of this policy, you must go to an Authorized Roval Retailer. Depending on the damage, we’ll determine in our discretion whether to replace or repair the product. Your old product must be returned to your Roval Retailer. We do not keep inventory forever. If your product needs to be replaced and we no longer have it in stock, we’ll try our best to find you the most similar product then available.
- Shimano: Two years, or three for (Dura-Ace/Ultegra), defect for the original owner. Couldn’t find a crash warranty. Must work with an authorized dealer (i.e. Shimano will not work with you directly). Personally, I can only read this as they’d rather not sell you wheels ;).
SHIMANO Branded Product:
Warrants to the original owner that the SHIMANO bicycle division product, including STEPS drivetrains, for which they received this warranty, is free from a defect in material and workmanship for a period of two years, and their DURA-ACE and XTR components are covered for a period of three years from the date of original purchase. SHIMANO footwear, soft goods, and wheels are warranted for one year.
- Vision: Lifetime defect and crash for original owner. Crash warranty is really good; the first time it’s free, and you get a 30% discount on the 2nd. Neither survives an ownership transfer.
LIFETIME WARRANTY PROGRAM
VISION Performance Carbon Wheels are built with quality materials using the latest technology and we are confident with the quality and workmanship of each wheelset. We understand a high-end carbon wheel is an investment, that is why we back our new VISION METRON 45 SL and 60 SL wheelsets with a lifetime warranty to the original owner.
VISION warrants for life of the original owner purchased November 2020 onward, to be free from defects in materials or workmanship for the lifetime of the product.
LIFETIME WARRANTY PROGRAM:
- Global Coverage
- Disc Brake Only
- AM & OEM Coverage
REQUIREMENT TO PARTICIPATE
- Must be the original owner of the Vision wheelset.
- Product registration is required for service.
- Product serial number(s) and a valid proof of purchase Vision or an authorized dealer is required.
CRASH REPLACEMENT WARRANTY:
- VISION Performance Wheel Family – METRON 45 and 60 SL – are covered under a lifetime crash replacement policy. This policy can be used to obtain a discounted replacement product in the event of non-warranty damage occurring while riding your bicycle.
- Customers may contact their local authorized dealer for repair and/or replacement options. Pricing is set at 30% off the local retail price, excluding shipping, taxes, and other locally required fees.
- Winspace: Two years defect, no crash. Unclear if it survives an ownership transfer, which probably means “no”. Love that they call out that they will provide “lucid instructions” to the buyer :).
Here at Winspace we stand behind our products. We believe in providing a quality product to our users that is safe and fit for intended purpose. For this reason we supply all our frames with 3 years’ warranty and 2 years’ warranty for our wheelsets. The specific details of our warranty can be found below;
1) The warranty period starts at the time of the goods’ arrival at the buyer’s location and lasts for: Framesets 3(three) years, wheelsets 2(two) years, accessories 1(one) year.
2) WINSPACE warranty covers exclusively the manufacturing defects of its products and excludes, notably, from its scope of application any damage, prejudice and, more generally, any direct or indirect consequence which would result from bad use or failure to respect user instructions, the lack of maintenance or non-conforming use of the products.
3) WINSPACE warranty does not cover parts that are subject to normal wear and tear. Wear and tear parts are subject to damage as a result of normal use and riding in conditions/usage for applications other than recommended. Wear and tear parts are identified as: wheel brake pads, rim brake surface, spokes, rim tape, bearings, etc.
4) Warranty terms for defects in workmanship or parts:
A.) The seller shall supply the buyer with lucid instructions and/or diagramnfor replacing defective parts, as well as spare parts.
B.) In the event that the defect is beyond repair, the seller shall be liable for the defective products, by providing the buyer reimbursements or replacements for the complete unit.
- Yoeleo: Three years defect , no crash, for the original owner. Unclear if it survives an ownership transfer, which probably means “no”.
oeleo products are designed with aeronautical engineering, top-level material, unique techniques and strict quality control. Should any Yoeleo product proved to be defective in materials or workmanship, we will do our absolute best to correct the issue.
Yoeleo provides warranty to the original owner for Yoeleo manufactured products under the following periods and limitations:
If any manufacturing defect occurs within 90 days of shipping, Yoeleo offers free replacement of the defective part and free shipping costs.
If any manufacturing defect occurs after 90 days of shipping, Yoeleo is obligated to the replacement of the defective part and shipping costs will be borne by the customer.
- For purchases before 01/01/2023:
Carbon frames, forks, rims and wheels are warranted to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 3 years from the date of shipping.
- For purchases since 01/01/2023:
Carbon wheels and rims are warranted to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 3 years from the date of shipping.
All Yoeleo products should be registered at Yoeleo official website with the serial number. If the products are not registered, a warranty claim cannot be processed.
- Zipp (SRAM): Lifetime defect and crash for the original owner if purchased from an authorized dealer. Neither warranty survives ownership transfer.
When you buy new Zipp wheels and components you are backed by a global lifetime warranty. This includes manufacturing defects, but also any system failure occurring while riding your bike within the intended use of your Zipp product. If your Zipp product fails while riding, we will replace or repair it free of charge.
Examples of coverage while riding:
- You are riding in a group, hit a pothole that nobody announced, and your wheel is damaged. You are covered.
- You’re flying down a singletrack on your MOTO wheels and you crack a rim on a sharp rock you didn’t spot? You are covered.
The warranty does not apply to damage occurring outside of riding your bike; or if you ride your Zipp products beyond intended use:
- Your wheels are damaged in a vehicular incident where your insurance would cover the damage.
- Take your 808 Firecrest Wheelset on gravel; or ride 3ZERO MOTO on a Downhill Bicycle.