Case Study Of A Cracked Carbon Rim

We’re often asked about what our warranty means, and what the process is for replacement. Here is a real life example:

All our carbon mountain bike rims have a lifetime warranty which includes impact damage: That means that if you crack a rim while riding the bike we’ll replace it free of charge.

First - It’s really rare that this happens with less than 1% of our customers needing to use this service. Trust me - compared to other wheels that’s amazingly low and chasing durability is the major reason we’ve chosen to develop our own Flite rims.

Last week a customer, let’s call him Mr Sender, was loading his bike onto his roof-rack when he noticed a crack in the rim. This was one of our Version 3 Flite rims - a rim we developed over 2 years ago after having great results with the Derby rims but wanting to go our own direction with some of the finer details and wanting to have complete control over manufacture, materials, and logistics.

The end of a Flite Carbon Enduro

Mr Sender’s wheel was holding air and still perfectly true so who knows how long the crack had been there.  Myth busted:  Quality carbon wheels don’t shatter into a million pieces leaving you stuck in the backcountry.  Mr Sender got in touch and we organised to get the wheel back in our workshop.

We give any warranty work top priority.  Mr Sender’s wheel was being worked on by our wheelbuilder Liam within minutes of it arriving.  Liam made some new decals (in this case Mr Sender wanted to change colours on both front and rear wheels however typically the decals will be identical to the originals) and he started rebuilding the wheel.  So long as there is no damage to the spokes (something very unlikely with impact damage like this) then we re-use them but to make Liam’s life easier easier he replaced all of the spoke nipples.

Liam re-tensioned and re-trued the wheel with it’s fresh rim fitted, and ran it through Grimlock a few times.  Because the spokes have already settled into the hub a rebuilt wheel like this will require far fewer trips to Grimlock than a wheel with new spokes would.

Once new tubeless tape is fitted the wheel was ready to go back to Mr Sender.  Total turn-around time: 1 day.  In this case Mr Sender was in Wellington so there was no wait for couriers which would obviously add a few days.

RIP Flite Carbon Enduro #8210.  You served Mr Sender well.  The gondola at Whistler tested your courage.  You stood strong while racing those BC enduros and even finished a race with a punctured Minion.  The crash which broke your abusive owner’s collarbone into 5 pieces did you no harm.  The collection of race results and Strava KOMS on grade-5 trails will forever be your legacy.

We're able to offer such an amazing warranty because of how infrequently it's called upon - but when it is needed we step up, stand behind our wheels, and do everything as quickly as possible.  I'm really proud of that.

- Tristan

Mr Sender himself. Names and faces have been obscured to protect the innocent :-)

2 Replies to “Case Study Of A Cracked Carbon Rim”

  1. Kris limmer says:

    Hi. Are the rims replaced for waranty free or is it at cost price?
    Would a hub with straight pull spokes need less grimlock?


    1. Tristan says:

      Hi Krus. Yes, we replace the rim under warranty and free of charge so long as the wheel was used for it’s intended purpose. Straight-pull spokes won’t make a significant difference to the number of Grimlock cycles that the wheel goes through while being built. Straight-pull spokes would speed up the lacing and wheelbuilding of the wheel but reduce the wheel stiffness. -Tristan

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