Are we in the "extended warranty" phase now?

Roval (Specialized's wheel brand) announced that it would offer a lifetime warranty and two year "free" crash replacement policy on their wheels. You can read the fine print here, but the quick and dirty is that riding accidents/incidents are covered but running your wheels over with the car aren't, wear and tear and cosmetic damage aren't covered, and it has to go through a dealer and the dealer may charge you a fee, and the shipping costs aren't covered. 

This follows on several other brands who have liberalized these policies recently, such as Enve and Chris King (and generally enough others that I'm aware of the meme of liberalized warranty policies), but I don't have a ready list of them all.

To me this seems like a clever way to support dealer-based MSRP. The marginal cost between just making this official policy and being pretty liberal with reasonable coverage - the increase in their time liability component - is hopefully not that big. With disc rims especially, we're down to so few warranty issues it's a non-issue. The "you break it we bought it" part is potentially a bigger change to the balance sheet (financial accounting for me this semester), and I guess time will tell on how that shakes out.

For me, I don't know. We've had warranty stuff happen in the past, and you all know how tortured we were over the entire issue of carbon rim brake heat warranty, but knock on wood warranty is just not an issue now at all. And in the age of social media (and our generally having ethics and empathy), if you don't cover what you should, you'll pay for it in other ways so you might as well cover it within reason. So the play reads like open up potential future liabilities to support a cost structure that increasingly seems out of step with what a lot of people want and expect. We're half the cost of most of these wheels, if you do happen to crash we help out with it and so you're still well ahead net/net after an incident. Not throwing arrows at any policy that benefits the customer (so long as it isn't stupid and tilts the whole market toward unsustainable and undeliverable expectations) but it's just not what we think it the best calculus we can give you.

Couple more day for pre-order on RCG, GOAT, Cafe Racer, All Roads, HotFoot, and GX24s


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  • graham davis on

    “If you want me to take a dump in a box, and mark it guaranteed I will. I’ve got spare time.“


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