Ceramic Ball bearing warranty. A market analysis.
I spoke about ball bearing warranty in a previous post but we still explain every day how Kogel is different from Enduro Bearings, Ceramicspeed or Boca Bearings. These are brands that I consider the giants of the cycling industry.
Ball bearings typically come with a very limited warranty: they will be backed for "x" years but with a long list of exceptions.
Let's compare four brands with information straight from their website:
Enduro Bearings warranty - 2 years on XD-15 and 1 year on all other ceramic bearings
Not bad! 2 years is a reasonable life expectancy for a high quality bearing. But the devil is in the details: For the bearing industry in general, no manufacturer offers any warranty for bearings after installation because of the many variables involved such as other manufacturer’s tolerances that the bearings are fitted into, improper tools used during installation, long intervals between lubrication, and many other reasons too long to list here.
If that did not kill your motivation to put in a claim, here is the procedure:
- Email Enduro Bearings at their generic info@ email address
- Provide receipts, description of the problem and a contact at your shop
- Wait for a return number
- Ship the defected products postage prepaid
- Wait for evaluation, there is a promise to get you back on the road soon.
- screen shot taken from the Enduro Bearings website
Ceramicspeed warranty: 4 years on ceramic bearings, 6 years on coated bearings
Awesome! More years is better! Let's have a look at the fine print: CeramicSpeed warrants all CeramicSpeed bearing products to be free from defects in materials and workmanship. CeramicSpeed acknowledges that the main threat to bearing failure is corrosion within the bearing itself. Corrosion occurs as a direct result of improper maintenance. CeramicSpeed does not warrant or recognise bearing corrosion under warranty.
Guess what is the one thing that kills bearings? It is corrosion. Bearings get contaminated when water or any foreign objects pass the seals. The steel races will rust and your warranty is voided. The only remedy is to service your bearings after every time you got your bike wet, either while riding or cleaning. The products are covered for all cycling disciplines: Road, Triathlon, TT, MTB, Enduro, Cyclocross and Downhill, which is a good thing!
If your bearings failed but do not show any signs of rust, here is the procedure:
- Register your product within 30 days of purchase. "Failure to register a CeramicSpeed product could effect and delay any claim under warranty."
- Ceramicspeed will agree to process the claim.
- Return the faulty product to Ceramicspeed, postage prepaid
- Product shall be repaired or replaced at the sole discretion of Ceramicspeed
Interesting detail is that the contact page does not mention an address for either the US or European warranty officer, just a link to more terms and conditions.
- The warranty contact form leads to more policy and small print.
Boca Bearings warranty - 3 Months
Other than the 3 month warranty mentioned on the product page, it takes a bit of digging to find a warranty statement on the Boca Bearings website: Unfortunately, there is never an explicit warranty with bearings. Bearings do eventually wear out and every application, setup and operator is different. It is very difficult to calculate life expectancy without having extremely detailed data about your application.
- screen shot from the Boca Bearings FAQ page
This is the only information I could find about their warranty. The company does have a very clear contact page, so you can always email or call them with questions.
Kogel Bearings warranty - Guaranteed Performance 1+1 year
After analyzing the competition, it is time to take a look in the mirror. The official Kogel warranty statement can be found here. It describes how your bearings are covered by an umbrella policy for one year. The warranty can be extended for a second year by performing a bearing service, which is explained here.
My promise to you is that if your bearings go bad in the first year, we will replace them. Simple as that. Even if you rode your CX bike in a muddy field or got caught in a rain storm during your Ironman, because we consider that normal use. If you decided to remove your bearings with a sledge hammer or found another way to FUBAR them, we will offer a crash replacement discount to keep you on the road.
This is the procedure:
- Talk to us! Use the contact form on every product page, the Need Help? button at the bottom of your screen or pick up the phone. We love to hear from you!
- A real live human being will respond to you, listen to your story and be nice if you are nice. We will ask questions and sometimes ask you to service the bearings to determine if they are damaged or only contaminated.
- If the bearings are damaged, we will send you new bearings and cover the shipping cost. Usually we do not need to see the broken parts, unless your story was something special. Sometimes we will ask for photos or to return the parts so we can learn from it and improve our products.
- If you claim more products then what we consider normal, we will ask more questions and offer an installation and service training.
Our goal is to take away all your anxiety when purchasing a Kogel product. We are aware that ceramic bearings cost a chunk of money.
We also know that ceramic bearings have a reputation of failing prematurely or requiring more maintenance than the person you took out on a Tinder date last week.
Everyone at Kogel is convinced that we make a superior product that defies this reputation. We back up our claims with a unique warranty. I hope you will make that part of your buying decision.
*Disclaimer: I understand that websites are updated regularly and page links might expire as a result of this. I provided screen shots of the linked pages and consider anything in this article to be accurate at the time of writing, 30 October 2017. If any of the companies mentioned decide to update their warranty terms as a result of this piece -or randomly by coincidence- I will be happy to update any part of it.