About a month ago I bought a Giant contend AR 3, and have been quite satisfied with the purchase until about 3 days ago when the front wheel started to sound... bad... crackling/poping. From what I could tell, the bearing seemed to have gone bad. Took it to the dealer and he seemed to agree, though it's still in for repairs. It's very unlikely to be due to water entering, as the front usually don't get that dirty, and I just use soap and sponge.
Apart from a defect, the only thing that would come to mind is riding it too "rough". I'm not completely careless while riding, I try to dodge the bumps and podholes whenever I can... but you know, it does happen. If anything, it thought the rim would be the first to give up, but it's perfectly fine, straight no bends, as are the spokes. It doesn't "wobble" or feel loose while mounted either.
So, the TLDR; is this normal? Can the bearings go bad this fast, or does it just come down to lower quality parts? Would upgrading to better bearings help, or do I just need to take better care while out and about? This is my first "racing" bike, so I'm kinda uncertain on how frail these bikes are. Should note that I've clocked around 1500 km over the month I've had it, so it's been used quite a lot.
Cheers from a noob :D
Edit: Will give an update once the bike is back from the dealer. Haven't heard anything yet :(.
The bike is now fixed: Picked up the bike from the repair shop today. Apparently the hub wasn't tightened well enough during assembly, which had caused the bearings to misalign; from what I could understand it doesn't use cartridge bearings, and the bearings themselves were quite small.
He has re-greased the hub etc., and far as I can tell, everything is working a-ok again. No charge.
Thanks a lot for the support everyone :)