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Gah! Halfords

henrywhenryw Posts: 20
edited September 2008 in MTB beginners
Hi everyone,

I just bought a mountain bike from Halfords - I used the cycle2work scheme so I didn't have a choice unfortunately. When I went to collect my bike (a Diamondback M05, which seemed like the best in my budget) I noticed two slightly odd things - a kid had brought his bike into the shop because the rear derailier had broken. Then, as I was cycling my nice new bike home, I rode past some kids, and lo and behold one of their rear derailiers just fell off, almost spontaneously. I'm pretty sure his bike was from Halfords too as it was an Apollo.

Now I'm getting a bit worried. I've had my bike for a couple of months now, and it's due a service. I've never been entirely convinced as to how solid it is - the bike seat and handlebars became loose after a few days of use, and I'm worried about other parts not being tightened enough. It's due a free service at Halfords - should I take it there and get it done, or should I pay a proper bike shop to do it?

And, also, is it true that Halfords don't tighten their nuts enough (for want of a better way of phrasing that)? If so, is there a decent, cheapish toolkit I can get so I can do it myself?

Many thanks

PS. The one thing I didn't get with the bike is a manual. Are they allowed to supply bikes without? Am I entitled to one? A websearch has proved pretty useless.

Posts

  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    quick summary of halfords, depend hugely on the individual staff as management are rubbish with regards to the consumer. If yours is populated by monkeys with stereos go to your lbs and get it checkedas for tools.

    Get yourself some good allen keys, then buy things as you need them, more expensive but better because you only have what you need.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The manuals are rubbish anyway. As above, buy some decent tools, and a book like Zinn. Bikes need routine service/maintanence/checking, so good to learn to save yourself money. Maintaining the bike is part of your warranty obligations.
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    as an addition to supersonics reply above, a kit like this

    toolkit

    gets you loads of the common tools (plus a few you might only need once or twice in a year or more) for a good price....
    Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I believe in the future of the human race.

    H.G. Wells.
  • SalsaSalsa Posts: 753
    I have worked at a large Halfords store.
    henryw wrote:
    Hi everyone,

    I just bought a mountain bike from Halfords - I used the cycle2work scheme so I didn't have a choice unfortunately. When I went to collect my bike (a Diamondback M05, which seemed like the best in my budget) I noticed two slightly odd things - a kid had brought his bike into the shop because the rear derailier had broken. Then, as I was cycling my nice new bike home, I rode past some kids, and lo and behold one of their rear derailiers just fell off, almost spontaneously. I'm pretty sure his bike was from Halfords too as it was an Apollo.
    Kids wreck bikes & cheap parts (& even top of the range one come to that) do break, that doesn't mean it's automatically a Halfords employees fault.
    henryw wrote:
    Now I'm getting a bit worried. I've had my bike for a couple of months now, and it's due a service. I've never been entirely convinced as to how solid it is - the bike seat and handlebars became loose after a few days of use, and I'm worried about other parts not being tightened enough. It's due a free service at Halfords - should I take it there and get it done, or should I pay a proper bike shop to do it?
    Yours has a Quill stem & although it should have been done up really tight they are not the best type being hard to clamp super tight with a multi-tool. If it was ok for a while then that suggests it has worked loose & therefore something you as the owner should check every so often. The seat is not something Halfords really checks, I would give it a whack with my hand to check it was tight when building bikes & 95% of the time it was. If it was missed then sorry as there's no real excuse I can give.
    If you don't trust your Halfords then by all means take it to a LBS & pay for something that is free. Before I learned to do bike mechanics myself I have used LBS & got both excellent & poor setups from 'experts'.
    henryw wrote:
    And, also, is it true that Halfords don't tighten their nuts enough (for want of a better way of phrasing that)? If so, is there a decent, cheapish toolkit I can get so I can do it myself?
    Seriously do you believe we would think it's a good idea to leave bolts loose ?
    When a bike is brought out the post & bars will be loose because some people want to put them in the car & that makes it easier, plus we hang bikes up & turning the bars gives us more space out back. The employee should ask if you want them tightened & offer to set the seat height, this is one of the things you sign for on the PDI form they give you.

    henryw wrote:
    PS. The one thing I didn't get with the bike is a manual. Are they allowed to supply bikes without? Am I entitled to one? A websearch has proved pretty useless.
    As said yes you really should have got a booklet with it but they are useless tbh. I would guess you didn't get one because DB manuals are loose & not in a bag like other makes so the builder misplaced it (we put the bagged ones on the bars).


    Whilst it is satisfying to work on your own bike it's not as easy as most people think & unless you have a friend to check over your work (or a good book & tools, plus try to fully understand what your doing before you start) it's safer to get someone experienced to do it for you.

    Just a few words about Halfords, some part timers are good but others don't care. Full timers generally will do their best as we don't want you coming back shouting at us because of a mistake. Even full timers do not know everything about every bike/part/style of bike so cut us some slack because we are not fully sure about some obscure technical part.
    I would have loved to test ride every bike I built like a smaller LBS but having to build/answer the phone (direct to store, that's rare nowadays)/put stock out/unload bikes/order parts/repair bikes/sell bikes/answer customer q's etc, it was just not possible. We sold 100 bikes easily a week & lots of those are cheap mass produced bikes so there will be problems on a few %, but believe me in the store I worked at we did take your bike purchase & satisfaction seriously.
    I can't talk about every Halfords I worked at the managers did care & gave us full support, we would generally take the customers side even if the problem was debatable that it was our fault.
    Maybe if you think the Halfords isn't great then speak to the boys up there until you find one that knows his stuff , explain your problems with the bike & they should alleviate your fears then prove they know what there doing by doing your check there & then & even show you what they are doing.
  • ToastyToasty Posts: 2,598
    Isn't this the problem? Bike shops put bikes together properly as they have a real passion for it, reputation can make or break local bike shops too, they can't go wrong. Halfords put bikes together so the customer doesn't shout at them.

    Putting bikes together isn't hard, I've worked in bike shops myself, it's more laborious than you'd imagine, when xmas appears you get hundreds of the same models to put together. "Putting together" is a bit too generous a term anyway, when they arrive from the factory, they need bars straightening, wheels putting on and pedals, not a vast amount more.

    Besides, if you're saying 95% of these is properly checked does this not mean 1/20 is potentially falling to bits down the road?

    Edit: Oh and telling people they shouldn't maintain their own bikes is rubbish, 90% of jobs can be done very easily with no more than a £5 multitool. Often threads on new bikes work loose, knowing what to check and diagnosing a loose part before it drops off is far better than having an accident and having to take it into the shop, to be charged £25 labour to tighten a bolt.
  • SalsaSalsa Posts: 753
    Toasty wrote:
    Isn't this the problem? Bike shops put bikes together properly as they have a real passion for it, reputation can make or break local bike shops too, they can't go wrong. Halfords put bikes together so the customer doesn't shout at them..
    That's not what I meant, I said I took the same care on every bike I built because I didn't want people coming back because I had made a mistake. If I worked in a LBS I would do the same thing, I just expect I would be building higher spec bikes & less of them.
    Toasty wrote:
    Putting bikes together isn't hard, I've worked in bike shops myself, it's more laborious than you'd imagine, when xmas appears you get hundreds of the same models to put together. "Putting together" is a bit too generous a term anyway, when they arrive from the factory, they need bars straightening, wheels putting on and pedals, not a vast amount more.
    If your building a premium bike then yes I agree they are normally a 5 minute job but the majority of bikes I had to build were cheaper ones (sub £100 Apollos & Shockwaves) they took on average 3 times as long to get the gears/brakes set up properly mainly due to the cheap parts with inherent play. I also tended to take extra time so they were as good as I could get them. If this meant I had for example to replace a bent cable outer, grease a brake mount, swap out a part or true a wheel etc then so be it.
    Toasty wrote:
    Besides, if you're saying 95% of these is properly checked does this not mean 1/20 is potentially falling to bits down the road?
    When I said 95% it was about the seat being correctly tightened to the post in the factory build not that 5% of bikes were not correctly assembled.
    I was also implying if a tiny % of the bikes had a problem (whether it was from human error, or from a part that failed, or even a bike that was set up correctly in the stand but had a minor problem on the road) then my ex store would have complaints just due to the volume we sold.
    Toasty wrote:
    Edit: Oh and telling people they shouldn't maintain their own bikes is rubbish, 90% of jobs can be done very easily with no more than a £5 multitool. Often threads on new bikes work loose, knowing what to check and diagnosing a loose part before it drops off is far better than having an accident and having to take it into the shop, to be charged £25 labour to tighten a bolt.
    Again I never said don't do it yourself, I just said make sure you know what your doing before you start if you want to work on your own bike.
    I would see many boxed bikes returned half built to be setup because the purchaser thought it would be easy to put it together their selves.
    The op was saying he was due for his 6 week check/1st service which involves checking over the bolts which yes he can do but also re-tensioning the gear cables & setting up the brakes. If he has an understanding of what to do to set the brake arm tensions/re-align the front disk brake & set the gear cable tension then yeah it's easy. If he doesn't then having a friend or LBS or Halfords show or do it for him is a good idea.
    Don't know what the £25 labour bit is about as Halfords will sell you a bike care plan for £15 if your labour bill exceeds that amount.

    Seems you have some problem with Halfords & that's not really my concern so I shan't reply again as I have a broken foot & don't feel like arguing or defending them ....
  • I got my bike from Halfords, a Carrera BansheeX, and when I tried to remove the derailleur after it snapped it took ages to actually budge the nut on the hanger, it was like they'd got the Hulk to attack it.
  • Halfords is bad to the bone. Except where ther are individually decent employees in the BikeHut.

    My little cheap bike project set out to disprove this, and show that a bike is a bike is a bike no matter where it comes from and who puts it together. Despite all the forums telling me otherwise, I truly believed that a £79 apollo would give me as much enjoyment on my local trails as a £250 spesh, plus the enjoyment of saving loads of money.

    I WAS WRONG! oh, so wrong!

    http://cheapmountainbikeproject.blogspot.com/

    Here's the full story on my mini-blog. Caveat emptor majoris.

    For the record I'll be getting a £500 hardtail for Xmas, having been bitten by the MTB bug and being the not-so-proud owner of a broken rusty £79 POS apollo.

    http://cheapmountainbikeproject.blogspot.com/
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Interesting read. My opinion is that off road quality doesn't start until at least £200.
  • I think you must all be really unlucky with Halfords... I've bought stuff from Halfords and even though it must be said that they are not as good overall as my LBS they are still very good! Especially this one guy who is always willing to help and restores my faith in Halfords after reading posts like this.

    I think that some people may fall into the trap that, just because of the stereotypical view of Halfords (they are all ****ing **ite), they blame everything that goes wrong on their bike on Halfords; even if the fault is due to how they have RIDDEN or MAINTAINED their bike. I wonder how these people would react if the same fault went wrong if their bike had been bought from a supposedly "respectful" LBS.

    Now don't get me wrong, I can imagine that Halfords do make mistakes and that some of the people that work their are "monkeys", judging from the amount of complaints that are shown not only on this website but around the interweb I imagine now that this is industry fact. However not only does this create a negative light for the actually worthwhile mechanics in Halfords to work in but it makes them leave to work in their LBS which creates a vicious circle where Halfords will NEVER become any better than they are the moment.

    Next time something goes wrong with your bike bought from Halfords take it with a pinch of salt and don't bite their head off when you go in to get whatever it is that has gone wrong fixed. They probably get fed up with people like YOU who think that just because Halfords are rubbish that everything that goes wrong with their bike is Halfords' fault and not just because they are completely incompetent riders.

    THIS POST IS NOT DIRECTED AT ANYONE ON THIS FORUM, JUST AT THOSE INCOMPETENT RIDERS... AND BELIEVE ME; I AM NOT HALFORDS' "No. 1 Fan"!

    Sorry for the essay :roll:
  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    Once a week in our shop we hear or see the problems people are having with my local Halfords, I've seen bikes less than a week old & ridden once that were verging on lethal.
    Salsa wrote:
    I would have loved to test ride every bike I built like a smaller LBS but having to build/answer the phone (direct to store, that's rare nowadays)/put stock out/unload bikes/order parts/repair bikes/sell bikes/answer customer q's etc, it was just not possible. We sold 100 bikes easily a week & lots of those are cheap mass produced bikes so there will be problems on a few %.
    I work in a smallish LBS, I have to repair/service bikes, answer the phone/email, unload the delivery wagons, do all the paperwork, stock check, clean the store, change the displays, photograph the products, update the website with news & articles, liaise with reps, give a daily report to the MD, liaise with the accountant & I still get time to build a bike properly and test ride it. ( We sell upto 70 bikes a week in the peak season.) Only one other member of staff apart from myself.
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • beskibeski Posts: 542
    Andy_B wrote:
    I work in a smallish LBS, I have to repair/service bikes, answer the phone/email, unload the delivery wagons, do all the paperwork, stock check, clean the store, change the displays, photograph the products, update the website with news & articles, liaise with reps, give a daily report to the MD, liaise with the accountant & I still get time to build a bike properly and test ride it. ( We sell upto 70 bikes a week in the peak season.) Only one other member of staff apart from myself.

    I think you should put in for a pay rise :wink:
    Giant Defy 4 2014
    GT Avalanche Expert 2006
    Specialized Hardrock 1989
  • i bought my bike in halfords and funnily enough it was a db m 05 hardtail to nd i hav been ridin it since april nd apart frm 3 flat tyres nd loose handlebars its been fine nd hav been ridin it on crappy jumps nd ghostyin it off big hills so nd dnt c wot ur all complainin bout
  • Andy BAndy B Posts: 8,115
    i bought my bike in halfords and funnily enough it was a db m 05 hardtail to nd i hav been ridin it since april nd apart frm 3 flat tyres nd loose handlebars its been fine nd hav been ridin it on crappy jumps nd ghostyin it off big hills so nd dnt c wot ur all complainin bout
    Could someone please translate that, I don't speak gimp.
    2385861000_d125abe796_m.jpg
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I think he likes the bike and service ;-)

    hardtail100, please try not to use text talk in posts, cheers.
  • i got my sracen from halfords, and whilst i wish i hadn't ( i found a good LBS when we bought my wife's bike, and paid the same for much, much more bike) apart fromt he fact thay're really rammed (school holidays = lots of bikes being built) i don't have any huge problem. they didn't offer me a service,so i asked for one and they said fine. it doesn't matter i've clattered myself and my bike down a red run (idiot me) so we'll wait and see how much they service it now i've knackered the back wheel...
  • Chaka PingChaka Ping Posts: 1,451
    I have every sympathy with the decent, bike-mad young guys who work in my local Halfords.

    I just don't know how they can see someone buying an Apollo or Shockwave without screaming at them not to!
  • first of all, the biggest problem i have with Halfords is that the communication between the Head Office to the local stores are rubbish. I have been trying to get my bike via the C2W scheme since July and only just getting my bike next Monday which is not even the one i had in mind when i first apply for the scheme.

    I haven't experiment their services of building bike yet but from what i have seem from my workmates' bikes, they are quite poor as all the nuts were loose.

    on the other hand, my girlfriend has her bike (Apollo Fenzy) for ages. despit of the rusty parts on the bike, the bike itself is still in one piece and it still work prefectly well as i been using it for commuting to work.
    "It is not impossible, its just improbable"

    Specialized Rockhopper Pro Disc 08
  • You do NOT need to buy Halfords stock on the bikes for work scheme, you can call the Halfords BFW helpline and order most brands and bikes. I orderd a Trek Fuel EX8 in December 2007 and received it via a LBS in Feb. For non stock bikes Halfords will supply via a LBS which given the qaulity isses re Halfords is a good thing! A collegue also did this and got a Cannondale.

    I brought my first proper MTB last year from Halfords - a Boardman Comp for £600ish. I agree with the comments on Halfords service, it is very hit and misss and even the best bike hits bods are not 100% reliable. I would not buy another bike fom them becuase of service levels., my list of issues with this bike is:

    Chain crank fell of twice becase they did not tighten/ allow glue to dry properly
    Failed to tigten handle bar stem following service
    At said service claimed fromt brake had been bleedd and was ok - it had no pwer and did not presurise - had to leave it with them for antoher week
    Having to wait 2 weeks or them to order new rear hub

    On the plus side I was given a new chain hanger and a quick tune up free of charge.

    The bike has beee ok, I have gone fro 17.5st to 15st and given it a good thrashing, main concern has alwayes been chain suck - I ride in mudddy/clayey Berkshire and the Boardman is relly bad, much worse than the Trek even now with a new transsmisison (a apart from front rings whch they say are ok)
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