Evans Cycles - good customer service today

gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
edited December 2008 in Road beginners
Just thought i'd mention some good service from Evans which I received today - they often get knocked so thought i should post about my positive experience.

I bought a specialized hotrock 16 kids bike for my 5yr old daughter from evans online before xmas. She has a hotrock 12 which she has learned on and recently taken to riding without stabilisers (which I was very very proud of!) so I looked for a 16" wheel bike for her - it came down to 3 - the spesh hotrock, the ridgeback melody and the islabikes 16" - I went for the hotrock as I am a keen specialized fan and she has the 12" already and also we were buying my youngest a "hotwalk" balance bike.

anyway - of the three it is the only one with a caliper brake (and a coaster brake on the back) where the others were V-brakes.

basically the brakes were awful - she simply couldn't stop the bike and would waver about and try putting her feet down before hitting something - like my car in the driveway - which she got shouted at as I was sure she wasn't using the brakes. and then I tried pushing the bike forward with the lever pulled as tight as I could the wheel would still turn so a five year old girl had no chance of stopping this thing! (and I felt very guilty for shouting at her)

So I rang the evans at the trafford centre (well the chill factor ski slope) and spoke to a guy called Tom who said `i should come down and they would see what they could do and if they couldn't fix it up then they would accept it back at the store.

anyway - he was very knowledgable and helpful and had the mechanic check things over whidh didn't help that much - he suggested some soft compound pads and even found a shimano deep drop brake caliper ( dual diff type - for a roadbike) and offered to get the mechanic to fit it - although it didn't actually end up going on due to the clearance required.

so we ended up getting a refund and now my daughters is gutted but it is the right thing to do - she would never have had any confidence in a bike which she couldn't stop! And I couldn't have let her out of the house knowing she is likely to hit something so it had to go back. Very helpfull staff though and i was really pleased at the time they took to try and sort us out.

so now it looks like the islabike for her although the paint job is rather uninspiring and it will take a while - I could get a ridgeback from my LBS in St. Annes - anyone any thoughts on these or others?


  • a_n_t
    a_n_t Posts: 2,011
    tbh thats my LBS! Only go in there for emergency supplies though, friendly enough bunch.
    Manchester wheelers

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  • Did I miss something here?
    Evans send out a mail order kids bike in a very dangerous condition and they get praised?

    I'd have checked the brakes before I even let my child anywhere near it.
  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    it wasn't a dangerous condition - the brakes worked, just not very well and not acceptable to me. The design and choice of caliper is specializeds fault - not evans.

    i'm fairly used to spannering bikes myself - I build my own - and while the brakes felt secure they simply weren't capable of stopping the bike.

    the service they provided was to try and improve the brakes and then when this couldnt be done they provided a refund for the cycle. they seemed to to all they could to try and remedy the situation and this, i felt, made for a positive experience this afternoon.
  • Gary D
    Gary D Posts: 431
    I don't know anything about the Ridgeback at all so I can't comment.

    However, both my girls have Islabikes. 6 year old has a Beinn 20 and the 9 year old a Luath 26. They are both fantastic bikes and you really won't find fault with them. Everything about them is so well thought out from a small persons perspective. You certainly will have confidence in the brakes. Can't understand your comment about V-brakes though? It is almost as if you thought they were a lesser brake than calipers?

    The Beinn 20 comes in 2 sizes so it might be worth a trip down to Wolverhampton with your girl to let her sit on one and try it. You have to make an appointment, but they will let the child take it for a spin around the car park.

    Just thought of another option. Do you know of any Cyclo Cross meetings in your area that have U10's races? If so, have a wander there and I guarantee you will find someone with an Islabike that I am sure would let your girl have a sit on. (In the West Midlands Cross league I would say that 60-70% of the bikes in the classes up to the age of 14 are Islabikes :shock: :shock: )

    I do agree about the paint job though. It is rather bland for a child - but a lot more practical :wink::wink:

    Good luck!

    Oh and I feel like I've been raped by an Orangutan :shock: And I've got legs like Girders :lol:
  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    hi Gary - thanks for this - really appreciate it.

    I knew that the V-Brakes would be a better option - not the caliper - I was kind of saying that although I knew the caliper would be harder to operate, i still went ahead and bought the specialized!!

    I think that the 16" i the right size to be honest - she only turned 5 a week ago and is quite 'wee' to be honest - although she looks ridiculous on her current 12", the 16" bike is a fairly good fit and the20" is huge for her (although I didn' realise that the islabikes model comes in two sizes - i'll check that one out.)

    thanks again,
  • Gary D
    Gary D Posts: 431
    No problem!

    If you go on to the Islabikes website, there is a size chart that gives minimum inside leg measurements for each bike. From memory, they are fairly accurate. My 6 year old had her large size Beinn 20 about 6 months ago,and according to the charts, she was "just" inside the dimensions given. Sure enough, when she first rode it, the saddle was on the lowest it would go.

    The Islabikes frames will suit smaller riders for a given wheel size though because of the geometry. If you look at the picture of the small Beinn 20, the saddle will actually go nearly level with the top of the wheel!

    Bloody hell! It's beginning to sound like an Islabike advertisement is this :oops: :oops:

    I would like to add that I am in no way connected to them and have absolutely nothing to gain - honest!

    Oh and I feel like I've been raped by an Orangutan :shock: And I've got legs like Girders :lol:
  • GavH
    GavH Posts: 933
    gkerr4 wrote:
    I tried pushing the bike forward with the lever pulled as tight as I could the wheel would still turn

    I've no experience of Evans but I'm with Justpush on this. Why did Evans not conduct the same simple test that you (the OP) did (pull the brake lever and push the bike)??

    If they had, they would have realised that the brakes were totally ineffective. Whilst I appluad their post sales effort (the OPs main point) I deplore the fact they sent out a kids bike with brakes that were not fit for purpose. That is as good as criminal IMO.
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    I totally agree. Safety obviously isn't an issue for Evans. We got my daughter's first bike from there and it was fine, but going by the op's experience here, we were lucky.

    Evans just a jot above Halfords imo. But certainly not a true LBS.
  • My daughter has the Ridgeback (has actually now been passed onto 2nd one) and has been reliable and a good buy
  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    Lochindaal - thanks for the ridgeback review - good to hear from an owner - i'll be looking at one of them but at the moment the favourite is the islabikes cnoc16

    i'm not sure what an LBA would have done in this case - I mean, the bike was well setup - as good a it was going to get - the fact that it still wouldn't stop would indicate that the component choice is a poor one and this is specializeds fault not evans (or any LBS).
  • We bought the Ridgeback MX14 for our 4 yr old for his birthday back in January.

    Pleased with the build quality and quality of components used.

    After 4 weeks we took the bike back to LBS to have the brakes adjusted (Intial service to adjust cable tension in the brakes - free of charge). The mechanic who adjusted the setup was great and sorted out the reach on the brake levers making the braking for a child with small hands really easy.

    It seems most bike manufacturers use cheap components on children's bikes to keep the cost down. Kind of understandable when you consider the average life of a childs bike.

    The Ridgeback childrens bikes seem to have good resale prices on ebay so, if you're buying new there's a good chance you can sell it for a resonable price when your children out grow it
  • gkerr4
    gkerr4 Posts: 3,408
    just to conclude this little tale...

    I called Islabikes this morning and managed to make an appointment to try a bike out this afternoon so my 5yr old daughter and I took a blast down to wolverhampton and tried one out!

    the result - she is now the owner of an Islabike Cnoc 16!

    She loved it! - from the first little taster in the car-park - as soon as she realised that the brakes work - that was it, she just wanted to ride it!

    so the deal was done and i have only just managed to get her off it to take her to bed - she is looking forward to a trip to the prom tomorrow to get some riding practice in!

    very impressed with the service from islabikes. Lovely on the phone, very helpful when we got there and so nice in setting the bike up for my daughter. very pleased!

    the bike is excellent - head and shoulders above the specialized in terms of design and build quality. the bearings, crankset and headset all have a lovely feel about them - so smooth and solid feeling - much more like the feel of adult bike quality components.
    you can see the thought that has gone into the design and selection of components on the bike - the thinner grips, the small brake levers - all great stuff! - very impressed!