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Half(wit)ords

sturmeysturmey Posts: 964
edited February 2009 in Road beginners
Bought a new bike from Halfords today for a good price as it was built up and on display-a Carrera Virtuoso. I wasn't in the market for one but it was unmarked and for the price it was a steal.

The manager was very pleasant and obliging and offered to have it 'PDI'd' there and then before I took it away so I thought I could give it a proper visual inspection while the in house mechanic gave it the once over. I only really wanted him to check the indexing on the gears was working smoothly as I was going to strip it down and grease all the ungreased parts when I got it home.
So he threw it in the workstand with exhibitionist speed nearly clouting the chainstays a couple of times, then started turning the cranks for what semed like an age but then admitted defeat and said 'I'm not sure how you change gear on this bike' .

I told him not to worry and showed him how to work the sti levers but I politely declined his offer to continue with his pre-ride inspection.

I got it home and found that everything needed adjusting or greasing but after an hour it was looking good.

It's a shame that Halfords are selling competetively priced entry level bikes but, it seems ,their bike mechanics are woefully short on skill and knowledge. I was desperate to get the bike out of the shop before he did any damage to it to be honest.

So if you are looking to buy a bike from here be aware that your pre-delivery inspection may do more harm than good.

Posts

  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    Hey man you pay peanuts you get monkeys.
  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,158
    It varies with each store. I've never had problems with halfords.

    But my LBS (which is bigger than any bikehut) has people working there that know FA about bikes. I asked someone working there if they had any brake levers for caliper brakes... he didn't know what caliper brakes were.
  • snakehipssnakehips Posts: 2,272
    Yes , many of their bikes are good value for money , but the staff ..... are any of them any good ?

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    'Follow Me' the wise man said, but he walked behind!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    sturmey wrote:
    their bike mechanics are woefully short on skill and knowledge
    The one who dealt with you was. Others might be ok.
  • pbracingpbracing Posts: 231
    M.Cole wrote:
    sturmey wrote:
    their bike mechanics are woefully short on skill and knowledge
    The one who dealt with you was. Others might be ok.

    If they were they'd have spotted the ineptitude of their collegue and educated him by now. Are we expecting too much. There are mechanics who want to be (good) mechanics, and mechanics who just can't use a checkout till :)
    Why not? My bikes.
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  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    I used to cycle with a Halfords guy, he knew a lot about bikes, was always building them and taking them apart and I've been to LBS where they have no clue, Cycle Surgery in London for example. Some of them are nice enough but they always seem to be trying to sell me something needlessly. I went there to get a single spoke replaced and the guy tried to tell me that I should chuck the whole wheel and get a new one. What a load of old tosh! Eventually took the wheel back to my dad who's a bit of a bike mechanic and he couldn't believe they'd told me to ditch the wheel, there was nothing wrong with it.

    Generally I think you're right that generalist shops like Halfords do not necessarily have the know how, but it ain't always the case...
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  • sturmeysturmey Posts: 964
    I dare say there are a few decent mechanics amongst the Halfords workforce but the service you will get is unlikely to approach that of a decent bike shop.

    Give you an example. i recently bought a pair of inexpensive wheels from my LBS and when i got them home I realised that the the axle on the rear wheel was too long for my dropouts. I took the wheel back and the owner changed the axle completely free of charge and had it ready in 3 hours. I somehow can't see halfords ever providing a similar level of service. For a start I doubt that they are repairing sufficient numbers and variety of bikes to have the appropriate spare parts back up for these kind of situations.
    In essence,if we ignore the new bike sales aspect, they are to bikes what Kw*kfit etc. are to the world of cars. I mean you wouldn't want to go there for a new camshaft for your Lamborghini.
  • bluecowbluecow Posts: 306
    I take my hack to get things fixed all the time, make sure i take it whilst theres a particular guy working though. Once i went in for a couple of tools and he told me to get them off Chain Reaction cause they were cheaper and better :)
    He has done some good work on my bike, cant say id give them free rein of the posh bike though ;)
  • bluecowbluecow Posts: 306
    The same guy also fitted a bottom bracket and gear cables for free. Bargain!
  • Totally agree with a few of you. Halfords (in my eyes) shouldn't be trusted. They're bike mechanics are just store employees who work in the bike section... They've managed to propery censored my girlfriends bike up several times.

    Having said that, I don't trust anyone with any of my bikes. At least when I service them, I know it's getting done properly, to my standards. Not to say all bike mechanics are clue-less, by any measure, just prefer to srvice and look after my bikes myself. Slightly nuerotic, but I don't care :D

    Chaz.
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    Sick to the power of rad
    Fix it 'till it's broke
  • I popped in to my local Halfords in Inverness yesterday and the guy on the counter couldn't be more helpful. I've ordered a Boardman Team Carbon through the Cycle to Work scheme and he was very knowledgeable, he knew his stock and had seen/ridden the bike in question. This was a marked contrast to my previous visit where the customer advisor was surly, ignorant and clearly couldn't give a toss. He was bad enough that I complained to head office about him and I was assured that it would be dealt with. It looks like my comments may have been taken on board! That or I was just lucky to get the one decent sales advisor in the shop!
    Boardman Team Carbon

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  • bicebice Posts: 772
    Sturmey wants the world: he got the mother of all deals thanks to shopping in a bike supermarket, now he moans that the service isn't much good. If there had been a competent mechanic around, he might have made you pay a proper price for your bike.

    I find Evans the most annoying retail outfit in London, to be frank. So much so, that I never bothered to take my bike back for its 'free' service. These are places where you buy the things. That's it.
  • sturmeysturmey Posts: 964
    These are places where you buy the things. That's it.

    That was precisely the point I intended. You know it and I know it.
    But some people new to the world of bikes probably don't. And they SHOULD know, if they are going to go here to buy a bike.
  • I went out yesterday to look around some bike shops and Halfords was the only one open :(
    They had one decent bike and that was reduced to a decent price. However a closer inspection and I noticed the chain was broken and a few other bits weren't right. I left to look round a proper shop another day.
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