Halfords Blew Up My Bike!

corriebee1 Posts: 390
edited October 2012 in Workshop
Hi folks. A complete newbie here, and sorry to come on looking for advice with my first post! I'm afraid I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do!

I've recently bought a beautiful old EWllis Briggs road bike. I'm pretty sure it's a Favorit or something similar, although I've yet to have it confirmed. I bought it on ebay and picked it up the other day up near Bradford (very close to the shop where they've been made for the last 75 years!).

Sooo. After riding the bike a few hundred yards after returning South, the chain began slipping on the rear cassette. I noticed a duff chain link and couldn't get it off with my own (rather lightweight) chain tool. "Off to Halfords" i thought. "What harm could they possibly do?!"

Following a two hour, fairly comprehensive check by one of the Halfords members of staff (who was extremely enthusiastic and helpful) I was sold a care plan for the bike, and the young chap replaced the chain link, tightened tha cables etc. They then inflated the tyres, and I was given the bike to take away.

Having reached the car park, I rode the bike for 50 yards or so to discover the gears were still slipping . I went back into the store and was joined outside by the member of staff, who confirmed the cogs were slipping, suggested the bike needed a new cassette and that I should leave the bike overnight to be seen by the “head mechanic”.

I received a call this morning from the mechanic working on the bike to say that the “rim has exploded” on the bike whilst he was riding it in the car park to see what was wrong. The bike was in fine working order when I delivered it to Halfords yesterday, and now I’m told that my wheel has exploded! The mechanic suggested that it may have been due to the tyre pressure which had been increased the day before. I must stress that the day before my bike had been thoroughly checked as part of the care plan, and the tyres inflated by the team at Halfords. No concerns were raised over the wheel rims or tyres.

I am now left with a repair bill for a replacement Mavic wheel, busted in the Halfords store within 24 hours of the bike being passed fit in their store! Whether this is down to the increased tyre pressure or the test ride/repair work I have no idea, but It's clear that despite taking the bike in to work on it, they didn't have a clue what they were doing on an old bike like this. I should never have let them have it!

I had a good look at the wheels when i bought the bike, and I didn't see any real signs of rim wear from the pads. The front wheel is virtually brand new and the back one didn't look too bad. I've complained to Halfords customer services but don't know whether i'm being reasonable or not to blame them.

Anyone have any comments on whether a blown out rim whilst in the care of a bike shop is reasonable? I don't want to be a pain in the @rse but equally, i can't help thinking that it may not have happened elsewhere and Halfords should take some responsibility.


  • getprg
    getprg Posts: 245
    Congratulations on your purchase of an Ellis Briggs.

    Your experience doesn't sound reasonable to me - but then it depends how determined you are. Ultimately the small claims court will be there to decide the rights and wrongs - but I guess you are not at that stage just yet.

    FWIW it would probably have made more sense to take an Ellis Briggs (handbuilt steel framed - possibly with handbuilt wheels?) to a good quality LBS - preferably one that also builds its own bikes.

    BTW - as you are now an Ellis Briggs owner you may be interested in the website below (run by one of the current EB staff) - he is always in the market to acquire past models and can provide you with details of your bike's build date if you supply him with the frame number.

  • Hey getprg

    Thanks for your comments, and I'm very much looking forward to getting myself out on my new purchase once I can get it roadworthy again. Are you an Ellis Briggs man too?

    I also guess I need to sort out a new back wheel. Any recommendations? I believe i'll be after something in the order of 120mm?
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    corriebee1 wrote:
    Hey getprg

    Thanks for your comments, and I'm very much looking forward to getting myself out on my new purchase once I can get it roadworthy again. Are you an Ellis Briggs man too?

    I also guess I need to sort out a new back wheel. Any recommendations? I believe i'll be after something in the order of 120mm?

    If its an old road bike, rear axle OLN (over lock nut) is probably 126mm. You should be able to reuse your exsiting hub, and get a new rim + spokes made up into the wheel.
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
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  • Thanks Drlodge

    it certainly seems to be an old bike, and the more i read the more i like about it. It has a really great set of old Mafac brakes, a Campognolo derailleurs, 14-speed set, and Campognolo dropouts. I think the wheels are actually 700's, but the frame was being stretched by the previous 130mm hub so it might need replacing. That could solve the problem of the chain not getting into it's top gear (largest cog) on the back cassette?

    UPDATE: Halfords have been on saying the bike had the wrong wheels on (700's instead of 27"). They've said they'll put it back on the road, but the parts will be at my cost. New wheel, tyre, inner, 6 speed free wheel for £87.50 all in.

    Bit upset, but i just want to get my bike on the road so i guess i'll have to pay it.
  • nicklouse
    nicklouse Posts: 50,675
    sounds like the rim was on its last legs and when the tyres were inflated to the corret pressure it failed.

    where did the rim fail?

    got pics?
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • nicklouse

    I think you're probably right. I was just a bit miffed when the shop declared "we can't work on old bikes like this" about an hour after they blew the rim trying!

    I've asked for all of the old parts to be kept, as I'm quite interested in the make up of these older bikes. I'll try to post some pics on Friday once I've got the old parts and (hopefully0 a working bike in my posession!

    Now. To decide whether I want to go the whole hog and get the bike refurbished and resprayed, or just enjoy it as it is. I'm expecting another battle with the seat post soon!! :?
  • alihisgreat
    alihisgreat Posts: 3,872
    I blame wiggle...