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The Dangers of Using Halfords:Boardman Bikes

nicklomasnicklomas Posts: 6
edited January 2013 in Commuting general
I picked up my new Boardman Hybrid Comp on Friday, Road it back the short distance from the store and no major issues. Today is Tuesday and the second time I've ridden it and this time I was going to work. I live in Clapham in London and was riding over London bridge during rush hour to go to work and the handlebars and wheels decided they did not want to move the same way. The result being that I hit the side of a truck, narrowly missing going under the vehicle and damaging my bike. Not only did this scare the living daylights out of me I also got the motorist giving me hassle for not being able to ride properly (not my fault).

When I called Halfords they said I would have to bring the unusable and unsafe bike in myself so they can assess it and it has to be by 14:00 as the mechanic is off after then. I explained that I myself work and the following day i am off to South Africa on business and then to turkey up until Xmas.

There was not concern for myself as a customer and more to the point they never even apologised for me nearly being killed.

I'll be writing to Boardman as the quality of there bikes is being let down by there decision to outsource to Halfords
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  • nicklomas wrote:
    I'll be writing to Boardman as the quality of there bikes is being let down by there decision to outsource to Halfords

    Good luck with that...
    The issue is with Halfords, not Boardman - bring it up with them.
    The reason that Boardman's are such good value is because they go through Halfords.

    No good to you now, but some Halfords branches have a 'reputation' for being a bit slack when it comes to repairs and maintenence.
    (To the point that a friend bought a Boardman, and had it delieverd to his LBS for them to build :lol: )
    That said, I know someone who works for one of their Southern branches, who is a fantastic bike builder. It's the luck of the draw.

    I know that there is an assumption that every nut and bolt is tight enough, but when I picked up my new bike (not from Halfords), I still checked it over myself before I took it out.
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
    2012 Cube Ltd SL (the hardtail XC 26er)
    2014 Lapierre Zesty TR 329 (the full-sus 29er)
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Ihave every sympathy because if you choose to get the halford sstore to set it up the you shouldn't have to recheck everything over again. however you do.

    However this did amuse me
    nicklomas wrote:
    then turkey up until Xmas.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • I know that there is an assumption that every nut and bolt is tight enough, but when I picked up my new bike (not from Halfords), I still checked it over myself before I took it out.
    I think that's the crux of this discussion. When you buy a car or motorcycle you expect it to be fully built and ready to go, but the same isn't true of things like bicycles. Lucky to be able to live and learn in this situation, I guess.

    I bought a cheap folding bike online over the summer and when it arrived it was ready to go, but I went over it with a fine-toothed comb. Found loads of things that needed tightening, and a couple that needed threadlock/loctite.
  • t4tomot4tomo Posts: 2,643
    I bought a cheap folding bike online over the summer and when it arrived it was ready to go, but I went over it with a fine-toothed comb. Found loads of things that needed tightening, and a couple that needed threadlock/loctite.

    I think if you by mail order / online then by its nature you expect some self assembly and checking at your end. Same applies from halfords on line. As i understand it from halford in store service, if you get it delivered to collect in store or buy direct, their mechanics are supposed to have checked it as good to go.

    That said when i bougt my son's bike from them I check it over myself again and had to adjust the brakes etc as it was clear the chap sorting it out had no clue what he was doing.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • Big_PaulBig_Paul Posts: 277
    I've bought one bike from Halfords, so badly built I ended up stripping it and rebuilding it myself, my Decathlon Rockrider is the same, it has needed TLC several times to the point I'm thinking of just flogging it, but I don't like the idea of passing something I don't trust onto something else. One bike from CRC needed some slight fettling, the other CRC bike and the one from EBC have been perfect straight from the box.
    Disc Trucker
    Kona Ute
    Rockrider 8.1
    Evil Resident
    Day 01 Disc
    Viking Derwent Tandem
    Planet X London Road
  • However this did amuse me
    nicklomas wrote:
    then turkey up until Xmas.
    [/quote]

    Ha ha, I missed the capital letter on Turkey. Although i will be turkeying it up at xmas.

    I've contact Boradmans on facebook and they sent me a number to call. I've spoke to Halfords customer service who are very apologetic and my bike is now with a guy at a store where i work who knows his stuff. Boardman/Halfords just need to make sure people are properly trained. If this was and issue with a car where my steering wheel came off and I crashed into someone and killed them then the storey would be over the news.

    Also Halfords apparently don't home deliver as all Boardman's must be assembled by Halfords otherwise they lose there warranty.
  • zx6manzx6man Posts: 1,092
    Don't wiggle supply boardmans too?
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    nicklomas wrote:
    all Boardman's must be assembled
    a very lose term as to what actually needs doing.
    génerally all that is required is pedals fitting. and 2 or 3 allen bolts tightening. some bikes may also need the front wheel fitting and the seatpost and saddle inserting into the frame.

    then a general PDI check brakes/gears - pressures etc.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • mudcow007mudcow007 Posts: 3,861
    Halfrauds are famous for not being able to wield a spanner in anger.

    stuff i have witnessed from them is

    cross threaded pedals
    headset not tightened (what happened to yours nicklomas)
    gears not properly indexed
    brakes so badly setup the shoes rub on the tyres

    pay peanuts you get monkeys

    i would say this has nowt to do with Boardman an everything to do with Halfords
    Keeping it classy since '83
  • The setup on mind wasn't the greatest either. They hadn't inflated the tires to anywhere near the minimum tyre pressure - causing a blowout on first ride, and the handlebar grip completely came off one side as I crossed a narrow bridge which caused me a loss of balance and nearly skewering my man veg on the exposed bar end :shock:

    The only part of the bike that was set up correctly was the tightness of the Q/R skewers and the indexing of the gears. The disc brakes where not set up properly they constantly rubbed causing it be really difficult to get over about 10mph. Also, alot of the bolts weren't torqued to the correct setting either.
  • This is a shame, and I do home you are ok and get this sorted out to your satisfaction. People do have ago about the Boardman quality but I have found mine to be great, the build at Halfords was ok. The only thing that was loose was the front reflector.

    I only found this out after getting home and checking every single bolt just to make sure. Speaking as someone who runs his own business if I was Boardman I would be so angry, a well priced decent bike and brand name destroyed because some numpty cant put a bike together.

    According to Boardman they even receive special training on how Boardman want the bikes assembled and presented to the customers.

    As I say not really Boardmans problem but if I was Boardman I would have someones job off them to start with.

    Its not that difficult to build a bike and get another member of staff to check it over and sign it off. Is it?
  • DanDax1990DanDax1990 Posts: 1,201
    Anyone who buys a bike no matter where from, Is an idiot if they don't give it a quick check over atleast before riding it. In my eyes that is anyway...
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    And to add to the above, check them over regularly too. A good service/maintenance/safety check regime is needed.

    And further, it is not just Halfords who can poorly assemble bikes, I have seen it at some stores regarded as some of the best in the country.
  • DanDax1990DanDax1990 Posts: 1,201
    Even if I bought a bike from Wiggins I'd give it a check over first, He looks slightly dodgey too...
  • zx6manzx6man Posts: 1,092
    DanDax1990 wrote:
    Anyone who buys a bike no matter where from, Is an idiot if they don't give it a quick check over atleast before riding it. In my eyes that is anyway...

    Spot on....
  • zx6man wrote:
    DanDax1990 wrote:
    Anyone who buys a bike no matter where from, Is an idiot if they don't give it a quick check over atleast before riding it. In my eyes that is anyway...

    Spot on....

    People who buy cars without understanding how they work but still have an expectation that they're going to be safe, do you not think people should have a fair expectation that if they buy a bike that it's going to be safe?

    To call everyone who buys a bike and cycles it away it an idiot is, in my opinion, idiotic.
  • zx6manzx6man Posts: 1,092
    zx6man wrote:
    DanDax1990 wrote:
    Anyone who buys a bike no matter where from, Is an idiot if they don't give it a quick check over atleast before riding it. In my eyes that is anyway...

    Spot on....

    People who buy cars without understanding how they work but still have an expectation that they're going to be safe, do you not think people should have a fair expectation that if they buy a bike that it's going to be safe?

    To call everyone who buys a bike and cycles it away it an idiot is, in my opinion, idiotic.

    Never had a bike that didn't need to be checked in my experience. Worse one was a loose QR front (LBS)..... and both my halfords bikes needed "attention". I would be an idiot not to have checked. And you should always give your bike a check over before riding.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    zx6man wrote:
    DanDax1990 wrote:
    Anyone who buys a bike no matter where from, Is an idiot if they don't give it a quick check over atleast before riding it. In my eyes that is anyway...

    Spot on....

    People who buy cars without understanding how they work but still have an expectation that they're going to be safe, do you not think people should have a fair expectation that if they buy a bike that it's going to be safe?

    To call everyone who buys a bike and cycles it away it an idiot is, in my opinion, idiotic.
    and people who buy cars and never check their oil levels are idiots. Or lucky.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • DanDax1990DanDax1990 Posts: 1,201
    There are a lot of idiots out there. Don't become one of these idiots.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Cars are delivered as a completed assembly from the manufacturer and do not require the dealer's mechanics to finish the assembly, unlike bikes. I have found that most things going wrong with a car are often after the mechanic has been fettling in that area, so this is s a good thing. Bikes get their final assembly and are fetted with by the bike shop before you take delivery.

    Also, cars are massively over-engineered in lots of areas in order to give us that long term reliability with minimal maintenance. They also have all sorts of electronic and mechanical gizmos to adjust, measure and warn of things to ensure this safety. they also have a protective cocoon around you if something did go wrong. These are some of the things we pay alot of money for.

    And despite all of that, cars DO still go wrong on the way home from the showroom and/or later - this is why we have a warranty. Its just that things going wrong on a car are alot less likely to cause a safety issue than on a bike.

    It would be nice to be able to assume the bike is assembled perfectly, and I can understand why some people do, but that would be a mistake because we are ultimately responsible for our own safety and experience shows that we should check a new bike for ourselves. You will need to do this over time anyway as threads loosen, cables stretch etc - even if the bike was perfect on day 1.

    Am I the only one that thinks it was not unreasonable for Halfords to ask you to bring the bike in for inspection before they do anything? If they werent concerned about your accident then I can understand you being a bit upset with them, but I dont see how their approach was so bad otherwise?
  • alidafalidaf Posts: 147
    DanDax1990 wrote:
    Anyone who buys a bike no matter where from, Is an idiot if they don't give it a quick check over atleast before riding it. In my eyes that is anyway...

    A lot of people buying a bike for themselves are new to cycling. It takes experience to learn everything there is to know about a bike and its maintenance. I still struggle with indexing gears and the like but I wouldn't have known anything when I bought my first bike, not that many years ago. A quick check as you point out should spot some obvious problems but a slight torque level below optimum is all it takes for something to work its way loose over time. Halfords largest market is the 'lowest common denominator' when it comes to cycling, and they should accept the responsibility for that by doing properly what they claim to do, which is set up the bike so that it is roadworthy. Just because it is a better brand than some of the other stuff they sell shouldn't lessen that responsibility.
  • father_jackfather_jack Posts: 3,509
    Shouldn't the post be

    "Dangers of riding a bike with critical bolts loose"
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • zx6manzx6man Posts: 1,092
    I did hear from someone-somewhere.... Saddle and stem bolts are kept loose for...easier transport in cars..
  • I spent five years assembling bikes from boxes - a 'good build' takes on average 1hr including test ride and re-packing the bike for internal-stock-movements. Yeah, I could throw a bike together in 10mins, but I wouldn't want to own it.

    I recently took advantage of my company's Bike to Work scheme and pitied the poor mechanic who got to build my bike as it was ridden home and stripped, adjusted and tuned for about 2hrs. This is my first 'new bike from a box' since I was 9yrs old and got a Raleigh Burner for Christmas.

    The PDI (Pre Delivery Inspection) should have included checking the torque of the stem bolts, you should have some recourse with them - get them to offer you some some allen keys or a multi-tool as a measure of goodwill, and tweak your nuts up :-)
    FCN16 - 1970 BSA Wayfarer

    FCN4 - Fixie Inc
  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,195
    apreading wrote:
    Cars are delivered as a completed assembly from the manufacturer and do not require the dealer's mechanics to finish the assembly, unlike bikes.

    So for what reason must a new car legally have a PDI completed by a 'competent' mechanic before the DVLA will issue a first registration? Some Korean minimum-wager screwed in the seat belt clip so it must be perfect....

    The difference with a bike is that the engineering/mechanical workings are a lot simpler than a car and are clearly visible to the naked eye. Most people have an understanding of how the moving parts of a bicycle work but on a car there are a lot more hidden workings as well as a depth for further knowledge. I know people who even now after 30 years of driving that can't explain the difference between front and rear wheel drive for example.

    Halfords: The clue for me was when I bought my son (9 at the time) a new bike for Xmas. When I went to fetch it they'd built the wrong one. If they can't follow such a simple instruction as 24" wheel Apollo and instead roll out a 20" in a completely different colour tot he one on my receipt it's time to ask questions. If I do ever buy a Boardman it'll be straight to the LBS where I should have probably bought something instead anyway.
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Assuming the LBS is any good - all shops, Halfords or otherwise, can suffer from poor staff.
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    Both my kids have two rather good Carrera bikes - discs all round, SRAM gears X3/4 kit - took the bikes away in a box and signed a disclaimer. Too right I did.

    No probs with son's bike, but daughters needed front cheap mech ditching for a SRAM one (didn't shift), and the rear brake cable was corroding - on a new bike. Sorted that and it's A1. They sell boxed bikes, best getting them boxed !!

    Both bikes are fantastic though, was very impressed with the kit, but I would never have them put any decent (over £150 - heh heh ) bike together.
  • zx6manzx6man Posts: 1,092
    Both my carreras are fine 2 years on, bargain
  • Awww gutted. I didn't know Boardman Bikes were exclusive to Halfords and they aren't on the Cyclescheme. I've bought my last two bikes through the Cyclescheme, it's fantastic if you can't afford to shell that amount out in one go (which I can't). I was looking at women specific road bikes for next year and Boardman fi one was on my list - guess I'll have to cross it off :(
  • zx6manzx6man Posts: 1,092
    Dont wiggle do them?
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