seriously, don't buy a Halfords bike

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by MartinM, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    David Martin wrote:
    > Tom wrote:
    >> Simon Brooke <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>> in message <[email protected]>, Tom
    >>> ('Don'[email protected]') wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> My Mercian Audax special will be celebrating it's 20th birthday
    >>>> sometime this year.
    >>>>
    >>>> http://toomanybikes.com/twenty.htm
    >>> Nerd score of 71%? Pah! I got 96%.

    >
    > Only 90%, but some of the questions didn't have an appropriate answer.
    >


    7% scored higher (more nerdy), and
    93% scored lower (less nerdy).

    What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

    Supreme Nerd. Apply for a professorship at MIT now!!!.


    --
    Tony

    "The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the
    right."
    - Lord Hailsham
     


  2. Ib

    Ib Guest

    Andrew Templeman wrote:
    > As for the frame, I don't remeber them. Does it have any stickers
    > indicating Reynolds tubing (531 for example)? If so, it might be worth a
    > shot-blast and new coat of paint.
    >


    No stickers left - if there ever were any - apart from a "Conforms to
    BS...". My wife's peugeot of a similar vintage but better condition
    claims "Carbolite 103" tubing

    As for all this talk of bottom bracket life expectancy. To the best of
    my knowledge, this has never been changed or serviced in 20 years. Had
    to replace a pedal crank a few years back as it kept working loose. The
    bike shop did comment that he hadn't seen a steel crank for a while and
    replaced with an Alu one of slightly different length...

    So exactly what servicing am I going to need to do to my new bike? Any
    references anywhere?

    Ib.
     
  3. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Tony Raven
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > David Martin wrote:
    >> Tom wrote:
    >>> Simon Brooke <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>>> in message <[email protected]>, Tom
    >>>> ('Don'[email protected]') wrote:
    >>>>
    >>>>> My Mercian Audax special will be celebrating it's 20th birthday
    >>>>> sometime this year.
    >>>>>
    >>>>> http://toomanybikes.com/twenty.htm
    >>>> Nerd score of 71%? Pah! I got 96%.

    >>
    >> Only 90%, but some of the questions didn't have an appropriate answer.
    >>

    >
    > 7% scored higher (more nerdy), and
    > 93% scored lower (less nerdy).
    >
    > What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:
    >
    > Supreme Nerd. Apply for a professorship at MIT now!!!.


    Bow down before me, then, because according to the test:
    "4% scored higher (more nerdy), and
    96% scored lower (less nerdy).
    What does this mean? Your nerdiness is:

    All hail the monstrous nerd. You are by far the SUPREME NERD GOD!!!"

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    ;; no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.
    ;; Jim Morrison
     
  4. Pyromancer

    Pyromancer Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:

    > The thing I love about bikes is I can afford to ride bikes which are
    > pretty close to the best in the world

    <snip>
    > The aesthetic of something which is perfectly honed to its purpose is
    > very appealing.


    Absolutely spot on. At all kinds of levels. The bicycle is by default
    one of mankind's finest acchievements - a machine which is efficient,
    provides great benefits to huge numbers of people without consuming
    vast and irreplaceable reserves of natural resources in the process,
    and the use of which improves the general health of the operator. Is
    there any other mass-market device of any kind which can make that
    claim?

    And that's just the basic version, even the 69 quid supermarket special
    can do it. Once you start going up the range a bit...

    I've gone the "heavyweight and will last forever" route rather than the
    athletic one, but I am still *really* looking forward to getting out on
    the roads on my Gazelle when she arrives. That all-too-brief test ride
    in York really was an eye-opener as to what riding a properly well
    engineered bike is all about. The commute from house to office is only
    about a mile (and downhill). Something tells me I'll be taking the
    scenic route home a lot this summer... :)
     
  5. Pyromancer

    Pyromancer Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:

    > The thing I love about bikes is I can afford to ride bikes which are
    > pretty close to the best in the world

    <snip>
    > The aesthetic of something which is perfectly honed to its purpose is
    > very appealing.


    Absolutely spot on. At all kinds of levels. The bicycle is by default
    one of mankind's finest acchievements - a machine which is efficient,
    provides great benefits to huge numbers of people without consuming
    vast and irreplaceable reserves of natural resources in the process,
    and the use of which improves the general health of the operator. Is
    there any other mass-market device of any kind which can make that
    claim?

    And that's just the basic version, even the 69 quid supermarket special
    can do it. Once you start going up the range a bit...

    I've gone the "heavyweight and will last forever" route rather than the
    athletic one, but I am still *really* looking forward to getting out on
    the roads on my Gazelle when she arrives. That all-too-brief test ride
    in York really was an eye-opener as to what riding a properly well
    engineered bike is all about. The commute from house to office is only
    about a mile (and downhill). Something tells me I'll be taking the
    scenic route home a lot this summer... :)
     
  6. In article <[email protected]>, David
    Martin ([email protected]) wrote:

    > Just wondering how long other people keep their bikes, or is it a case
    > of how well locked they are so teh at the thievingpikeychavscum don't
    > make off with it. There does seem to be a tendency to get new bikes
    > fairly frequently, or maybe just to talk about it if you have got a new
    > one (I'm sure WTG would tellus if he had bought a new brompton)..


    I've had two nicked and two written off from crash damage. Sold a
    FWD/RWS Burrows trike after a few months it spent trying to kill me and
    Windcheetah 002 after about a year coz it wasn't getting used. I had my
    Kingcycle entity for twelve years (by which time the only original parts
    being the cranks) but was obliged to sell it in order to assist in the
    funding of Cosimo. The Trice is two and a bit years old, the
    Speedmachine five, the Baron four, the mountain bike I can't remember
    and the fixer, or at least its frame, 21 and a half.

    --
    Dave Larrington - <http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/>
    Every establishment needs an opposition.
     
  7. Jim Price

    Jim Price Guest

    Pyromancer wrote:
    <snip>
    > Absolutely spot on. At all kinds of levels. The bicycle is by default
    > one of mankind's finest acchievements - a machine which is efficient,
    > provides great benefits to huge numbers of people without consuming
    > vast and irreplaceable reserves of natural resources in the process,
    > and the use of which improves the general health of the operator. Is
    > there any other mass-market device of any kind which can make that
    > claim?


    If you believe the marketing twoddle, there are loads - like the George
    Foreman grill...

    JimP

    --
    Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to
    grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after
    all. - DNA
     
  8. Jim Price

    Jim Price Guest

    MartinM wrote:
    > Paul - xxx wrote:
    >
    >> I thought you said it was a Carrerra? I don't think Halfords design and
    >> spec them (or do they?) but simply sell them.

    >
    > Carrera is a Halfords brand, built by Merida IIRC


    That was true a few years ago. You may notice a passing resemblance to
    Kona bikes in the more recent range.

    > If you're expecting premium
    >> kit and service from a (mostly) car accessory outfit then you will probably
    >> find them somewhat lacking.

    >
    > I'm sure Halfords are also one of the UK's biggest bike retailers; just
    > because they sell car bits as well does not excuse them from a bit of
    > after sales support.


    They have recently been quoted as having 25 to 30% of the UK market for
    new bikes (bikebiz.co.uk), but I suspect that is by numbers of bikes,
    not by value. The chances are that if your parents didn't know anything
    about bikes, your first bike would have come from Halfords. Mine did.

    >> You've broken tools, vices and not known how to do the jobs you're setting
    >> out to do (acc. to your postings in this thread) and yet you still insist
    >> it's Halfords fault.

    >
    > I've broken tools etc due to having a stuck part; I'll know better
    > next time (I was trying to remove/fit parts from/to junked frames,
    > where it would have been easier in hindsight to leave them). I'm sure
    > many people have similar experiences. None of the other BB's I've
    > removed have required the tool to be bolted on. I'm not blaming
    > Halfords for not being able to remove this part or any part.


    I know of a Halfords which does not have a tool which bolts onto a
    bottom bracket. They would be at an unfair disadvantage against a shop
    which did have one (and I also know of a Halfords which does have one).

    > I know several makes of BB; they are either sealed or non-sealed. I'm
    > sure the non-sealed ones are all supposed to be adjustable. Thus the
    > part that was fitted was IMO unsuitable. If anyone disagrees and thinks
    > fair dos on Halfords then ignore my warning and go and buy a bike from
    > them, simple.


    I don't disagree with your point about the suitability of the part,
    however, if you do know your stuff, it is occasionally possible to
    purchase something good in a Halfords, simply because they tend to be
    frequented by less knowledgeable cycle enthusiasts, and so the good
    stuff can languish around unsold until it gets discounted. My Minoura
    wheel truing jig came from Halfords for a tenner (list price 40 - the
    tip that it was discounted came from this very group). I have even
    bought a bike from them this century, although due to my Halfords buying
    strategy, the bike in question was actually made last century.

    JimP

    --
    Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to
    grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after
    all. - DNA
     
  9. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "MartinM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    I would probably never buy a complete bike again
    > unless it was 100% built with one groupset as my experience of many
    > bikes is that unless you fit an entire groupset you end up replacing
    > half the bike.


    I think you'll have to search hard in many cases as bikes built using one
    groupset are less common as manufacturers mix and match parts. Even when
    from one manufacturer parts are selected from different groupsets.
    My 'dale had:
    Campag headset.
    Ultegra rear mech
    Utegra STI
    Own brand calipers (replaced with Ultegra calipers purchased at a sale)
    105 Chainset
    105 Front mech
    Mavic hubs
    Gawd knows what Shimano chain (now joined with SRAM Powerlink :)
    Gawd knows what Shimano BB

    Looking at friends bikes and those in shops shows a similar story.

    Pete
     
  10. MartinM

    MartinM Guest

    Jim Price wrote:

    > I know of a Halfords which does not have a tool which bolts onto a
    > bottom bracket. They would be at an unfair disadvantage against a shop
    > which did have one (and I also know of a Halfords which does have one).


    That's the whole problem with Halfords; they have such variable
    expertise and what they sell cannot always be repaired with the staff
    or the parts/tools they have on site. They don't even sell spokes!. The
    young mechanic who had seen to the bike in question did his best and
    also did actually point my brother to an LBS for help (which I would
    probably have done in the first place). It seems that their whole
    workshop operation is to give their staff the chance to earn a bit
    extra in slack periods rather than provide a service.

    So Merida is not necessarily the same as Carrera? that's reassuring
    because I've been looking at a quite nice Merida MTB for my oldest just
    this morning.

    Yes many of my bikes (OK not bought for me by my parents they were too
    catalogue orientated and I got mostly rubbish bikes from those as well)
    are from Halfords; I would probably never buy a complete bike again
    unless it was 100% built with one groupset as my experience of many
    bikes is that unless you fit an entire groupset you end up replacing
    half the bike.
     
  11. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Jim Price wrote:
    >> a machine which is efficient,
    >> provides great benefits to huge numbers of people without consuming
    >> vast and irreplaceable reserves of natural resources in the process,
    >> and the use of which improves the general health of the operator. Is
    >> there any other mass-market device of any kind which can make that
    >> claim?

    >
    > If you believe the marketing twoddle, there are loads - like the George
    > Foreman grill...


    Cricket bats (for loose definitions of 'machine' - a device to propel a
    ball of a certain specification over a broadly specified distance range.)


    R.
     
  12. Jim Price

    Jim Price Guest

    MartinM wrote:
    > Jim Price wrote:
    >
    >> I know of a Halfords which does not have a tool which bolts onto a
    >> bottom bracket. They would be at an unfair disadvantage against a shop
    >> which did have one (and I also know of a Halfords which does have one).

    >
    > That's the whole problem with Halfords; they have such variable
    > expertise and what they sell cannot always be repaired with the staff
    > or the parts/tools they have on site.


    Agreed.

    > They don't even sell spokes!.


    Last time I was there, they had spokes at the Halfords in Uxbridge.

    > The
    > young mechanic who had seen to the bike in question did his best and
    > also did actually point my brother to an LBS for help (which I would
    > probably have done in the first place). It seems that their whole
    > workshop operation is to give their staff the chance to earn a bit
    > extra in slack periods rather than provide a service.


    I doubt the staff actually earn more if they do any workshop work in a
    slack period. Most of the Halfords stores I have been in do not have a
    workshop as such, and any service and repair work is done behind the
    counter in full view of any customers. I for one do not want work done
    on my bike by someone likely to be distracted by the general public.

    > So Merida is not necessarily the same as Carrera? that's reassuring
    > because I've been looking at a quite nice Merida MTB for my oldest just
    > this morning.


    Merida were making the Halfords Carrera bikes to Halfords' specification
    up to 2004. Carrera is Halfords up-market brand - the stuff which really
    needs to be avoided has Apollo written on it. These, like the eponymous
    NASA equipment, are made by the lowest bidder. Cheese itself is too
    expensive to make such items.

    > Yes many of my bikes (OK not bought for me by my parents they were too
    > catalogue orientated and I got mostly rubbish bikes from those as well)
    > are from Halfords; I would probably never buy a complete bike again
    > unless it was 100% built with one groupset as my experience of many
    > bikes is that unless you fit an entire groupset you end up replacing
    > half the bike.


    Uh-oh - someone else who can casually throw in the expression "many of
    my bikes". Sometimes I think building them is as much fun as riding them
    (usually when I am in the process of building one).

    JimP

    --
    Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to
    grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after
    all. - DNA
     
  13. wafflycat

    wafflycat Guest

    "Jim Price" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Pyromancer wrote:
    > <snip>
    >> Absolutely spot on. At all kinds of levels. The bicycle is by default
    >> one of mankind's finest acchievements - a machine which is efficient,
    >> provides great benefits to huge numbers of people without consuming
    >> vast and irreplaceable reserves of natural resources in the process,
    >> and the use of which improves the general health of the operator. Is
    >> there any other mass-market device of any kind which can make that
    >> claim?

    >
    > If you believe the marketing twoddle, there are loads - like the George
    > Foreman grill...
    >
    > JimP


    I don't think you'd get very far trying to cycle anywhere on a George
    Foreman Grill. Where would you fit the mudguards?


    'spekt it comes fitted with ShimaNO! too

    Cheers, helen s ;-)
     
  14. MartinM

    MartinM Guest

    Jim Price wrote:


    > Last time I was there, they had spokes at the Halfords in Uxbridge.


    really? I'm surprised, that used to be my local one (1995ish-1998) and
    was at the time the Worst Halfords in the World (unless you count the
    high street ones). The bigger one near Rayner's Lane certainly didn't
    sell them.

    Carrera is Halfords up-market brand - the stuff which really
    > needs to be avoided has Apollo written on it.


    I know; I would expect a low quality rubbish BB on Apollo (if it had
    one at all) but not Carrera

    > Uh-oh - someone else who can casually throw in the expression "many of
    > my bikes". Sometimes I think building them is as much fun as riding them
    > (usually when I am in the process of building one).


    I love building bikes, have built my last two; although they were new
    frames built up with mostly old bits. It seems such a tall order to buy
    the bits from scratch at a price anywhere near what the bike builders
    (or the French hypermarket where I bought one) can do so I've never
    tried.
     
  15. Paul - xxx

    Paul - xxx Guest

    MartinM came up with the following;:
    > Paul - xxx wrote:
    >
    >> I thought you said it was a Carrerra? I don't think Halfords design and
    >> spec them (or do they?) but simply sell them.

    >
    > Carrera is a Halfords brand, built by Merida IIRC
    >
    > If you're expecting premium
    >> kit and service from a (mostly) car accessory outfit then you will
    >> probably find them somewhat lacking.

    >
    > I'm sure Halfords are also one of the UK's biggest bike retailers; just
    > because they sell car bits as well does not excuse them from a bit of
    > after sales support.


    And you got a bit ... " The young mechanic ... did his best and also did
    actually point my brother to an LBS for help" is good advice from someone
    who knows his limits and is trying not to screw up, it seems. Far better
    than carrying on and breaking things, IMHO.

    >> You've broken tools, vices and not known how to do the jobs you're
    >> setting out to do (acc. to your postings in this thread) and yet you
    >> still insist it's Halfords fault.

    >
    > I've broken tools etc due to having a stuck part;


    It was four years old fercrissakes ...

    > I'm not blaming
    > Halfords for not being able to remove this part or any part.


    I thought you were ...

    > If anyone disagrees and thinks
    > fair dos on Halfords then ignore my warning and go and buy a bike from
    > them, simple.


    Nope, i know they're mostly crap. ;)

    --
    Paul ...
    (8(|) Homer Rules ..... Doh !!!
     
  16. MartinM

    MartinM Guest

    Peter B wrote:
    > "MartinM" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > I would probably never buy a complete bike again
    > > unless it was 100% built with one groupset as my experience of many
    > > bikes is that unless you fit an entire groupset you end up replacing
    > > half the bike.

    >
    > I think you'll have to search hard in many cases as bikes built using one
    > groupset are less common as manufacturers mix and match parts.


    I know about Cannondales; my brother's (mostly RSX) from eBay has got
    what looks like a day's sweepings off the floor of Halfords fitted to
    it; but TBF that may have been the seller.

    I was specifically talking about bike builders like Ribble;
    manufacturers are often as bad as Halfords when it comes to mingling
    proper groupsets with Cheddar. The Dawes Audax has IIRC 105 shifters
    and Tektro brakes.
     
  17. Jim Price

    Jim Price Guest

    MartinM wrote:
    > Jim Price wrote:
    >> Last time I was there, they had spokes at the Halfords in Uxbridge.

    >
    > really? I'm surprised, that used to be my local one (1995ish-1998) and
    > was at the time the Worst Halfords in the World (unless you count the
    > high street ones). The bigger one near Rayner's Lane certainly didn't
    > sell them.


    They don't go out of their way to advertise the fact, and you may have
    to be lucky with who happens to be on shift at the time. I was there
    about 2003 - it may have changed since.

    >> Uh-oh - someone else who can casually throw in the expression "many of
    >> my bikes". Sometimes I think building them is as much fun as riding them
    >> (usually when I am in the process of building one).

    >
    > I love building bikes, have built my last two; although they were new
    > frames built up with mostly old bits. It seems such a tall order to buy
    > the bits from scratch at a price anywhere near what the bike builders
    > (or the French hypermarket where I bought one) can do so I've never
    > tried.


    I almost bought a bike in Go sport in Calais once.

    Here's my latest recipe - over Easter I had a friend and his brother
    come up to stay and I built him (the brother) a bike from the following:

    Dolan steel winter frame with Alpina carbon winter forks and Cane Creek
    headset - £140 new off eBay (Dolan sometimes get rid of excess stock in
    their eBay shop).

    Wheels: Hand built with Campag Mirage hubs, DT competition spokes, DRC
    ST18 rims - £99 from Oldham Cycle Centre.

    Groupset: Campag Mirage from Parkers - £182
    Inner tubes - Vittoria 2 for £3
    Tyres - Schwalbe Blizzard 2 for £16
    Seatpost - used one which was lying around, but expect to later fit a
    ~£20 one.
    Saddle - San Marco SKN £16
    Stem - ITM The - £7 on offer from Decathlon
    Handlebars - Deda Piega £15
    Bar tape - £5 from Halfords!
    Rim Tape - £2 from Parkers
    Headset spacers - 2 packs off eBay - £8
    Pedals - black Shimano 505 SPDs - £10 off eBay

    Total £503 including all the p+p charges, but not the possible future
    seatpost.

    It weighs under 10Kg and has turned out to be an excellent bike. It took
    about a month to accumulate all the bits and pieces, and only a few
    hours to put it together while showing your man how everything works.
    Then we all went out for a ride to the oldest pub in Powys. Everything
    bar the cartridge bottom bracket is fully maintainable, and should last
    a good many years, and the man who gets to own it couldn't stop gushing
    about how good it felt. A happy bunny methinks.

    JimP

    --
    Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to
    grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after
    all. - DNA
     
  18. MartinM

    MartinM Guest

    Jim Price wrote:

    > I almost bought a bike in Go sport in Calais once.


    the one I got was £189 inc RSX STI's and mechs; the rest was generally
    pretty good with only a scattering of depleted uranium (frame was 7005
    though) and Brie, much of it is still on my Audax bike having gone
    round (a not very big planet) several times

    >
    > Here's my latest recipe -
    >
    > Total £503 including all the p+p charges, but not the possible future
    > seatpost.


    Nice one; I'd probably wimp out and go for the Ribble though, although
    I could probably build 10 in the time it would take them.
     
  19. Jim Price

    Jim Price Guest

    MartinM wrote:
    > Jim Price wrote:
    >
    >> I almost bought a bike in Go sport in Calais once.

    >
    > the one I got was £189 inc RSX STI's and mechs; the rest was generally
    > pretty good with only a scattering of depleted uranium (frame was 7005
    > though) and Brie, much of it is still on my Audax bike having gone
    > round (a not very big planet) several times


    I'd have bought that! It sounds like it would pass my bike inspection
    for "would I buy that at this price just for the parts I could use". I
    think the one I almost bought was 450 euros with some bits of campag
    mirage, but the thing which put me off was the miche hubs and crankset,
    and the thought of what my mate whose car was booked on the ferry would
    say if I added a bicycle to the well gotten gains from the
    booze/food/hardware cruise. (I like French supermarkets - the bike aisle
    is usually cheaper and better stocked than a Halfords, and what about
    the cooking equipment, not to mention the cheese section, the fish
    counter... must get back there soon).

    JimP

    --
    Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to
    grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after
    all. - DNA
     
  20. MartinM

    MartinM Guest

    Jim Price wrote:
    > MartinM wrote:
    > > Jim Price wrote:
    > >
    > >> I almost bought a bike in Go sport in Calais once.

    > >
    > > the one I got was £189 inc RSX STI's and mechs; the rest was generally
    > > pretty good with only a scattering of depleted uranium (frame was 7005
    > > though) and Brie, much of it is still on my Audax bike having gone
    > > round (a not very big planet) several times

    >
    > I'd have bought that!


    it did two years sterling service before I eventually junked the frame
    as the headset kept failing and eventually I couldn't get the stem out
    (see post re splineless tool!). The funny thing was my card wouldn't
    scan at the checkout, I got a French shrug, they couldn't even be
    bothered to type the number in by hand. Fortunately my brother's did.
    And yes it went home atop a pile of wine boxes ;-)
     
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