O/T Still not happy Halfords

Running, and consequently blogging, has been light because of the slow build up for my recovery. To make up for the lack of mileage on two legs, I've been working on exercising on two-wheels.

An earlier post highlighted the joys I was having with my bike, and now, after a bit more time living with the bike, and a lot more hassle, I decided I could write a fair review for the bike on Halfords review section.

For some reason it isn't up yet...

Anyway, not wanting the few minues I spent penning this missive to be in vain, I thought I'd share it here. I know it's not running related, but it's my blog and I make the rules!
If the old adage 'you get what you pay for' is true, then a steaming bag of manure must cost in the region of £179.99 (the price I paid for this in June*).

Ignoring the fact the guys in the shop failed to correctly assemble the thing (who needs handlebars that actually turn the front wheel anyway, right?) and the ensuing near death experiences on the first ride of it, I thought I'd give it a bit of time before I reviewed this, so I wasn't too tainted by the initial shocking experience of buying the thing.

A few months later, I'm now considerably more experienced in keeping a bike on the road (and only the road as I'm terrified of what will happen if I actually tried to go off-road on this).

Lets start from the bottom, as it were.

The alloy used for the wheels seems to be the same substance used to make Wham Bars - seemingly hard, but easily bent. I now spend about an hour after every other ride truing wheels.

My rear cassette has less teeth left than my nan as, to quote the guy in the independent bike shop, "that's some of the cheapest metal I've ever seen". This makes quick acceleration but a dream unless you enjoy avoiding cars when setting off at traffic lights accompanied by the soundtrack of a grinding chain getting no traction.

This also adds a nice element of Russian roulette as you've never quite sure how far from home you'll be when the chain snaps - five miles is my average walk.

The guard on the chainset disintegrated when the chain jumped off going over a grate (and not a big one) at all of 10mph. The resulting debris made for further traffic fun as it jammed in the cogs making rotation impossible - just what you want when crossing a busy roundabout.

Now Shimano don't really make anything that's bad, and the Tourney gears are acceptable, but the guys in the shop decided I wouldn't need the full 21 when they set it up. Thankfully, I managed to get them set up myself thanks to the helpful instructions of the guys at Bikemagic.

The 50mm front shocks are about as much use over slight bumps as a potato - I hadn't expect much from such a small amount of travel, but it failed to meet even my low expectations.

The gripshifts started out doing fine - once you get the gears set up right - but the cheap materials again shine through as after only a dozen or so rides the rubber was peeling away from the plastic.

The front disk brake is the best thing on this bike - only a little bit of tweaking to the levers needed and you've got more than adequate stopping ability - if only you could build up enough speed to really test them.

In summary, if you're looking for a reasonably priced, reliable, no-nonsense hardtail, look elsewhere.

If you like being ripped off, want to walk more than you expected, don't enjoy the company of your family and want to learn how to keep a bike on the road this is the one for you!
My previous post helped elicit a response from customer services - they even offered me £20 voucher, which I declined to take on the grounds that:
  1. It could affect my impartiality;
  2. It would mean I'd have to go back into a Halfords store to spend it; and
  3. I'd have to buy something from Halfords.
I don't want anything from them. I understand that after three months a refund is unlikely so I'm purely wanting to warn others to learn from my mistakes. For the same money I could have gone to a local independent bike shop and got something more reliable, and with better service.

* They're now trying to charge £279.99 - at least Dick Turpin wore a mask!


  1. Shame< I could have told you to avoids Halfords for bikes. always rubbish.

  2. Overexaggurated biased crap - sorry!

  3. @ Dan W - I was warned, and have no-one to blame but myself. If only one person learns from my mistake it was worth it though!

    @ Anonymous Coward - I've written a special reply just for you http://philrunslondon.blogspot.com/2009/09/ot-again-in-response-to-anonymous.html