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My wife and I just purchased new bikes on the end-of-season sales. I got mine from an LBS (PedalOn) and she got hers from Evans, and had it delivered to a branch near her work. My experience - I went in, looked at the bikes on offer with an eye to one model. They didn't have one built up in my size, but offered to do so for me in a few days and called me when I was ready. I dropped back and they fitted me to the bike, attached appropriate pedals and sent me off on a test ride. I bought the bike, a happy customer.

My wife orders hers online. Evans emails her from the branch to say the bike is ready but she can't go that day - she goes the following day. She arrives but the bike *isn't* ready. She had ordered some clipless pedals as well, which were not attached. The seatpost was way too high for her, she said getting them to lower it was as if she had asked them for the moon. That was it - no fit, no test, no "let's see if the bolts are tight". See ya. When she brought it home I noted all the protective tape was still on - I suppose that's up to the customer to remove. At least the pedals were tight - the last bike she bought from Evans the pedals almost fell off on the way home (and let's remember they tighten as you ride...)

Our nearest Evans shop is also pretty hopeless. I went in to buy a couple of tubes once and walked out in disgust - three people working and none could figure out how the till worked! I have bought one bike from them, and it was fine, but I ordered it in a box and set it up myself. I note that "way back then" (a few years ago) a new bike came with a bike tool, a pedal spanner and a classy "book" with all the info. Now? Nuthin'. Oh - that was another thing about my wife's bike - they gave her an instruction manual for an entirely different bike - not even the same brand. Fail, fail, fail.

Halfords may sell some crap, but I think they know their place - mass market with some decent higher-end stuff. Evans seem to think they are gods - and their regular pricing is the most expensive on everything. They run a regular "question time" on Facebook which is a joke - it's like the tower of Babel with them trying to plug products and people asking questions from every angle. But, hey - social media is the future of cycling, I guess.

Or is it just me?

45 comments

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jstreetley [63 posts] 2 years ago
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I had almost the exact same experience as you describe your wife had. Ordered in 2 bikes for little comparison, went in on the day that was arranged and only 1 bike ready. This was only told to me after I'd been out on the first and asked for the second to be me with a shrug.

Went back (no idea why...) when the second one was ready. Decided it was ok (although in retrospect probably a size too big, thanks for the advice...) and basically had the bike chucked at me while I entered my PIN number.

Money secure, that was it, job done. I asked for paperwork (ie, manufacturer's warranty, manual, whatever that comes with a bike), and got given an empty wallet, with the excuse "that's all it shipped from the warehouse with".

I wrote and complained, never heard back.

I vowed never to go back, but my girlfriend had her eye on a Pinnacle in the sale. We ended up going from store to store (as each one told us the other had the bike in stock), only to be told that the right bike was in the first store. Now she's vowed never again too.

Apologies for long rant. Felt very cathartic though.

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Dark_Wolf [47 posts] 2 years ago
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I have just as bad experience with them online. I bought a cycle helmet as was in the sales & one I used to have & liked, it arrived promptly but when opening the box I found the helmet caked in a layer of dust as wasnt in its plastic wrapper. So wiped off the dust as that didnt bother me as just means its been on the shelf too long. But whilst the dust was being removed, I found nicks & dents in the foam along the forehead & a whacking big chipped area on hard shell.

So emailed them with photos, they responded to say it was normal to expect. I had to correct them on this as its damaged & probably been knocked about so no way I will feel safe using it. And under distant selling regs & sales of goods act I have right to refuse. So they sent link of a form to fill in for return/exchange. I sent it back for exchange & attached copy of receipt of the postage to be paid back as entitled to.

First thing I knew they received the damaged helmet was the refund in my a/c despite asking for exchange, but not money for the Postage. So email them asking why this been done & got a basic apology & to just order another, so said I will when they refund postage. They emailed back asking copy of receipt, so they lost the one I sent which no doubt was ignored with the returns form. So emailed a scanned copy & still no refund of postage. So had to harass them daily on Twitter for all to see for over a week as email wasnt getting me anywhere & finally got it paid today.

But will not be buying from them again & NO WAY will use them to buy a new bike. It took so long sorting out all this I have managed to buy another helmet from another supplier & it arrived early this week.

So reading your experience with the stores, it comes to no surprise to me whatsoever.

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Dr. Ko [181 posts] 2 years ago
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I enjoyed the Evans service with my Brompton  20

A customer and Brompton owner had to rescue me with my flat rear!

http://innercitymobility.blogspot.de/2013/07/viva-la-tour-evans-test-sec...

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behemothprocycling [43 posts] 2 years ago
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The new Evans store in Cheltenham is just opposite my work. They seem to have a very small number of staff and none of them speak to you. i'm not sure about the prices as I have only bought a water bottle from there and I guess they are much the same price wherever.
There are some nice bikes on display though and seem to be heavily discounted - the Pinnacle which won the test in Cycling plus this month is now down to £765.

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hampstead_bandit [614 posts] 2 years ago
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'pay peanuts, get monkeys' the old saying (cliche) goes..

when it comes to chain stores, specifically in the bike "industry" its even more apt

pay minimum wages on poor terms and conditions and fail to train them (especially you lot at Halfords!), you won't attract good staff, or even people that actually cycle!

The experienced staff / cyclists saw what was happening in these big chain stores, and promptly left their employment and moved to LBS or quit the industry entirely

try paying staff a living wage on reasonable terms and conditions (paid holiday helps..), offer them proper training and you might retain some good quality, experienced staff

the other saying / cliche goes "don't worry about those leaving your business, worry about those staying behind" (hint: those staying cannot attract the interest of superior employers)

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ashfanman [123 posts] 2 years ago
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For balance, I've always had very good service at Evans - both in store and over the phone/email. I've only ever bought clothing and a few accessories there, but still.

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OldnSlo [135 posts] 2 years ago
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Reading this makes me think my recent ribble experience wasn't that bad...

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CanAmSteve [252 posts] 2 years ago
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Just a heads-up. I'm also reminded that Evan's gift certificates can't be redeemed online. So in order to use one, you must visit a store or call. The telephone service was polite and professional, but it does seem a bit odd they can't accept them online - probably a systems issue. They also expire - this has been ruled illegal in some US states, as it's simply a money grab by the retailer.

One reason to buy from a bricks-and-mortar store and/or major retailer is after-sales service. You can easily imagine that a web-only firm might be a problem (just by its nature) if there was a fault with a purchase. I wonder how Evans does in this regard? The helmet story above is troubling - imagine it was a bike with a cracked frame...

I recently had amazingly good service from Northumberland Cycles with an Amazon purchase. I bought a couple of randonneur tyres in May, but only installed them in August. When I did so, one blew off the rim. Close inspection showed the tyre's bead was missing/deformed in one area. I emailed via Amazon and received a quick rely. A new tyre *and tube* were sent out the next day, with a postage-paid envelope for return of the defective tyre. So there are some excellent retailers out there.

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michielh [6 posts] 2 years ago
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I think it's an insult for McDonalds to compare them to those ones you don't mention  1

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Adey [86 posts] 2 years ago
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on the plus side - Evans in Nottingham, friendly,knowledgeable staff.
I use this store quite alot and never had any probs  41

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stealfwayne [116 posts] 2 years ago
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It used to be Cycle Surgery that had me fuming due to their rudeness and general poor customer service. However over the last few Years Evans has really worked hard to strike new lows. Cycle Surgery has improved Those comments really make it seem as though it isn't only me that feels this way - EVANS you need to, read, learn, improve.. or be spoken about in hushed terms and mockery - much like malfords

I guess its the luck of the draw -be nice get nice service, teach staff that snobery isn't welcomed in a cycle shop... Action Cycles, Tut tut.

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Simon E [2726 posts] 2 years ago
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Such is the way with chain stores across all industries. They must have huge overheads (directors' expenses, sprawling offices) so cut costs where they can and as a result lose sight of a key element of retail.

Unless I knew that the staff at a store were clued-up and customer friendly I'd not want to give them any of my money in the first place. It's not like you can't go elsewhere. Caveat emptor.

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badback [302 posts] 2 years ago
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Went in one of our local Evans yesterday as the wife was looking for a CX bike.

I've never heard so much BS spoken in an effort to sell one of their Pinnacle bikes. Saleswomen spoke to us like we had never seen a bike before. (I've probably been riding bikes longer than she had been alive). I kept my mouth shut and we told them we would have a think about it.

We ended up going to Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op - took us 15 minutes to get served (only 3 staff on the floor at a weekend FFS), the guy who eventually served us did know his stuff and we ended up buying there.

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joeegg [43 posts] 2 years ago
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I am semi retired and was looking around for a part time job . My nearby Halfords had vacancies so i sent them a letter.
I've a lot of experience in cycling and fitness so i thought this sort of job would ideal,just 16 hrs a week.
Had a phone chat with the manager..Not really 16 hours a week as you have to work the hours they say.Bank holidays,weekends etc.Minimum wage,and less for under 18's.
They weren't interested in cycling experience more if you were capable of changing a bulb or fitting roof racks.

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Argos74 [392 posts] 2 years ago
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Splashed out on my first half decent bike about 5 months ago from Evans, experience then and since is generally positive (have spent about £2-300 on bits and bobs since April).

They're in an awkward position - catering for all varieties of experience, the commuter, sports/leisure road rider, downhiller, and whatever gets people on odd fixies. Also operating on high overheads/paper thin margins and having to deal with people window shopping to get online when they leave the store.

So am not surprised some things slip through the cracks once in while, I've resolved the odd niggle with a friendly chat and a smile. Still use the LBS as much as I can though. They're a vital part of the cycling economy, use 'em or lose 'em.

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Simon E [2726 posts] 2 years ago
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Argos74 wrote:

They're in an awkward position - catering for all varieties of experience, the commuter, sports/leisure road rider, downhiller, and whatever gets people on odd fixies.

A decent LBS has to do all that without advertising in magazines or flashy shop fittings.

My local shop has sold bikes to a huge range of people. Recent ones I know of include a child's first bike, top-of-the-range TCRs, MTBs of varying wheel sizes and types for the downhill, XC and enduro racers and a 3-speed town bike complete with basket to my son's godmother who is now retired and finally learnt to ride. It's all in a day's work. The staff love bikes and riding, and every customer is treated equally well.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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I'VE Never bought a bike from Evans but I have bought bits/parts/locks etc from them.

Manchester's Deansgate store always seems to have friendly and helpful staff, albeit sometimes a little stretched numbers wise.

The occasions I've used the store at the National Cycling Centre the staff have all been great.

It could be a combination of luck and also having much lower expectations because I'm not handing over several hundred quid that means I've generally been happy with Evan's and their service.

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Dunluce [53 posts] 2 years ago
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I had an okay experience buying a bike from Evans; it's their after sales service (or total lack of) I found appalling. Needless to say their warranty didn't cover any of the issues I had with my new bike. I ended up paying a LBS to do the repairs properly. I have now sworn I will never use them again not even for an inner tube.

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Mostyn [396 posts] 2 years ago
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Cardiff Branch of Evans Cycles is OK; and I'd recommend them; also their on line service, I've had no problems with evans.

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 2 years ago
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I've had the hard sell in Evans; trying to sell me all kinds of crazy sh*t that I don't need.

Cycle Surgery in Manchester I have few complaints with though. There was one fella who thought fit to change my use of pedal spacers without telling me (oh, so after seeing me in the shop for 5 mins, you know my biomechanics intimately already?!) but the other two guys I usually speak to know what they're doing.

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Tjuice [194 posts] 2 years ago
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Hmm. Seems like quite a lot of bad experiences above.
I have had nothing worse than good service from them, and at times excellent.

Over the years, I have shopped in a number of the London stores: The Cut, Clapham, Wandsworth and Victoria and been pleased with all.

I bought my race bike from Evans, and over the course of 3 trips to 2 stores, completed decent (3-8 miles) test rides of 5+ bikes. There was no problem getting any of the bikes into store for me, they were happy to spend time setting up each bike to my needs, swapping my pedals over between bikes, changing saddle heights, etc. I ended up with a bike that I absolutely adore.

I have been riding/building/maintaining/obsessing over bikes for enough years to know probably more about bikes in general than most of their staff, and perhaps that helps, but I have no complaints with the service I have received.

Shame that the experiences I have had seem not to be universal.

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mattsccm [330 posts] 2 years ago
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Tried the Cheltenham shop for a disc braked road/CX bike. Choice ok but the nipper who tried to sell to me knew sod all or was incorrect. Didn't know that 105 was "above " Tiagra as an example.
Same in most bike chains in any sport.

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CycleLuddite [10 posts] 2 years ago
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I used to buy all my stuff at Evans (online/various stores). A nasty experience at the Reading store (time wasting and parts not there when they said they were, etc) allowed me to put the final nail into the coffin for them.

Now I just buy from Wiggle and life is much better. Wiggles Returns policy is lovely. I just pop into the local collect+ store on my way home if I need to return stuff. Can't ask for anything more. I'd pay more to get good service.

Now just need to find a good LBS near Slough.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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CycleLuddite wrote:

I used to buy all my stuff at Evans (online/various stores). A nasty experience at the Reading store (time wasting and parts not there when they said they were, etc) allowed me to put the final nail into the coffin for them.

Now I just buy from Wiggle and life is much better. Wiggles Returns policy is lovely. I just pop into the local collect+ store on my way home if I need to return stuff. Can't ask for anything more. I'd pay more to get good service.

Now just need to find a good LBS near Slough.

I would like to turn this into a Wiggle love-in too. They are so dreamy.

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CanAmSteve [252 posts] 2 years ago
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I should say; Evans used to be better, and more competitive. I suspect expansion, the mini-boom UK cycling is experiencing and them taking the eye off the customer-service ball are all part of a problem they could still fix. They have the locations.

I have pretty good luck with Wiggle - quick free shipping and no problems with items on the site but not in stock (which at least a few other have problems with). I did have an issue with a set of bibs from Wiggle that came with a seam unsewn for an inch or so. They wanted a picture of the defect (done), then had a form for me to complete with the message

"Please send it back to us using the returns system found on our website and we will refund your returns carriage if found to be faulty. If the product is out of warranty or not considered a manufacturers defect we may only be able offer a repair service which may incur a fixing charge." - While I realise that is boilerplate, I expected a bit more after sending them a photo. Why bother?

I just gave in and sewed the things up myself. Compare to Northumberland with the new tyre in the post the next day - just return the defective one in the included postage-paid pack.

Chain Reaction is also fast - never had to return anything so can't say about that. The problem I have with CRC is that their listings are so skimpy you are sometimes not really sure what they are offering.

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harragan [155 posts] 2 years ago
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It's a bit of a lottery where ever you go. I've recently bought a bike from Evans Bristol and the first assistant I spoke to was useless. A return visit and I got a different chap and a much more knowledgeable conversation. When I actually bought it, the assistant didn't try to sell me anything extra and even suggested that I could get some bits I wanted cheaper elsewhere.

Some on here have praised Wiggle by my recent experience with them is that their communication is terrible when the item isn't in stock and then they don't like you writing an honest review.

Pay your money and take your choice.

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bendertherobot [1077 posts] 2 years ago
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Cardiff are fine. Good, decent range.

I often pop in, show them Wiggle or Merlin's price, then walk out with the price matched item.

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Leodis [403 posts] 2 years ago
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Its not just Evans, Planet X are just as bad and they are meant to know what they are doing.

I ordered a bike on cyclescheme, had to pay an extra 10% for the pleasure even though they are hardly small time anymore with the millions been pumped into the business. They confirmed the parts ordered where reserved awaiting receipt of my voucher, said voucher came and forwarded to PX, a day later the order goes "awaiting stock", called and found out they had given away my parts and not only that but then told me in the most demeaning way "cash payments take priority" even though they are paying less for the same bike.

2 weeks later the bike arrived, hardly any packaging in the box and a little cardboard box called "Your Starter Kit", I thought cracking all the stuff I will need for the bike so I looked in it, nothing except some random certificate stating I had bought said bike, it looked like something a year 11 could have drafted and printed, no instructions, no warranty and no tools to put the bike together (though I have these not everyone does).

Numerous problems with the bike from the brakes to flat spots on wheels, they even put the seat post at its lowest setting so when adjusted the carbon pole was scratched due to the poor finish on the frame.

Evans are bad but they are in no way alone on this front.

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VeloPeo [303 posts] 2 years ago
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Evans suck. Mediocre product range and disinterested staff who don't generally know what they're talking about

Cycle Surgery on the other hand have been excellent every time I've used them. My local store (Highbury) especially so.

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Chuck [546 posts] 2 years ago
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I bought a Pinnacle MTB from Evans Birmingham a couple of months ago and it went well. Bike ordered in, built up when they said it would be, some fettling between spins round the blocks. Staff knew what they were talking about and were friendly enough. Hasn't been back for it's first service yet but I've had a couple of things done in the workshop and no complaints so far.

I've had far, far worse experiences in LBSs so I guess it really is luck of the draw.

VeloPeo wrote:

Evans suck. Mediocre product range and disinterested staff who don't generally know what they're talking about

I sort of agree on the product range, but as a mainstream, high street operation it's not very surprising- there's probably very little point in them stocking the more niche stuff.

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