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Turbo price rises: Evans accused of “taking cyclists for a ride” over above-RRP coronavirus smart trainer pricing

Chain also faced social media backlash after parent company said it and sister retailer Sports Direct would continue trading

Evans Cycles has been accused of “taking customers for a ride,” with prices of home trainers on its website currently displaying at well above their recommended retail price.

The accusation has been made by a road.cc reader who alerted us to the pricing on the retailer’s website of the products, sales of which have boomed in recent weeks as many cyclists have switched to training at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

> Stay-at-home cyclists lead to turbo trainer sales boost, retailers confirm

It comes on a day when Evans, together with sister retailer Sports Direct, were subject to a backlash on social media after initially announcing that they planned to continue trading during the coronavirus pandemic.

That decision has since been reversed pending clarification the company is seeking from the government.

The road.cc reader who contacted us this morning said: “Following on from the mixed messages from Sports Direct regarding opening their stores and Evans Cycles, I noticed today that they've put prices up on loads of their turbo trainers.

“The Wahoo KICKR which is £999 everywhere including the Wahoo website is now £1,150, same for all other Wahoo trainers.

“Looks like they've done the same on Tacx, Saris and other brands too.

“They are taking customers for a ride,” he added. “What a joke.”

After receiving his email, we checked the pricing of turbo trainers on the Evans Cycles websites against the RRP of the various brands whose products it sells.

What we found was that prices appear to have increased across the range, with the three examples below all now being sold at around 15 per cent higher than the manufacturer’s RRP.

Saris H3 (review): RRP £849.99, being sold for £976 (+14.8 per cent)

Wahoo Kickr (review): RRP £999.99 being sold for £1,150 (+15.0 per cent)

Tacx Neo 2T (review): RRP £1,199 being sold for £1,379 (+15 per cent).

Other retailers including Sigma and Tredz are currently selling those products at RRP.

We have approached Evans for a comment on the pricing of the products concerned and will update this article with their response once we have it.

Evans Cycles was bought out of administration in 2018 by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct International plc, and its immediate parent company is Frasers Group, which last night wrote to staff at Evans and Sports Direct following Boris Johnson’s address to the nation.

The Prime Minister outlined tight restrictions on when people would be able to leave their homes, one being that they would be permitted to undertake one form of exercise each day, including cycling, provided it is done alone of with household members.

> Prime Minister says cycling allowed for exercise - but only alone or with members of household; bike shops to remain open

He also said that all non-essential retailers would be required to close, one of the exceptions being bicycle shops.

In its memo, Frasers Holdings told staff at both Sports Direct and Evans Cycles that stores belonging to the two chains would “remain open where possible,” citing its leading position in the UK sports and fitness market.

A copy of the company’s memo to employees was subsequently posted to Twitter, with both Sports Direct and Evans coming under criticism for asking staff to continue working during the crisis.

The company did not mention what is likely to be one of the prime reasons for the government’s decision to allow bike shops to remain open – the repair and maintenance services that they provide, and it is worth noting that garages too are allowed to continue trading.

Frasers Group has now said that neither chain will trade for the time being and that it is seeking clarification over the issue from the government as to whether they should open.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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19 comments

Avatar
fredca_91 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Unfortunately I also noticed Cycle Division is offering the Cero AR30 with 38% discount from £450 to £279, when actually 2 weeks ago I paid £360 for the same pair without discount.

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Derk Davies | 3 years ago
1 like

I stopped buying from Evans when he bought them. 

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Dhill | 3 years ago
0 likes

Should go to Halfords as their prices are unchanged.

 

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Rapha Nadal | 3 years ago
1 like

It may just be an algorithm behind the website that detects a significant surge in purchasing and adjusts the price. Doesn't sit well with me really but other retailers do the same. Uber are a prime example - look at their prices rise when it starts to rain!

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quiff | 3 years ago
0 likes

The Competition and Markets Authority may be interested in that: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-sales-and-pricing-practices-...

Or the ~15% price hike may have been shrewdly calculated to be as much as they could get away with without drawing the regulator's attention.

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bobbypuk replied to quiff | 3 years ago
0 likes

Didn't the CMA outlaw RRP on the basis of it being anti-competitive?

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quiff replied to bobbypuk | 3 years ago
0 likes

I believe RRP is ok if it's genuinely a recommended retail price. What's outlawed is a supplier forcing retailer to agree a fixed / minimum selling price.  

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Rik Mayals unde... | 3 years ago
1 like

The answer is simple. Just don't buy one from them. We can currently still go out on the bike, so why pay over the odds for a turbo? When this is all over remember this and boycott them. 

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srchar | 3 years ago
2 likes

Don't buy them.

Don't buy anything from them ever again.

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Skimpy1 | 3 years ago
0 likes

While not on the same scale, Wiggle did similar with their pricing of the Tacx Neo2 trainer. A couple of weeks ago, it was £899.99. It went up to £949.99 and then £999.99 before selling out. I accept that this was a discounted/discontinued model but they made sure they got a little bit extra. I believe all other trainers are RRP but are all out of stock.

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handlebarcam | 3 years ago
4 likes

I hope people remember the actions of the likes of Mike Ashley and Tim Martin when this is all over. And that they realize just why that tracksuit or pint of beer they're tempted to buy is so cheap.

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Mark_1973_ | 3 years ago
2 likes

Naively didn't realise Ashley owned Evans. Won't be spending another penny in there...

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Awavey replied to Mark_1973_ | 3 years ago
1 like

He bought them to save them from going bankrupt

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Mark_1973_ replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
6 likes
Awavey wrote:

He bought them to save them from going bankrupt

Sure he did. A real humanitarian...

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bobbypuk | 3 years ago
0 likes

The H3 was £641 when I ordered one last Wednesday. Cancelled the order as they couldn't get it for an unidentified period of time. I suspect my order would have been cancelled by them if not.

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thx1138 | 3 years ago
0 likes

Both the Kickr and Core are well above RRP but you can't get them until mid-April anyway!

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Butty | 3 years ago
3 likes

Now Evans pricing has been called out, expect a "miscommunication" or "admin" error to be blamed.

 

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cidermart replied to Butty | 3 years ago
0 likes

I wonder if the people who have bought one at this price and been affected by the miscommunication or adimin error will be refunded??? Yes I know I've just read it back to myself 😂😂😂😂

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Simon E replied to Butty | 3 years ago
1 like

Yeah, it's just another "admin error", like the Aviemore hotel that sacked its staff and made them homeless. Don't insult my intelligence, you w@nkers.

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